Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pope Benedict dresses down Tony Blair...Vatican style

Tony Blair received a tough dressing down from Pope Benedict XVI during his audience with the pontiff yesterday, not only over the war in Iraq but also over legislation passed during Mr Blair's ten years in power on abortion, gay adoption and stem cell research.

Some newspapers at the end of last week carried reports predicting that Mr Blair would convert to Roman Catholicism after leaving office and that the Pope would give the conversion his blessing during their farewell meeting at the Vatican on Saturday.

However the Vatican said after the meeting that the pontiff and Mr Blair had had a "frank exchange" on "particularly delicate subjects", which is Vatican-speak for downright disagreement. Italian reports said the Pope had criticised UK laws allowing greater stem cell research on human embryos, easy access to abortion, same-sex marriages, and adoption by gay couples.

Today, the Pope made an enigmatic reference to "true conversion" in his midday Angelus prayers. Addressing English speaking pilgrims on St Peter's Square he said: "Today, as the Church celebrates the birth of St John the Baptist, let us ask for the gift of true conversion and growth in holiness, so that our lives will prepare a way for the Lord and hasten the coming of His Kingdom."


If only Canadian Bishops were so direct.

The question remains: will he be received into the Church...

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