Jewish Journal

Tony Blair talks with pope’s newspaper about converting

by Brad A. Greenberg

September 17, 2009 | 12:38 am

Remember when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair converted from following the Church of England to following the pope? Well, now he’s given a lengthy interview to the papal newspaper, Osservatore Romano, about his conversion to Catholicism and how faith in God inspires his life.

I don’t read Italian, but if you do here’s the original. Otherwise, here’s some analysis from the Jesuit magazine America:

It was his wife Cherie—“extremely active”, he says, in the Catholic student organizations at university, where they met—who was the driving force behind his decision to become a Catholic two years ago, a few months after resigning as prime minister. But the decision to be received by the Catholic Church, says Blair, was the fruit of a long process:

“My spiritual journey began when I began going to Mass with my wife. And when we decided to baptize our children in the Catholic faith. It’s a path which has taken 25 years, and maybe longer. Over time, emotionally, intellectually and rationally it became clear that the Catholic Church was the right home for me. But it happened after a very long period of time. When I left my political post, and no longer had all the tensions linked to being prime minister, it was something I wanted to do.”

But I was interested to see that he also cites a 2003 Mass celebrated by John Paul II for the Blair family in the Pope’s private chapel. “It remains even now a very vivid memory,” he says, “an event which touched me deeply. Of course, very probably I was very close at that point to converting, but it was undoubtedly an important stage in the process which ultimately confirmed my decison.”

More from America here.

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