Tony Blair soon to Convert

The Daily Telegraph reports that former UK Prime Minister is soon to convert to the Catholic faith. Telegraph religion blogger Damian Thompson comments, and his combox is full of interesting chatter.

Now I wonder whether I may have had any hand in this…In 1995, while living in England, my first book was published. It was a collection of conversion stories called The Path to Rome.

At the time I worked for the St Barnabas Society–an English charity that helps convert clergy–It was my job along with three other fellows to visit Catholic parishes on the weekend in order to drum up support for the charity. At these speaking engagements we often had my book of conversion stories available after Mass.

My colleague Cyprian Blamires was in a parish one weekend and England being the small place that it is, saw one of the members of Tony Blair’s cabinet at Mass. The fellow was a well known Catholic. At one of my appeals in Birmingham I met to Claire Short–another Blair cabinet member at the time.

Well, Cyprian had the presence of mind to present a copy of The Path to Rome to the cabinet minister with the suggestion that the Prime Minister and his wife might find it helpful as even then there was talk of Tony Blair converting. The minister took the book and promised to hand it, in person, to the Blairs.

Did The Path to Rome ever find its way to the Blair’s bedside table? Did Tony Blair ever find himself unable to sleep and think, “I say, that book by Longenecker looks just the thing to help me drop off…”? Did he pick up the book and read the conversion stories? Did they make sense? Did they help him at all? Were they part of his own long process of conversion?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03262409097283751366 Larry

    Because Mr. Blair’s public position in favour of abortion and homosexual unions is well known, I hope he will publicly renounce his former views to avoid scandal.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09356738924839809045 Andrew

    I hope that such a conversion, should it occur, is a real conversion and not merely a change in religious affiliation. I pray that it is a real turning towards the Lord and to His Church in its fullness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16829008956478473428 John Seymour

    I must say I agree with Larry and Andrew. I too hope this is a real conversion and not just a Celebrity Conversion that amounts to little more than a change in affiliation. We have enough CINO politicians already. “Catholic” shouldn’t be a party affiliation.

  • bernadette

    Can you send one to Gordon Brown, please. Just to test the theory. Thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02222317790850869834 SF

    I was looking at the web site of a new order of Benedictine monks in Norcia, Italy. They listed the books they had read aloud during dinner. Guess what was included in the list? Fr. Longenecker’s, Therese and Benedict. Books do travel. :)See readings at table:http://www.osbnorcia.org/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    Hey you signed my Path to Rome at the Solihull Conference..it converted me! Only joking i already was! lol..great book..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15692229876291491107 Mark

    Well, the book helped me and was on my bedside table.i agree with others–if he converts, I pray it is a true, whole conversion, and not something shallow and for celebrity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06624317806947588259 Rachel Gray

    Hard to see how a politician would figure going Catholic is a smart political move! I know most American pols will say they’re born again, but out and out joining the Catholic Church is something else!

  • earl kachel

    probably not but i understand hes stopped taking sominex. just a few pages and zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12594214770417497135 Maureen

    None of us are received into the Church on our merits, and none of us can see what’s going on in Tony Blair’s soul. (Heck, I have enough trouble looking clearly at my own.)So if he really is converting, I wish him well. And if he’s a bit of a black sheep who has trouble following what the Church teaches — well, so are we all, in the sight of God. But the Good Shepherd is looking for black sheep.