Tony Blair Joins Catholic Church

Article excerpt

After months of speculation, former British prime minister Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism in a low-key ceremony at an archbishop's chapel in London just before Christmas.

During his ten years as prime minister, Blair steadfastly sidestepped attempts to pin him down on questions about his faith. But his resignation from power last summer appeared to open the way to the formal step into the Catholic Church.

On December 21, he rode with his Catholic wife, Cherie, to the chapel of Archbishop's House in London, where he was received into the Catholic Church by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

"I am very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church," the cardinal said in a statement. "For a long time he has been a regular worshiper at mass with his family, and in recent months he has been following a program of formation to prepare for his reception into full communion."

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said his own farewell to the former prime minister.

"Tony Blair has my prayers and good wishes as he takes this step in his Christian pilgrimage," Williams said in a statement. …