The Vatican today expressed worries that the conversion of Tony Blair to Roman Catholicism could create unreasonable demands on the Priest who takes the retiring Prime Minister’s first confession.
‘Obviously like any human being we expect Mr Blair to confess to the usual minors sins; ‘impure thoughts’; ‘missing mass occasionally’ that sort of thing,’ said a spokesman for the Vatican.
‘Normally a few Hail Marys and a round or two of the rosary would be suitable penance, but this guy is going to have a bit of a back-log to work through.’
Priests are not just concerned about the number of sins to be confessed, but the extended justifications that will follow each one, along with shrugs, mock-humble platitudes and comments such as ‘Look, I mean, you know, yer does what yer does with the evidence you have before you…’
It is the custom in the Roman Catholic church for the ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’ to be given taken anonymously, behind a screen designed to protect the confessor’s identity.
However with admissions such as ‘Forgive me father, I have committed the sin of taking the country to war on the basis of non-existent secret intelligence’, the anonymity of the sinner may be harder to guarantee in this case.
Plans are afoot to employ a team of priests to work in eight hour slots, rotating on shift basis, until all the former Premier’s sins have been absolved at some point in July.
The tag-team of priests and bishops will be dividing the various subject areas between them.
‘Father O’Duffy is taking Cash For Honours, the Hinjudas and the Ecclestone affair’ said the Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool. ‘I’m taking the ‘un-truths’ about WMD, the Hutton Enquiry, and all that, while Cormac’s got the breaking of tenth commandment ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s control of domestic expenditure.’
The priests are writing to Cherie Blair before she leaves Downing Street, to advise her against the sin of stealing all the soft furnishings.
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