May 20, 2007 at 12:19 am #1683AnonymousInactive
Tony Blair is preparing to convert to Roman Catholicism after he steps down as Prime Minister, according to a leading cleric.
His long- awaited formal switch to the faith of his wife and family will come shortly after he surrenders office, it is claimed.
Mr Blair’s decision to formalise his Catholic beliefs was revealed by Father Michael Seed, who is regarded as unofficial chaplain to Westminster and is a regular visitor to Number Ten.
A question of faith: Tony Blair with John Paul II in 2003
Last year, Cherie Blair praised Father Seed, a leading cleric at Westminster Cathedral, for his “ability to reach out to all kinds of people, whether it is the homeless on the streets to the people in the highest places in the land, including even in Downing Street”.
Asked to elaborate yesterday, Father Seed, usually known for his openness with the media, said: “I’m afraid I can’t say anything.”
Mr Blair has long been expected to complete his conversion after leaving Downing Street.
Conversion: It has long been speculated that Tony Blair would convert to Catholicism
He has regularly attended Catholic services in recent years, both with his family and alone.
Mr Blair has also visited Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor John Paul II in Rome.
While opposition leader in the mid-1990s Mr Blair often took communion with his wife and children at a Catholic church in Islington in London, which is seen as a signal he is totally loyal to the faith.
However, he stopped doing so in public on the instructions of the then leader of Catholics in England and Wales, the late Cardinal Hume.
Mr Blair has not been seen in a church of his professed Anglican faith except on official occasions.
He is widely considered to have remained an Anglican because of the potential complexities of conversion while in office.
Some lawyers believe the 1829 Emancipation Act, which gave Roman Catholics full civil rights, may still prevent a Catholic from becoming Prime Minister.
Clauses in the Act state that no Catholic adviser to the monarch can hold civil or military office.
Despite his apparent commitment to the faith, Mr Blair has also frequently clashed with Roman Catholic leaders, particularly over his liberal policies on gay rights and abortion.
In recent months, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, has been severely critical of the Sexual Orientation Regulations.
The Government claims the rules will protect homosexuals from discrimination.
But Catholic leaders say they will force Christians to act in conflict with their principles.
The Cardinal has threatened to close Catholic adoption agencies if they are forced to place children with gay couples.
If Mr Blair is to convert formally, he will have to undergo a course of instruction, which is likely to be conducted by Father Seed.
To be received officially into the Church, he will be expected to take part in a service of baptism, followed by confirmation and Holy Communion.
Downing Street refused to be drawn on Mr Blair’s intentions yesterday. A spokesman said: “This story is always circulating in one form or another.
“The Prime Minister remains a member of the Church of England.”
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/arti … article.doMay 20, 2007 at 2:18 am #8343About Catholics TeamKeymaster
Why would he be baptized if he is Anglican?May 20, 2007 at 5:00 am #8344AnonymousInactive
There are several possibilities as to why a baptism may be requried, we should start however with the most rational, and that is that the reporter just plain got the story wrong and no such thing will happen.
Anglicans are not all in any kind of agreement. The Anglican Church traditionally is split between three main factions. Low Church Anglicans would make a Baptist blush, they are the party that gave us the Puritans, no joy in mudville there. They deny the sacramental effects of Baptism, they call Baptism and Holy Communion Ordinances, and only recognize the two, they are the ones who when in power enacted laws in England that made it a crime to practice the Catholic Faith, they had a network of spies to look for anyone who harbored priests, and would give the priest twenty four hours to renounce the Christian Faith and become Protestant or be hanged in the public square, (not a quick drop and jerk, but a strangulation, and while still alive be drawn and quartered, (cut into four pieces) while horses pulled their bodies apart. These same Puritains also had King Charles convicted of being too Catholic, and lopped off his head, even though he was a Protestant. Funny that they had no problem with King James I, (of the King James Bible fame) who had a number of male lovers and paraded them in and out of the Royal court. Then there is the Broad Church, they allowed their ministers to wear a cassock, surplus and stole, kneel at the north end (left hand side) of the Communion Table, (after the Puritains had painted over any paintings of Jesus, the Saints, angels etc and demolished the altars, statues, altar rails and anything else that looked too Catholic. The Broad Church Anglicans admitted to two Sacraments, denied the real presence except in the heart of the communicant, and called their ministers, deacons, priests and bishops, but denied the sacrificial nature of the Communion Service, which was not allowed unless there where at least four or five people to recieve communion, and usually occured only three or four times a year. Then there is the High Church, these people where a development of the late 19th Century, it was now legal again for Catholics to have masses, and there was an interest among a minority of Anglicans to re-introduce Catholic style worship and devotions. The first Anglican ministers who dared put candles and a cross on the communion table, (not even a crucifix yet) or attempted to wear vestments, even while using the Protestant communion rites where put into jail and Parlament enacted laws to bar them from using vestments. The movement grew and some High Church Anglicans, (calling themselves Anglo-Catholics) developed rites either similar to the Rites before the Puritans and the destruction of Catholic Worhsip in England (Sarum Use) or simply copied the Traditional Latin Ritual in English. (Some Anglo-Catholic parishes even had masses in Latin) So much for a very abbreviated Anglican History lession, not at all comprehensive.
In the 1950s and 60s there where some Anglicans, including Bishop Pike in the Episcopal Church in the USA who started changing things around. Bishop Pike was fond of baptisms that used formulae like, “I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and the Redeemer and the Consoler.” At the very least questionable, and requring another, (conditional) baptism even by many Anglicans, or baptisms using “I baptize you into the Church”, or “in the name of Jesus” If an investigation into the rites used on Blair revealed that one of these rites was used, he may either have to be conditionally baptized or absolutly baptized. There is also the possiblity as many Anglicans never bothered to baptize their children in England around the time Blair was an infant, either because they where not regular Church goers, or because they where Low Church and did not believe in infant baptism.
It is because of all of these possiblities that people converting to the Catholic Church have an investigation into if and how they where baptized. (Some Churches use Rose Water, or flower petals, which are also deemed to be invalid matter for the sacrament, one Eastern European group was chastized by an Orthodox bishop because they where using Beer.)
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