Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Tony Herod Converts in Time for the Feast of the Massacre of the Innocents

Tom Lehrer remarked that satire died the day Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. Strangely, it has taken thirty-three years for satire’s funeral rites to be performed appropriately, if belatedly, by the Catholic Church in the run up to Christmas, 2007.

Sarky, Carla and the Canons

En route to visit his troops in Afghanistan, France’s hyper-active newly-divorced President, Nicholas Sarkozy, found time after his weekend of nookie at Disneyland hotel with Carla Bruni, ex-supermodel, 39 on the penultimate Sunday of Advent, to be inducted as canon of St. John Lateran, the oldest basilica in Rome and the seat of the Pope as Bishop of that eternal city.

Of course, he is not the first French head of state to be an adulterer in the eyes of the Catholic Church. In fact, apart from Charles de Gaulle, it is difficult to think of a chef d’état since St. Louis who didn’t transgress the fifth commandment in office.[1] The Catholic Church ranks tradition alongside revelation in the Bible as its sources of truth. Since 1604, whoever rules in Paris has got to be a canon of St. John Lateran – with a few principled exceptions whose ideas of principles were not Catholic. Back then the Pope, Clement VIII, made Henri IV a canon of his own cathedral despite the King’s up-and-down married life and his status as an ex-Calvinist – well, actually an ex-Catholic who turned Calvinist before rediscovering Catholicism on St. Bartholomew’s Night, 1572, and then abandoning Catholicism because of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Night, only to discover that “Paris is worth a mass” and returning to the Catholic faith of his fathers. Since Henri IV’s time, French monarchs and heads of state have enjoyed the privileges of a canon the Lateran – the right to ride a horse in its precincts and so on.[2] Nevertheless as the first canon of St. John’s to authorize a divorce[3] - his own at that - Sarkozy certainly sets a precedent for his successors to match, or even surpass. Catholic tradition is certainly evolving in ways which Tom Lehrer could not have parodied.

Very Private Man Converts Very Privately – Reuters, AP, BBC, SKY News (exclusive)

Just when Advent seemed to have burst its most incongruous cracker with Sarkozy’s “canonisation”, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and a galère celebrity-seeking suffragan bishops, FCUK friars and posh priests showed that New France cannot compete in the bad taste stakes with New Britain. With the media-shyness that had distinguished his career of bloodshed, bamboozle and back-handers, Anthony Lynton Blair put aside time from the reading the Koran – “To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is... The Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance”[4] – to condescend to announce his “conversion” to what the Koran abhors! But don’t worry. Tony didn’t believe in Labour doctrines when, “with great humility as a member of another faith” – the faith of his fathers was Tory - he made his entry into Old Labour straight, if Bunny will forgive the word, from Oxford.

Hollowing out Old Catholicism

One Labour leader retired defeated, another retired promoted (to the EU) and a third simply died to make way for Tony the Convert. We will never know how any Serbs, Afghans and Arabs would have welcomed the option of retirement or being kicked upstairs as an alternative to boosting Tony’s conversion career through mega-death, but their transition to an alternative after-life made possible, perhaps even probable the Miracle of 22nd December.

All exegetics know that no miracle in the New Testament wasn’t without its foretelling in the Old Testament. In the same way, the conversion of Tony Blair to New Catholicism follows a pattern set in the Book of Old Labour.

If Tony Blair had not come into the world born of a virgin Tory, he could not have risen to be leader of Old Labour after the fortuitous death of John Smith foretold in the Book of Kelly.

As leader of what he called New Labour, Tony Blair gutted the traditional faith of the old Labour Party. Instead of Clause 4’s Socialism, Tony preached the worship of Mammon. Labour sold its soul, gained, well not the whole world, but at least the United Kingdom.

Once Bible-reading Christians worried that the New Testament faith would be corrupted by the temptation ton relapse into the worship of Baal. But with New Catholicism launched by the conversion of Tony Blair, Catholics should consider how their newest soul-mate used New Labour to create New Britain.

Tony must think to himself: I hollowed out Christian Socialism, why shouldn’t I go the whole hog and gut Christianity itself?

Blair’s New Britain – New Jerusalem or Old Gin Lane?

Walking in the early evening through Advent Oxford, the passer-by has to step carefully to avoid the lightly frozen pools of vomit left near the city’s many empty churches by the twenty-four hour drinking pushed through in the last years Blair. Saturnalia not Christmas is Blair’s feast-day. Drunks, druggies and whores hardly old enough to be his daughter cluster in garish streets as frenzied bourgeoisie shops as if the credit crunch will pass with a few Alker Seltzer.

Promoting degraded public behaviour while spouting spin about ASBOs and “community values” was just part of the split personality of the newest of New Catholics. Even a public bribed with its own money and drunk credit began to weary of the forked tongue of Blairism. But not the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.

Of course, Blair did not invent the abuse of alcohol in Britain. No, he was happy to joke to the US Congress in July, 2003, that one of the Pankhursts had written to Kier Hardy “shortly before the election, June 1913”[5] , saying she had been studying Britain carefully and there was a worrying rise in sexual immorality linked to heavy drinking.” Blair, by then a regular at Mass often apparently scoffing the Host, scorned such concerns as devout New Catholics do. To laughter from the pork-barrel born-again bombers in the Senate chamber, Blair sneered, “We all get that kind of advice, don't we?”[6] The problem with Blair is that he inherited Britain’s woeful drink culture with its litany of battered wives, partners, girlfriends and children and pushed through a law to make matters worse. Whenever it has been a matter of promoting degrading behaviour Blair stood in the front rank.

Public policy under Blair didn’t “do God.” No doubt secular Britain wouldn’t have tolerated it, but why should Catholics welcome into their midst the man who preserved tooth-and-nail Britain’s status as the abortion capital of Europe, New and old. Tony Herod blocked every attempt to reverse that position – even Number 2 in the abortion charts was too low for him. Yet he managed also to preside over an explosion of children born out of wedlock. No denying there is genius at work there.

Like his grinning, giggling, gush-alike successors in the New Conservative and Very New Liberal Democratic Parties, David “Class A” Cameron and Nick “No God” Clegg, Tony Blair represents the New Class of post-Communist profiteer politicians. The more the proles are degraded by drink, drugs and analphabetism the more chance there will be for Ewan. Nicky, Leo and their class-like to stay in charge of global Britain in a post-national methadone-dependent world.

“Profitable are the Peacemakers for they shall protect the share-price of BAe Systems”

For those who believe God will not be mocked – even by those who have paid in advance – there was the coincidence on 22nd December, 2007, of Tony’s discreet conversion in the cardinal’s private chapel with only family, friends and St. Rupert’s press in attendance with the revelation that he had mentioned “business interests” in connection with his directive to halt any investigation of bribes allegedly paid by BAe Systems to various Saudi princes (in the spirit of inter-faith dialogue between New Catholic bombers and Old Islamic hand-choppers).[7] Readers of the DaTony Code might be the sort of “conspiracy theory nuts” to think that there could be any connection between the Blessed Blair’s world tour making evangelical speeches in favour of using BAe Systems products to kill Arabs who haven’t got them in return for bribes from Arabs who are terrified of the sort of Arabs who might take a rather Old Testament approach to bribery and Blairism. But New Catholic cardinals, bishops and friars are too busy reading the share prices. After all, didn’t Christ Himself - or as He is now known “The Lead Investor” – tell his stakeholders the Parable of the Steward of who knew how to make a killing on a bear market?

However, if we think about his Connaught Place pad’s various valuations since he bought it on a mortage of 40 times his annual salary - as the Bible says, “If ye seek the causes of the sub-prime crisis, look no further” - New Catholics have to admit that it is true that Tony has been better at killing than making a killing but, in what Cardinal’s Investments, like to think of as a broad market there is place even for distressed assets.

It was his blood-soaked little humanitarian adventure in Iraq that made Blair’s rhetoric of compassion and principle choke even the most gullible – except for the clergy, after all faith in the impossibly improbable is their business. But even the Westminster Cathedral canons might notice that Blair spells their title with two Ns. As the dwindling bands of Christians prepared to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, the warmonger of our age was celebrated in the Cardinal’s private chapel.

Separation of Church and State, Or PsychoCatholicism?

Defending the exuberant joy at Tony’s conversion, New Catholic clerics adorned Murdoch’s satellite channels to bring the Good News that Herod had renounced his old faith but intended to carry on behaving in the same way. Sky News broadcast convoluted efforts by a Bishop Stack to explain that Blair’s private life had no connection with his public activities in the past, nor apparently with his continued insistence that his conscience is clean would the split personality of Blair be healed in his New Catholic future.

Neither New Catholic Blair nor Canon Sarkozy had any problem with the godless preface to the (defunct) European constitution. Both were happy to sign a document referring to the humanist traditions of Europe, but its religious traditions, for good or ill, went down the memory hole. Yet each prattles on about the importance of faith in their lives and communities, particularly in front of American audiences who lap that sort of thing up and pay well for it from retired Europeans in need of a cash advance on God’s grace.

In March, 2005, Tony Herod told the BBC abortion was a "difficult issue". That was when he was backing the hardline on-demand Bunker group. Blair used a classic piece of spin, which an old fashioned parish priest might call a lie. The New Herod declared, "However much I dislike the idea of abortion, you should not criminalise a woman who, in very difficult circumstances, makes that choice.”[8] Of course, no-one advocating the reduction of the time limits for abortions – the issue of course was not the abolition of what the Catholic Church regards as murder – was suggesting that women who had abortions should be “criminalized.” The suggestion was that the NHS would not pay for late abortions of fetuses who could clearly survive outside the womb thanks to the progress of medical science. Blair could not stomach letting any child escape.

How many children – actual infants and toddlers (let’s move on, to use Tony’s favourite closure term, from the aborted foetuses) have died as a result of Tony’s bombing raids. The maternity hospital in Belgrade took a little shaking in 1999, but nothing to disturb the conscience of a New Catholic. As for Iraq’s infant mortality rate of 600,00 children before Tony upped the adult mortality rate in March, 2003, for a Herodian “clean conscience” that was to quote Madelaine Albright, the Magdalen of the New World Order, “a price worth paying.”

Ambrose as Bishop of Milan humiliated the apparently all-powerful Emperor Theodosius because his subordinates had massacred a lot of people in the Middle East in 386. Instead of waiting for Iudex Huttonus to explain that the victims had got what was coming to them though the Emperor had not had any plans to give them a taste of cold steel, Ambrose demanded public penance from Theodosius before he would let the Lord and Master of the Roman world take communion in his own capital. In 1077, the Pope, Gregory VII, kept the Emperor Henry IV waiting for three days in the snow at Cannossa before the barefoot penitent monarch was admitted to the papal presence and absolved.

But for Tony Blair it was “This way to His Eminence’s altar-rails”. Clearly, the New Catholic Church approach is to invite the impenitent, brazen, blood-stained war-profiteer into the private chambers for mutual congratulations. What was it Christ used to say: Go and sin some more?

No confession is valid if the penitent does not intend to repair his wrongs. You cannot confess to theft, receive absolution from the priest, even from the Cardinal Archbishop of West-Novelty, and decide to keep hold of the ill-gotten gains without fore-fitting the absolution and committing a mortal sin – well not unless you’re a New Catholic. Then you just smile, pocket the proceeds and say, “Time to move on.” The excellent choir of West-Novelty Abbey will hymn along in four, sometimes eight parts “Time to move on.”

Maybe Tony Blair’s private life is impeccable and his devotion to Cherie would put us all to shame in the Sarkozy camp, but for all that the rest of us have a myriad sins and flaws, how many murders would it take for us simple sinners to get on the Cardinal’s red carpet? The psychology of the split between Blair's public and private personae suggests a new mental disease needs to defined for people whose public acts and public faith clash to crudely. Blair is the first certifiable new type Psycho-Catholic. In the past mass-murdering Catholics like Philip II at least were consistent in their dogmatic beliefs and brutal acts. The New Herod of our New Age would be classified as a hypocritical killer but for the strength of his faith in the New Faith of Say-one-thing, Shoot another.

Tony and the Donatists

Everyone knows that St. Augustine issued a magisterial rebuke to the Donatist heretics, who were foolish enough to believe that immoral, corrupt, abusing or time-serving clergy could not legitimately carry out their sacerdotal functions. Just because Westminster Cathedral houses a den of celebrity-fawners[9] in its sacristy doesn’t mean that they cannot perform the miracle of transubstantiation. Nor is the capacity of such priests to hear confessions and forgive sins in the least affected by their bedazzlement that one of the Lords of the New World Order has whispered his transgressions through the confessional gauze.[10]

But, without infringing the secrets of the confessional, it would be interesting to know what the tariff is these days for the sins of the Great-and-Not-So-Good. How many Hail Marys was Dr. David Kelly worth? Or are there enough Rosary beads in the world to atone for the collateral damage to Iraq’s children?

With a celebrity in the sacristy, little wonder the New Catholic Pharisees have no time for more than lip-service for the poor would-be convert. I know at least one young man who was considering conversion to Catholicism whose soul was lost to the Church because he was repelled by the antics of the televised clergy cooing over the conversion of the Typhoon fighter’s lead salesperson. How many others confused the sleazy clerics with the sacraments of the Church and walked away? The Cardinal might have mumbled a few words of concern for the poor and migrants in his Xmas homily but the sous-texte was pure New Labour globalism. Instead of asking why so many well-educated Poles have abandoned their homes to come to Britain to do menial low-paid labour tom dsustain Blair’s boom, the Cardinal demands only that other poor people put out of jobs by the low wage migrants should nbot complain that the New Class gets its cleaners, plumbers and prostitutes at a knock down price. The New Pharisees understand why there was no room in the inn for an un-married woman with child who looked set to be a burden on the “welfare-to-work” agenda.

The New Catholic version of Christ’s injunction “to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s” seems to require us “to pander unto Celebrity and leave to the losers things which have no headline value.” Blair is the Baal of our day. Admiration of Blair is the idolisation of the banality of evil in its post-modern form – always smiling, always lying, always killing. If Blair believes in the Resurrection, we should be careful to check at Easter that he doesn’t think it was Judas who rose again.

Bishop Harries of Oxford, who supported Blair’s wars and to be fair Major’s and Thatcher’s too, responded in an ecumenical spirit to the news of the New Catholic convert. Hardly surprisingly, a cleric who could boast about passing a Bible to the newly converted Eduard “Giorgi” Shevardnadze and found him “truly Christian”, welcomed Tony Blair’s conversion recalling Christ’s words “in my father’s house there are many mansions”. In New Catholic-Post-Anglican interfaith-dialogue-speak this is correctly translated as “The Market has space for buy-to-let as well as loft-conversions” – but even Bishop Harries is not as up with trendy theo-speak as he once was.

When Satan converts (if he hasn’t already), the Westminster archdiocese canonical estate-agents in Christ will no doubt see the Devil’s “first contract” (New Catholic for old-believers’ “first communion”) with his homo-diabolical partner Beelzebub and other cash-for-honours cronies, not “robed and in the sanctuary” so much as booted-and-suited in the canonical VIP lounge, as the convert’s joyous “first-step-on-the-property-ladder-to-heaven.”

Supermaket Conversion – Load your trolley now!

Mrs Blair is not quite a private citizen. Her own religious beliefs and practice are cited by the New Catholic clergy as the route Tony took to the bosom of Mother Church, but Cherie’s capacity for faith is broader than even the Catholic Church.

As one journalist who has backed Blair’s bombing with gusto has pointed out, “Cherie Blair found her devout Catholicism no impediment to flirtations with New Age spirituality - inviting a feng-shui expert to rearrange the furniture at No 10 and wearing a ‘magic pendant’ known as the BioElectric Shield… ‘a matrix of specially cut quartz crystals’ that surround the wearer with ‘a cocoon of energy’ to ward off evil forces.”
As Francis Wheen remarked on Cherie’s enthusiasm for pagan charms, “The catholicism - if not Catholicism - of her tastes was further demonstrated in 2002 by the revelation that she employed a former member of the Exegesis cult, Carole Caplin, as a ‘lifestyle guru’. Through Caplin, the prime minister's wife was introduced to an 86-year-old ‘dowsing healer’, Jack Temple, who treated her swollen ankles by swinging a crystal pendulum over the affected area and feeding her strawberry leaves grown within the ‘electro-magnetic field’ of a neolithic circle he had built in his back garden”!

The Catholic Church used to burn witches, now they are invited into the Cardinal’s private chapel. Progress of a kind, I suppose, but even the spirit of charity can be taken a little far when it turns a blind eye to Satanic rites.

Ambrose and Augustine battled against astrology and every other kind of pagan superstition lodged in the minds of first generation Christians high and low-alike, but for the New Catholic Church to pander to people who shop around the global supermarket of quack-faiths 2007 years on after Christ’s birth passes belief. Neither Catholic doctrine nor science has any hold over the minds of people who take part in hocus-pocus of the kind Tony and Cherie solemnly practiced in summer, 2001.

They were there to celebrate another election triumph helped along by the miraculous conception of little Leo which appears not to have been an intercession of St. Invitrio as many devout Blairites believed, but of older pre-Christian cults. In Mexico his parents had a "rebirthing experience" under the supervision of one Nancy Aguilar while holidaying on the Mexican Riviera in the summer of 2001. The Times's reported,
"Ms Aguilar told the Blairs to bow and pray to the four winds as Mayan prayers were read out ... Within the Temazcal, a type of Ancient Mayan steam bath, herb-infused water was thrown over heated lava rocks, to create a cleansing sweat and balance the Blairs' 'energy flow'. Ms Aguilar chanted Mayan songs, told the Blairs to imagine that they could see animals in the steam and explained what such visions meant. They were told the Temazcal was like the womb and those participating in the ritual must confront their hopes and fears before 'rebirth' and venturing outside. The Blairs were offered watermelon and papaya, then told to smear what they did not eat over each other's bodies along with mud from the Mayan jungle outside. The prime minister, on holiday just a month before the 11 September attacks, is understood to have made a wish for world peace. Before leaving, the Blairs were told to scream out loud to signify the pain of rebirth. They then walked hand in hand down the beach to swim in the sea”![11] Then Revelation of St. John on the holiday hotspot of Patmos seems` rather tame by comparison with the vision of Blair.

“King Herod has no plans to massacre the innocents – Reuters”

Anyone familiar with Tony Blair’s refrains of “I have no plans” to Bomb Serbia or Invade Iraq in the run-up to his better known acts of aggression won’t be surprised to recall that as late as March, 2005, in the run-up to the general election, the BBC reported, “Mr Blair… denied he planned to join his wife and four children in the Catholic faith despite regularly taking communion…”[12] Tony could not even leave political calculation about his conversion. He could not tell the truth even about that.

Tony Blair’s life in politics showed that in the battle between snobbery and socialism, social climbing would always smother social democracy. Now in his religious phase, Blair shows us that celebrity flouts sanctity with equal aplomb.

The wages of sin are sweet for the New Age Catholic. Who now says, “War profits no man”? Tony has it all - the six-figure lecture fees for ten years of signing off on public contracts, six wars and three occupations can buy, and now he has the mandate of heaven too. Even Herod never had the whole-hearted approval of the priests of the Temple even though he never burnt offerings to pagan gods or swam in the birthing pool. Two thousand years on Tony’s got God sown up. Who says there is no such thing as progress?

In the spirit of the New Catholicism, let me wish a Merry Massacre of the Innocents and a Hypocritical New Year to You All!


[1] Catholics list adultery fifth in the Commandments, most Protestants put it seventh but in the New World Order it reads, “Thou Shalt Not be found out.”
[2] See Dominique Dhombres, “Une étrange procession à Rome” in Le Monde (22nd December, 2007): http://www.lemonde.fr/web/imprimer_element/0,40-0@2-3232,50-992398,0.html
[3] As Chief Magistrate of the Republic, Sarkozy had to authorize his wife, Cecilie’s divorce petition since under the French Constitution the Head of State may not be sued even in a civil case without his own say-so.
[4] See Tony Blair ,“A Battle for Global Values” in Foreign Affairs (January-February, 2007): http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070101faessay86106-p0/tony-blair/a-battle-for-global-values.html.
[5] Like almost all historical references made by Tony Blair in his career this is inaccurate, refrring to a non-event. There was no general election in 1913 – not until December, 1918 – but making history has always been his forte rather than telling the truth about it.
[6] See “Transcript of Blair’s Speech” (17th July, 2003) CNN.com: http://edition.cnn.com/2003/US/07/17/ blair.transcript/. Blair’s former deputy premier, John Prescott, remarked, “Well, it doesn’t come as any surprise to me... Of course, there was a point when Tony was walking around with a Koran and a Bible. It looks like Catholicism has won out in the end.” Quoted in The Sunday Times (23rd December, 2007): http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3087345.ece.
[7] On 6th December, 2006, Tony Herod wrote the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that the corruption investigation into BAe had to stop "not least because of the critical difficulties present to the negotiations over the Typhoon [fighter jet] contract." Quoted in The Daily Telegraph (23rd December, 2007): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/24/nblair124.xml.
[8] See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4349581.stm.
[9] Note that clergy who have taken vows of celibacy, many also of chastity, cannot be what Australian theologians call “star-f**ckers” for obvious reasons even if the Devil tempts them in that direction.
[10] Though they might remember that the martyr Saint Martin of Tours faced his most terrible temptation when Satan appeared to him dressed as Christ the Ruler of the World in all the earthly glory imaginable.
[11] See Francis Wheen in The Guardian (27th January, 2004): http://politics.guardian.co.uk/redbox/story/%200,9029,1131916,00.html
[12] See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4349581.stm.