Catholic church hypocritical accepting Blair, says priest
A British priest Monday accused the Catholic church of being hypocritical for accepting the conversion of former prime minister Tony Blair because of his support for the Iraq war.
"If the Roman Catholic church truly reflected the values of Jesus Christ, then Tony Blair should not have been received into communion," said Reverend David Penney.
"This conversion and acceptance are particularly galling as his bellicose actions are contrary to the season of peace and goodwill to all humankind," he said in a letter to the Guardian newspaper.
The Christian priest, who is from Colne, north-west England but whose denomination was not revealed, said the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches had both condemned the invasion and occupation of Iraq as an illegal and immoral war.
Blair, who converted from Anglican, "took this country to war, in defiance of the United Nations, to support President Bush of the United States in his 'Christian crusade', under the pretext of western freedom and democracy," he said.
"It is hypocritical that the Catholic church can be guilty of condoning a sin, a war crime, while at the same time condemning the war itself," the reverend said.
He said it was "not good enough" for Blair to claim that he took decisions in good faith. "Conviction is often an excuse made by politicians to cover up their mistakes. They give faith a bad name," he said.
Blair, Penney said, should "pay for his calculated decisions that have consequences, which in the case of Iraq was "death, destruction and division."
This was especially the case as he "still tries to justify them and shows no remorse for the mayhem and suffering he has caused," he said.
"He should not be rewarded by being given the sanctuary of the Roman Catholic church."