Fintan O’Toole: Most notable thing about Johnson’s Catholicism is how much it doesn’t matter

If only the institution had been as flexible for Henry VIII as it is for Boris Johnson

 Boris Johnson  with his wife, Carrie Johnson, following their wedding at Westminster Cathedral,  in London. Photograph: Rebecca Fulton/ Downing Street via Getty

Boris Johnson with his wife, Carrie Johnson, following their wedding at Westminster Cathedral, in London. Photograph: Rebecca Fulton/ Downing Street via Getty

I have it on good authority that the papal briefing on world events last Monday morning went something like this. Holy Father, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that Boris Johnson is a Roman Catholic and that the breach between Rome and England created by Henry VIII is now healed. The bad news is that he’s hoping to beat Henry VIII’s record for the number of wives an English ruler can accumulate.

Somehow, the news that the United Kingdom has its first ever serving Catholic prime minister ought to feel more momentous than it does. Something quite epic is coming to an end. But the moment is oddly tinged with absurdity.

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