The man who selected Rowan now abandons him

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has left the Anglican Church to become a Roman Catholic.

This is how the BBC starts its report of this long expected news – long expected at least by Ruth Gledhill, and indeed I was among those predicting it (and more) on the day when he left office.

I thank Tim from Oxford, the first commenter on the BBC report, for reminding me that it was this same Tony Blair who selected Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. This is how the BBC reported this in 2002:

Prime Minister Tony Blair chose Dr Williams from a shortlist of two names, put forward by the Church after months of debate.

Now I am sure that Blair’s reasons for leaving the Church of England have little to do with Rowan Williams. But Tim suggests that it is not right that he has chosen to abandon the leader he chose. Well, I guess Tony Blair the private citizen has the right to choose his own religion, but his abandonment of Rowan and his church is certainly symbolically interesting.

0 thoughts on “The man who selected Rowan now abandons him

  1. I love it! Was Tony Blair a Catholic sleeper like the tales of Russian spies after WWII? Or like that phrase I have heard “gay until graduation”, was he an Anglican for political convenience or was he a closet Catholic all the time?

  2. Good question, Naomisu. He was attending Catholic mass while still Prime Minister, but was not formally received into the RCC. His wife and children have always been Catholic. But I hardly think he can be accused of following a specifically Catholic (rather than generally Christian, at least in some ways) agenda in his politics. If he was a Catholic sleeper, he was so in ways so subtle that they are not yet apparent.

  3. Wow, much ado about nothing.

    To abandon something seems to imply more than simply going in another direction, does it not?

    In any case, I think Tony would like to say a few hail Mary’s and be absolved, in advance, so he can sleep at night.

    I guess it is possible that he simply wants to share the same religion as his family?

    Regards, what business is it of ours, exactly?

  4. It is our business because Tony Blair made it so. Unlike his successor he continued the custom of state interference in ecclesiastical appointments. As such he should be held responsible for this unfortunate one. And as he has made public his change of affiliation this does lead to a number of questions.

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