With over a billion Catholics in the world, most have been born into Catholic families and raised with at least some appreciation and understanding of the Catholic faith.
Those who have converted to Catholicism, however, have usually taken a conscious decision to do so. That decision, often made without the support of family and loved ones, is always a powerful statement and where such converts have shared their thinking, perhaps in correspondence leading up to their reception into the Catholic Church or perhaps at a later date, it is often instructive for others seeking to make up their own minds.
By clicking on the links below, as names are gradually added, users of this site can find details of some of those who took the leap of faith. Some were formerly atheists, others were from Anglican or other Protestant churches, some were Jewish (practising or not), and others have a variety of different spiritual backgrounds. A few names have been included of individuals who were brought up as Catholics, who utterly rejected their faith, but who later returned wholeheartedly to the Church (re-converts, as they might be known). In compiling this list, emphasis has been given to those whose conversions are compelling from a spiritual point of view rather than to those (including kings and high profile politicians) who are merely famous.
· Maurice Baring (literary figure and war correspondent)
· Robert Hugh Benson (literary figure and intellectual)
· G K Chesterton (author and apologist)
· Ray Chidell (author, Catholic apologist and creator of this website)
· Christopher Dawson (author and scholar)
· John Dryden (poet and playwright)
· Ulf Ekman (former charismatic pastor)
· Frederick William Faber (theologian and hymn writer)
· Jennifer Fulwiler (journalist)
· Scott Hahn (Catholic apologist and former Presbyterian minister and theologian)
· Levi Silliman Ives (US Protestant bishop)
· Eve Lavalliere (French actress)
· Dorothy Loseby (medic and missionary)
· Norma McCorvey (former “pro-choice” plaintiff in Roe v Wade).
· Malcolm Muggeridge (writer and journalist)
· Bernard Nathanson (US doctor and former abortionist)
· John Henry Newman (clergyman and theologian, beatified in 2010)
· Alphonse Ratisbonne (Jewish banker)
· Marino Restrepo (actor and musician)
· Roy Schoeman (author and Harvard professor)
· Delia Smith (cookery writer)
· Muriel Spark (author and critic)
· Edith Stein (Jewish philosopher, canonised as St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
· Jeffrey Steel (Former Anglican vicar)
· Saul of Tarsus (persecutor of Christians in the early church, later St Paul)
· J R R Tolkien (author of Lord of the Rings, professor)
· Evelyn Waugh (author)
· Oscar Wilde (playwright and poet)
© Ray Chidell 2011