Converts to Rome: A Guide to Notable Converts from Britain and Ireland during the Twentieth Century, Compiled by John Beaumont, with an introduction by Stanley L. Jaki
To be a Christian is to be a convert. The word “convert” applies equally to cradle-born Catholics and to those who become Catholics as adults.
The Catholic Church is the divinely established framework of the program of a conversion, which Christ presented as a thorough change of mind and heart (metanoia). While for a cradle-born Catholic the implementation of that program is usually a gradual process, for converts it contains a momentous act as they vote, so to speak, with their feet, on behalf of Truth, by joining the Church as the One True Fold, the Sole Ark of Salvation, to recall hallowed phrases dear to John Henry Newman, easily the greatest convert during the nineteenth century.
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The list of notable converts as given in this book is far from complete. The Introduction explains the norms of selection and contains an appeal for further information about such who should have been included here. Their names may be conveyed to:
May the list grow and promote in its own modest way the expansion of the Kingdom of God, which is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, as we profess this in the Creed recited in the Holy Mass on Sundays and major Feasts.
Gill, Cecil c. 29 September 1934 (received with his wife); former Anglican clergyman; former missionary in New Guinea; younger brother of Eric Gill; see unpublished autobiography, referred to in Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts (1999).
Gillett, Henry Martin Francis b. 11 November 1902; c. 1933; d. 1980; from family with Tractarian associations; former Anglican minister; English and history master; lecturer and writer on Catholic history, relics, churches, and shrines (especially those to Our Lady, e.g., Famous Shrines of Our Lady, Two Volumes (1949 and 1952); organiser of national pilgrimages to Walsingham; founder of Ecclesial Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary; see Matthew Hoehn OSB (ed), Catholic Authors (1952).
Gilley, Dr. Sheridan b. in Australia; c. 1993; historian and biographer; Reader in Theology in University of Durham; converted after the Church of England ordained women; see Newman and His Age (1999); “The End of the Oxford Movement,” The Tablet, 18 March 1995, p.352 (“The ordination of women has, moreover, revealed further difficulties in [the Anglo-Catholic] theory of the episcopate. The Anglo-Catholic bishops have allowed the ordination of women to the priesthood in their dioceses while opposing such ordinations in principle. Never, I think, in 20 centuries of Christianity, has a bishop sanctioned the ordination of a body of clergy whom he is unable in conscience to ordain himself. This conception of the episcopal office is unknown in the history of the Christian Church”); “Chesterton and Conversion,” Priests and People, October 1995, p.381 (“I sometimes feel myself that I have a clearer view of Christianity than many who have only half left it, and who have never been wholly outside it themselves. It is from a journey which begins in the rejection of Christianity that one can see most clearly how both like and unlike other religions it is, and that, while there are many mansions in the Father’s house but only one house, so they all find their home under Peter’s dome. Modern Western man may have to make a lengthy pilgrimage to find his true native land where it has always been, still awaiting him”); “Newman and the Convert Mind” in Ian Ker (ed), Newman and Conversion (1997); “Loss and Gain: Conversions to Catholicism in Modern Britain” in Dwight Longenecker (ed), The Path to Rome (1999); foreword to John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness (1997) (“There are three gateways to God, of goodness, truth, and beauty, yet in the Christian West, they have been sundered by the emergence of first a Protestant and then a secular culture. Neither truth nor goodness now need seem beautiful, and beauty in creation and creature has become, at best, a mere projection of subjective experience, at worst, a worldly temptation and a snare to turn the heart and mind from the eternal”).