Could Tony Blair be on the verge of declaring himself a Catholic?
Conversion: It has long been speculated that Tony Blair would convert to Catholicism
LONDON, may 17, 2007 (www.thisislondon.co.uk) - A priest close to Tony Blair believes the Prime Minister will declare himself a Roman Catholic after leaving No 10, it was reported yesterday.
Father Michael Seed, who says Mass for the Blairs at Downing Street every week, is said to have made the prediction to friends at a recent memorial service.
Father Seed did not deny the story when contacted but said he did not know if Mr Blair would ever be received 'formally' into the Catholic church, a newspaper claimed.
To do so he would have to take part in a ceremony called the rite of Christian initiation for adults, followed by confirmation and taking the sacrament of Holy Communion. It has long been speculated that Mr Blair would eventually convert to Catholicism.
His wife Cherie is a staunch Catholic and has become even more committed to her faith following a face-to-face meeting with Pope John Paul II in 2003.
Father Seed, who is well-known for bringing high-profile politicians and aristocrats to the fold, told The Times: 'He's been going to Mass every Sunday. He goes on his own when he is abroad, not just when he is with his wife and children.'
Other church sources said many of the early saints and martyrs were not baptised, but instead had a so-called 'baptism of desire'.
One clergyman said the Blairs were Catholic by desire and so did not need a formal conversion, the newspaper claimed.
Mr Blair is technically an Anglican, but is not known to attend Anglican services aside from state and formal occasions.