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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Speculation on Blair faith plan
Tony Blair and Pope John Paul II in 2003
Mr Blair met the late Pope John Paul II in 2003
Speculation has again arisen over whether Tony Blair will become a Catholic when he leaves Downing Street.

The Times newspaper reported that No 10 priest Father Michael Seed had said the prime minister would declare his switch from Anglicanism.

Father Seed said Mr Blair already attends Catholic Mass with his family every Sunday in London and when abroad.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "[Mr Blair] continues to be a member of the Church of England."

He said that comment on Mr Blair's faith "seems to circulate fairly regularly".

Family faith

Father Seed, who says Mass for the Blairs in Downing Street when they are in London, said he was unsure if Mr Blair would be "formally" received into the Catholic Church.

Mr Blair's wife Cherie is a Catholic, and their children were baptised, going on to attend Catholic schools.

Although not a Catholic, Mr Blair often read the scriptures during Mass at St John Fisher Catholic Church in his Sedgefield constituency, during his early years in Parliament.

It is not the first time a family priest has speculated on Mr Blair's future faith.

In 2004, Father Timothy Russ, who held Mass at Chequers, said Mr Blair "may well" convert - a claim quickly denied by Mr Blair.

Before he became prime minister he was criticised by the Archbishop of Westminster for taking communion at his wife's Islington church.

And before the Iraq war it was reported that he received communion from Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Vatican. Downing Street refused to comment at the time.




SEE ALSO
I won't become a Catholic - Blair
15 Oct 04 |  UK Politics
Sedgefield honours 'burgess' Blair
26 Jul 02 |  Politics

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