Tablet unveils Top 100 Catholics in UK today (2015)

The Governor of the Bank of England is the most influential Catholic in the UK, according to a list drawn up by The Tablet as the journal marks 175 years of uninterrupted coverage.

Mark Carney is joined on the list by academics, politicians and famous faces, including actress Carey Mulligan (86), award-winning musician Sam Smith (77), and presenters Ant and Dec (78). The list was compiled on the grounds of influence and standing in British society, covers laity only and refers to Catholics currently living in this country, rather than those born here.

The top ten includes figures from public life and the arts, among them Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw at 2 (a new entry since 2010, when Christine Gilbert appeared in 13th place), National Trust Director Dame Helen Ghosh (4), and National Gallery Director Gabriele Finaldi (12). The highest ranking politician is Iain Duncan Smith (18), but in a marked change since the 2010 list, Tony Blair has dropped from fifth to 17th place.

Scotland's leading political historian Sir Tom Devine, who backed the Yes campaign during last year's Scottish Independence referendum, appears at number seven - considerably higher than Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy (44).

The Top 100 is a star-studded list, including such names as David Harewood (49) Frank Skinner (47), Dermot O'Leary (80) and Danny Boyle (63), along with footballer Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen (46). It reflects a cross-section of British life, from public figures such as spy chief Robert Hannigan (3) to Daily Mail Deputy Editor Tony Gallagher (37), Stonewall Chief Executive Ruth Hunt (54), ITN presenter Julie Etchingham (35) and Banking Standards Board Chair Dame Colette Bowe (5). Margaret Thatcher's biographer Charles Moore (22) appears, as does Downton creator Lord Fellowes (95), chef Delia Smith (60) and writer Lady Antonia Fraser (76).

Along with Carney, other foreign-born Catholics ranked on the list include Chelsea FC Manager Jose Mourinho and footballer Didier Drogba (joint 48th), and Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (13), the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. Philanthropist and financier John Studzinski appears in 10th place, with other charity sector entrants including Ilyas Khan (21), Chairman of Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mind CEO Paul Farmer (24). Academics are well represented, among them Baroness Sheila Hollins (16), a papal adviser on safeguarding minors.

The oldest member of the list is Baroness Shirley Williams (88) and the youngest is Sam Smith. The list includes 12 peers, while women make up a fifth of the list.

Catherine Pepinster, Editor of The Tablet, said: "The Tablet's Top 100 lay people of 2015 reflects the enormous contribution of Catholics to this country and beyond, in leadership positions in every sector from banking to the arts to sport and to running major charities. A striking feature of the list created to mark our 175th anniversary is how many of those featured have risen to prominence from modest or even underprivileged backgrounds. While recent studies reveal that social mobility in Britain is at a standstill, Catholics have gone from being a minority group, largely a community of working class immigrants, to playing a key role in British professional and public life - a story that is testament to the transformative power of education in Catholic schools.

"Many of them declare that their faith underpins their determination to work for the common good of society. This is often a tribute to the exceptional quality of Catholic education but also reflects an instinct instilled by faith for these individuals to use their unique God-given gifts."

Christopher Lamb, Assistant Editor of The Tablet, said: "The political earthquake in Scotland has led to many Catholics from the Labour party losing their seats. It is also clear, however, that Catholics north of the border have played a critical role in this change by shifting their support to the SNP. Our list reflects this with the high placing of Sir Tom Devine, Scotland's leading historian widely seen as the intellectual heavyweight behind Scottish nationalism."

Read across the globe, The Tablet has reported on events of Catholic and wider significance in the UK and further afield for 175 years, with contributors including esteemed intellectuals, thinkers and writers, among them Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, and Popes Benedict XVI and Paul VI.

The Tablet is commemorating the 175th anniversary on 16th May and looking back on the community's history with a Thanksgiving Mass at Westminster Cathedral. Other celebratory events are planned for the rest of 2015, with David Lodge and Lady Antonia Fraser among the speakers at the Tablet Literary Festival in June. In October pianist Stephen Hough will perform a specially commissioned sonata at the Barbican Centre. There will also be an interfaith seminar considering whether Catholics, Jews and Muslims remain outsiders in British society, and a panel event on the road to women bishops involving the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord (Rowan) Williams.

The Tablet was founded in 1840 by Frederick Lucas, a Quaker convert to Catholicism and is the second-oldest surviving weekly journal in the UK, after The Spectator.

The 175th anniversary of The Tablet falls on 16 May 2015. To mark this important anniversary, The Tablet has planned a programme of events around the UK and Ireland. This includes:

Thanksgiving Masses: London and Dublin Westminster Cathedral, 16th May, St Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 7th June)

Tablet Literary Festival: 'The Catholic Imagination in Literature' (The Library of Birmingham, 19th - 20th June)

'From Mary Magdalene to Women Bishops' - a Catholic/Anglican Seminar (Magdalene College, Cambridge, 30th June)

'The Book and the Believer: Are Catholics, Jews and Muslims still outsiders in British society?' (London School of Economics, 15th October)

Tablet Concert with Dublin Choral Society (22nd October)

Tablet Sonata (Barbican Centre, London, 23rd October)

'The Spirit of Catholic Renewal: Signs, Sources and Calling' (Ushaw College, University of Durham, 2nd - 4th November):


Throughout 2015 The Tablet will be awarding bursaries to postgraduate students in religious studies departments, while a series of awards will also be made to parishes, individuals or organisations for excellence in pastoral action in areas influenced by Catholic Social Teaching and initiatives in development and justice and peace.

For further information see: :

Tags: Catherine Pepinster, Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

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