As his last overseas visit, outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair has selected the Vatican. The last thing he does as PM of the UK is to call on Pope Benedict. And we all know what that means.
The rumors have been circulating for a long time, but those who pay attention to such things see this as the clearest sign yet. With a Roman Catholic wife and Roman Catholic children, the pressure was on to convert. Mr. Blair has attended Catholic services with his family, so he's familiar with the Mass and all its accoutrements. Not so very different from the average Church of England Sunday mornings, so it's not much of a stretch to try a new angle.
Once he's had a chat with His Holiness, Mr. Blair is going to call on the Archbishop of Westminster at the Venerable English College in Rome. That's where Catholic priests were traditionally trained for the martyrdom that awaited them when they were posted to England. Deep significance there, you must admit. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's Irish eyes will be smiling, and don't think he won't put in a strong hint about joining a winning team. After all, the Anglican Church has nothing nearly as grand as the Sistine Chapel to lay claim to.
To say the least, members of the DUP in Belfast have no comment, but there is a lot of loud grumbling coming out of Stormont. They're on a losing streak, and now it's another soul gone to the Papists. The marching season can't come soon enough, to provide a bright spot in an otherwise bleak future.