Posted: 2007-12-23 07:55:33
LONDON (Dec. 23) - Former prime minister Tony Blair's conversion to Catholicism means he is now a member of the most popular Christian denomination in Britain, according to religious research published on Sunday.
Despite England's official break with the pope in Rome during Henry VIII's reign more than 400 years ago, making Anglicanism and the Church of England dominant, Catholicism is now the most practiced faith in the land.
A survey by the group Christian Research published in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper showed that around 862,000 worshippers attended Catholic Mass each week in 2006, exceeding the 852,000 who went to Church of England services.
Blair's conversion was long expected -- his wife and four children are practicing Catholics -- but it has not come without a degree of criticism.
While in office, he frequently championed stem-cell research, was in support of civil partnerships for gay couples and has voted in favor of abortion, all issues on which the Catholic faithful hold strong positions.
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