Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Blair support of “gay marriage” the result of decades of bishops winking at public dissent

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, March 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The boast of Tony Blair that he supports homosexual “marriage” in open defiance of Catholic teaching, has embarrassed the Vatican and garnered the globetrotting Blair even more criticism from pro-life leadership in Britain. John Smeaton, the head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews.com that the blame for the ongoing “scandal” of Blair’s open dissent from Catholic teaching on life and family issues, sits “squarely” with the Catholic hierarchy, who had decades to correct and denounce it.

Blair was reported as saying earlier this month that he “strongly supports” a proposal by the current coalition government of Britain to rewrite the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex partners. His defiance of Catholic teaching prompted a response from the Vatican that usually remains silent

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, was roused to respond that if the press reports of Blair’s statement were true, the former British Prime Minister would need to “examine his conscience carefully and realise that there is no coherence between the content of faith and the concrete action that must be taken by a politician.”

This stinging rebuke from a Vatican official comes as Britain is plunged into a debate over the meaning and political significance of marriage. A public consultation launched by the coalition government this month made it clear that there would be no question of whether marriage would be redefined, but only how.

Fisichella’s comment was followed by comments from John Smeaton, a long-time critic of Blair’s reception into the Church. Smeaton wrote in an email to LifeSiteNews.com that responsibility for Blair’s open defiance and ignorance of what the Catholic Church teaches, can be placed in the lap of the English bishops.

“Tony Blair’s renewed dissent from Catholic teaching on sexual ethics is a growing scandal,” Smeaton said. “The blame for that scandal lies squarely with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, in particular the bishops of England and Wales.”

Throughout his tenure in office as head of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister, Blair “shamelessly advanced the culture of death and the war on the family”. Smeaton once identified Tony Blair as the primary “architect” of the Culture of Death in Britain, the country that was later called that culture’s “geopolitical epicentre”.

“The Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales offered little resistance to him,” Smeaton continued, “and was even complicit in those evils.”

Blair’s long history of political support for abortion and for the homosexualist cause was no secret in Britain when he was received unconditionally in 2007 into the Catholic Church by then-archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy O’Connor. After repeated attempts at communication with Blair, asking whether he now recanted his previous positions, Smeaton reported that Blair’s handlers replied that there would be no response.

Soon after this, Blair gave a series of media interviews in which he confirmed his dissent from Catholic teaching on abortion, contraception and the family.

“Despite this,” Smeaton said, “both he and his wife Cherie, who has publicly supported IPPF (International Planned Parenthood), gay rights and contraception, have been feted by some prominent Catholic bodies. Enough is enough!”

Smeaton said, however, that this history “and it truly is a great, historic, scandal,” must not be allowed to stand in the way of forming an effective coalition with Church leaders and the public to stopping the government’s push for same-sex marriage.

In recent meetings with North American bishops, Pope Benedict XVI urged all Catholics, including Catholic politicians and all national hierarchies, to resist the “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage”. On the same weekend that Blair made his statement, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales instructed that all parish priests read a letter to congregations outlining some of the reasoning behind Catholic opposition, and urging the laity to help.

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