Tony Blair was proved right yesterday, when the news that he had finally been received into the Roman Catholic Church was hailed by political opponents as a chance for him to “commune with the bloke upstairs” and change his views on abortion, embryo research and Sunday trading.
Mr Blair was received into the church by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Roman Catholic Church in England, in the chapel of the Archbishop’s House in Westminster on Friday night. His wife, Cherie, a Catholic, was his sponsor, and his four children, who have been brought up Catholics, are believed to have been present.
For most of his time as PM he brushed aside talk that he would convert, saying in June 1997: “I am not proposing to do that.” And, especially in his first term, he had an abrasive relationship with the Catholic bishops. After one spat in 1999 with Cardinal Thomas Winning, head of the Catholic church in Scotland, Mr Blair said he was sick of ” effing prelates getting involved in politics and pretending it was nothing to do with politics”.
• Full story at the Independent on Sunday.