Blair converts to Catholicism

LONDON - Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, now the Middle East peace envoy, has converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, the head of Britain's Catholics said on Saturday.

Blair, whose wife and children are Catholic, was received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Cardinal Cormac Muphy-O'Connor on Friday.

"I am very glad to welcome Tony Blair into the Catholic Church," Murphy-O'Connor said in a statement.

"For a long time he has been a regular worshipper at mass with his family and in recent months he has been following a programme of formation to prepare for his reception into full communion.

Blair's conversion has long been expected. He had a private meeting with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in June and has been receiving spiritual preparation for the conversion from Mark O'Toole, Murphy-O'Connor's private secretary.