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Is Tony Blair Converting to Catholicism?

Plus: Decoding religion-speak at the presidential debate, waiting for the shoe to drop on Anglicanism's future, and other stories from online sources around the world.

U.K. has its own politicians-and-Catholic-Communion controversy
This story sounds vaguely familiar: A leading national politician disagrees with Roman Catholic teachings, but still attends Catholic Mass. The press goes nuts wondering if he'll take Communion, or if he'll be barred the elements. Church leaders and the politician's staff seem to differ significantly on the facts.

Only we're not talking about John Kerry, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Roman Catholic priest Timothy Russ is quoted throughout the British press today saying that Blair is on the verge of converting. Blair regularly invites Russ to celebrate Mass at Blair's retreat home, and used to attend his parish church. Blair's wife and three children are Roman Catholics, but he is a member of the Church of England. He says he attends Catholic Mass so his family can worship together, but Russ says that may be about to change.

"If you ask me do you think he wants to become a Catholic, I would say yes," Russ told The Telegraph. The Guardian quotes him saying, "Normally speaking, if you have someone committed like him, then yes, he will become a Catholic. … He didn't say to me, 'Can I become a Catholic?' What he said to me was, 'Can the prime minister be a Catholic?'"

But though Blair is apparently considering the idea, Russ says he still has a way to go. "He's obviously got to change a lot and recognize the sanctity of the family and the sanctity of life," he said. He's even harsher in an interview with The Times: "Tony Blair is a lazy thinker when it comes to certain ethical questions. … A lot of things would have to change in his modus operandi and in his way of thinking and working before he could be a Catholic." (That's not exactly a line to ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns:
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