Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yes, Prime Minister?

Earlier today, Benedict XVI received Tony Blair, the British prime minister, in private audience.

Yet again, it gave the British press the excuse to re-air the rampant speculation that the Anglican TB -- married to a Catholic with his kids raised in the church -- will, indeed, swim the Tiber once he leaves No. 10. Remember that, in 2003, reports that the PM had received communion from the hand of John Paul II when he attended the late Pope's morning Mass in his private chapel caused more than just a stir, even beyond Britain.

Add to this the presence of Franciscan Fr Michael Seed, known as the "chaplain to the stars" with a track-record of prominent conversions, to the Blairs' circle.

In a 1997 interview with The Tablet, Seed shed some light on his approach:
[T]he fact remains that Fr Seed has helped to receive a great many people into the Roman Catholic Church. He says he keeps no tally of their number, but, when you consider that they include whole congregations, there must be hundreds. So how did he do that?

It is, apparently, quite easy. He was invited to go to Anglican churches and address the congregations, often in the presence of their vicars. These whole-congregation converts are, invariably, high Anglicans. "These people often go to Mass every day, pray for the Pope, believe in the Blessed Sacrament – they’re more Catholic than the Pope himself. It’s hard to teach them anything – you almost have to bring them down. They’re so high, so ultramontane, that if the Pope said good morning, they’d take it as a weather forecast. I don’t believe they should be instructed in the same groups as the non-baptised: it’s insulting to them."
As everyone knows, Catholics don't deign to insult ex-Anglicans. Quite the opposite, we let them translate the liturgy.

L'Osservatore/Arturo Mari