Written by Sherry
Saturday, 22 December 2007 21:00
Tony Blair has done it. He was received into the Church Friday night by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in London.
Whispers in the Loggia covers the story:
BBC correspondent David Willey said it had been no secret in Rome that Mr Blair had been taking instruction from a Catholic priest as a prelude to conversion.
He added that the Pope was informed of Mr Blair's intentions prior to his visit to the Vatican in June 2007, shortly before he left office.
Mr Blair's ex-spokesman, Alastair Campbell, once famously told reporters "We don't do God". But reacting to news of Mr Blair's conversion, Mr Campbell said: "I can't say it surprises me at all. His faith does matter an awful lot to him.
"It's something I suspect he probably felt he couldn't do when he was prime minister and he's done it now."
According to the BBC:
A spokesman said such an "authoritative personality" choosing to join the Catholic Church "could only give rise to joy and respect".
It comes as research shows Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans for the first time since the Reformation in the UK.
(Sherry's note: That was the buzz on the Catholic street 20 years ago when i lived in Britain. Guess its official. I wonder how the influx of Polish immigrants in the UK has affected this.)
Opps. Should have read to the end of the BBC piece before posting:
The numbers have swelled due to the large number of EU nationals from Eastern Europe who have immigrated to the UK in recent years, it says.
Estimates for church attendances in 2006, based on previous years' figures, reveal 861,800 Catholics attended services every Sunday compared with 852,500 Anglican worshippers.
To compare, there are about 18 million US Catholics in Mass on a given Sunday and about 750,000 Australians (out of 5 million) attend Mass once a month.
Anne Widdecomb, a convert herself, raises the obvious question which will be swirling about St. Blog's in no time:
"If you look at Tony Blair's voting record in the House of Commons, he's gone against Church teaching on more than one occasion. On things, for example, like abortion," she said.
"My question would be, 'has he changed his mind on that?'"
But as someone who knows what it feels like to enter the Church just before Christmas, I can't think of a better Christmas gift. Welcome home, Mr. Blair.