And Just In Time For Christmas

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair converts to Roman Catholicism.

His wife and four children are RC.

From Austrialia:

Mr Blair formally left the Church of England to become a Catholic in a ceremony on Friday, after deciding long ago that it would be wisest to wait until he left office instead of giving modern Britain its first Catholic PM.

One of the obvious flashpoints for a Catholic prime minister would be the PM’s role in selecting senior bishops of the Church of England. Mr Blair appointed Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, and there would have been complaints from many Anglicans if that choice had been made by a Catholic.

Why does the NYT imply that there is less than welcome acceptance of this from “the Church”?

In June, after meeting Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, Mr. Blair met with the papal secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and accounts by Vatican officials said the cardinal laid out the church’s objections to some of the Blair government’s legislation in uncompromising terms.

Among some Catholics in Britain, there have been questions about how Mr. Blair, who has described himself as an “ecumenical Christian,” could meet the standards normally set for converts.

“St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus would pale into insignificance by comparison,” John Smeaton, director of Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said in an interview published earlier this month in The Spectator, a weekly journal popular among conservatives. “We need to hear a full repudiation from him. Without one, having Blair as a Catholic is like having a vegetarian in a meat-eating club. It simply does not make sense”

I. Don’t. Think. So. To paraphrase The Church Lady, “Could it be… um… THE WAR?”

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