With its publication today of a glowing centre-spread interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, pro-life leaders are asking whether L’Osservatore Romano, the quasi-official newspaper of the Vatican, is engaging in a deliberate campaign to "appease" some of the world’s most extreme anti-life and anti-family politicians.
John Smeaton, head of Britain’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) by telephone he is "appalled" that the Vatican paper had failed even to mention Blair’s decade-long political program that has created one of the most abortion-friendly environments in the western world.
Smeaton said the appearance of this interview in the newspaper known to be controlled by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State forces him to ask a difficult question: "Are there subversive elements at work in the Vatican who are intent on appeasing Barack Obama and Tony Blair and their anti-life policies?"
Linking today’s interview with Blair with the paper’s previous extensive and almost uniformly glowing coverage of US President Barack Obama, Smeaton continued, "Imagine if Obama and Blair were committed racists rather than being committed to their anti-life and anti-family policies. Would L’Osservatore Romano afford them such a generous platform? I sincerely hope not."
"But why not apply the same standard to attacks on the sanctity of human life?" he said.
In the nearly 4000 word interview, L’Osservatore Romano’s Giulia Galeotti failed to mention Blair’s political dedication to expanding abortion and the use of embryonic human beings in experimentation, or his intimate political partnership with Britain’s homosexualist lobby, a record which earned him the title of "principal architect of Britain’s culture of death" from the country’s pro-life movement.
Instead, the interview focused on what Blair called his "spiritual journey" that led to his reception into the Catholic Church by his friend Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, then-archbishop of Westminster, in late 2007, to which pro-life leaders around the world reacted with shock.
Galeotti opened the piece with a song of praise, calling Blair "a gentleman" because of his manners which she said were "polite as few can now be," and gushing that she looked forward to telling her grandchildren about her encounter with the "hero of recent years" who was "three times elected to Downing Street and received a standing ovation on the last day in parliament in a country famous for its composure."
In the interview, Blair praised the late US President John F. Kennedy for his formulation of a political theory in which Catholic politicians can ignore the teachings of the Church in their public lives. Blair said that Kennedy "broke the myth" that Catholic politicians took their instructions from the Vatican.
Galeotti brushed close to Blair’s anti-human policies, asking him if he "believes that in modern democracies, a politician has the right to speak on behalf of his faith – declaring, for example, against abortion because it violates the fifth commandment – or rather that he has a duty to keep silent on his personal belief?"
Blair sidestepped the mention of abortion, responding, "I have always maintained that people have the right to speak. I insisted on this in Britain. Also because these are issues about which people feel very [strongly], which are important to them. People think differently about these topics, and if a person believes something that is absolutely central for him, he has the right to speak."
Blair praised Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate for defending the place of religious belief in public life. "Personally, I fully endorse what the pope wrote in the encyclical, a brilliant text that must be read and reread," he said. "I believe that religion has a central, unique place within society and its development."
In that encyclical, however, Pope Benedict emphasized that public actions can only be valid when they give first priority to "respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples." The pope said that it is "openness to life which is at the centre of true development".
Apart from his work against human life and the natural family, Blair’s tenure has been heavily criticized for eroding Britain’s "social cohesion" and civil liberties. Under New Labour, the government has been blasted for having turned Britain into a "surveillance state" with more CCTV cameras per citizen than any other western nation. Under Blair, the New Labour government first proposed to introduce compulsory national biometric ID cards, described by civil liberties and democracy groups as a further step towards making Britain a police state.
Fears are growing of the erosion of the country’s traditional freedoms and protection of privacy and the government’s obsession with a heavily anti-Christian "political correctness." "Blair’s Britain" is being increasingly identified as a "decaying" and "broken" society overwhelmed by social problems, in which "feral youth," teen pregnancy, rampant violent crime and binge drinking are the norm and shattered families have lost all realistic ties to their traditional Christian culture.