.- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will soon be received into the Catholic Church, The Telegraph reports.
The prominent Catholic newspaper The Tablet reported that his formal conversion will take place at a Mass in the private chapel of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of London. The Tablet predicted Blair would convert this month.
Tony Blair's wife and four children are Catholic, and the family has attended Mass together for years.
A spokesman for the former prime minister did not deny the report outright but said "this is the same old speculation."
However a friend of Mr. Blair reportedly said "It is something he has wanted to do for years but knew it would be easier after he had left office. Tony and Cherie are both thrilled."
Tony Blair remained an Anglican while in office because of legal questions about a Catholic being in such a high position. Clauses in the 1829 Emancipation Act, which provided Roman Catholics full civil rights, forbid a Catholic adviser to the monarch from holding civil or military office.
According to The Tablet, Mr. Blair was invited to be received into the Church in Rome. His advisers discouraged this idea for fear others would see it as an indulgence in Catholic triumphalism.
Blair's political stands have not always been consistent with Catholic ethics. While a minister of parliament Mr. Blair voted for legal abortion up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, a vote publicly condemned by Cardinal Thomas Winning of Scotland. Mr. Blair has also supported civil partnerships for homosexuals.