Should Tony Blair have owned up as PM?

Fascinating how Tony Blair has attracted so much attention for coming out as a (Roman) Catholic in such a supposedly secular society as England, even a year after the event. Is there a hint there of the primeval C16 and C17 English fear of undeclared foreign influences? Why did he not convert while PM? Because he was worried about all the “palaver” he says. Maybe, but not from an obvious quarter in recent years at least.

Tony Blair has forged a special bond with the Rev Ian Paisley, the DUP leader who holds the future of the Northern Ireland peace process in his hands, by discussing their common interest in and commitment to Christianity.

Spearheading a government charm offensive to win round the one time Presbyterian firebrand, the two men have been swapping religious textbooks over the past year.

But Blair a “ secret” Catholic? You could have fooled me. Remember him smarting when the saintly Cardinal Hume banned him

from taking communion?.

Mr Blair promised to stop receiving Communion at the Church of St Joan of Arc if his presence there caused a problem for the Catholic authorities. But he made clear that he did not agree with the decision in a pointed letter to Cardinal Hume which said: “I wonder what Jesus would have made of it”.

The religious blog Cranmer attacks Blair along predictable lines. How Catholic, Christian, even was this political record?

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Abortion, the Iraq war, attacks upon faith schools, the closure of Catholic adoption agencies, iniquitous embryology and fertilisation legislation, civil partnerships, decreasing marriage tax breaks, ‘equality’ and sexual orientation regulations…

The Cranmer post then veers to the surreal.

Does he really believe it would have been more of a ‘palaver’ for him to cross the Tiber than it was for him to appoint such an ‘out’ contingent of homosexuals to ministerial rank, leaving the nation not only bemused by the number of Scots running England but increasingly persuaded that heterosexuality was becoming distinctly passé?

Gays and Scots – whatever next? Blair recently presented a very social and political vision of his religion to Newsweek: in an article entitled ” Tony Blair’s Dual Identity” (there’s that suggestion of slightly suspect secrecy again).

We have an obligation to present spiritual faith as something that is positive and progressive and solves problems and does good, rather than something that people only read about because people are killing in the name of it.”

In Sunday’s TV interview, Tony Blair insisted that his conversion to Roman Catholicism was not a rejection of the Church of England. As Prime Minister he fulfilled the Prime Minister’s residual obligation to approve senior Church of England appointments. It was left to that son of the manse, Gordon Brown to dispense with that role. But then we know what Press buttons bees have thought about Anglicanism since Jenny Geddes. The RCs are much softer.

  • blinding

    Blair should have admitted that he was a lying cheating slimeball that was/is willing to lie to a country to convince their young people to sacrifice their lives for his lies.He did not come clean on his catholism because he thought it would be detrimental to himself. I wonder if he had come to some misadventure would his god have understood his (Tonys) usual opportunism or would Tony with the help of Alistair Cambell contrived to even manipulate God himself. The sad thing is that they probably think that they are capable of doing it. This excuse for a human being commited treason against the people of his own country.What more needs to be said about this individual

  • ulsterfan

    I am not in any way interested in his religious belief then, now, or in the future.
    It is a non story.

  • William

    Isn’t a Roman Catholic’s first loyalty to the church rather than to any Queen, Prince or Parliament?

  • George

    “isn’t a Roman Catholic’s first loyalty to the church rather than to any Queen, Prince or Parliament?”

    No it’s to eating the innards of babies at dawn. Try keep up, you’re so 17th century.

  • #

    I am not in any way interested in his religious belief then, now, or in the future.
    It is a non story.
    Posted by ulsterfan on Dec 15, 2008 @ 05:52 PM

    But perchance if the next monarch of GB became a catholic, all you unionists/loyalists in the north east would be getting your knickers in twists with apoplexy, frothing at the mouth and everything. Having to profess fealty to a taig monarch, perish the thought!

  • anne warren

    Actually not, William but would you care to define loyalty as you adopt the term?

  • Jeremy

    If he had admitted to being a lying cheating slimeball his fake sincerity would have led us to believe he was telling the truth therefore he would have got bigger majorities to do worse things.

  • “When the civil law conflicts with divine law or canon law, the latter prevails.”

    source: New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law

  • George

    Nevin,
    are Protestants allowed eat babies if statute permits it?

  • Jimmy Sands

    I can’t believe seven people got to this thread before Nevin. Are you ok?

  • William

    You will notice that my post at #3 was a question….and of course George and others didn’t read it….they thought it an opinion….and George posts garbage at #4.

    Nevin is correct….the Church believes Canon law is superior to Civil law…that is why the RC Church is so pro-Europe as so much of the laws eminating from the EU are based on Canon Law. There are exceptions of course e.g. abortion and same sex marriage.

  • W

    George….the RC Church may have ‘changed’ e.g. the Ne Terme Decree was abolished, but still the Church authorities insist on the children of a mixed marriage being brought up as RCs or they won’t be accepted within their School system.

  • ulsterfan

    So Paisley was right all along about the Pope being the head of State of Europe.
    These Popish designs must be defeated.

  • veritas

    I remember that erudite and impartial journal The Protestant Telegraph, printing with all sincerity an article about RC priest deflowering virgins in a ritual to Satan..

  • Turgon

    dave,
    “But perchance if the next monarch of GB became a catholic, all you unionists/loyalists in the north east would be getting your knickers in twists with apoplexy, frothing at the mouth and everything. Having to profess fealty to a taig monarch, perish the thought! ”

    As I have suggested before, my wife and to a somewhat lesser extent I will simply mutter “There is none king save Christ alone”

  • ulsterfan

    Sure isn’t Paisley the false prophet of Revelation, whose name comes out at 666 on the same numeric alphabet as Gerry Adams.

    What would he know about Christ? Hasn’t he been judged justly? Blair must have lost the plot trying to communicate with big Ian in the Biblical way.

    (Click on my name for more)

  • William

    Cranmer has it correct:
    Jack Straw ‘leading Government plans to end ban on Catholic monarchs’

    Justice Secretary Jack Straw is
    apparently ‘working hard’ to abolish/amend the Act of Settlement which prevents Roman Catholics acceding to the Throne of the United Kingdom. It also prevents the Monarch from marrying a Roman Catholic.

    Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has revealed that ministers were ‘working hard’ to overhaul this foundational constitutional piece of legislation. Chris Bryant, the deputy leader of the House of Commons and a former Anglican priest, is also pushing for the law to be changed.

    Jim Murphy is yet another Roman Catholic Scottish politician (…John Reid, Alex Salmond, Michael Martin…) who insists that the law is not only ‘divisive, discriminatory and offensive’, but ‘almost certainly’ a breach of human rights.

    It is nothing of the sort.

    Prince William – as any member of the Royal Family – is perfectly free to marry whomsoever he wishes. That is his human right. But Prince William is not then free to accede to the Throne and become Supreme Governor of the Church of England. But acceding to the Throne and becoming Supreme Governor of the Church of England are not human rights.

    Mr Murphy is of the opinion that ‘It’s wrong to have a settled constitutional position that discriminates. It’s not because I’m a Catholic that I feel it. It’s unfair, wrong, and does not fit well into a modern sense of what Britain is about.’

    He feels it? It’s just not fair…

    He sounds like a spoilt child.

    It is not fair that should a Roman Catholic accede to the Throne, his or her children will have to be brought up in that faith. That does not seem quite fair, does it? Where is this child’s ‘human right’ to freedom of religion? With such a ‘divisive’ and ‘discriminatory’ article of faith, how could a Protestant ever again occupy the Throne?

    But all this detracts from my gripe.

    Jim Murphy reveals that the Jack Straw is ‘working hard’ on plans to reform the Act. And not only is he working hard, ‘he is putting an awful lot of work into it,’ he said. ‘He is working hard and is pretty focused on it.’

    So, here we are approaching three million unemployed; a ‘credit crunch’ in which hundreds of thousands more are being made redundant; people’s levels of debt rising inexorably; the cost of heating your home soaring; taxes are rising; poverty increasing; drug and alcohol abuse spiraling out of control; family breakdown and divorce becoming commonplace; child abuse increasing; crime rates soaring; immigration rates unknown and unknowable; for God’s sake, Woolworths is closing down and Jack Straw is focused on amending a three-hundred year old constitutional settlement which will have absolutely no effect until, at the very earliest, the death of the next Monarch but one.

    It beggars belief that the next Labour government will spend parliamentary time – possibly an entire legislative year – amending not only the Act of Settlement 1701 but several other statutes which are inseparably fused with the Act, including the Bill of Rights 1688, the Coronation Oath Act 1688, Act of Union 1707, the Princess Sophia’s Precedence Act 1711, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, the Union with Ireland Act 1800, the Accession Declaration Act 1910, and the Regency Act 1937.

    These are hardly at the forefront of people’s everyday concerns.

    Labour is pushing this issue now for one reason alone: it is a puerile attempt to win back the Roman Catholic vote after manifesting itself as the most anti-Catholic government of modern times.

    One has to hope and pray that the Roman Catholic community will see through this patronising ploy, and vote Conservative at the next General Election. It is a party in which they will find a most conducive and tolerant political home.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    a very good piece Brian Walker, very good.

  • I’m fine thanks, Jimmy. My contributions to Slugger at the moment take second place to my investigation into the Rathlin ferry shenanigans.

    The mainstream media, with the honourable exception of Sam McBride at the News Letter, is leaving me to do quite a bit of the ‘heavy lifting’ 🙂

  • George, there are so many Protestant sects you’d need to be more specific ..

  • Dewi

    William – Apart from the rest of your stuff – Alex Salmond isn’t Catholic.

  • ersehole

    Aye William, unemployment, credit crunch, we cant possibly have time for this nonsense.

    No time at all in the last 400 years. Sorry, too busy.

    You give the lie to its ‘unimportance’ by spending a considerable amount of your evening writing a diatribe against it.

    If you had a titter of wit you would realise that this move is being led by uber-UK unionist Straw, and Scottish socialists finding it increasingly difficult to sell subjectdom to surly Scots.

    I hope they fail.

  • [Salmond] added: “All faith-based schools play a significant role in helping to shape, inspire and strengthen our young people to learn. It’s time to celebrate their contribution to Scottish education.”

  • Only in Northern Ireland (or some similarly benighted region) would anyone give a flying fart.

    One spawn of grandchildren are Anglo-Irish/Brooklyn Jewish. Curiously, they seem almost human.

    The other are lapsed Anglican/ Lancastrian. Same result.

    Another problem: all seven (for IRB sevens, we’re hoping to play the girl at full-back) seem decent, moral, honest, and democratic/green/liberal/labour.

    What did we do right?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Apparently in some other more advanced countries they have instituted a mechanism whereby citizens actually get to choose their Head of State.

  • Harry Flashman

    Tony Blair may believe that he is a Catholic but he is not.

  • Jimmy
    Some other more advanced countries separate Church and State.

  • CW

    “Tony Blair may believe that he is a Catholic but he is not. ”

    What the hell’s that supposed to mean, Harry?

  • Greenflag

    harry flashman ,

    ‘Tony Blair may believe that he is a Catholic but he is not. .

    So you’ve been talking to God again HF . Not the voices from the burning bush again eh ?

    It’s the man’s own business whatever he is or isn’t -was or was’nt . In a couple of centuries modern ‘religion’ as we know it in the west will be looked upon in the same way as we nowadays look at the beliefs of upper paleolithic shamans hopping around a totem pole worshipping the Bear God .

    Question :

    What are the three major differences between the United Kingdom Head of State a.k.a Queenie the Dear (as in expensive )Leader , and the North Korean Head of State ? a.k.a the Dear (as in forcefully ‘adored ‘) Leader ?

    1) Queenie is an hereditary aristocratic non party monarch and the NK Leader is an hereditary communist monarch .

    2) Queenie is elected with 0% of the popular vote whereas the NK leader is elected with 99.999% of the popular vote .

    3) Queenie and her palaces and pomp attracts millions in foreign curreny from the tourist trade whereas the NK leader has to resort to counterfeiting foreign currency to boost national reserves and afford to buy food for his starving population .

  • Lord Albert Hayes

    “the Royal Marriages Act 1772”

    Yipeee! Us commoners will be able to have common law wives

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [b]So Blair became a Catholic long after Ian Paisley exchanged books with him?[/b]

    Damn lot of good you books did Ian. It’s most likely he didn’t read them, or he maybe gave them to the local priest and asked, “should I be reading these Father?”…..and he never seen them again.

    YOU WERE [B]DUPED PAISLEY[/B], YOU OUL IDIOT

  • Ulsters my homeland

    here’s a thought…what if Paisley is a Jesuit?

    could paisley have given Blair Catholic books, not reformist ones?

    There’s a recent interview floating around somewhere, where Paisley is questioned about his leadership in the Free_P church, around the time the Free-P re-elected a new head. He was asked something in the order of, “what about those who voted you out of moderator of the Free-P church?”. [u]To which Paisley replied, “[b]the most of them owe me their souls[/b]”[/u]

    Such a statement is against the whole idea of the Reformation, where infallibility was given towards scripture and taken from the Pope.

  • Hilary

    The pope was never thought to have had infallibilty before the Reformation.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    hilary

    The chair (the Bishops of Rome’s Chair) that the Pope sits on is claimed by Rome to be a special chair which allows the Pope to speak words from God himself when on the chair, thus giving him infallibility.

    It was at a later date they combined the two and thought the Pope must be infallible to do this.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    What’s the most likely outcome?

    – Blair didn’t read Paisley’s books

    – Paisley became a Papist

  • Jimmy Sands

    “The chair (the Bishops of Rome’s Chair) that the Pope sits on is claimed by Rome to be a special chair”

    So they keep the plastic on then?

    Where on earth do you get this nonsense?

  • Hold hard, there, Jimmy Sands @ 09:10 PM!

    As a fully-practising heretical agnostic, I was rather intrigued by the amazing reappearing Papal throne.

    Is this the “special chair” previously mentioned, necessary for an “ex-cathedra” pontifical edict? Or is that the throne of Peter, last exposed in 1867 (with evidence of heavy Carolingian repair-work)? Or should we focus on the throne of the statue of St Hippolytus? Which is the one politely described as having “a perforated seat, like those used in the Roman baths”? That one is worthy of note, if only because it was called in aid as evidence of the (mythical?) she-pope Joan.

    Anyway, the Papal throne went AWOL in 1978: John Paul II Wojtyła apparently felt it too grand for his style of papacy. It went first into storage, then re-emerged as a museum exhibit in the Lateran Palace.

    In December 2006, twenty months into the present papacy, it re-emerged into full use. This is, I gather, meant to emphasise a return to conservatism.

    For what it’s worth, Papal infallibility was asserted as recently as 1870. It has been invoked just the once since then, by Pius XII Pacelli in 1950, declaring of the Assumption of Mary.

    Of course, the British royals are grander than any Pope: “Queenie” (thank you,
    Greenflag @ 12:34 PM
    , for that touch of familiarity) being the 155th generation in direct line from Adam. I gather she also has descent, through something like 59 or 60 generations, from most of the Nordic deities, too. Not many people know that (and even fewer care). But it’s a wise child that knows its father.

    As for Blair, his Roman-Catholicism seems as confused as the rest of his ideology. He certainly doesn’t adhere to orthodoxy on abortion, stem-cell research and gay rights. If Blair was effectively practising Roman Catholicism while PM, that has interesting ramifications, not least regarding his appointments to the Bench of Bishops.

  • Jimmy Sands

    On the subject of metaphorical furniture, apparently New York’s Algonquin Hotel got so bored with the dimmer breed of tourist that they broke down and actually bought a round table, to avoid having to explain the concept repeatedly.

  • Greenflag

    malcolm redfellow ,

    ‘It has been invoked just the once since then, by Pius XII Pacelli in 1950, declaring of the Assumption of Mary.’

    Others might say that the jovial and much loved peasant Pacelli ‘assumed ‘ the Assumption. I can declare that the Sun moves around the Earth but that doesn’t make it happen 😉

  • Greenflag

    Hilary

    ‘The pope was never thought to have had infallibilty before the Reformation.’

    Thanks for that piece of clerical history . And there I was thinking that all those degenerate Popes in medieval Europe were having a good old time in the nunneries because they knew they were infallible and would not go to the ‘hot ‘place for fornication , whoremongering and fathering childen from the local convents with gay – perhaps the wrong word – abandon.

    So we can blame the Reformation then for landing us with this piece of Papal idiocy . Martin Luther started off meaning well but after wping out most of central europe’s population in the 30 years war you might think that the reformists and papists would have come to their senses . Not a bit of it .

    Papal infallibility my arse . Even Mr Greenspan was’nt infallible . Eventually they all screw up anyway though some more thoroughly than others – It’s the human condition .

    As for Blair’s Catholicism perhaps the man is just going through the motions to keep the missus happy . Some people are like that . Anything for a peaceful life /wife if you catch my drift .

  • Harry Flashman

    GF

    “It’s the man’s own business whatever he is or isn’t -was or was’nt.”

    Not for the first time nor indeed for the last Greenie you’re 100% wrong, it is not his own business whether he is a Catholic or not. The Catholic Church has rather strict rules about who is and who is not a Catholic.

    Tony Blair supports abortion and homosexual marriage among other issues, issues which are a matter of mortal sin to the Catholic Church and about which there may be no deviation.

    Now you might say that he is free to follow his own conscience on these issues rather than on the teachings of the Pope and I would entirely agree with you.

    However a Christian who believes that he is free to follow his own conscience rather than papal doctrine is not a Catholic, he is called a – oh wait what’s the word again? Ah yes, that’s right – “protestant”.

    Tony Blair is not a Catholic. I hope this clears things up for you.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    (I think Seamus Mallon had his measure – ‘I wouldn’t have taken his word for anything’ and I think that sums Blair up to a tee)

    Tony Blair Organizing World’s Faiths to Stump for Abortion Via UN Millenium Development Goals
    By John Jalsevac

    TORONTO, December 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tony Blair, former U.K. prime minister, has teamed up with one of Canada’s most well-known pro-abortion politicians, Belinda Stronach, in a combined effort to promote the U.N’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121005.html

  • Harry
    I am reminded of the student teacher who got pregnant and went to the doctor to ask for an abortion.Asked why she didn’t use contraception she said “I am a Catholic.”

  • Greenflag

    Harry Flashpan ,

    ‘However a Christian who believes that he is free to follow his own conscience rather than papal doctrine is not a Catholic, he is called a – oh wait what’s the word again? Ah yes, that’s right – “protestant”.’ ‘

    So by your definition and that of the RC Church _Ireland is now a ‘Protestant ‘ country given that the majority of it’s population choose to ignore the Church’s ‘doctrine ‘ re contraception , family planning , etc . Seems the only Catholic country left in Europe now must be the Vatican.

    How Mr Blair resolves any contradictions within his faith/faiths and his political beliefs is a matter for himself .

    As far as I’m concerned whichwever brand of voodoo necromancing you choose it’s still voodoo necromancing .

    Manfarang,

    ‘I am reminded of the student teacher who got pregnant and went to the doctor to ask for an abortion.Asked why she didn’t use contraception she said “I am a Catholic.” ‘

    Good one – too true to be true 😉

  • kensei

    Harry

    You are not strictly correct. Even the Catholic Church has room for sincere disagreeemnts by a fully formed conscience. I have told you this before.

    Moreover, not obeying every edict of the Church is not enough to not make you a Catholoic. It’s hard to escape. As Dara O’Briain put it, joining the Taliban is not enough. That just makes you a bad Catholic!

  • Greenflag
    I have impeccable sources even if it was nearly
    forty years ago at an RC teacher training college.

  • Greenflag

    manfarang,

    I was’nt doubting you although I can see belatedly from my post that you might think so. You can leave your impeccable sources to themselves 🙂

    At this time of the year I often I was Jewish or a Shintoist or something else but then again they have their Hanukkah’s etc and probably have to give out presents or offerings as well to fecking relations 🙁

    Still you have to hand it to our financially astute semitic friends . First they get the gentiles to worship a jewish God in their homes , churches and stables and then they persuade the ‘schmucks’ to Christmas shop at the altar of Baal and Mammon, and even better best many of the ‘idiots ‘ shop on borrowed money 🙁

    Scrooge had a point .

    I’ll celebrate instead Mid Winter’s Festival. Now if only somebody would shoot the ‘fecking ‘ morris dancers prancing around and/or the St Stephen’s day mummers I could get down and stuff my face full of plum pudding 😉

  • Greenflag

    correction to above

    should read

    I often WISH I was Jewish or a Shintoist or something else

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Malcolm Redfellow

    “[i]Of course, the British royals are grander than any Pope: “Queenie” (thank you,
    Greenflag @ 12:34 PM, for that touch of familiarity) being the 155th generation in direct line from Adam. I gather she also has descent, through something like 59 or 60 generations, from most of the Nordic deities, too. Not many people know that (and even fewer care). But it’s a wise child that knows its father. “[/i]

    and what has this got to do with the Royal throne?

  • Harry Flashman

    GF

    “So by your definition and that of the RC Church _Ireland is now a ‘Protestant ‘ country given that the majority of it’s population choose to ignore the Church’s ‘doctrine ‘ re contraception , family planning , etc . Seems the only Catholic country left in Europe now must be the Vatican.”

    If they choose to ignore fundamental issues of Church teaching regarding mortal sin they are not Catholics whether they choose to call themselves such or not.

  • The Spectator

    Harry
    Don’t make the classic logic mistake. To be a bad Catholic, even a Very bad catholic, is not the same as being a “non-catholic”.

  • Harry Flashman

    No, I am not saying that a sinner is not a Catholic by virtue of his sin as long as he acknowledges that it is indeed a sin and hopefully he will see that he needs to repent of his sins while still being in communion with the Catholic Church.

    I am not saying that Tony Blair is a bad Catholic, I am saying that because he does not accept fundamental basic teachings of the Catholic Church with regard to matters of mortal sin then he simply is not a Catholic at all, whether he claims to be or not.

    You simply cannot be a Catholic and agree with, much less facilitate, abortion, it is out of the question. Tony Blair is not a Catholic, if he accepts that abortion is a mortal sin and confesses his sins and repents of them then he can certainly be called a Catholic, but Tony Blair does not believe abortion is a mortal sin, ergo not a Papist, not even nearly.

  • Jimmy Sands

    So if we’re all prods then what was all the fuss about?

  • Greenflag

    jimmy sands ,

    ‘So if we’re all prods then what was all the fuss about? ‘

    Beats me Jimmy 🙂 Harry is attached to the Middle Ages and UMH to the Dark Ages 🙁 Harry if I recall correctly is also an Islamic convert who worships Allah now instead of JC so presumably he has had to jump through several theological hoops to attain such an exalted religious state . Wonder if he’s done the ring around the black stone of Mecca yet . Makes Father Ted’s ‘Holy stone of Clanricard ‘ seem positively modern 🙁

    Mad uncles in the attic does’nt come close 🙁

  • Harry Flashman

    I don’t worship anybody GF, except my missus when she makes her delicious curries.

    I am merely stating the rules pertaining to the religion of which I was once a member (and of which several posters here claim to be still a member despite being woefully unaware of its doctrines), to explain the rules doesn’t make one a member of the club.

    Fairly obvious point to grasp I would have thought, even for you Greenie.