The Tablet 100 is a portrait of a relatively small religious community that gives a distinctive slant to our society and culture. This is more than just a list of interesting people doing interesting things. Some are well known for their faith commitment; some wear it more lightly and tentatively. But there are important values held in common, a shared sensibility: a protectiveness towards the dreams of others, and perhaps the understanding that how the cards fall in this life is not all that matters.
Damian Green, the Prime Minister’s trusted confidant, whom we have put at the top of our list this year, has spoken of his political philosophy being guided by “the idea that we as individuals flourish as part of a community”; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, both start from the same place, even if they might end up somewhere very different.
That Catholic sensibility is seen in the eminent psychiatrist Sheila Hollins’ work for people with learning difficulties. It is seen, too, in arresting moments such as Jacob Rees-Mogg reflecting in an interview with the Financial Times on the infinite mercy of God.
The edges of the Catholic Church will always be blurry. Jimmy McGovern’s powerful television series Broken, about a troubled inner-city parish priest, was suffused with Catholic themes of mercy and redemption, yet McGovern himself, a cradle Catholic, told us earlier this year: “I’ve lost my faith … though I am open to it returning.” He’s not on our list. Perhaps he should have been.
Brendan Walsh, Editor
50 Edward Fitzgerald QC
Regarded by his peers as one of the leading barristers of his generation, Fitzgerald has defended Myra Hindley, Mary Bell and Jon Venables, as well as acting for the Islamist cleric Abu Hamza. A relentless campaigner against the death penalty around the world, he attributes his passion for justice to his education at Downside. He is married to the writer and broadcaster Rebecca Fraser, daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser.
51. Ilyas Khan
Banker and philanthropist
A convert from Islam, Ilyas Khan was raised in Accrington, Lancashire, and is a former owner of Accrington Stanley F.C. He worked as an investment banker for 20 years in Hong Kong and is chairman of the Stephen Hawking Foundation in Cambridge and of Leonard Cheshire Disability.
52. Gabriel Jesus
Manchester City footballer
Of the Catholic footballers in the Premier League, Gabriel Fernando de Jesus stands out for his promise and his name … The 20-year-old Brazilian striker lives in Manchester with his mother, who has deplored journalists for describing him as “saviour” and “messiah”.
53. Brenninkmeijer family
In 1841, the brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer founded the Dutch textile company C&A, which now has clothing stores in 16 countries. In Britain, brothers Mark and Stephen Brenninkmeijer run Porticus, a trust that has donated millions to charity, including many Catholic causes.
54. Mel Giedroyc and Coky Giedroyc
TV presenter; TV/film director
Mel Giedroyc’s decision to leave The Great British Bake Off when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4 has led to even better things. Together with her former Bake Off partner, Sue Perkins, Giedroyc is to host a new version of the feted BBC game show The Generation Game. Her elder sister, Coky Giedroyc, is a Bafta-winning director and mentor of young women in the film industry, whose credits include the TV miniseries The Nativity.
55. Dame Louise Casey
Social welfare adviser
Louise Casey has served four prime ministers in roles that have included leading the Troubled Families Team and the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit. She has called for a pause in the roll-out of the Universal Credit system, arguing that its delivery will cause severe hardship.
56. Carey Mulligan, David Harewood and Dominic West
Carey Mulligan got her big break when she met actor and writer Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey), who gave a talk at her school, Woldingham, in Surrey. He introduced her to a casting director who gave her a part in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. She is a global ambassador for Alzheimer’s UK.
Best-known for the US political thriller Homeland, David Harewood has bemoaned the lack of roles for black actors in Britain and says the time is right for a black James Bond. He is an ambassador for Cafod.
Known for playing detective Jimmy McNulty in the TV series The Wire, Dominic West was the sixth of seven siblings in a Catholic family in Sheffield. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College Dublin.
57. Sir Nicholas Kenyon
Managing director, Barbican
Nicholas Kenyon joined the largest performing-arts centre in Europe from the BBC, where he was controller of Radio 3 and was responsible for the Proms from 1996 to 2007.
58. Monica Grady
There was no hiding Monica Grady’s joy when the Philae robot probe landed on a distant comet in 2015. TV footage of her pumping the air and hugging the BBC’s science editor went viral. She attended Notre Dame School in Leeds and is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University.
59. Jim McManus
The growing recognition in the NHS of patients’ spiritual needs is due in no small measure to the work of Jim McManus, the director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, who has long argued the case for spiritual care in hospitals.
60. Oliver Pawle
Businessman and philanthropist
A leading executive with the City headhunters Korn Ferry, Oliver Pawle funds a range of Catholic causes. He is a trustee of L’Arche and runs a group of clergy and laity dedicated to promoting faith among young people.
61. David Almond
Carnegie Medal-winning author of children’s books, including Skellig, David Almond is one of three British authors to win the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s literature.
62. Frank Skinner
Writer, comedian, presenter
On his TV and radio shows, Skinner often refers to his Catholic faith. Of his young son, he says: “I want him to grow up a Catholic because there’s a certain Catholic imagination that’s good for you.”
63. Lord (Gus) O’Donnell
The former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell is now a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. Since October 2013 he has been non-executive chairman of Frontier (Europe). He is also chair of trustees of the charity Pro Bono Economics.
64. Dame Rachel de Souza
Chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, a federation of academies and free schools, Rachel de Souza has built her reputation on turning round failing schools. Made a dame in 2014, she credits St Ignatius Loyola and her Jesuit education as key influences in her success.
65. Danny Boyle
Film and theatre director
From humble beginnings in Manchester, Danny Boyle has become one of Britain’s most lauded film directors. He was artistic director for the opening of the 2012 Olympics and directed Slumdog Millionaire, which won best director Oscar in 2009. A former altar boy, he has acknowledged the influence of his Catholic upbringing on his films.
66. Mark Thompson
Chief executive, New York Times
Stonyhurst-educated Mark Thompson has been away from the UK for five years but continues to make waves from New York. In Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong With the Language of Politics? (2016), he criticised the rejection of science and expertise and the quality of political discourse. He was director general of the BBC from 2004 to 2012.
67. James Anderson
James Anderson is England’s all-time leading wicket-taker and, at the time of writing, the sixth most prolific bowler in Test history. Aged 35, he was educated at St Theodore’s Catholic High School, Burnley.
68. Kathryn Mannix
Palliative care specialist
Following a long career in palliative care in the north-east, Kathryn Mannix is dedicated to helping more people to have a good death. Under the Church’s Art of Dying Well initiative, she has explained the process of dying in countless media interviews.
69. Karen (Kaz) Carney
Karen Carney plays for Chelsea Ladies and has made more than 100 appearances for England’s women’s football team. She was born in Solihull and attended the town’s St Peter’s RC Secondary School.
70. Michael Symmons Roberts
An award-winning writer who has been described as a “religious poet for a secular age”, Michael Symmons Roberts was received into the Church after making a film about L’Arche, the Christian community in France. He is a long-running collaborator with the composer Sir James MacMillan.
71. Frank Cottrell Boyce
Liverpool-born Frank Cottrell Boyce is the co-writer of Goodbye Christopher Robin, a film about the creator of Winnie the Pooh. He collaborated with Fr Christopher Jamison OSB on a youth initiative, Million Minutes, and compered the Hyde Park prayer vigil during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK in 2010.
72. Rosa Monckton
Founder of Team Domenica
The inspiration for Rosa Monckton’s charity came from the experience of her daughter Domenica, who has Down’s syndrome. Team Domenica offers training to adults with learning disabilities and a path to employment.
She is married to the former Sunday Telegraph editor Dominic Lawson.
73. Stephen Bullivant
Once a hardline atheist, Professor Stephen Bullivant is now a Catholic apologist dedicated to exploring faith and spirituality. His research points to a modest revival of Christianity in the UK. He is the director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society at St Mary’s University.
74. Damian McBride
The post of special adviser to the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, is the latest taken by Gordon Brown’s old spin doctor: McBride resigned in 2009 after a leak of emails discussing smearing opposition MPs. He went on to work as business liaison officer at his old school, Finchley Catholic High, and head of external communications at Cafod.
75. Neville Kyrke-Smith
National director, Aid to the Church in Need
Tireless campaigner for the rights of persecuted Christians
76. Ruth Kelly
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at St Mary’s University, Twickenham
Ruth Kelly is a former Labour Education Secretary who left a lucrative job as a banker to work at St Mary’s in 2015. She was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland, the daughter of a local pharmacist and a teacher.
77. Lord (Chris) Patten
Chancellor, Oxford University
Lord Patten’s roles have included Conservative cabinet minister, the last governor of Hong Kong, European Commissioner and chairman of the BBC Trust. He became the first Catholic chancellor of Oxford University in 2003. He organised Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain and compiled a report for his successor on how to overhaul the Vatican’s media operation.
78. Julian Filochowski
Chair, Archbishop Romero Trust
The cause of Blessed Oscar Romero has been promoted energetically by Julian Filochowski, who knew the murdered Archbishop of San Salvador personally. Born in Leeds, Filochowski studied development economics at Cambridge and was director of Cafod from 1982 to 2003.
79. Adrian Chiles
TV and radio presenter
Former lead football presenter for ITV, Adrian Chiles was born in Birmingham and studied English at the University of London. He joined the Church in 2007 and in Lent 2015 challenged himself to attend Mass at a different church every day. He hosts a show on BBC Radio 5 Live.
80. Duke of Norfolk
Earl Marshal of England
Edward William Fitzalan-Howard is the premier duke and earl of England – and the country’s senior lay Roman Catholic. The 18th Duke of Norfolk, he holds the hereditary title of Earl Marshal, making him responsible for organising state occasions.
81. Dame Sally Coates
Director, Southern Academies, United Learning
Sally Coates made her name as a superhead by turning around the failing Burlington Danes Academy in west London. She has 40 years’ experience of working in inner-city schools. Her report on education in prison, Unlocking Potential, recommended root-and-branch reform. She is married to the Catholic superhead Serge Cefai.
82. Jane Nicholson
Founder of FARA
FARA is Romanian for “without”. Jane Nicholson witnessed the plight of children in orphanages at first hand when she joined an aid convoy to Romania in 1991.
She founded FARA and was received into the Catholic Church at Walsingham that same year.
83. Stephen Hough
Concert pianist and composer
One of the world’s great piano virtuosi, Hough has also composed Masses for Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, as well as a sonata for The Tablet’s 175th anniversary year in 2015.
84. Lord (Thomas) Camoys
Thomas Stonor, the 7th Baron Camoys, was the first Catholic since the Reformation to serve as Lord Chamberlain (1998-2000) and is a Permanent Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen. He has advised the Vatican on the management of its property portfolio.
85. Sophie Linden
Deputy Mayor of London with responsibility for policing and crime 47-year-old Sophie Linden was adviser to David Blunkett in the Blair government. She is a former Labour Hackney councillor and served as mayor. Her father, Ian Linden, was the director of the Catholic Institute for International Relations for 15 years.
86. Margaret Archer
President, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Professor Archer was appointed to lead the academy by Pope Francis in 2014. She works at the École polytechnique fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, after many years at the University of Warwick.
87. Ant and Dec
The popular comic duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have been staples of ITV’s prime-time schedule for several years. Recently McPartlin won praise for speaking publicly about his battle with depression, alcohol and substance abuse.
88. Eilís Ferran
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge University
A lawyer specialising in company law and financial regulation, Eilís Ferran has sounded warnings about the implications of Brexit for the financial services sector. Ferran was born in Belfast and attended St Dominic’s High School in the city. She is a director of the Margaret Beaufort Institute.
89. Baroness (Shirley) Williams
Politician and academic
Senior Liberal Democrat peer, Shirley Williams is one of Britain’s most respected politicians. She is Professor Emerita of Electoral Politics in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In the 2017 New Year Honours she was appointed a Companion of Honour.
90. Catherine Pepinster
The first female editor of The Tablet, Catherine Pepinster left in 2016 after 13 years at the helm. She is now a freelance journalist as well as working as UK development officer for the Anglican Centre in Rome. Her book, The Keys and the Kingdom, about the relationship between the British and the papacy in the modern era, has just been published.
91. Barry and Margaret Mizen
For Jimmy foundation
After the murder of their son Jimmy, Barry and Margaret Mizen set up a foundation in his name to support organisations dedicated to helping young people become independent and responsible.
92 Eamon Duffy
Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge University, Eamon Duffy was born in Dundalk, County Louth, in 1947. His books have transformed the way that the Reformation and the subsequent history of Catholicism in England has been understood.
93. Martin Ivens and Anne McElvoy
A journalism power couple: he edits The Sunday Times while she works for The Economist and is a presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme.
94. Fiona Fox
Chief executive, Science Media Centre
The ebullient Fiona Fox OBE keeps the media briefed about developments in science.
She was previously head of media at Cafod. Aged 52, she was born into an Irish Catholic family in North Wales. Older sister Claire Fox is founder of the Institute of Ideas think tank.
95. Austen Ivereigh
Founder, Catholic Voices
Former Jesuit novice Austen Ivereigh co-founded Catholic Voices in 2010 with Opus Dei’s Jack Valero to help counter the negative media narrative around the Church.
96. Julian Hughes
The main focus of Julian Hughes’ work is researching how older people can live better for longer. In 2016, Hughes became the first RICE Professor of Old Age Psychiatry in a collaboration between the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE), the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol.
97. Dermot O’Leary
The British-Irish television and radio presenter says he is a liberal Catholic and a lifelong Cafod supporter. In 2006 he visited Sierra Leone to raise the profile of the charity’s work.
98. Dame Helen Ghosh
Director general of the National Trust (2012-2018)
Helen Ghosh leaves the National Trust next April to become Master of Balliol College.
Her background is in the civil service, serving as permanent secretary at the Home Office and at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She is a former chairman of the Blackfriars Overseas Aid Trust and was educated at Farnborough Hill Convent School and Oxford University.
99. Keith Leslie
Chairman of the Mental Health Foundation and partner at Deloitte
Keith Leslie was in the news in 2016 when he emerged as the author of a leaked memo from Deloitte which claimed the government faced difficulties over Brexit. Leslie became chairman of the Mental Health Foundation in 2014.
100. Professor Karen Kilby
Born in Connecticut, Karen Kilby studied mathematics at Yale before switching to theology. A former president of the Catholic Theological Association, Kilby headed a strong theology and religious studies department at the University of Nottingham before taking over the Bede Chair in Catholic Theology at Durham University in 2014.