LEICESTER, United Kingdom – In short exchange with a journalist during the G7 summit in Cornwall, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to comment on whether or not he is now a practicing Catholic.
ITV political editor Robert Peston noted that Johnson got married in Westminster Cathedral on May 29, and then asked him, “Are you now a practicing Roman Catholic?”
Johnson replied, “I don’t discuss these deep issues. Certainly not with you.”
Johnson was the first prime minster to get married in office for 199 years, and his unannounced wedding to Carrie Symonds caused some to question how he was married in a Catholic ceremony, since Johnson was married twice before.
The answer was that Johnson was baptized Catholic – he left the Church and became an Anglican while in school – and Church law stipulates that his previous two marriages weren’t recognized, since they had not been solemnized in the Catholic Church.
Symonds is a practicing Catholic and has not been married before.
Writing on the ITV website, Peston said he was “struggling to make sense of the prime minister’s answer” to his question about Johnson’s religion.
“He is aware that – for better or worse (worse for a long time) – this has been a pertinent question for chief and prime ministers since Henry Vlll,” Peston wrote. “More broadly, the professed faith or none of a leader matters to many voters.”
Johnson is the first person baptized in the Catholic Church to serve as British prime minister – a position that developed after the Reformation – although Tony Blair converted to Catholicism after he left office.
In his exchange with the prime minister, Peston also mentioned that Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said that he doesn’t believe in God, before asking Johnson if he believed in God.
“The foolish man has said in his heart he doesn’t believe in God. I’ll leave it at that,” Johnson answered.
Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome