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Thursday, 17 May 2007

More "Blair to become Catholic" news

The Times today carries an article called Blair will be welcomed into Catholic fold via his ‘baptism of desire’, a title which provides further justification for John Allen and Jimmy Akin's remarks about religious reporting in the British press (see John Allen on the British Press).

Fr Michael Seed is cited as authority for the prediction that Blair will "declare himself a Catholic" upon leaving office. Then apparently he also expressed doubts as to whether Blair would be "formally" received into the Catholic Church.

Gledhill et al. provide some obfuscation at this point showing that they have heard of the RCIA but have no idea what it is:
"To do so he would have to take part in a ceremony called the rite of Christian initiation for adults, followed by confirmation and taking the sacrament of Holy Communion."
Errr, no. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults includes the celebration of the sacraments of initiation. Before that there is a process of catechesis (sometimes limited to "faith sharing" as recently criticised by the Holy Father) and this is sometimes referred to as the RCIA. This process is not a "ceremony".

But the best bit is the "another Church source" who says that many of the early saints and martyrs were not baptised and were held to have a Baptism of desire. Yeees - but where is this going? Oh Lord, no!
He said that Mr Blair was a Catholic by desire and that this did not necessitate a formal conversion.
Just to clear up a little bit if anyone needs me to: the "desire" that is spoken of is a desire for Baptism and all that Baptism involves. You know, believing the creed, the teaching of the Church, living publicly in accord with that teaching, that sort of thing. (A desire for reception into formal communion would involve the same things.) Such a desire does necessitate a formal conversion. In the case of the martyrs mentioned, the rite of baptism was not possible on account of their being eaten by lions, set on fire, dying in squalid prisons or other similar pressing circumstances.

Fr Anonymous continues:
“He is an ecumenical Catholic,” said the source. “He is a liberal Catholic. In terms of his private life, he is a Roman Catholic.”
If this is a fair portrayal of Mr Blair's "catholicism", a good RCIA course might help him to understand that being received into the Catholic Church involves a formal profession of faith in the teaching of the Catholic Church. After professing the Nicene Creed, those being received into full communion with the Catholic Church state publicly:
I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.
Some things that might be thought necessary in terms of preparation for such a public avowal of the faith could include the recognition that:
  • Abortion should not be allowed up to birth for disabled babies because all children have a right to life from conception
  • It is profoundly evil to allow experimentation on human embryos since all human life is sacred
  • Catholic legislators should oppose laws introducing homosexual civil unions and should insist on the right of conscientious objection
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