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Tony Blair On the Pope, Cardinal Newman And Me

THE Pope’s visit: What the columnists say:

We don’t do God.” Remember when  Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell said that?

Alexander Chancellor sums up Tony  Blair in the Guardian:

After a period of welcome obscurity, Tony Blair is suddenly everywhere again, making peace in the Middle East, promoting his memoir, and now even getting himself involved in the pope’s state visit to Britain. This is the fault of the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which chose to publish on its front page an article by Blair about Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom the pope is to beatify in Birmingham on Sunday. There is no reason to think that Blair, a recent convert to Catholicism, is particularly knowledgeable about this most famous of all British converts, but his article is interesting all the same for what it says about its author.

It is typical of Blair because, while hardly mentioning himself in it, he manages to imply that he, like Newman, is a man of intellectual courage and integrity, but with the sort of – hey, you know – open-mindedness and flexibility that is needed to get on in the modern world. Making the point that the intellectual rigour and the deep scholarship that led Newman to leave the Anglican church for Rome belonged to “another time”, Blair says that people are, of course, “still moved by intellectual assent to Catholic Faith”: “People still make this journey in a less spectacular way. I should know [my italics].”

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Former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair (right) and Gordon Brown await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall, London on the second day of his State Visit.

Posted: 17th, September 2010 | In: Politicians | Comment (1)