Even opponents of the Church question Blair’s positions

Even opponents of the Church question Blair’s positions

Isn’t it interesting that even those who dislike the Church and her teachings are asking how Tony Blair can have converted to the Catholic Church without having renounced his previous very public stances in opposition to those teachings?

Among the more recent issues, Blair didn’t oppose a drive in Parliament to raise the limit for abortion to 24 weeks.

It was the same Mr Blair as Prime Minister who skipped for joy (his words) when he saw on television the first gay couples being showered in confetti as civil partnerships came into effect. […] It was also Mr Blair’s Government that rammed through the change in the law making it illegal for Catholic adoption agencies to refuse to consider homosexual couples for any of the children in their care.

The columnist, who says he’s a gay man who opposes the Church’s “bigoted stance on homosexuality,” yet admires the principles of Catholics in Parliament who are consistent with the Church’s teachings.

It’s yet more evidence that while Blair’s conversion should be welcomed for his own sake, a very public person who previously opposed the Church’s teachings should be required to make some sort of public statement to avoid creating scandal for the faithful.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
5 comments
  • It has been reported that he started taking instructions four months before he left as PM.  This would mean that two months into his instructions he publicly talked about his joy at seeing same-sex partnerships which he was instrumental in getting approved.

    I think he has some splainin’ to do to avoid scandal.  But considering his wife’s connections with international Planned Parenthood I doubt we are going to see any.

    Plus it is quite annoying with today being the feast of St. Thomas Becket that Tony Blair said one of the reasons he didn’t convert earlier was to avoid being seen as a “nutter.”

  • At the moment, the only “public” recantation are the interrogatories prior to baptism/confirmation. “Do you believe everything that the Church preaches and teaches is true?” (paraphrased). Canon Law does not distinguish between “high visibility” converts and garden variety converts. (as they do with “royal” annulments which are reserved to the Pope).

    I do not recall any person ever that was a public sinner should having a public penance for pre-conversion evil acts as a prerequisite for conversion. This is not to be confused with post conversion evil acts that may have a public penitential component applied to them.

    Why then is Blair different as a matter of canon law, and related rites of initiation procedures? Historically, (or via tradition) who has this been required of in the past as precedent?

    While many would love to see him stand on the Church steps recanting every single thing he ever did or said, such a spectacle is unheard of to me for conversion.

    I trust that the catechists, priests and bishops did their jobs properly, with discretion and concurrent with Church guidelines with his preparation for reception into the Church and to suggest to the contrary could be rash judgment, which is a sin.

    No one needs to answer to the phantom faithful who are not scandalized but rather disappointed in that Blair’s reception did not follow their guidelines as opposed to the Church’s. Many of the leading Catholic pundits fell that his reception is inadequate or improperly done. That is not scandal, it is in my view rash judgment on the Catholics that brought him home, suggesting that they catechized him inadequately.

  • Daniel,

    I don’t think anyone has implied that there is any kind of canonical bar or even that he should not have been allowed to convert until he publicly recanted; but it can’t be denied that by converting without any kind of public recantation he has caused great scandal. It’s really a matter of prudence and charity and catechesis. Are so many people so well-formed in the faith that this matter can be overlooked without causing harm to souls? Instead what will happen is that people will be confirmed in their erroneous beliefs.

    The question at hand is not so much whether or not Blair has been properly catechized; but the general poor state of catechesis is the Britain and the rest of the western world. You claim that there is no scandal, I beg to differ.

    Perhaps what should have happened, if Blair wasn’t prepared to stand up and say anything about his previous stances, is that at least one bishop in all of Britain could have stood up and made some kind of public statement reinforcing the Church’s teachings. Blair, after all, is a former leader of one of the world’s foremost nations.

  • I detest most if not all of Blair’s past positions. I do not apologize for his views at all. They were horrid, evil and contrary to the Faith.

    That being said, there is not a “public recantation requirement” for entry into the Catholic Church except that which occurs coincident with the initiation rites. Maybe there should be, so that everyone can judge the state of his mind and soul, but the hundreds of bishops in the U.S. and probably the thousand of bishops in the world, whose business it is to receive and examine converts, do not appear to have this requirement.

    I also do not think that such a requirement has ever existed or has even been practiced, any where with anyone. Blair is not the worst, he is just the most recent convert.

    To suggest that his reception is somehow faulty seems disingenuous and approaches rash judgment to the parties that participated in it. It suggests at least tangentially, to make the case for scandal, that the participants were ignorant, cooperating in or approving of his pre-conversion activities. And there is nothing to suggest that.

    It is also the speculation of evil to suggest that his current position continues to be consistent with his pre-conversion thoughts and actions. He owes us nothing. He is not required to recant and the principals involved, have no religious basis to force his public recantation under the existing RCIA – Initiation methodology.

    Would it be nice? Possibly. Would it repel other souls who want to repent but lack the humility to under go a public penance? Likely.

    Would such an action satisfy the pundits? Nope. When are the pundits universally satisfied? So, the wisdom of the Church is that the officiant needs to be satisfied after examining the candidate. Person to person, just like the Gospel.Jesus never played to the crowd, Pilate did, and no one wants to be part of that crowd.

    I concur that it is about prudence, charity and cathechesis. But I place the virtues in/toward another audience. Prudence in that I do not offer current judgment based on pre-conversion actions. Charity to the parties involved (that they did their jobs properly and his conversion genuine). Catechesis in that Blairs’ conversion was treated as a matter of method, the same as others. Presuming the good will of the parties involved, this is what seems to have occurred.

    Blair is now Catholic. This is a good, even great thing. Right now, I say so far, so good.

  • Boy, that Daniel Kane can flat argue, can’t he?  Hadn’t seen flashy, but direct and concise, rhetoric like that in years.

    I bet every one of those straw men he knocked down will be staying down, too.

    wink

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