The prime minister, an Anglican, had reportedly expressed an interest in joining his wife Cherie and their four children in the Catholic faith.
The Blair family priest, Father Timothy Russ, told The Times newspaper Mr Blair "may well" convert.
But Mr Blair emphatically denied the story when challenged by reporters, joking: "Don’t they run this once a year?"
Fr Russ, the priest who presides over communion at Chequers, said it would be "unwise" to speculate on whether Mr Blair would convert but added "it might well end up that way".
Mr Blair had even asked him: "Can the prime minister of Britain be a Catholic?," he told the paper.
But asked by reporters in Budapest, where Mr Blair is attending a Progressive Government conference, whether he was planning to convert, he said: "I am saying no.
"Don’t they run this once a year? I think they do." (Source)
I think I will pray for Tony Blair’s conversion and in fact I encourage you to do so also. Maybe I will call this The Blair Switch Project.
I’m already praying for Mr. Blair, but am incensed by a priest who would publicly discuss this. If I were thinking of converting and were in Mr. Blair’s shoes, I would wait before doing converting, and might even change my my considering the ill-thought and gratuitous speculation that keeps showing up in print. This priest would be better quietly praying for Mr. Blair and keeping his lips zipped, in my honest opinion.
Sometimes, in our modern world, we get so involved in being Marthas, that we forget how Jesus praised the listening Mary.
In Christ’s peace and love,
Robin L. in TX
“The Blair Switch Project”
lol. Where do you come up with these?
The monarch of Britain may not be a Catholic (I believe there’s a royal relative who had to be removed from succession because he converted), but there’s no longer any impediment to the prime minister being one. Along the same lines, I seem to remember that Disraeli had to be given permission to take his oath of office on a copy of the Old Testament.
I’m guessing Blair will probably wait until he leaves office before doing anything if he’s thinking about it. If he didn’t convert just to be a CINO, his own party would turn on him. If he did convert just to be a CINO, that doesn’t help him any spiritually.
Why on Earth can’t the British monarch be Catholic? (I’m not saying I don’t believe it — I do, I just would like to know why.)
Because the Anglican Church = The church of england= the offical state church of england. the king is the head of the church thus cannot be catholic any more than the pope could be Morman….a scary thought there.
Tony Blair is a freemason. So he’d have to give that up first.
The Act of Union 1707 specifically excludes Catholics from succeeding to the throne. Legally speaking, there is no bar to a Lutheran, Jewish or Muslim monarch (although having a non-Anglican as supreme governor of the Church of England might prove a little tricky in practice).
There may be a legal bar to non-Christians succeeding to the throne. Here is the text of the relevant section of the Act (still in force!):
“And that all Papists and persons marrying Papists, shall be excluded from and forever incapable to inherit possess or enjoy the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, and the Dominions thereunto belonging or any part thereof; And in every such case the Crown and Government shall from time to time descend to, and be enjoyed by such person being a Protestant as should have inherited and enjoyed the same, in case such Papists or person marrying a Papist was naturally dead, according to the provision for the Descent of the Crown of England, made by another Act of Parliament in England in the first year of the Reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary entituled an Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succession of the Crown.”
So it looks like the monarch has to be a Protestant.
It would be unseemly for Catholics to pray for Blair’s “conversion,” unless he were an unbaptized, non-practicing Christian. Conversion broadly applies to aligning oneself to Christ, and if Blair is baptized (which I understand he is), he is already a convert to Christianity. One does not “convert” to Catholicism, strictly speaking.
This general ignorance over the sacrament of Baptism is a significant one, for it cuts across many ideologies within Catholicism, and in its persistence sows confusion about church teaching.
If one wanted to pray for Blair opting for and being received into full communion, that would be appropriate. Personally, I think the godless need more prayers, but hey — whatever floats your barque.
Many Anglicans who have converted from the Anglican Church call themseleves converts when they become Catholic. Why is that according to your thesis.
Don’t you believe that the Catholic Church is the fullness of the faith? Other Churches have some aspects of truth but the fullness of the faith is only in the Catholic Church. It is good to pray that someone embraces the fullness of truth and that does not mean that you stop praying for those unbaptized. It is not either/or.
Don’t you think that not having access to most of the sacraments for someone is situation that we might pray about? Is no valid Eucharist or access to confession not a big deal to you?
Um . . . if Blair isn’t Catholic, why does he receive Communion in Catholic churches?!?!?!
According to the aticle, he does.
I find that most disturbing.
Thanks for the questions:
“Many Anglicans who have converted from the Anglican Church call themseleves converts when they become Catholic. Why is that according to your thesis.”
They could be just as ignorant about the nature of conversion (which is implied in baptism), but it might be that a person was baptized as an infant, went through the motions as a Christian, but later experienced a strong conversion experience, sort of like being “born again.” My understanding of “conversion” is that it applies to a basic realignment of one’s life to Christ. That might or might not align with church membership.
“Don’t you believe that the Catholic Church is the fullness of the faith?”
I accede to Church teaching as elucidated in Lumen Gentium.
“Other Churches have some aspects of truth but the fullness of the faith is only in the Catholic Church.”
True, but irrelevant to the discussin at hand, unless one is calling into question baptism in these churches.
“It is good to pray that someone embraces the fullness of truth and that does not mean that you stop praying for those unbaptized. It is not either/or.”
It’s also not praying for a person’s conversion. If one wants to pray for conversion, one prays for the unbaptized. Sort of like praying for the conversion of Russia: somehow I think more Catholics got it into their minds it was more of a godless country than a nation in which the Orthodox Church had been oppressed. This is a perfect example of the ignorance of which I speak. Praying for the conversion of atheists? That’s great. Praying for a general flood of Orthodox “conversions?” Highly questionable pastorally and theologically.
“Don’t you think that not having access to most of the sacraments for someone is situation that we might pray about?”
Every day, my friend, every day.
“Is no valid Eucharist or access to confession not a big deal to you?”
The sacraments and their expression are the most important earthly things in my life. But knowledge, accuracy, truth, and courtesy rank pretty high, too. It need not be either/or.
I just caught your strange quote about the “Catholic Church is the fullness of the faith.”
That’s not quite in alignment with Church teaching, not as you’ve expressed it here.
The Cathechism says:
868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is “missionary of her very nature” (AG 2).
At Baptism we become Christians and part of the mystical body of Christ. At baptism we don’t necessarily become converted. Conversion is an ongoing process and not a one time event. Conversion is closely tied to santification.
I can’t think of anybody who uses the term conversion to refer to baptism only.
Where’d you hear that!? That is disturbing. The thought of a freemason recieving Communion!!!
I’m glad you checked your CCC. Proclaiming the fullness of faith and “being the faith” are two vastly different propositions.
“Conversion is an ongoing process and not a one time event.”
Quite possibly the most sensible thing you’ve written on this thread. It would be difficult to reconcile logically how one can be a convert and yet be in the conversion process at the same time. At any rate, perhaps we can agree there is more accurate language for what we wish for Tony Blair.
Tomy Blair does receive Catholic Communion:
Todd, that argument really doesn’t hold up under examination. It’s the same as implying that since Christ proclaims the fullness of truth, he isn’t the same as being the truth.
And conversion, in the broadest sense, means changing one’s beliefs. To go from denying the Church is the one true faith to believing that is so is truly a conversion.
Reform is the principle behind aligning oneself to Christ, and this can involve conversion when our beliefs are errant, but can also involve correcting habits and actions which we know are wrong.
Peace, Justice (what a great thought!)
“It’s the same as implying that since Christ proclaims the fullness of truth, he isn’t the same as being the truth.”
I don’t think so. There’s a nuance about non-Catholics missing from Jeff’s and your understanding.
“And conversion, in the broadest sense, means changing one’s beliefs.”
Okay. Conversion, broadly speaking would apply in a non-Catholic or even a non-Christian setting.
“To go from denying the Church is the one true faith to believing that is so is truly a conversion.”
I think it’s a stretch to say that membership or loyalty to another Christian belief system is an automatic denial. Denial implies a much stronger personal commitment to a stance on unity with Rome. Ecumenical issues, both universally, locally, and personally are far more complex that you or Jeff seem to suggest.
“Reform is the principle behind aligning oneself to Christ …”
I prefer the term metanoia; “reform” is not without ecumeical baggage, if you catch my drift.
” … and this can involve conversion when our beliefs are errant …”
An intellectual exercise: not without spiritual or moral signifcance, but more a movement of the mind rather than soul.
” … but can also involve correcting habits and actions which we know are wrong.”
In Blair’s case, they’re not really our business. But if I said I’d be happy if he became a Catholic (“switch” seeming preferable to “conversion), would that settle the point?
todd sounds like a bishop
All non-Catholic Christian faiths have this in common – they deny the claims of the Catholic Church to be the one true faith. So membership in a non-Catholic church means one has to affirm this denial if they actually believe in whatever faith they hold – otherwise, they’d be denying their own faith’s truth (which isn’t unlike many Catholics of the day). It’s not complicated at all.
As far as terminology, I prefer using the original words in their original sense as far as possible. Just because other people may not understand what they mean, doesn’t mean I’ll stop using them. It can be a good Ecumenical moment to explain what they mean.
Actions of people are our business though. That’s why any laws exist in the first place, and I can’t see Divine Law taking a back seat to any laws we come up with. I’m sure all of us would like Blair to abide by the laws of Britain…why is there a problem wanting him to abide by God’s?
Yeah, I’ve always thought like that Justice.