Is the Pope a Catholic?

No more than Tony Blair, apparently. Our almost late Prime Minister has been genuflecting in public and then private for maybe thirty years. Why didn’t he make it a public talking point? After all he does that with most things, doesn’t he? Actually, no. I remember now. He uses every means to conceal, selectively promote, distort and refute anything that detracts from the Blair Story. In this case he knew that being a Catholic is just not on in British politics at the highest level. No Royal can be one. No prime minister in God knows how long has been one. Better not risk public anger and stay an Anglican. You may have gathered if you read these blogs regularly that I do not have any truck with religion in government. I don’t want an administration with the slightest contamination of zealotry. But something about his behaviour makes even an agnostic like me rise, scandalised and cobra-like at this news.

This means that Mr Blair has put his career before his religion. Live now, pray later. Lie now, come clean later. It means he has gone to war, sent British men and women to their deaths, helped account for the 100,000 plus Iraqi civilians who have died during the invasion and, in the mean time, has been having ‘private audiences’ with a priest who has been helping him prepare for religious conversion, once this moral crusade was over.

There was a series of clips of him recently, milestone sound bites, so to speak. On at least two occasions he said, more or less, “Whatever you might say about me, I am not a liar. Does he suffer from a psychological condition which insulates himself from his actions? Of course not. He’s a Catholic! Think the obscenities committed by the priesthood. Think Nazi sympathisers. Think The Inquisition.

He started his premiership with big speeches about ethical government. He ends his ten years with more big speeches – now shorn of the morality we had all hoped for.

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