London, Dec.13 (ANI): Tony Blair converted to Catholicism only after quitting as British prime minister because he wanted to avoid profuse and idle talk about the decision.
In an interview about his religious faith to be broadcast on Sunday, The Independent quoted Blair as insisting that his conversion did not amount to a rejection of the Church of England and its teachings.
And he batted away suggestions that he may have held off from converting earlier in his life from fear that Catholicism would exclude him from the highest political office.
In his interview for BBC1's Christmas Voices he expressed regret that he was not more "adventurous" and says it should not be the case that politicians have to be inhibited about talking about God.
"People, in one sense, are a little comforted if they think the person leading them has some sense of spiritual value," he said.
"Probably we could have been a little more adventurous on this without bringing the house down," he added.
Blair left little doubt that it was fear of the public and media reaction that led him to delay his conversion until after he quit as PM, even though he had been attending mass for 25 years and was bringing his children up as Catholics.
"It would have caused such a palaver if I had done it whilst I was still in office," he said.
No Roman Catholic has ever been Prime Minister, and there have long been suspicions that Blair remained in the Church of England in order to avoid placing an obstacle in his way to Downing Street.
But asked about why he did not convert earlier in his career, he replied: "Maybe I was at a slightly different stage of my own development... I hope we're not in a situation where you couldn't have a Roman Catholic as Prime Minister. I don't, to be honest, think it makes any difference to people at all, politically."
Since leaving office, Blair has established the Tony Blair Faith Foundation with the aim of increasing understanding between the world's major religions. (ANI)