Thursday, 1 May 2008

Is George Bush about to follow Blair into Catholicism?

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Could converting to Catholicism be set to join hitting the after-dinner speaking circuit on the list of things for world leaders to do after they leave office? According to the Italian weekly Panorama (via Reuters' Faith World blog), George W Bush is poised to follow the Reverend Tony's lead and covert to the Catholic faith once he leaves the White House next January.

Before anyone gets too carried away, let us clarify that this story appears spurious at best. Reuters' blogger Philip Pullella is entirely unconvinced, saying that "the odds of this happening appear as good as those of the proverbial snowball in hell."

Panorama's evidence for this claim amounts to the fact that Methodist Bush prayed with Pope Benedict during his recent visit to the US, that Bush's brother Jeb converted to join his Mexican wife as a Catholic, and that several of the President's close advisers are Catholic.

And that's pretty much it. Catholic blogger Father John Duhlsdorf provides his own English translation and dismisses the story with the introduction "Wanna read an article typical of much of the Italian press?", before concluding that "A lot of this article is pure fantasy. "

So, to sum up, don't expect to see George W confessing in a booth adjacent to Tony's any time soon.