Tony Blair’s priest fixed papal knighthoods for cash: Senior Catholic took up to £50k donations for honours
By IAN GALLAGHER
UPDATED: 16:22 GMT, 12 October 201
Suspended: Father Michael Seed’s superiors are said to be ‘appalled’
- Senior Catholic Fr Michael Seed admits soliciting charity donations of up to £50,000 for prestigious honours
- Franciscan Friars ‘appalled’ by MoS disclosures… as Seed admits his actions could be ‘morally wrong’
One of Britain’s most high-profile Catholic priests has admitted arranging papal knighthoods for wealthy businessmen for money.
Father Michael Seed, who regularly celebrated Mass for Tony Blair and his family in Downing Street, now faces questions from his religious order after an investigation by The Mail on Sunday.
The most damaging evidence concerns his attempted cultivation of an Israeli arms dealer, Hezi Bezalel, who was seeking business opportunities in the Balkans.
It shows that Fr Seed, a former ecumenical adviser to the Archbishop of Westminster, had ‘agreed’ a papal knighthood for Mr Bezalel before approaching him. In return for a £45,000 donation to charity, Fr Seed said he could also introduce Mr Bezalel to influential Balkan politicians ‘and the man who looks after all arms for the region’. Mr Bezalel declined the offer, saying he did not give to charity ‘under instruction’.
Papal knighthoods are awarded to lay men and women for conspicuous service to the church and society. They are among the highest honours the Pope can bestow.
Tonight a source close to Fr Seed’s order, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, said his superiors were ‘appalled’. Although he failed to solicit funds from Mr Bezalel, at least four wealthy Britons were impressed by his overtures. Fr Seed admitted they made donations to an Archbishop friend’s charity in Serbia to become papal knights.
It was unclear last night if the four, who are each understood to have contributed between £25,000 and £50,000, had done anything else to merit their honour.
Our inquiries also reveal that:
- Fr Seed gave a £34,000 cheque drawn from his order’s charity bank account to a friend, Chinese businesswoman Xuelin Black, who later paid the money into his personal account. Last night the order said it was auditing accounts over the disclosure. Ms Black, 47, who was made a papal dame by Pope Benedict XVI, is a Tory donor and adviser to the Government’s Big Society project.
- Fr Seed is on indefinite leave from his order after claims that he marked the 25th anniversary of his ordination in January with a champagne party at a racy club, with entertainment provided by men dressed as nuns.
- He lives rent-free in a flat owned by one of his wealthy papal knights in exclusive Dolphin Square in Pimlico, Central London.
Fr Seed, who has taken a vow of poverty, denied profiting from any of the deals. But he agreed that trying to solicit funds from Mr Bezalel could be seen as ‘morally wrong’.
Asked if he thought many would see the deal as an abuse of the papal honours system, he said: ‘Of course I do.’
Fr Seed is honorary chaplain to the International Committee on Human Dignity, based at the European Parliament in Brussels. But it was as unofficial Catholic envoy to Parliament that he acquired many well-connected friends. He was praised by Cherie Blair for turning ‘the great into the good’ and helped to convert Tony Blair, Ann Widdecombe, John Gummer and the Duchess of Kent.Admission: Father Seed is facing questions from his religious order
When he approached Mr Bezalel in Novemberhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Tony-Blairs-priest-fixed-papal–knighthoods-…
Oct 12, 2012 – One of Britain’s most high-profile Catholic priests has admitted arrangingpapal knighthoods for wealthy businessmen for money.
Oct 28, 2012 – Catholic church wants perv Jimmy Savile’s papal knighthood removed… friend of Savile but was not aware of his dark secrets and has now said that he should lose the papal honour. Cardinal …. Get Your Sale Price Now! Go …
Oct 27, 2012 – The Vatican says it never would have given Jimmy Savile his papal knighthood had it known of allegations the British TV star was a child sex …
Mar 31, 2011 – Actually I am not sure I believe any of this – Fr Seedy, transvestite nuns, the Pigalle club, gun-running in the balkans, papal knighthoods for sale …
http://www.irishnews.com/…/church-may-strip-savile-of-h…; – United Kingdom
Oct 11, 2012 – THE Catholic Church may post humously strip Jimmy Savile of hispapal knighthood as police from at least five forces investigate allegations he …
Jul 11, 2011 – Should Cavaliere Murdoch have his papal knighthood rescinded? …..The practice is known as the ‘sale of indulgences’, and the present pope …
Jul 8, 2011 – Is it right that papal knighthoods should be awarded in this way? The honour is supposed to recognise a person’s service to the Church.
… and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1935. He was Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a prestigious papal order of knighthood.
5+ items – Knighthoods For Sale knighthoods+for+sale.sale-hot.com/ Fast …
The Falklands War (Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), also … Oct 12, 2012 … Papal knighthoods are awarded to lay men and women for …
- Francis: “All Christians have Jewish roots”
- Don’t fish in aquariums, Francis tells future Vatican diplomats
- Indian missionary priests sent to rejuvenate ‘tired’ faith in Scotland
- Do We Judge or Do We claim that we have never judged?
- No Indian Bishop Responds to Papal Call? Church in India & Oct.4-25 Family Synod
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- Association of Concerned Catholics
- Catholics For Preservation of Faith
- Church in India
- Church News in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai
- Church Worldwide news
- Daily Reflections – By Fr.Conrad Saldanha
- General Articles
- Michael Prabhus Articles and Reserach
- News from Goa/Mangalore
- Silenced Voice
- Unpublished Letters- Examine Your Conscience