The authors listed on this page should be limited to those who identify as Catholic authors in some form. This does not mean they are necessarily orthodox in their beliefs. It does mean they identify as Catholic in a religious, cultural, or even aesthetic manner. The common denominator is that at least some (and preferably the majority) of their writing is imbued with a Catholic religious, cultural or aesthetic sensibility.
Joost van den Vondel – dramatist and poet of the Dutch Golden Age; converted to Catholicism from a Mennonite background around 1641; his masterpieces are his dramas on religious and biblical themes, e.g., Lucifer, Noah and his short poems
As the anti-Catholic laws were lifted in the mid-19th century, there was a revival of Catholicism in the British Empire. There has long been a distinct Catholic strain in English literature.
The most notable figures are Cardinal Newman, a convert, one of the leading prose writers of his time and also a substantial poet, and the priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, also a convert, although most the latter's works were only published many years after his death. In the early 20th century, G. K. Chesterton, a convert, and Hilaire Belloc, a French-born Catholic who became a British subject, promoted Roman Catholic views in direct apologetics as well as in popular, lighter genres, such as Chesterton's "Father Brown" detective stories. From the 1930s on the "Catholic novel" became a force impossible to ignore, with leading novelists of the day, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, converts both, dealing with distinctively Catholic themes in their work. Although James Hanley was not a practising Catholic, a number of his novels emphasise Catholic beliefs and values, including The Furys Chronicle.
In America, Flannery O'Connor wrote powerful short stories with a Catholic sensibility and focus, set in the American South where she was decidedly in the religious minority.
Maurice Baring – English man of letters, convert, friend of Belloc and Chesterton
James K Baxter (1926–1972) – New Zealander poet, dramatist, literary critic and social commentator; a convert to Catholicism
Hilaire Belloc – strongly held, orthodox Catholic views; wrote apologetics, famous comic verse, historical, political and economic works and well-known account of a pilgrimage he took on foot, "The Path to Rome"; French-born but became a British subject and politician
G. K. Chesterton – English convert, wrote apologetics including Orthodoxy as well as novels, including The Man Who Was Thursday, poetry, biographies and literary studies, and lighter works including the "Father Brown" detective stories
Annie Dillard – American writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction. While her website notes that she espouses no religion, her books deal deeply with theology and Catholic liturgy (especially Holy the Firm and Teaching a Stone to Talk)
Robert Hutchinson – American religion writer, columnist and essayist, author of When in Rome: A Journal of Life in Vatican City,The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible and Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth.
David Jones – British modernist poet; much of his work shows the influence of his conversion to Catholicism
James Joyce – Irish novelist from a middle-class Catholic family; Jesuit-educated; novels include Ulysses and Finnegans Wake; novels are permeated by Catholic themes and concepts; may have rejected the church as an adult (some critics/biographers opine that he never really left or later reconciled in some regard)
Julian of Norwich – late-14th- and early-15th-century English mystic and anchoress; she either wrote or dictated her mystical experiences consciously to instruct others; both the original version and the revised version are known as either A Revelation of Divine Love or simply Showings
Margery Kempe – 15th-century English lay woman and self-proclaimed mystic; wrote one of the first, if not the first, autobiographies in the English language
Jack Kerouac – Beat author of On the Road; son of French-Canadian immigrants; born and reared a Catholic; experimented with Buddhism and later returned to Catholicism
Joyce Kilmer – poet; a convert; poetry titles include The Robe of Christ and The Rosary
Russell Kirk – American conservative political theorist and man of letters
Ronald Knox – convert who became a Roman Catholic priest; translated the Bible from the Latin Vulgate in the 20th century; wrote in a diverse range of genres, including detective stories, essays, sermons and satire
Dean Koontz – American novelist; known for moralistic thrillers; converted to Catholicism while in college
Peter Kreeft – professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College; writer of numerous books as well as a writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn – Austrian political writer and novelist, whose most influential works were first published in English
Jane Lane – wrote historical novels and biographies from a Catholic perspective
Ralph McInerny – Irish-American philosophy professor at Notre Dame University; named the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies and Director of the Jacques Maritain Center; awarded the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award; former member of the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities; wrote the Father Dowling series of mystery novels and many academic books on Catholic philosophy
Marshall McLuhan – Canadian philosopher and communications theorist; a convert to Catholicism
Piers Paul Read – contemporary but orthodox Catholic British novelist; vice president of the Catholic Writers Guild
Anne Rice – American writer; after a long separation from her Catholic faith during which she described herself as atheist, she returned to the church in 1998 and pledged to use her talents to glorify God; in 2010, she recanted her faith, declaring that she was going to follow Christ without Christianity, out of solidarity for her gay son
David Adams Richards – award-winning Canadian novelist, essayist and screenwriter; from New Brunswick
Kevin Rush – American lay Catholic, playwright of award-winning stage play, Crossing Event Horizon, about a Catholic high school guidance counselor's midlife crisis, and novelist, author of Earthquake Weather, a novel for Catholic teens, and The Lance and the Veil, an adventure in the time of Christ.
George Santayana – Spanish-American philosopher and novelist; baptised Catholic; despite taking a sceptical stance in his philosophy to belief in the existence of God, he identified himself with Catholic culture, referring to himself as an "aesthetic Catholic"
William Shakespeare – regarded by most to be the greatest playwright and poet in the English language, as well as being one of the greatest writers in the world; although disputed, a growing number of biographers and critics hold that his religion was Catholic
Patrick Augustine Sheehan – Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, Catholic priest, novelist essayist and poet; significant figure of the renouveau Catholique in English literature in the United States and in Europe
Robert Smith – American Catholic priest, author and educator
Joseph Sobran – wrote for The Wanderer, an orthodox Roman Catholic journal
St. Robert Southwell – 16th-century Jesuit; martyred during the persecutions of Elizabeth I; wrote religious poetry, i.e., "The Burning Babe", and Catholic tracts
Dame Muriel Spark – Scottish novelist; decided to join the Roman Catholic Church in 1954 and considered it crucial in her becoming a novelist in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene; novels often focus on human evil and sin
Maurice Walsh - one of the most popular Irish writers of the 1930s and 1940s, now chiefly remembered for the Hollywood film of his short story 'The Quiet Man;' wrote for the Irish Catholic magazine the Capuchin Annual and listed in the 1948 publication 'Catholic Authors: Contemporary Biographical Sketches, 1930-1952, Volume 1;'
Evelyn Waugh – novelist; converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930; his religious ideas are manifest, either explicitly or implicitly, in all of his later work; strongly orthodox and conservative Roman Catholic
Oscar Wilde – late-19th-century playwright and poet; fascinated by Catholicism as a young man and much of his early poetry shows this heavy influence; embraced a homosexual lifestyle later on, but converted to Catholicism on his deathbed (receiving a conditional baptism as there is some evidence, including his own vague recollection, that his mother had him baptised in the Catholic Church as a child)
Honoré de Balzac – 19th-century novelist; wrote in a preface to La Comédie Humaine that "Christianity, and especially Catholicism, being a complete repression of man's depraved tendencies, is the greatest element in Social Order"
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly – 19th-century novelist and short story writer, who specialised in mysterious tales that examine hidden motivation and hinted evil bordering the supernatural
Charles Baudelaire – 19th-century decadent poet; long debate as to what extent Baudelaire was a believing Catholic; work is dominated by an obsession with the Devil and original sin, and often utilises Catholic imagery and theology
Georges Bernanos – novelist, a devout Catholic; novels include The Diary of a Country Priest
Leon Bloy – late-19th- and early-20th-century novelist
The Vicomte de Chateaubriand – founder of Romanticism in French literature; returned to the Catholic faith of his 1790s boyhood; wrote apologetic for Christianity, "Génie du christianisme" ("The Genius of Christianity"), which contributed to a post-Revolutionary revival of Catholicism in France
Paul Claudel – devout Catholic poet; a leading figure in French poetry of the early 20th century; author of verse dramas focusing on religious themes
René Descartes – one of the most famous philosophers in the world; dubbed the father of modern philosophy; much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day; also a mathematician and a scientist.
Saint Francis de Sales – Bishop of Geneva from 1602 to 1622; a Doctor of the Church; wrote classic devotional works, e.g., Introduction à la vie dévote (Introduction to the Devout Life) and Traité de l' Amour de Dieu (Treatise on the Love of God); Pope Pius XI proclaimed him patron saint of writers and journalists
François Fénelon – late-17th- and early-18th-century writer and archbishop; some of his writings were condemned as Quietist by Pope Innocent XII; he obediently submitted to the judgment of the Holy See
Henri Ghéon – French poet and critic; his experiences as an army doctor during the First World War saw him regain his Catholic faith (as described in his work "L'homme né de la guerre", "The Man Born Out of the War"); from then on much of his work portrays episodes from the lives of the saints
Hergé – nom de plume of the writer and illustrator of Tin Tin, one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, answer to Le Petit Vingtième request for a Catholic reporter that fought evil around the world
Joseph de Maistre – late-18th- and early-19th-century writer and philosopher from Savoy, one of the most influential intellectual opponents of the French Revolution and a firm defender of the authority of the Papacy
Malika Oufkir – Moroccan writer imprisoned with her Mother and siblings in a secret Saharan prison for 15 years; these years are recounted in her autobiography, La Prisonniere, later translated into English as Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail
Blaise Pascal – polymath (physicist, mathematician and philosopher); made significant contributions to various fields including probability and mathematics; wrote Pensées
Charles Péguy – poet; long poems include "Mysteres de Charité de Jeanne d'Arc" ("Mysteries of the Charity of Joan of Arc") and "Le mystère des saints innocents" ("The Mystery of the Holy Innocents")
Clemens Brentano – German poet and novelist of Italian origins; leading figure in the Romantic movement; later withdrew to a monastery and acted as secretary to the visionary nun Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
Angelus Silesius – 17th-century convert to Catholicism from Lutheranism; became a priest and wrote religious poems, some of which became famous as hymns in the German-speaking world; some of his poetry seems to lean towards pantheism or quietism, but his prose works were orthodox, and the Catholic Encyclopedia says he repudiated any unorthodox interpretation of those poems
Blessed Henry Suso – 14th-century Dominican friar; devotional writer of the Middle Ages, including "the Minnesinger of Divine Love" in works such as his Little Book of Eternal Wisdom; his works contributed to the formation of German prose
Dante Alighieri (simply called Dante) – his Divine Comedy is often considered the greatest Christian poem; Pope Benedict XV praised him in an encyclical, writing that of all Catholic literary geniuses "highest stands the name of Dante"
Alessandro Manzoni – wrote the novel I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) which reflects his Catholic faith; in his youth "he imbibed the anti-Catholic creed of Voltairianism", but after his marriage, under the influence of his wife, he "exchanged it for a fervent Catholicism"
Pope Gregory I – Pope; one of the Four Latin Church Fathers; born to a patrician family in Rome and became a monk; known today as being the first monk to become Pope and for traditionally being credited with Gregorian chant; emphasized charity in Rome
Saint Jerome – One of the Four Latin Church Fathers; known for translating the Bible into Latin; this translation is known as the Vulgate and became the founding source for Biblical subjects in the West
G. K. Chesterton – English lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist; wrote several books of short stories about a priest, Father Brown, who acts as a detective
Antonia Fraser – English writer of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction; Roman Catholic (converted with her parents as a child); caused a public scandal in 1977 by leaving her Catholic husband for Harold Pinter
Ronald Knox – English priest and theologian; wrote six mystery novels
^. Sims, Harley J. (December 13, 2016). "A Polish Tolkien? The fantasy world of Andrzej Sapkowski". Mercatornet. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
^Prado-Garduño, Gloria. Creación, recepción y efecto: Una aproximación hermenéutica a la obra literaria (in Spanish) (Second edition-First electronic ed.). México: Universidad Panamericana A.C. 2014. p. 203. ISBN 978-607-417-264-5.
^LaGreca, Nancy. Rewriting womanhood: feminism, subjectivity, and the angel of the house in the Latin American novel, 1887-1903. United States of America: Penn State Press. 2009. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-271-03439-3.
The Catholic Church in the United States is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. With 20.8% of the United States population as of 2018, the Catholic Church is the country's second largest single religious group after Protestantism, and the country's largest religious denomination. The United States has the fourth largest Catholic population in the world after Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, the largest Catholic minority population, and the largest English-speaking Catholic population. The central leadership body of the Catholic Church in the United States is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Catholic Church's part of the history of the United States has its background in the European colonization of the Americas. In the colonial era, The Spanish established missions that had large permanent results in New Mexico and California. The French set up Catholic villages in the Mississippi River region. Some English Catholics settled in Maryland. In 1789 the Archdiocese of Baltimore was the first diocese in the newly formed United States. John Carroll became the first American bishop. His brother Daniel Carroll was the leading Catholic among the Founding Fathers of the United States. George Washington in the army and as president set a standard for religious toleration. No religious test was allowed for holding national office and colonial legal restrictions on Catholics holding office were gradually abolished by the states. However in the 19th century, especially the 1850s, there was political anti-Catholicism in the United States, even to the point of riots and the burning of buildings. The main issue was Protestant fear of the pope. In the 20th century anti-Catholicism was a political factor in the presidential elections of 1928 and 1960.
The number of Catholics grew rapidly in the 19th century through high fertility and immigration, especially from Ireland, Germany and (after 1880) Eastern Europe and Italy. Large scale Catholic immigration from Mexico started after 1910. The Catholic Church became the largest denomination. Parishes set up parochial schools, and over a hundred Jesuit and other colleges were established. Nuns were very active in teaching and hospital work.
The fuller integration of Catholics into American society was hastened by the election of John F. Kennedy as President in 1960. Since then, the percentage of Americans who are Catholic has fallen slowly from about 25% to 22%, with increases in Hispanics, primarily Mexican Americans, and to a lesser degree, in more than six million former Protestants, who have balanced losses of self-identifying Catholics. In absolute numbers, Catholics have increased from 45 to 72 million. About 10% of the population as of 2010 are former Catholics or non-practicing, almost 30 million people. People have left for a number of reasons, which factors have also affected other denominations: loss of belief, disenchantment, disaffiliation for another religious group or for none, indifference. Other reasons for departure are the Church's teaching on homosexuality, women's role in the Church, abortion and birth control. The Catholic Church sexual abuse cases have had a negative effect as well, if not significant, especially in the northeast. The geographic center of US Catholicism is also shifting southward and westward; although compared with other religious groups, Catholics are fairly evenly dispersed throughout the country.As of 2018 (post-election), Catholics will continue to serve as Chief Justice (John Roberts), Justices of the Supreme Court (five out of 9), and constitute a plurality of Senators, Representatives, and Governors. Owing to their size, more Catholics hold college degrees than do members of any other faith community in the United States. Nearly the same percentage of Catholics (20% of all American Catholics or 14 million) also earn over $100,000.00 per year.
Christian culture is the cultural practices common to Christianity. With the rapid expansion of Christianity to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Ethiopia, and India and by the end of the 4th century it had also become the official state church of the Roman Empire. Christian culture has influenced and assimilated much from the Greco-Roman Byzantine, Western culture, Middle Eastern, Slavic, Caucasian, and possibly from Indian.Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom" many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity. Historian Paul Legutko of Stanford University said the Catholic Church is "at the center of the development of the values, ideas, science, laws, and institutions which constitute what we call Western civilization."Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman Empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Western Europe. Until the Age of Enlightenment, Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science. Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature etc. Art and literature, law, education, and politics were preserved in the teachings of the Church, in an environment that, otherwise, would have probably seen their loss. The Church founded many cathedrals, universities, monasteries and seminaries, some of which continue to exist today. Medieval Christianity created the first modern universities. The Catholic Church established a hospital system in Medieval Europe that vastly improved upon the Roman valetudinaria. These hospitals were established to cater to "particular social groups marginalized by poverty, sickness, and age," according to historian of hospitals, Guenter Risse. Christianity also had a strong impact on all other aspects of life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.Christianity had a significant impact on education and science and medicine as the church created the bases of the Western system of education, and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting. Many clerics throughout history have made significant contributions to science and Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. The cultural influence of Christianity includes social welfare, founding hospitals, economics (as the Protestant work ethic), natural law (which would later influence the creation of international law), politics, architecture, literature, personal hygiene, and family life. Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy.Christians have made a myriad contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields, both historically and in modern times, including the science and technology, medicine, fine arts and architecture, politics, literatures, music, philanthropy, philosophy, ethics, theatre and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. Eastern Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) have also contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Ummayad and the Abbasid periods by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science, theology and medicine.Cultural Christians are secular people with a Christian heritage who may not believe in the religious claims of Christianity, but who retain an affinity for the popular culture, art, music, and so on related to it. Another frequent application of the term is to distinguish political groups in areas of mixed religious backgrounds
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christianity:
Christianity – monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ (or Messiah), the Son of God, the Savior, and, according to Trinitarianism, God the Son, part of the Trinity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The role of Christianity in civilization has been intricately intertwined with the history and formation of Western society. Throughout its long history, the Church has been a major source of social services like schooling and medical care; inspiration for art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion. In various ways it has sought to affect Western attitudes to vice and virtue in diverse fields. Festivals like Easter and Christmas are marked as public holidays; the Gregorian Calendar has been adopted internationally as the civil calendar; and the calendar itself is measured from the date of Jesus's birth.
The cultural influence of the Church has been vast. Church scholars preserved literacy in Western Europe following the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The cathedrals of that age remain among the most iconic feats of architecture produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe's universities were also founded by the church at that time. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries. The university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting, born from Cathedral schools. The Reformation brought an end to religious unity in the West, but the Renaissance masterpieces produced by Catholic artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael at that time remain among the most celebrated works of art ever produced. Similarly, Christian sacred music by composers like Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Verdi is among the most admired classical music in the Western canon.
The Bible and Christian theology have also strongly influenced Western philosophers and political activists. The teachings of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, are among the important sources for modern notions of Human Rights and the welfare measures commonly provided by governments in the West. Long held Christian teachings on sexuality and marriage and family life have also been both influential and, in recent times, controversial. Christianity played a role in ending practices such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy. Christianity in general affected the status of women by condemning marital infidelity, divorce, incest, polygamy, birth control, infanticide (female infants were more likely to be killed), and abortion. While official Church teaching considers women and men to be complementary (equal and different), some modern "advocates of ordination of women and other feminists" argue that teachings attributed to St. Paul and those of the Fathers of the Church and Scholastic theologians advanced the notion of a divinely ordained female inferiority. Nevertheless, women have played prominent roles in Western history through and as part of the church, particularly in education and healthcare, but also as influential theologians and mystics.
Christians have made a myriad contributions to human progress in a broad and diverse range of fields, both historically and in modern times, including the science and technology, medicine, fine arts and architecture, politics, literatures, Music, philanthropy, philosophy, ethics, theatre and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of Nobel prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference. Eastern Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) have also contributed to the Arab Islamic Civilization during the Ummayad and the Abbasid periods by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic. They also excelled in philosophy, science, theology and medicine.Some of the things that Christianity is commonly criticized for include the oppression of women, condemnation of homosexuality, colonialism, and various other cases of violence. Christian ideas have been used both to support and to end slavery as an institution. The criticism of Christianity has come from the various religious and non-religious groups around the world, some of whom were themselves Christians.
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