A few famous Catholics
The number of Catholics in the world
In the world of over 7 billion people (currently estimated at over 7 billion plus 95 million), around 1.2 billion people identify as Catholic.
- usatoday.com had this number as 1.18 billion reported by the Vatican in 2011
- according to catholicculture.org, that number went up to 1.2 billion in 2012.
According to pewforum.org, the global Catholic population has more than tripled over the past century.
The number of Catholics in the United States
In a 2008 catholicexchange.com article by Francis Cardinal George, OMI it was estimated that 24% of Americans self identify as Catholic. According to the article, those who were born into Catholicism and leave the church might steadily be replaced by Catholic immigrants and/or converts to the religion.
There are now over 300 million people living in the United States and according to Pew Research Center, there are currently 75 million Catholics living in the United States or 7% of the world Catholic population.
(Southern Baptists and Methodists comprise a larger percentage of the United States' Christian population).
The following link offers a lot of interesting statistics on how surveyed Catholics view certain issues of the day, from contraception to the death penalty. Views on religious leadership (the Pope), how Catholics typically vote in Presidential elections and how often they report regularly attending religious services is also discussed.:
United States of America
With the Lenten season beginning, I bring you this article partly because I self identify as Catholic as well. As I did with the article about famous left handed people, I find it interesting when there are famous people who report being Catholic like me.
There are 24% of us in all of the United States but how many of us are famous and still declare being Catholic?
Below is a list of a few famous Catholic people.
References include common knowledge from perhaps seeing the celebrity state his/her religious affiliation in at least one television interview or magazine article however some celebrity religion databases also exist online. I saw one that boasts almost 4,000 members for the Roman Catholic faith.
Of course, some Catholics are more conservative with the religion than others but faith and spirituality are a very personal journey. So, it is nice when a public figure even wants to share in discussion about their beliefs.
Here are the few Catholic celebrities that I thought to include in this article before doing any additional research. They identified as being Catholic at some point in their lives and possibly still do.:
Joe Biden is Catholic
1. Joe Biden
Current USA President, Barack Obama's first and second term Vice President, Joe Biden has frequently discussed his Catholic faith with the media. As a Catholic Democrat, he has at times faced scrutiny over some of his more liberal views. Nevertheless, one of the guiding forces in his campaigns with Barack Obama has been tolerance, treating others as we want to be treated, equal rights, freedom for all. Biden has staunchly stated that he knows what his belief and principles are, but in his extremely high ranking political position, he can not in his opinion use his influence to impose his beliefs on others. He thinks that will impinge on their own personal freedoms.
Freedom and democracy are at the cornerstone and foundation for all who want to live in the United States.
Nevertheless, God and the laws of God are also held in great reverence in the majority of the United States. We all know some of the sad history of the United States including slavery, imperialism, displacement of indigenous/native people, and participation in numerous wars.
Despite the tragic parts, the USA has been built into a strong and leading nation. The founding fathers and writers of the United States constitution held the belief that the United States was acquired and settled upon through Divine Providence. The United States is considered "one nation under God". In the United States, most people do believe in God. There are not many Athiests.
In the USA, we have freedom to practice our respective religions whether that be a Christian denomination such as Catholic, or Jewish or Muslim or other. Interfaith coalitions among religious organizations often form where educated discourse and support (and perhaps evangelization) for our brothers and sisters of all faiths can occur.
Because of the moral foundation and great reverence for God by the majority of Americans, moral issues are often heatedly debated in the political arena. Despite the call for separation of church and state, issues often leak over from one into the other.
Many are also opposed to profanity in the entertainment industry and some Catholic celebrities for example might avoid taking on certain projects. Patricia Heaton is one Catholic celebrity who has discussed this. Even though their acting is separate from their real personas, they are still affected by their connection to the project(s). The Catholic Movie Rating system is one resource for Catholic families looking for family friendly entertainment.
Alexis Bledel is a Catholic
2. Alexis Bledel
While I have been following the entertainment industry and pop culture less and less these days (For example, my movie reviews on HubPages have waned. I used to be an big movie and popular music fan but not quite as much anymore.), I think I am still equipped to comment on what I know of some of these Catholic famous people.
I am not familiar with her current projects but I do remember Alexis Bledel from the hit television show Gilmore Girls where she plays the daughter of a mother who had her at a very young age (sixteen I believe). Alexis also acted in an adorable made for television movie (by Hallmark) about a man who loses his short term memory and basically falls in love with her character again, daily.
The movie reminded me very much of 50 First Dates starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. Movies like that can definitely tug at your heart strings.
Alexis Bledel is a Catholic.
3. George Clooney
Famously handsome and talented George Clooney has been known to say that he had a strict Catholic upbringing and was also an altar boy but now he appears to be agnostic, not necessarily believing in Heaven or hell and not sure he believes in God. His known BFF Brad Pitt has been said to be an atheist.
4. Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper is a gifted actor in my opinion. One of his well known projects, Silver Linings Playbook did contain a lot of profane language but he acted his role very convincingly and seemed to be very comfortable with taking on the project.
Interestingly, his co-star Chris Tucker has online biographies that state that his absence from the entertainment industry (including refusal to participate in a sequel for the Friday movie franchise) before returning to the entertainment industry was in large part due to his having become a Born Again Christian.
Bradley Cooper has frequently declared his Catholic faith in interviews and says that it is a very important part of his life.
5. Josh Duhamel and his wife Fergie
In one interview with Oprah Winfrey, Josh Duhamel and Fergie gathered around an outdoor dining table with others for a meal and discussed their lives and love for each other. Josh Duhamel gush about his physical attraction to Fergie but also the principles that they both hold dear and the Catholic moral foundation that they and their families shared in common. He joked that he is more straight laced and she is more rock and roll.
Josh Duhamel and Fergie faced infidelity rumors and spoke of Fergie's crystal meth addiction that she recovered from. They were clear that hard times happen for everyone and that as a couple, when they fall they are able to get up again with help from God and each other. They look forward to having children and building their family together.
What's Your Faith?
If you don't mind sharing, what is your faith / religion if any?
6. Mel Gibson
Well known actor, Mel Gibson is Catholic. His movie Passion of the Christ is well known among many Catholics and others and often debated.
7. Selena Gomez
Famous singer Selena Gomez was raised Catholic.
8. Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton has discussed her Catholic faith in television talk show interviews. In her opinion, she is really one of not many visible Catholics in Hollywood. She has refreshingly discussed being a very family oriented mother of four boys. She had C-sections and has joked about treating herself to a tummy tuck after the last child was born. She maintained that it was very important for her to take on only family friendly projects.
Although I don't really watch her television comedy, The Middle, I truly enjoyed the popular television show Everyone Loves Raymond when it was on. It was very successful at appealing to families for viewership.
Patricia Heaton receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
9. Katie Holmes
Prior to marrying Scientologist actor Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission Impossible franchise, etc) and joining him in his religion, actress Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek, etc.) was a Catholic.
Since Katie Holmes' divorce/church annulment from Tom Cruise, she has been said to return to the Catholic faith and has enrolled her daughter, Suri in parochial/Catholic elementary school.
10. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa Hudgens was groomed as one of the many famous Disney teen stars and worked in High School Musical before growing up and taking on more risqué roles as Disney stars often decide to do.
I haven't watched any of her various projects including High School Musical but I read an interesting recent article in Marie Claire magazine where she was interviewed.
Vanessa Hudgens was raised as a Catholic Christian but now considers herself a (nondenominational) Christian. She is obviously on a spiritual journey of her own and has quoted teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who a lot of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry have referenced.
Eckhart Tolle's teachings lean a lot towards spiritual awakenings and New Age thought. He has claimed to have certain revelations during a time of personal depression and homeless wanderings for him.
Oprah's discussion with her audience
As an aside, In another recent Marie Claire magazine article Katy Perry was on the cover and gave a primary interview where she stated that she does not consider herself Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or other. (She had a Hindu wedding ceremony with her ex-husband Russell Brand.) In the article, she states that she does believe that she is accountable to some higher power for her life on earth but she does not appear to know whether to call that being God. She generally thinks that she has broken Twitter follower records, surpassing Justin Bieber even, because she does not discuss religious dogma and is not judgemental of others.
Oprah is also someone who appears to want to appeal to the masses. She is not just an American media mogul but is immensely popular on an international scale. Many people in middle Eastern countries watched her talk show faithfully when it was on. Her huge success and popularity have taken her to her own network called OWN. The very clever acronym stands for Oprah Winfrey Network.
There was a time though (in the early 90s, I believe) when Oprah was accused of denying Jesus Christ by some Christian (and perhaps some Catholic Christian) fans of her talk show. In a heated discussion with the live audience on an episode of her show, she was asked "What about Jesus?" and she replied "What about Jesus?" as if to say that there are people all over the world of different faiths and she did not have to and shouldn't use her popular platform and influence to predominantly discuss the teachings of Christ.
Now one of the richest women in America according to Forbes magazine, Oprah Winfrey felt that standing by her above mentioned philosophy made good business sense for her to build her media platform empire that appeals to people from all works of life and she has been known to have guests and advisors for varying spiritual paths including yogis. She currently does this with her O magazine as well.
Take a look at the video. What do you think?
**(One interesting thing to learn about though is the Joshua Project for example which seeks to evangelize Christianity to even the most remote parts of the world where the people do not know of Jesus Christ because His name has never been mentioned to them personally. See joshuaproject.net to learn more. According to the Joshua Project site, Currently, 2.91 billion people of the world population are considered "unreached" meaning not only that they are not Christ followers but they have probably never even heard the name of Jesus Christ.)
a photo of USA President John F. Kennedy
11. John F. Kennedy
The former US President, John F. Kennedy was assassinated and beloved by many. In America, he holds an enduring legacy.
John F. Kennedy was a Catholic along with other public figures in his famously political family.
Nicole Kidman reports that she is a Catholic
12. Nicole Kidman
Actress, Nicole Kidman (The Others, Moulin Rouge, The Hours in which she portrayed poet and author, Virginia Woolf, etc) is also Catholic. After her split from Tom Cruise, she married singer, Keith Urban in a Catholic wedding ceremony. In addition to the two adopted children she shares with Tom Cruise, she has two children (Sunday Rose and Faith) with Keith Urban.
Nicole Kidman has spoken with conviction about her Catholic faith, in interviews on numerous occasions
13. Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria has been known to make it clear that in real life, she is far from the at times scandalous character she portrayed on television show, Desperate Housewives. She is more conservative than that.
Eva Longoria is the Godmother of Mario Lopez's child and she has joked that she is the only other Catholic that he knows well in the (entertainment) industry.
Eva Longoria is a Latino Catholic Democrat who assisted in campaigning for President Barack Obama.
14. Mario Lopez
Mario Lopez who had an early entertainment career start on the fun show Saved by the Bell, has continued as a staying presence on television often as a media host, interviewing other celebrities.
Mario Lopez is a Catholic.
15. Paul Ryan
Former (2012) USA Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney's Vice President running mate Paul Ryan is Catholic.
Paul's early background in politics included being a political speech writer
16. Jessica Sanchez
Singer and a past American Idol (talent) show winner, young Jessica Sanchez was raised Catholic and carried her grandmother's rosary beads with her every day during the singing competition.