Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed his status as showman extraordinaire when he met Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican on the final leg of his 'farewell world tour'.
Blair's long goodbye, which began on 10 May, has included visits to heads of state in Europe, Africa and, of course, America, to see fellow Iraq war criminal and 'best buddy' President George Bush.
The Prime Minister's private audience with the Pope, head of the world-wide Roman Catholic faith, was hailed as confirmation of his decision to convert to to the same religion as his wife, Cherie.
Speculation that Blair would move away from the Anglican church has intensified in Westminster and beyond since he announced his intention to quit his job. Before he became Prime Minister, Blair regularly took communion with Cherie and their children at a Catholic church in Islington.
He stopped doing so after an intervention by the late Cardinal Hume, when he was leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is believed that Blair decided to remain an Anglican while he was Prime Minister because of the possible legal and political difficulties of converting while in office, not least the delicate peace process between Catholics and Protestant in Northern Ireland.
Keen to exploit, to the last, the privilege of access to the powerful and mighty, Blair rejected the quiet and humble path taken by millions of other would-be converts who make their request to join the Catholic church to the local priest. Playing to the world media, the Prime Minister presented the pontiff with a frame containing three photographs of Cardinal Newman, the most famous English convert to Roman Catholicism, so far.
A statement issued after more than an hour of talks between Blair and the Pope said they had a 'frank exchange of views'. The Vatican is said to almost never use the term 'frank' and when it does it means there has been an argument. The statement said the Pope and his advisers had 'reviewed certain significant contributions by Prime Minister Blair during his 10 years in government'. The 'frank exchange of views' had been about 'the present international situation, not withstanding particularly delicate questions, such as the conflict in the Middle East (particularly the Iraq war, which the Catholic church opposes) and the future of the European Union after the Brussels summit'.
While the newspapers devote column space to Blair's ethereal ambitions after Downing Street, The-Latest trawled the web to share with you the Blair-weary British public's view of his meeting with the Pope.
If you are already a Christian baptised in a trinitarian tradition, all you really need to do to be "converted" to Rome, is to undergo the Sacrament of Reconciliation ("confession"). Now, of course, it's perfectly possible that in a private audience with the Pope, Tony Blair may have already done so. Part of the Sacrament is to perform a penance which is intended to help you reflect on the sinfulness of what you have just confessed and consider how you will avoid doing such things again.
What should brother Tony's penance be I wonder? For me, with some pretty venal sins to confess, it was to meditate on certain Psalms. But I hadn't gone against all the exhortations of the highest authorities in the church and sent men to kill and die in a far off land on a false prospectus in arrogant disregard of evidence collected by servants of the international community on the ground.
So maybe his penance should be to hold a proper inquiry into the decision to go to war and when it is completed, apologise and face the consequences of his decisions like a man.
John, Essex UK
All this goes to prove is that there is no bottom to Tony Blair's hypocrisy; a point which has been amply illuminated by his conduct during his terms in office.
The Pontiff was quite justified in giving Blair a dressing down. It takes a man of great intellect to become pope and it's obvious that Benedict XVI saw right through Blair's subterfuge. Of course, the pope being a redeemer won't turn away a sinner with a guilty conscience who wants to repent.
Tony Makara, Manchester
I am delighted that the Pope has criticised Blair, as this nonsense about him converting to Catholicism is just a political ploy. You could not seriously have religious convictions while invading another country and having the blood of so many people on your hands. All of Blair's policies are aimed at minority groups, so that each group will vote for him because they appear to be getting something. He never tells the real agenda until after the elections!
Elizabeth Kent, London England
Let's hope His Holiness made it clear that the discrimination against Christians in Blair's Britain has been a disgrace, as has the official political correctness encouraging the disparaging of Christian traditions, supposedly to avoid offending other - more favourably viewed - religions, who are continually pandered to by the Blair regime and its supporters.
Mr. Blair will have to convert to Roman Catholicism if his hopes of Sainthood are to be realised. That is after his other ambitions are to be realised those of peace envoy to the Middle East and president of the U.S.E. United States of Europe
Peter Trewerne, Oakham in Rutland,England
You are not one of us Mr Blair. You can never be one of us without repenting. Your 'equality laws' and 'scientific research laws' fly in the face of all I believe in as a Roman Catholic. If you were one, you should have been excommunicated by now.
Frank, Crawley, UK
Miracles do happen in Britain, we are just about to get rid of this man who has brought England to its knees. How he and his wife can ever claim to be so religious after their actions is astounding, but not surprising with their track record.
The only person who can not see any wrong-doing in 'Mr Bliar' is 'Mr Bliar' himself. Just a great pity someone like the Pope didn't make his remarks a few years ago before Britain got in such a mess.
Les, Southport, England.
A slapped wrist for Blair, and the wind taken out of his sails. Pity it had to be now and not years ago.
Rosemary Langley, Ipswich, Suffolk
I am not a Catholic but I admire the Pope for saying those things to Tony Blair. Perhaps the penny will sink in now, better late than never!
Janet Edwards, Kendal, England
Truths hurt, so Blair feels the sting from the Pope and rightly so. Our Dictator may well be able to pull the wool over the eyes of the British electorate however; The Pope is not so beguiled to be taken in by his smarmy smiles.
Robert G, Derbyshire UK
Does this mean Blair won't be a saint but only a knight? His record of cock-ups did not impress the Pope either.
I trust Benedict XVI did give Blair a flea-in-his-ear!
Michael, Bridgwater, UK
The Pope is right to be cautious -Tony's probably wants his job...
Pauline, ex pat/Bangkok
At last, someone who has the confidence and position to put Blair in is place. Well done Your Holiness.
Paul, London, UK
Did Tony Blair ask the Pope why he lets so many die from Aids in Africa because of the Catholic view on the use of condoms?