What am I meant to make of the news that a former leader of this country has adopted the Catholic faith? In my time I had many vehement arguments with this church and objected mightily to the declaration of the doctrine of Papal infallibility, a matter which caused me especial concern as we had championed the enfranchisement of the Roman Catholics but, it seemed as if members of the church would be subject to the decrees of the human Pope rather than the British state. The matter was in part resolved through the good offices of Cardinal Newman although, I should say, not wholly to my satisfaction.
In this respect Mr Blair was perhaps wise to wait until after departure from office to declare his allegiance to the Pope. But I would hope, indeed pray, that this was not his reason for delaying his declaration because, if it were so, it would mean he, Mr Blair, was implying that no member of the Catholic Church can lead this country and that would be a terrible disenfranchisement of the many citizens who belong within it.
Indeed it seems that the world at large is waiting to know whether Mr Blair has changed his political views as well as his religious views for, it seems, that on a host of matters he was at variance with the Catholic Church during his premiership and in no respect could be accused of acting as its agent. He was even, I hear, advised by the Pope not to undertake his ill-judged adventures in the East.
It is all very puzzling when we are told that Mr Blair, in truth, held sympathies for this church for some considerable period. I wonder whether even Cardinal Newman would allow an adherent to be so at odds with his church.