Security was tight at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome after it received more than 200 complaints from pro-life supporters over Mrs Blair’s appearance.
“I am on the record as having had difficulties with accepting the current [Catholic] teaching of responsible parenthood,” said Mrs Blair, who has in the past admitted using contraception and is a known supporter of the largest abortion agency in the UK, the Family Planning Association. The Catholic Church is a staunch opponent of birth control and abortion.
She said at the end of the lecture, “I am pleased that the University was not put off by the complaints and although I am not Miss Perfect for sure but I don't have horns and a tail.
“I have been a practicing Catholic all my life and it would be rather strange if I didn't adhere to the teachings of the Church.
“My own life illustrates that but there is a real danger in this debate if we ally contraception and abortion as the same and the Church needs to engage in this issue properly.”
Her lecture came as the Vatican published its document on human life, also in Rome on Friday, which affirms the Church’s view that human beings are entitled to dignity and respect from the moment of conception and posses an absolute right to life.
Welcoming the publication of ‘Dignitas Personae’, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien said that universal and fundamental human rights had been “utterly destroyed” in the UK, most recently by the passing of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.
“As well as defending human life, this document also welcomes and endorses scientific research, making it clear that such work must be ethical and effective,” he said.
“I would urge any Catholic working in these fields to examine their conscience very carefully in the light of this informed and explicit teaching.
“Ultimately such individuals must ask themselves if their work is compatible with their faith."