Cherie Blair explains her Catholic choice

The British Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair has said her children have been brought up Catholics to prevent them becoming "simply part of the Establishment".

In an interview with the Times magazine and reported on the BBC, the human rights lawyer said that the choice was influenced by her faith's "bit of grit" in its social teachings and her children's "pretty privileged life".

Mrs Blair said when she was growing up being a Catholic "meant you were not part of the Establishment".

"And so, being from a fairly humble family myself, and knowing that my children are having a pretty privileged life, I don't want them to be simply part of the Establishment," she explained.

During a tour of Pakistan and Afghanistan last month, which was made in her capacity as patron of the charity Breast Cancer Care, Mrs Blair met survivors of last year's earthquake, female politicians and other public figures.

She said her husband's job had given her a chance to "make a difference".

"Sometimes just by going to these places and showing your face and talking about women's issues, at least you're both, hopefully, giving some sort of encouragement to those who are pushing those issues, and making people who are against those issues face up to the realities," she said.

Mrs Blair has been criticised for reportedly making 100,000 for a speaking tour in Australia last year but said the trip to South Asia was voluntary.

Also in the UK, Catholic and other campaigners have welcomed the news that Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill has been defeated.

Some 90 peers participated in the debate, including many medical peers and disabled peers who spoke strongly against the Bill. Finally they voted against the legalisation of doctor-assisted suicide by 148 votes to 100.

"We congratulate the members of the House of Lords who were successful in defeating this dangerous Bill," said Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance.

"This result reflects the concerns of many in the UK, in particular the medical profession and disability groups who are overwhelmingly opposed to the legalisation of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia."

"Legislation that permits doctors to assist in suicide, fundamentally changes the role of doctor from someone who cures or cares to a killer," she said.

Cherie explains Catholic choice (BBC 13/5/06)
Campaigners express relief at defeat of Assisted Dying Bill (Independent Catholic News 12/5/06)

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Downing Street

Pope hears advice from Cherie Blair (CathNews 1/5/06)
Cherie Blair attacks US on death penalty in Catholic paper (CathNews 9/2/04)
British PM's wife challenges Pope to fix sexism in Church (CathNes 22/12/03)
Pope says private Mass for Blair family (CathNews 25/2/03)

A Bloshie scouser (Sunday Mail 14/5/06)
Cardinal dismissed his top press aide 'for being gay' (London Independent 14/5/06)
Cherie chose Catholic 'grit' for children (Scotland on Sunday 14/5/06)
British parliament blocks assisted suicide law (Reuters 12/5/06)
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, British religious authorities urge Parliament against euthanasia bill (Catholic News Agency 12/5/06)
Cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury speak together on Euthanasia Bill (Independent Catholic News 12/5/06)
Thousands expected at rally against Joffe Bill (Independent Catholic News 12/5/06)
Archbishop sacks advisor because he is gay (pinknews.co.uk 14/5/06)
Religious Leaders Unite Against Right-to-Die Bill (Zenit 12/5/06)

15 May 2006