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A world without faith would be a disaster, says Tony Blair

By on Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tony Blair at the Houses of Parliament last month (PA photo)

Tony Blair at the Houses of Parliament last month (PA photo)

Tony Blair has said at a conference in the Royal Albert Hall that a world without faith would be a disaster.

In an interview in front of more than 4,300 people at an Anglican conference Mr Blair also revealed that he had once been rebuked by an official for proposing to end a speech with the words: “God bless Britain.”

Mr Blair, a former Anglican who became a Catholic in 2007 – less than a year after he stepped down as prime minister – said that faith was vital because it introduced the virtue of humility into societies.

“What is the essence of our faith besides all the things we believe, certainly as Christians, about Jesus Christ and his place in our lives?” he asked.

“It is also fundamentally a belief that there is something bigger and more important than you, that you are not the only thing that matters, that there is something that is greater and transcendent,” he told the leadership conference organised by the Holy Trinity Brompton, an influential Anglican parish.

“I think that essential obligation of humility for humanity is deeply important,” he said. “It is what allows us to make progress, it is what keeps us from ideology or thought processes that then treat human beings as if they were secondary to some political purpose.”

He said: “For a long period of time, what people thought was that as society became more developed and as we became more prosperous, that faith would be relegated, that it would become a kind of relic of the past – what kind of ignorant people do but not what civilised, educated people do.

“I think a world without faith would be a world on the path to tragedy and disaster, I really believe that,” he added.

The former Labour Party leader acknowledged that “God and religion can also be abused by politicians” and said it was important to be cautious of those who might be using religion for their own purposes.

But he said that when he proposed to finish a speech as prime minister simply with the words “God bless Britain,” an aide told him disapprovingly: “I just remind you Prime Minister, this is not America.”

He said he then abandoned the idea.

  • Jbssebalamu

    WHO STILL SAY THAT TONY IS SIMPLY PRETENDING TO BE CATHOLIC?

  • scary goat

    “I think that essential obligation of humility for humanity is deeply
    important,” he said. “It is what allows us to make progress, it is what
    keeps us from ideology or thought processes that then treat human beings
    as if they were secondary to some political purpose.”

    Remember Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Blair?

  • https://openid.org/locutus LocutusOP

    His ‘faith’ didn’t seem to increase his humility, so I guess he means for the rest of us mere mortals.

    I’ll never understand why he ‘converted’ given almost everything he promotes is diametrically opposed to what the Church holds to be true…Although a more important question is why he was received into the Church without having to recant his views.

  • teigitur

    Whilst he is correct. He has been a disaster im almost every way for this country.

  • teigitur

    Exactly. Weak Hierarchy.Again.

  • Charles Martel

     He says he’s a Catholic, but how can we believe him? After all, it’s not a question of joining a society by paying membership fees. To join the Church, you must accept all that the Church proposes by way of its dogmatic and moral teachings. If you don’t accept them, you cannot join the Church. On this basis, Anthony Blair never IN FACT joined the Church at all. Our star-struck Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor let him ‘in’ in full knowledge of Anthony Blair’s support for abortion. John Smeaton, of the Society for the Protection of Unborn
    Children, said in 2007: “During his premiership Tony Blair became one of
    the world’s most significant architects of the culture of death,
    promoting abortion, experimentation on unborn embryos, including
    cloned embryos, and euthanasia by neglect. SPUC is writing to Tony Blair to ask him whether he has
    repented of the anti-life positions he has so openly
    advocated.”
    Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, herself a convert, raised
    Mr Blair’s previous support for embryo research, gay ‘marriage’ and
    abortion, saying: “My question would be, has he changed his
    mind?”
    We know the answer. Anthony Blair has never publicly renounced the foul positions he has taken on these issues. He caused a public scandal, and a public apology and renunciation is necessary. Until that time, Anthony Blair, we cannot recognise you as a fellow Catholic.

  • BlackPirate

     Oh Tony pity you didn’t stand up and speak out against the Murder of the Unborn when you were Prime Minister and most importantly when you declared to the World that you became a Catholic – Shouting about faith and preaching it to the world  while keeping quite about innocent human life is typical political hypocritical you – a leopard and its spots

  • Cestius

    I agree with everything he’s said on here – I wish people wouldn’t confuse the man with the message. Ad hominem attacks are so tedious.

  • andHarry

    He became a Catholic because of his wife Cherie’s influence; and a lingering Ne Temere imperative. Tony is a weak individual in some respects.

  • JessicaHof

    Yes, I am with you on this. I agree with what he says here. Much that is going wrong with our society is to do with the marginalisation of Faith. People do not lose the need to believe when they do not have Christianity – those people simply find something else to believe in.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GPITMIU6DMSIJQK63A24OL2QVA Suzanne Atkins

    Shame on all of you here who say they are Catholic, but sorry we dont believe Tony Blair is. Or say you are Catholic but have a nice “but” for Tony Blair. Everything you write here, goes against everything Jesus Himself teaches us and the Church. Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone. So God wants you to throw him out of His Church? So there a limit on sins that can be forgiven? How dare you display so much judgemental hatred in the name of Our Lord. People like you have cradle Catholics running away from the Sacraments, because you display the Church of Christ as being something it is not. God says there are celebrations in Heaven when a sinner repents and turns to Him, and you scorn and wag your heads and shoot your mouth off like the Pharasees did before the Cross of Our Lord. Shame on you.

  • Parasum

    Three words:
    Snake. Oil. Salesman.

    Sorry, but I just cannot take him seriously. I hate Socialism (esp. in his titivated version of it), & I don’t trust him further than I could throw him.

    “Shame on all of you here who say they are Catholic, but sorry we dont believe Tony Blair is.”

    ## Fair point. But Catholics should not be creative with the truth, or tell whoppers & drag their countries into war on a false prospectus. Some of us may be no better than Bliar, but at least some of us have enough sense to see that Bush’s “Christianity” is very doubtfully any such thing.  The Most Christian PM, it seems, did not see that. Bush = War-monger for Jebus.

    If people’s distaste for Bliar is unjustified, he can always “offer it up”, as we are told to do.

    ““I think a world without faith would be a world on the path to tragedy and disaster, I really believe that,” he added.”

    ## This is *very* dangerous rubbish – for a *very* simple reason. We do not need “faith” – we *do* very much need *the* Faith. Faith is always “faith in” or “faith that” something: it always has an object or a content. It may be faith in:

    the merits of Christ;
    the existence of Japan
    the stability of the Eurozone
    the civilising mission of the US
    the perfection of the Koran

    or 1000 other things. But there is always a something in or to which faith is exercised. faith does *not* float around in splendid relation-free Platonic isolation, untainted by anything so vulgar as having a specific content. Faith in the constellations is not the same in content as faith in the yen, or faith in the songfulness of Lady Gaga; & none of these is the theological virtue of faith, which is so important to the Christian & Catholic Faith, which is the One True Faith.

  • Parasum

    “How dare you display so much judgemental hatred in the name of Our Lord.”

    ## We are – it seems – allowed to judge. Here:

    Mat 7:1     “Judge not, that you be not judged.
    Mat 7:2     For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
    Mat 7:3     Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
    Mat 7:4     Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
    Mat 7:5     You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=7&t=rsV#1

    There is a passage in Luke 6 which is in part parallel to Matt.7.1 -  it is
    part of a discourse containing a loose but clear progression of thought;
    not being judgemental is one of several themes in it:

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=6&t=RSV#37

    ## One question is: whether Jesus is giving conditions under which judgement is permitted; or, whether He is speaking ironically, and forbidding judgement, by using exaggeration, as when he paints the hilarious picture of a man with a log (!) in his eye.
    Matthew 18, speaking of life among the followers of Jesus, strongly suggests that judgement of a brother-disciple is permitted. Which at least allows for the possibility that in dealing with non-disciples or casual hearers, judgement is *not* permitted.

    The rest of the Sermon of the Mount  is *extremely* exacting – Jesus commands what is not possible. Matthew is known to have a fondness for putting teaching in blocks that in the other gospels appear in quite different connections; so there is the further questiuon of whether this teaching is to be treated as though ity were organically part of the    Sermon of the Mount. Even if it is not, it could still be intended to be as exacting as other parts of the Sermon of the Mount.

    A further question: does judgement here mean “saying that X is a bad person & that God agrees X is bad” ? Or, are we talking about something closer to discernment: IOW,a judgement that X has certain faults, but not a judgement that X is “done for” ? IMVHO, the text is about the latter, not the former.

    Various NT writings suggest that the NT churches did pass judgement on others, Christian or not: St. Paul judged the incestuous Corinthian Christian;  & he attacks “Judaisers” severely. There are several passages in the NT attacking people as “false prophets”. Jesus is ferocious in denouncing the Pharisees. Even if these speeches are highly stylised, & give us the “very voice”, but not the “very words” of many of the speakers, they do represent Jesus – & others – making judgements about others which are often severe. One could say the early Christians, including the Apostles, sinned by judging as they did; but if one thinks that, what is to be made of the harsh & severe & “judgemental” language of Jesus ? The only way to escape blaming Him, seems to be to suppose that His followers depictec Him as no better than them. How would a Christian sustain such an argument ?

    Maybe Fr. L-S would care to comment on this: it does come within his remit.

  • cephas2

    Tony Blair, like all of us is on a journey. He is still new to being a Catholic and displays at many times great courage in speaking out. May God bless him for this and encourage further into the heart of our wonderful faith.

  • Dom

    Utter tosh! People who lose their faith do not lose the need to believe of course, but if they are preaching heresy, and behaving in a way that is against their professed believes it makes them a hypocrite, nobody is confusing the man with the message, they are simply confused BY the man and his message.

    Get real. Typical liberal-catholic nonsense. Tony Blair is a disgrace even on a secular level and has no business being in the Church.

    Rest assured though ladies and gentleman, I’m sure that technically (through some sort of canon law) he is no longer in the Church through self-excommunication.

    What a moron.

  • Dom

    Somebody pass me a sick-bucket…

    …Thank God there are some real Catholics around to balance this nonsense out!

  • Charles Martel

    Suzanne,
    You’ve got this wrong. No one is condemning Anthony Blair for being a sinner. We are all sinners. The problem is that he claims to be a Catholic, and many of us believe that this is a case of misrepresentation. The same goes for Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sibelius, Joe Biden, Cherie Blair, etc. etc. etc.

  • Annie

    Suzanne,

    “God says there are celebrations in Heaven when a sinner repents . . .”? 

    Where’s the repentance?  Afaik, Tony Blair has never publicly repented of his pro-abortion/experiment on embryos/gay marriage positions.  When he does repent, Catholics will happily join God in celebrating TB’s return to the fold.      

  • Jae

    Don’t get me wrong Suzanne but I symphatized with you and as you said we are all sinners, why even the Apostles were themselves great sinners however, it is quite different when one is obstinate and unrepentant in sin and more worrisome if he sits from an authority….add the gravity of sin and the scandal it brings that deformed the Holy Body of Christ which is the Church. Yes Jesus is loving and tolerant but He also commanded the sinner not to sin no more or else we are just fooling ourselves.

  • Patrickhowes

    Surely the question here is about Faith and conscience.Catholic teaching,Suzanne insists that one go hand in hand with the other.This is why we,as a Church,have produced so many Saints.Conscience is but the presence of God in the human mind.Faith is belief.The two must work together.If they do not you get belief without conviction and one that operates without moral boundries.God is all knowing and for this reason created a right and wrong.One human being can never destroy that which,he can create,Life.Only in a self defence situation.So I think it is fair to say that Tony Blair has discovered God and has a faith but as yet has not learnt to  accept that God´s mind is greater than his own.Blind faith is all encompassing and allows the person to trust totally in God.We can think up policies and laws but we can never legislate against God and his plan for mankind

  • teigitur

    A lot of what you say is true. Sadly this particular sinner is far from repentant.

  • JessicaHof

    Well, if a sinner cannot be in the Church, Our Lord clearly aimed at the wrong target.

  • Knight

    Blair should be on trial in The Hague along with Brown, Camoron and Clegg for war crimes. Peoples of all ‘faiths’ have suffered as a direct consequence of these rulers. Christian minorities have been particularly badly hit in the bloodbaths that have ensued

  • Knight

    Which ‘faith’ has he in mind, I wonder?

  • https://openid.org/locutus LocutusOP

    I actually agree with what he said in these select quotes.

    However, we cannot give him a pass just because he says something good once in a blue moon. His comments cannot be divorced from the type of man that he is, and if  he is a man of ‘faith’, then we should not  lose the opportunity to point out that his faith is very different from the Catholic one with which he claims fellowship.

    It seems to me he worships himself more than God…If that’s the faith he’s endorsing then we do well to be cautious in our appraisal of his statements.

  • Jeannine

    So you think one day he’s going to be against abortion?

  • Charles Martel

     Yeah, maybe his views are ‘evolving’ like that other slippery customer, Barack Obama.

  • Charles Martel

     Jae, that is exactly what I was trying to say. Nicely put!

  • http://twitter.com/CGDoc CGDoc

    666

  • Macsfieldimages

    Every time one sins, they have excommunicated themselves from God, hence the need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). It has absolutely nothing to do with Canon Law.

  • Macsfieldimages

    Can one take it then, that you never ever repeat the same sins? Whose fooling whom?

  • Macsfieldimages

    Who are you, indeed any of you to judge his Soul. Just because he hasn’t publicly apologised for his sins, doesn’t mean He hasn’t confessed to God and been forgiven.

  • Macsfieldimages

    One can judge the ‘Actions’ of a person, but ONLY God can judge the Soul.

  • Macsfieldimages

    It’s wonderful to see all the hypocrites gather in one place to take one sinner apart, while they themselves pay homage to the head of the Official Church, whom by her silence, condones everything you oppose i.e. abortion, same sex marriage. As supreme commander of the Armed forces, it is she who should be on trial for crimes against humanity, after all Mr. Blair is merely a politician, serving his Queen.

  • JByrne24

    I’m glad to read the opinions of so many Catholics about Mr Tony.

  • Angel_3

    Indeed, Mac. There seems to be many judging him, forgetting Jesus’ own words about judging others.

  • teigitur

    I am no-one to judge anyones soul. But he supported serious sin in his political life, very publicly. He should have recanted publicly. Its a source of serious scandal that he did not. So I am judging his support of serious sin( abortion, the unjust war etc) to be wrong. His action , not him. How is this wrong?

  • teigitur

    I think people on here are well aware of that.

  • teigitur

    Who are you to call anyone a hypocrite?

  • Jae

    Mate you have to clearly distinguish between committing sins out of our weak nature that must be confessed every time we fall BUT if one believes that evil is good and make laws that support these twisted ideas, then they are just fooling themselves not God.

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

     WHAT MR.TONY BLAIR NOW ENJOYS IS THE FRUIT OF HIS CONVERSION: LIGHT FROM TRUE FAITH AND SO HE SPEAKS WHAT HIS  FAITH-FILLED HEART INSPIRES.

    HE IS O.K. EXCEPT FOR NOT SEEKING MORE FAITH THROUGH CONTINUOUS MEDITATION ON GOD’S WORD. THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH ALL CHRISTIANS INCLUDING ME AND YOU PERHAPS.

  • Jae

    According to the Bible and Tradition, Jesus Christ himself commanded us to correct and judge the twisted path of our fellow Christians in charity….at the end of the day, it’s really about trying to save their souls from damnation. We are not here to be self righteous which is a waste of time but if one calls himself catholic he must adhere to it’s beliefs for credibility’s sake.

  • Jae

    Yes we agree that PM has seen some light and on this particular one that indeed without faith world would be a disaster however, he also obstinately believes that good Is evil and evil is good, (abortion, gay marriage etc) a grave warning from Scripture that in the first place would spell disaster for the world that Tony Blair was trying to assert. If he profess that he’s a catholic then he must be obedient to the Church that God founded! Nothing more.

  • Jae

    Yes we human sins our of our weak nature and must be confess every time we fall but please clearly distinguished this, a recalcitrant belief from a public authority that “evil is good” something the Church has said over and over that these ideas and acts are gravely immoral and offends Holy God and causes great scandal to His Church, how many poor people Tony Blair has influenced and led astray with his example? Only God knows and may He have mercy on his soul.

  • Jae

    Anyways though I’m glad Tony is a convert to the Fatith, it’s his view that cause great scandal. Sorry for the typo errors, hard to edit in a mobile device.

  • Jae

    Oh by the way, it has to do with Canon Laws if one believes that the sin is good, like abortion which he clearly supported. Actually according to Canon Law, if one is in connivance with the procurement of abortion either directly or legalizing abortion laws, one is automatically excommunicated.

  • Benedict Carter

    Would anyone buy a used Faith from this man?

  • Benedict Carter

    Oh, the “on a journey” line. God, how I hate it. So Nu-Church. 

    How Blair was allowed to become a Catholics without publicly renouncing his support for abortion etc.is one of the scandals of the post-Vatican II Church in Britain, along with the ARCIC documents that Rome will never, ever sign off on.

  • Benedict Carter

    But he has never repented. 

  • Benedict Carter

    He had the most public face in the country and should have publicly recanted on becoming a Catholic.