Tony Blair in Rimini talks language of Benedict XVI

Reading Tony Blair's speech to the Communion and Liberation meeting in Rimini, in which he comments approvingly on Caritas in Veritate and talks of Faith in much the same way that Encyclical does, I can't help rubbing my eyes, thinking: "Imagine him saying this when he was Prime Minister".

Maybe you need to be British to get this. But go on. Try reading the speech imagining Blair was still at No. 10, and saying things such as: "In seeking this path of Truth, lit by God's Love and paved by God's Grace, the Church can be the insistent spiritual voice that makes globalisation our servant, not our master."

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The boorish right-wing press in the UK can't handle the idea of the former prime minister as a committed Catholic quoting the Pope, so the Telegraph and the Mail -- almost the same newspapers since the execs of the latter took over the former -- are reporting only the least interesting part of Blair's speech: his reasons for becoming Catholic, which add nothing to what we already knew. (And the Mail even invents the idea that Blair's wife Cherie "drove" him into the Church.)

It takes the secular, left-leaning Guardian to detect the really interesting element of Blair's speech -- the importance of a strong faith presence in public life -- which the right-wing press desperately tries to erase.

A snip from the speech:

Here is the point. Too often religion is seen as a source of conflict and division. It is this manifestation that allows the aggressive secularism in part of the West to gain traction. Show instead how Faith is standing up for justice, for solidarity across peoples and nations, and how it is doing so with those of other Faiths and we show the true face of God’s love, mercy and compassion.This is surely the role of Faith in modern times. To do what it alone can do. To achieve what neither a person, nor a state, nor a community, on their own or even together, can achieve. To represent God’s Truth, not limited by human frailty, or by the interests of the state or by the transient mores of a community, however well intentioned; but to let that Truth bestow on us humility, love of neighbour, and the true knowledge that indeed passes all understanding.



 


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