Tony Blair was received into the Catholic Church last night by the Cardinal. One can only be pleased at the conversion of anyone. I congratulate him on this act of God.
So now Tony show us the fruit of your conversion.
I think it would be quite appropriate for the Cardinal, who admitted Mr Blair to full communion with the Catholic Church to make some statement about who can or cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. Personally I would have serious problems with giving Mr Blair Holy Communion. I am reminded of his pro-civil partnership "skip for joy", his appalling voting record on Life issues.
I really cannot think of him as anything other than a public sinner, who spent much of his Premiership fighting against everything the Catholic Church teaches.
Persuade me otherwise Your Emminence.
I am actually open top persuasion, I do want to believe the best of what the Cardinal and Mr Blair has done, but without explanation from one of them, some of us are going to remain a little scandalised.
SPUC has issued the following press release:
The Society for the Protection of Unborn ChildrenDuring his premiership, Tony Blair became one of the world's most significant architects of the culture of death - promoting abortion, experiments on human embryos, including on cloned human embryos, and euthanasia by neglect."SPUC is writing to Tony Blair to ask him whether he has repented of the anti-life positions he has so openly advocated throughout his political career".
I for one look forward to seeing Mr Blair's answer.
Well, let's all pray for the work of the Holy Spirit. (Cheri could use a little help too!)
In recent times many Catholics have been responsible for evil and grave sin, from Hitler to Margaret, Duchess of Argyle, and Lord Black of Crossharbour, to notorious figures from history. Progressively fewer Catholics take notice of the Church's teaching on moral and ethical matters, including Cherie. Tony Blair should fit in nicely.
So, the persecutor joins the persecuted.
The former Conservative government minister, Ann Widdicombe, who converted to Catholicism in 1993, told the BBC that Mr Blair would have made specific commitments at the reception into the Catholic faith.
"If you look at Tony Blair's voting record in the House of Commons, he's gone against church teaching on more than one occasion. On things, for example, like abortion.
"My question would be 'Has he changed his mind on that?'"
From the BBC. She's hit the nail on the head.
Like yourself Father, I have doubts about this conversion. I pray that I am mistaken.
anonymous - why don't you get your facts straight before you throw stones from underneath the rotting log you hide under.
Quite a bitter reaction from 'george.' I too share the concerns of Fr Ray. We have obviously to assume a genuine conversion until proven to the contrary. Mr Blair will have had to have made a full confession which, for the validity of the absolution, will have had to include all grave matter. He has been received by the Archbishop of Westminster, no less. The concerns I raised in my letter to His Eminence still remain, but I'll just wait and see.
SPUC has a strange attitude. From their comments, you might think that Blair had nothing to do with the evil and illicit invasion of Iraq - whilst it is a good thing to stand up for the rights of the unborn, it looks a bit strange when they appear to go quiet over the rights of the born.
If the empty statements that have characterised his years in office are anything to go by, Blair may be nothing more than a naif at large, and barely culpable for his actions. What is worrying is how the political system can allow anyone like that to become Prime Minister. And his successor looks set to preside helplessly over economic disaster. Any how many more abortions have there been and will there be because parents cannot afford or do not have space for another child as a result of the Blair/Brown economic? And will SPUC have anything to say on that subject? Why do we tolerate cruel and unjust economic institutions and cry out only at the consequences?
Catholic social teaching is seamless and it does nothing but harm to focus on one part to the neglect of the rest.
Must blog this myself.
Henry: if Catholic social teaching is seamless, why are the Diocesan Justice and Peace and Integrity of the Earth Commissions silent on matters such as abortion and euthanasia? And why were the Youth Sunday resources concentrating on issues such as slavery, environment, bullying to the exclusion of pro-life causes?
If he had "converted"while in Office presumably he would have been excommunicated.I think it just goes to show that you can not believe a word that comes from the mouth of a Politician.The air in the House of Commons must be poisoned.
Fr John Boyle's reply to Henry is entirely right. Furthermore, given that SPUC has a particular focus it is hardly unreasonable for it to address only the issues it focuses on.
Tony Blair will have to address the concerns surrounding his reception to the Church. If he has genuinely converted he is more than welcome irrespective of his past, but an unconverted reception to the Church or any doubt about this will be a cause of scandal.
Sadly, Mrs Blair's brand of Catholicism - supporting 'gay rights' cases and being friends with Hans Kung - does not give confidence.
The timing of his reception to the Church is also unfortunate. Will Christmas Day headlines now be dominated by where he went to Church for Christmas, rather than on the more important messages being delivered by the Pope or the Archbishop of Westminster?
Fr John, that is the other side of the coin and just as deplorable. The organisations that you mention, and the many others like them, need to be reminded of the seamlessness of Catholic social teaching. They should also be reminded that as Catholic bodies, their political campaigning should be in line with that teaching and they have no business purveying neo-Marxist and Keynsian twaddle.
Augustus - SPUC does indeed have a specific focus but the Iraq war is such an enormity that it looks strange to ignore it when drawing attention to Blair's anti-life record.
SPUC in any case has a lot of work to do so as to better present the argument, and this approach makes it more difficult to defend the official position. Abortion is normally the issue on which I find we Catholics get attacked. It is no use relying on the argument that an unborn child is still a person, as that view is no longer widely accepted in the community. Usually I find I can put up a robust defence, on the grounds that there is ample evidence that abortion has a long-term and damaging psychological effect on both parents. But whilst on holiday in the summer, I was staying with a retired doctor who had worked in a gynaecological ward in the 1940s. He told me that at that time, a very high proportion of his patients were there following botched illegal abortions. This was the original reason for the 1967 Act, and I could not think of a counter argument, so we need to do some serious thinking about this and come up with one.
There is also the issue of to what extent a minority faith community should enforce its views through legislation? What if Moslems sought to impose the prohibition of alcohol or pork consumption? It may be that practising Catholics should not be participating in representative politics at all, since the communities they represent do not share their underlying assumptions.
whilst it is a good thing to stand up for the rights of the unborn, it looks a bit strange when they appear to go quiet over the rights of the born.
Yes, how very odd that the comments of the Society for the Protection of the UNBORN are concerned with the unborn.
Henry, SPUC is not a Catholic organization and they are not charged with teaching Catholic doctrine. I am not sure why they are obligated to reflect your understanding of the so-called seamless garment theory. Do you criticize PETA for not doing more to stop lung cancer? This would be absurd. It's a not an issue covered by PETA's mission. So why should SPUC speak out about issues not within its mission?
Either Blair has, like St Paul, fallen off his horse and undergone an extraordinary conversion.
Or he has become a Catholic like his wife Cafeteria Cherie.
By the way, Henry, I beg to differ with your assessment of the war in Iraq as illicit and evil.
The criteria for causa justa are that the damage done to the nation or - as in this case - the community of nations must be lasting, grave and certain.
Grave - The Ba'athist regime had committed genocide and crimes against humanity, and aggression against Kuwait, which by peremptory international law are crimes imposing a State obligation to punish them.
Obligations arising under peremptory international law prevail over conflicting treaties.
The first two crimes are concurrently, as a matter of international law, threats to international peace and security and can therefore be put down by war. Aggression is a crime and a casus belli under its own head.
The Rwanda Tribunal has ruled that international peace and security, when violated by any of these crimes, is not re-established until justice has been served (Kanyabashi case, Defence Motion on Jurisdiction).
Lasting - Saddam Hussein and his associates remained personally unpunished for their crimes and would have remained so indefinitely but for their overthrow by war.
Certain - Crimes against humanity and genocide have been judicially proved beyond reasonable doubt to have been committed by members of the Ba'athist regime under colour of state authority.
So, Henry, there we have it!
Michael - that wasn't the reason given for war !
If it was a governmental policy we would have been at war with many more countries ove the years and possibly saved millions of lives in the process and brought justice to the many. Instead we rather go where either the money is or where the US tells us.
On the side of the angels, you're remark is not to the point. A war has just cause or not according as there objectively exist material facts qualifying it as just, or not. Given that the catechetical term "grave" lacks legal precision, it remits the definition to international law.
It is immaterial that the Prime Minister takes the nation to war for these stated reasons, or for some of them only, or none of them, or for different reasons, figments of imagination or conjectures.
The material facts determining the Iraq war as lawful are those I gave in my previous posting.
The fact that there are many other baddies guilty of the same crimes as Saddam Hussein is relevant only in proof that going to war with them would be lawful. The fact that we don't is irrelevant. I know of no legal system that makes it unlawful for the police to arrest any criminal unless they also arrest them all.
PS. Do you know what is meant by a peremptory norm of general international law?
Michael, I had one as a Christmas present once but the wheels came off.
Henry is right to say that we Pro-Lifers have to do more serious thinking about abortion. He is also generally on the right track in wondering about SPUC's odd attitude. Quite why Catholic bloggers persist in faithfully reproducing every communique which emerges from this politically inept group is beyond me. The society's latest wheeze - a letter to Tony Blair - is so headbangingly daft that it almost eclipses my irritation at the craven attitude displayed by our hierarchy to Tony Blair.
He is altogether refreshing in pointing out that questions of economic justice should be central to pro-life concerns and bang on the money when he criticises SPUC for ignoring them. Curiously I see from his blog that Henry is a Georgeite, hence I suppose his dismissal of Marx, a big mistake, I feel.
Henry is wrong on quite a few important details however. He says, "It is no use relying on the argument that an unborn child is still a person, as that view is no longer widely accepted in the community."
I disagree. I don't think the wider community does reject the humanity of the unborn child, which I think is what he's getting at. High flown philosophical discussions about "personhood" have only ever been an abstraction intended to excuse the inexcusable ie denying the unborn child its right to life.
"[A] retired doctor who had worked in a gynaecological ward in the 1940s ...told me that at that time, a very high proportion of his patients were there following botched illegal abortions. This was the original reason for the 1967 Act."
Self-serving rubbish from the doc, I'm afraid. The key development which shifted support towards abortion law reform was the birth of thalidomide children. This gives us some idea of the principle motives of the abortion law reformers. Not coincidentally, there was a considerable overlap in membership of the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) and The Eugenics Society. We should also throw in some Marxian economic analysis at this stage: changes in the make up of the labour force - its feminisation in other words - meant anti-natalist policies such as the 1967 Act had a capitalist rationale. Concerns about maternal mortality and morbidity were very much secondary, if not tertiary for abortion law reformers.
Henry is at his most tenuous when he says:
"There is also the issue of to what extent a minority faith community should enforce its views through legislation? What if Moslems sought to impose the prohibition of alcohol or pork consumption? It may be that practising Catholics should not be participating in representative politics at all, since the communities they represent do not share their underlying assumptions."
As I said earlier, Henry's assumption that the wider community does not accept the humanity of the unborn child is erroneous - in fact there is a wealth of evidence that the public is closer to the RC view than he imagines and has serious misgivings about abortion, which any half-competent political lobby group (not SPUC, in other words) should be able to marshall into effective political action.
He's on utterly shaky ground when he extrapolates such a bizarre conclusion as he has done from his exceedingly tenuous assumptions.
The whole point of democratic politics is that anyone or any interest group can participate and make a bid for public support. For a start, public sentiment is not a static thing. The notion that representative politics may exclude any minority interest at any given time on the utterly arbitrary grounds that the community does not share its underlying assumptions is a thoroughly reactionary one. What prompts it? I think the reference to Moslems, preceeded by the telling question "to what extent a minority faith community should enforce its views through legislation" is a revealing one.
Henry, I respond to your posting by quoting Daffy Duck:
"Ho ho, very funny; Ha ha, it is to laugh."
It's bad enough wasting good time that could be spent sleeping on writing comments for Catholic blogs, but even sadder to be writing pseudo-Marxist analyses at 9.30am on a Christmas morning. Thanks to Red Maria I see that I am only the second saddest person on the planet.
Happy Christmas to one and all!
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