What we still don’t know about Blair’s conversion

January 8, 2008

Tony BlairDoes the public have the right to know the reasons why Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism just before Christmas? I mean the real reasons — what does the Catholic Church give him in terms of spirituality, theology or tradition that the Church of England did not? The initial news stories and follow-up articles over the holidays repeated the known circumstantial evidence, such as the fact his wife and children are Catholic and he has attended Catholic mass for years. Many took a political angle, noting that he waited until he had left office. Some accused him of hypocrisy for doing so despite supporting policies the Vatican opposes. But they didn’t give the real reasons.

The articles didn’t report Blair’s innermost convictions because he hasn’t revealed them. And he may never do so. There is so much public use and misuse of faith in politics that he may have decided he did not want his beliefs torn apart by his critics or the media, so he waited until they could no longer argue the prime minister’s faith was a matter of public interest. Journalists regret this, because we always want to know more, but fair-minded people can respect it.

I mention this because the latest edition of the U.S. Jesuit magazine America has the most informative article on Blair’s conversion that I’ve seen. In “From Thames to Tiber,” Austen Ivereigh, a former adviser to London Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O’Connor, tells us that “Blair’s background is in liberal Anglo-Catholicism; his favorite theologians are Leonardo Boff and Hans Küng, not Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs Von Balthasar. He America magazinebelongs to an ecclesial tradition in which the gate is wide, and bridges more important than borders.” He says Blair was attracted by “the Church’s vast international reach, its commitment to the poor, its capacity for mobilisation against injustice and its courage to stand firm on unpopular issues.” That goes a lot further in locating his faith.

On Catholics in politics, Ivereigh said: “It is one thing is to hold Catholics in public life to account: to question how Judge Antonin Scalia can be in favour of the death penalty, or John Kerry of abortion. But it is another to call them hypocrites, to pretend to know what choices faced them, and why they took the decisions they did. Politicians are not lackeys; they must govern in favour of the common good in a pluralist society. If a Catholic can only serve a government whose every act chimes with his conscience and with church teaching, he cannot be a politician.

Do you think Tony Blair has a duty to tell why he converted? And are Catholic politicians held to more demanding standards than others? Is that more hypocritical than the hypocrisy they’re accused of?


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My naive and hurried thoughts at my blog. I think declaring yourself a person of faith in public office instantly creates certain expectations, for better or worse amongst the public and one’s own faith community.

Posted by saint | Report as abusive

It is interesting and sad to read some of the various posts in the press. Nevertheless, ignoring those that are cruel and hard hearted, I will move on. To answer the questions posted by Tom Heneghan, “Do you think Tony Blair has a duty to tell why he converted? And are Catholic politicians held to more demanding standards than others? Is that more hypocritical than the hypocrisy they’re accused of?”

I can offer the following for consideration. Each and every one of us must find our union with the Lord Jesus Christ in that area of faith and worship in which we find our belief. It is a sad commentary on the international political and media environment that Tony Blair had to wait to leave his official position before he could pursue the personal relationship of salvation and faith with the living and true Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, God is a God of justice and love, rich in mercy, and will never turn away ANYONE who comes to Him. There is NO little or big sin in the eyes of God. ALL sin separates us from God. Hence the need for God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come to this earth, live a sinless life, pay the price for our sins, redeem us from the penalty of death for the sin of all mankind, and give us eternal life, for ALL who accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. I pray for Tony Blair and for all those in authority, that every one of them will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way. Tony Blair has responded. I praise and thank God for that. To those who sincerely are interested in the foundational faith principles of the Catholic church, I suggest you go to the source and visit the enormous wealth of material on the Vatican’s website at: www.vatican.va
You can search for doctrine and dogma.

Whether the readers of this post are Christians in the Body of Christ and the Family of God worshipping in the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, Episcopal, or some other Christian denomination is a personal choice that one makes to accept the dogmas and doctrines that they personally believe manifest the Truth of the Word of God. While all Christian denominations have various dogmas and doctrines, all Scripturally founded Christian denominations share these basic fundamentals of faith:

One God with three persons in the Trinity Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That God the Son, came down from heaven, was miraculously conceived by the power of God the Holy Spirit from the seed of God the Father in the womb of the virgin Mary, and was born of the virgin Mary as the Lord Jesus Christ.

That there is a Heaven and a Hell.

That all mankind was born into original sin and is separated from God by sin and is destined to eternity in Hell without an avenue or vehicle to remit the sins into which all mankind was born.

That no one is righteous and that all of our good works are as filthy rags in the sight of God and that all mankind falls short of the glory of God.

That the Lord Jesus Christ lived among us in a sinless life, showed us the nature and character and way of God, by the example of His life.

That Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind on the cross, and by the shedding of His sinless blood which is the blood of His father, God the Father, Jesus paid the price and penalty for the sin of all mankind, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission, and restored our union and fellowship with God if we accept Jesus as Christ, Messiah, Emmanuel and the only begotten Son of God, and the sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

That Jesus Christ rose from the dead after 3 days and was seen of many disciples and apostles.

That Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

That Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

The best thing to do is to actually read the Bible. This is God’s roadmap and plan given by inspiration of God the Holy Spirit to all mankind giving us the instructions He offers us to accept in response to His invitation to live forever with Him in Heaven. The best online resource I have found is at: www.e-sword.net
For the Catholic Church’s foundational creed you can go to the Vatican website, or to the Catholic Encyclopedia at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01629a.h tm

Simply put, Tony Blair, his wife, his family, and each one of us, must make our own choice and our own decision regarding the walk of faith we choose for our lives.

Whether that faith is in the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His redeeming birth, life, death and resurrection, and in living the Word of God.

Or, whether that faith is in our own righteousness and our own sin which gains for us eternal separation from Almighty God and the eternal torment of Hell.

It is our own choice. We alone make the decision and choice as to where we will spend eternity – heaven or hell.

Each one of us, like Tony Blair, are free men and women, free to exercise our free will to make that choice for our eternal souls. We will one day live with that choice. The only one Tony Blair and each one of us has to answer to is Almighty God and our own hearts and consciences.

There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. We owe no man anything but to love.

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All Blair has proved by joining a church dedicated to bigotry, persecution and hypocrisy is that he has become a bigot.

The Pope’s public decrying of, for example, homosexuals, which was tantamount to a declaration of a general green light for all bigots to do their worst (including the ‘allegedly’ dreadful Anne Widdicombe – who frankly should hang her head in shame) was nothing more than an abject act of wickedness.

Holy? Tell that to the marines!

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