Saturday, 23 June 2007

Blair in Rome

Some interesting photos of Tony Blair at the English College, Rome on Hermeneutic of Continuity. It's strange to see the PM in the refectory where I ate for four years! Apparently it was a free weekend, which explains the otherwise suspicious absence of seminarians.

Whatever one thinks of Blair or his links to the Church (in spite of his poor voting record on moral issues), his visit was historically unprecedented.The young Gladstone visited in 1838 together, if I remember rightly, with the future Cardinal Manning, but Blair is the first serving PM to visit our national College in the Caput Mundi. Moreover, it is interesting that Blair chose the Vatican as the last stop of his farewell tour and gave the Holy Father, as a parting present, three period photos of Newman (a beatus-to-be?).

Perhaps the announcement expected on Blair's departure this Wednesday will reveal what he was up to.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Blair's visit to the Pope is historically interesting. Praise God that the Holy Father did not present an accommodating face. This is the opposite of the sycophantic fuss made of him and his wife at the English College. When will the Church in England grow up? Under Cardinal Hume it assumed a credible place in British life because of his holiness, relaxed, Establishment style and good manners. That's why the Queen liked him. It's now reverted to what it was before, a forelock-tugging minority standing in awe of precedence. If there is one feature of the Church in England converts don't like it's this insecure deference, especially to a couple well-known for their support of non-Catholic moral positions. To many non-Catholics this boot-licking only inspires contempt and practising Catholics find it embarrassing and demeaning. It does not show an appealing face to the world.

11:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of articles over on my blog...

4:35 pm  
Blogger said...

Surely I am not alone in thinking it odd that a Prime Minister who has engaged in a war which was condemned both by the current Pope and by his predecessor should have an easy entry into the Church. Speaking about the possibility of an invasion of Iraq before his election to the papacy, the then Cardinal Ratzinger said:

"All I can do is invite you to read the Catechism, and the conclusion seems obvious to meā€¦the concept of preventive war does not appear in The Catechism of the Catholic Church." Later he would say: "It should never be the responsibility of just one nation to make decisions for the world." And following the start of the War, His Future Holiness was unequivocal in his views: "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'."

One might also wonder how Tony Blair managed to explain to His Holiness that it was his Government which tried to force faith schools in England to open up to accept 25% of pupils from other faith backgrounds -- a move which was strongly, and successfully, opposed by the Catholic church. Similarly, Tony Blair may find himself in a slightly uncomfortable position if the Pope decides to ask him if he doesn't think it slightly odd that he should seek entry to the Roman Catholic faith so soon after his Government created civil partnerships between gay couples and, most recently, ignored the Roman Catholic Church's desperate plea to exempt Roman Catholic adoption agencies from equality laws on gay adoption.
More on this on my blog.

5:25 pm  
Blogger On the side of the angels said...

Sorry, but it's his voting-record on Life issues which to me is the most contemptible. On long train journey I was told by a mysterious stranger a very different story regarding why the government was 'blackmailed into war'. I didnt believe it then and doubt if I do now [so I won't repeat it]; although the story is quite widely known in Germany; but the press here are absolutely silent on it. Nevertheless the war was judicial murder and Blair conspired in a latae sententiae excommunicable act he cannot approve, promote, excuse or justify [were he to become a catholic] ever again without scandal upon us all.

4:05 pm  

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