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 ...1