Friday, March 27, 2015

Speaking Up For God: Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

Speaking Up For God

Aristotle:Four Causes Part 2(2)Is the Universe Designed?

Chance and Finality

Within the Aristotelian system Nature is radically pervaded by Telos. It can become intelligible only if we see it as a universe through and through teleological.
In Chapters 4 to 6 of Physics II Aristotle discusses the problem of chance and spontaneity, complaining that: “There are some who ascribe this heavenly sphere and all the worlds to spontaneity. They say that the vortex arose spontaneously, i.e., the motion that separated and arranged in its present order all that exists.”16 The first thing Aristotle points out in this context is that chance cannot be the cause of what happens with constancy or for the most part.17 Constancy and determinateness cannot be caused by chance, for chance is the exact opposite to the latter. For Aristotle a thing comes to pass by nature or as a result of thought or by chance. The disjunction is absolute. Things which happen by nature or as a result of thought both belong to the class of things which are for the sake of something. 18 So chance is a name for incidental events which, however, are secondary by-products of actions by nature or deliberation. A per se cause by its nature is determinate, whereas incidental causes are indeterminable and indefinite.19 The incidental occurs and is possible only within the sphere of what happens by nature of deliberate intent. “It is clear then that chance is an incidental cause in the sphere of those actions for the sake of something, which involves purpose.”20
So chance is really not a cause stricto sensu. It is rather an unintended intersection of different events which happen by their nature or are deliberately intended. Therefore, it is “contrary to rule,”21 and as such it is unstable and “none of the things which result from it can be invariable or normal.” 22 Aristotle further explains that chance occurs only as the contrary of deliberate intention; hence it is possible only within the “moral sphere” or where deliberate intention is present, and thus he excludes it in inanimate things, lower animals, children. These cannot do anything by chance because of lack of deliberate intentionality in them. However, he grants to inanimate beings and animals spontaneity.23 Spontaneity results from an action “by nature” but one producing an unintended result under the influence of an external agent. Spontaneity connected with deliberate intention may result in “chance.” Both chance and spontaneity are sources of change since “in this sort of causation the number of causes is infinite.”24 Their effects remain always incidental and no incidental cause is prior to cause “per se.” “Hence, however true it may be that the heavens are due to spontaneity, it will be true that intelligence and nature will be prior causes of this All and of many things in it besides.”25
In the last statement we can clearly see that the universe is primarily caused by “intelligence and nature” and these two belong, as previously stated, to the class of agents which always act for an end, i.e., for “that for the sake of which.” Finality reigns there.
The evidence for the priority of finality is, for Aristotle, constancy and determinateness. Both are rooted in the metaphysical structure of each being and here the form is the final cause. Prime matter, being their potency, does not contain determination of any kind. We mean prime matter as such, because there certainly exists a “sequence of forms” in nature, and prime matter already informed, actualized by some form, seems to be “disposed” rather to this form than that one. There remains therefore the form in beings which contributes constancy, determinateness and finality to Nature. Those few remarks are only logical sequelae of what has been said before on the role of form within the Aristotelian notion of finality.

We already mentioned that for Aristotle chance is incidental, not truly even a cause per se, indeterminate and, so to say, a secondary by-product within the sphere of what happens “by nature and deliberation.” As such, chance can never be a source of finality in the universe in any sense whatsoever; it is by definition its very opposite and can be conceived only in reference to purpose and order. Direction towards ends is for Aristotle evident when works of nature are comparable to human actions whose purposiveness is obvious and cannot be denied. There exists a strong parallelism and similarity between human purposive activity and the activity of other beings in Nature. Aristotle says: “If, therefore, artificial products are for the sake of an end, so clearly also are natural products. The relation of the later to the earlier terms of the series is the same in both.”26
In another place he emphasizes again: “It is absurd to suppose that purpose is not present 27 because we do not observe the agent deliberating.” Deliberation is not necessarily present, for example, in art, though art is not thereby lacking purpose.
In any ordered series of steps in an action that tends to a completion, all earlier steps are for the sake of the last one. “Now surely as in intelligent action so in nature; so it is in each action if nothing interferes. Now intelligent action is for the sake of an end; therefore, the nature of things also is so. Thus if a house, e.g., had been a thing made by nature, it would have been made in the same way as it is now by art; and if things made by nature were made also by art they would come to be in the same way as by nature.”28
In human works we observe the determination of the earlier steps in action by the later and ultimately by the “completion” the end, the purpose in an intelligent activity. The former steps become “means” to the later steps which lead to completion in the series. “Future” dominates the “now.” The “now” is and is determined and produced for the sake of the “not yet” realized, but intended future achievement. The different elements of activity are united into a coordinated series and become members of a sequence of activities as means (moments in the whole flow of action) precisely because they are necessary and must exist in this and not in another sequence if the purpose is to be attained. So the very order and determinate sequence of realization, the ordering of many into a unified series of directed activities and the regularity with which this ordering necessarily occurs are leading to a purpose-completion. Directionality which is achieved through and by orderly sequence already defines the completion as future purpose. There is a similarity between human intelligent activity and activities that are accomplished by nature. If in human action the orderly relationship of the later to the earlier constitutes the finality of the whole activity it is clear that the same is done by works of nature.
This seems to be the core of the whole argument. Now since the activity of any being flows from its nature it reveals the purposive character of works of nature. Aristotle gives examples from the life and activities of birds and animals. Specifically he mentions spiders, ants; the way the swallow builds its nest, the spider the network, the ants their anthills. Later on he mentions plants, and seeds. Ultimately, since nature means primarily prime matter and form, the form remains the ultimate principle of action bearing the character of “that for the sake of which.” This action, however, is purposive, as has been shown.
Aristotle does not even suspect that the above line of argumentation would be attacked as anthropomorphism. He simply points to the same elements in human intelligent activity and the works of natural beings, living and non-living outside of the human sphere. Since he does not see any difference between the two, his reasoning is for him conclusive: “It is absurd to suppose that purpose is not present because we do not see the agent deliberating.” Thus he concludes firmly: “It is plain then that nature is a cause, a cause that operates for a purpose.”29

The Prime Unmoved Mover

The problem of how in Aristotle's philosophy the Unmoved Mover is related to the universe is very much in place in our discussion because it throws light on the question whether Aristotle taught finality as solely immanent in the universe, or transcendent to it, or both?
Although the twelfth book of the Metaphysics starts with the problem of substance 30 the whole argument of it leads ultimately to the existence of the Unmoved Prime Mover as the ultimate final cause without whose existence neither movement in the world nor its unity and inherent order, nor its structure as a universe, an interacting whole, a unified system could be explained. The existence therefore of the Unmoved Prime Mover is a necessity conferring unity and grounding all previous considerations of the Physics.
The form which is the principle of internal finality in all beings composed of potency and act explains the natural, internal, limited attainment of self-perfection, self-fulfillment within the limits of each being. It is a moved-moving-mover constitutive of the internal good of each thing. All considerations related to this problem leave us still with a multi-verse rather than with a universe.31 We would not even be capable of explaining “why this form and this thing are one.”32
To explain movement in general, Aristotle concluded to the existence of the Prime Unmoved Mover. If in the series of causes, i.e., of moved-movers, an infinite regress is to be avoided, there necessarily must exist an absolutely first Prime Mover. This Prime Mover must be Pure Act since act is ontologically prior to potency.33 Thus the Prime Mover must be Pure Act. Since, however, motion in the world is eternal–like the existence of the world – the Prime Mover must be an eternal Pure Act, for eternal motion postulates an eternal Mover. Consequently the Unmoved Prime Mover is “…that which is first in respect of complete reality.”34 The causality the Prime Unmoved Mover exercises is restricted by Aristotle to final causality. The Unmoved Prime Mover is the highest End and contains the highest Good in Itself, for “…the good is in the highest degree a principle.”35 The causality of the Prime Unmoved Mover is that of an end, a purpose: It acts by attraction grounded by its Worth, Plenitude of Perfection, Highest Good. To the possible question how an Unmoved Mover may act in such a way Aristotle replies: “That final cause may exist among unchangeable entities is shown by the distinction of its meanings. For the final cause is (a) some being for whose good an action is done, and (b) something at which an action aims; and of these the latter exists among unchangeable entities, the former not. The final cause then produces motion as being loved, but all other things move by being moved.”36
Chapter ten of the Metaphysics opens with the question: how does the universe contain the good and the highest good, whether as something separate and by itself or as the order of the parts in the world? Aristotle answers that the good is present in the world in both ways using the example of an army and its leader. The good of the army is in order and in the leader, but more in the leader than in the order because the leader does not depend on the order, but the order on him.
Since all things are ordered together, this world is an ordered connected system. The unity of, its order is contributed to it by the Unmoved Prime Mover acting on the world as its Ultimate Final Cause. The immanent finality of Physics is transcended by the transcendent finality of Metaphysics. The limited imperfect reality demands a First Cause containing the fullness of Actuality, whose attractive action ultimately makes intelligible all striving and all activity and without which, as the ground of intelligibility of immanent finality, the universe would remain a total and impervious, opaque mystery.
Although Aristotle affirms that on the Prime Mover the Heavens and Nature depend,37 it is worthwhile to consider briefly what is understood by the function of the Prime Mover in relation to the world. The Prime Mover moves the heavens directly, and only indirectly, secondarily, the subcelestial world. It is closest to the first heavens to which it communicates the circular movement. The influence communicated by the Prime Mover is restricted to contributing movement and nothing else.38 For Aristotle, thought is the most divine in all reality. 39 Thus the Prime Mover is Thought, Pure Act of Thought, but since such Thought must think only the Best, it must remain absolutely closed upon itself. Activity ad extra, or even thinking something else than His Own Thought, would detract from the Prime Mover's dignity, it would disturb its happiness, and it would make it dependent on the object of thought. Aristotle gives argumarguments for this viewpoint both in the twelfth book of Metaphysics and in the eighth book of Nicomachean Ethics.
We shall examine both places. In chapter 9 of the twelfth book of Metaphysics Aristotle considers the nature of divine thought and he confesses that it involves “certain problems.”40 If it thinks nothing it would be like a man who sleeps, but “what is there here of dignity?” Then he continues: “And if it thinks, but this depends on something else, then (since that which is its substance is not the act of thinking but potency) it cannot be the best substance.”41 So the Prime Mover thinks either Itself or something else, and if something else, then the same thing always or something different. This makes no difference for Aristotle since in the next line he asks:
Are there not some things about which it is incredible that it should think? Evidently, then, it thinks of that which is most divine and precious, and it does not change; for change would be change for worse, and this Would be already a movement. First, then, if 'thought' is not the act of thinking but a potency it would be reasonable to suppose that the continuity of thinking is wearisome to it. Secondly, there would evidently be something more precious than thought, viz. that which is thought of.42
Thinking of something else, then, would make the Prime Mover inferior and dependent on another, besides implying a potency in it. What's more, there are some things “…which it is better not to see than to see.” 43
Thinking these things, then, would be below the dignity and interest of the Thought Thinking Itself. Thus „it must be of itself that the divine thought thinks (since it is the most excellent of thing), and its thinking is a thinking on thinking.” 44
The Prime Mover remains completely closed upon himself. In the same place a little further on Aristotle gives one more reason for his conclusion: in beings that are without matter, there is no difference between thought and the object of thought. Thus the divine thought and its object must be one.45 The conclusion is the same, since ‘thinking in itself deals with that which is best in itself, and that which is thinking in the fullest sense with that which is best in the fullest sense.”46 It follows again, that nothing but its very own thinking can be thought by the Prime Mover–nothing else.
In chapter 8 of Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle discusses the relation between action, 'deeds,' and contemplation. Deeds are not only secondary in this context, but even are “hindrances, at all events to his contemplation.”47 Then, discussing the mode of living of divine beings he continues: “…the circumstances of action would be found trivial and unworthy of gods…Therefore the activity of God which surpasses all others… must be contemplative.” This is the reason why the Prime Mover cannot be an efficient cause. 48
We already know that the content of this contemplation can only be the thought of the divinity itself. Action, deed, efficient causality in other words, is 'unworthy' of God.        
It seems obvious that the Prime Mover is, and within the Aristotelian thought, must remain only the initiator of movement on the first heavens. The local movement (circular) is the root of any other. Then from the first heavens it is communicated to the rest of nature.
Let us recall again that for Aristotle the only movement the Prime Mover contributes is to the 'first heavens' and from there, indirectly, this movement reaches 'down' to the rest of nature. The essence of this contribution of the Prime Mover remains in 'being desired,' as the Best among things.
The world for Aristotle is eternal. Both matter and forms are eternal. Insofar as existing itself is concerned, they exist on their own and the Prime Mover remains necessary, as explained above. The Prime Mover is not in any way the efficient first cause of this world. The idea of a free creation, instantaneous and ex nihilo, is completely alien to the system of the Stagirite. If Thomas wants somehow to go over this and 'christianize' Aristotle at this point, he certainly must read into Aristotelian text far more than Aristotle himself would suspect.
The Prime Mover, the God of Aristotle, did not create this world, he did not 'design' this world, he does not think of this world, and he cannot be 'bothered' with anything but his own Thought which he 'eternally thinks.'49
If this is so, then such a God, we must say, has very little to do with the Providence by which the God of a Christian believer cares even for the least sparrow, to say nothing of man.
The Aristotelian God is less than the God of the eighteenth-century Deists. At least the deistic God created this universe, ordered it somewhat as the model of a 'perpetuum mobile' and then left it to its own course.
Where is religion in the Aristotelian scheme of things? Will the Prime Mover, totally enclosed upon himself, listen to the petty voices of mortals? Obviously not. Does he care what happens to individuals? Obviously not. He cannot be bothered.
Does this world reflect the goodness of the Prime Mover? It is hard to see how it could.
It is difficult (not to say impossible), to see how there can be order in this world without the divine intelligence actively ordering it. The immanent finality of beings composed of matter and form, the intrinsic 'entelechy' of each being is one thing; the ordering of beings to each other into a harmonious unified system is another. The latter, however, has not been explained by Aristotle.
Shall we conceive even an immanent teleology of each being a matter which does not need an ultimate reference to intelligence? This is what Aristotle seems to allow.
The reference to the Prime Mover is insufficient and within the context of the Aristotelian philosophy creates a serious difficulty. We said that it is hard to conceive an ordered harmony of the universe which is not ultimately grounded in Intelligence, and that the intrinsic entelechy does not explain it.
There cannot be any doubt that Aristotle was the first in the history of philosophy to elaborate the metaphysical analysis of final cause. But neither Plato nor Aristotle really solved the problem of the relationship between the divinity and the world on one hand, nor did they answer completely the question how finality in the world relates to Intelligence.
For any Christian believer, and St. Thomas was a Christian theologian, the difficulties mentioned above are crucial on many counts: on the metaphysical level they determine the relation between the One and the many, on the level of man's relationship to God they are central for any genuine religion, and insofar as the basic topic of this work is concerned, they throw a light on how St. Thomas' predecessors solved the problem of the relationship of finality considered in itself to its ultimate ground: intelligence.
Neither Anaxagoras', nor Plato's, nor Aristotle's thought was complete in this respect, although very valuable insights have been proposed.
The enormous contribution the Stagirite certainly made should not obscure the fact that his thought shows surprising gaps and inconsistensies.50


1 Metaphysics, I, 3-9: Physic, II,3,8; Parts of Animals, I, 1.
2 Physics, II, 8.199B, 15-20.
3 Metaphysics, 1, 4.105a 15.
4 Physics, III, I, 201a.
5 Ibid., VII, 198a (3); VII, 198a (25); VIII 198b (10) ; VIII, 199b, 30; Metaphysics, I, 983a, 30.
6 Metaphysics, XII, 7, 1072b, 1, 2, 3.
7 Physics, II, 7, 198b, 39. “The essence of that which is coming to be,” i.e., the form; for this is the end or „that for the sake of which.”
8 Ibid. II, I, 192b, 37.
9 Ibid., 193b, 8.
10 Ibid., II, II, 197a, 28.
11 Ibid., 195a, 25.
12 Ibid., 198a, 27. (Emphasis mine)
13 Ibid., 199a, 7 and 8.
14 Ibid., 199a, 27-34.
15 Ibid., 199b, 27-28.
16 Ibid., II, 4, 196a, 24-26.
17 Ibid., II, 5, 196b, 10: “First then we observe that some things always come to pass in the same way and others for the most part.”
18 Ibid., II, 5, 196b, 24.
19 Ibid., 196b, 28.
20 Ibid., 197a, 5.
21 Ibid.
22 Ibid., 197a, 31-33.
23 Ibid., II, 6, 197b, 14.
24 Ibid., 198a, 3-5.
25 Ibid., Chap. VI (end).
26 Ibid., II, 8, 199a 18.
27 Ibid., II, 8, 199b 27.
28 Ibid., 199a, 10-15.
29 Ibid.,II,8.
30 Metaphysics, XII, 1. 1069a.
31 Ibid., 10, 1075b 24: “Again, if besides sensible things no other exists, there will be no first principle, no order, no becoming, no heavenly bodies, but each principle will have another principle before it, as in the accounts of the theologians and all the natural philosophers.”
32 Ibid., 10, 1075b 35.
33 Ibid., XII, 8, 1074a 35; 1073a 25; 1073a 35; also chap. 6, 1071b 20.
34 Ibid., XII, 5. 1071a 35; 6, 1071b 4; 7, 1072b 11.
35 Ibid., 10. 1074b 38.
36 Ibid., XII, 7. 1072b.
37 Ibid., XII, 7, 1072b. 7.
38 L’interprétation de St. Thomas consiste a Dire que le ciel et la terre dépendraient de Dieu dans leur existence même. Or c'est là un point de vue qui parait bien étranger à l'esprit d'Aristote. Il dit que ce qui dépend du premier moteur c'est d'abord le ciel, ensuite et secondairement la nature. C'est qu'en effet, le premier moteur séparé se trouve plus proche du premier ciel et lui communique ainsi un mouvement circulaire plutôt que du centre. L'action de Dieu ne serait donc pas créatrice, mais motrice seu1ement. Aime Forest, La structure métaphysique du concret selon Saint Thomas d’Aquin. (Paris, 1956), p. 319.
39 Metaphysics, XII, 1012b.
40 Ibid., XII, ch. 9, 1074b. 15.
41 Ibid.
42 Ibid., below.
43 Ibid., below.
44 Ibid.
45 Ibid.
46 Ibid., XII, 7. 1072b. 19.
47 Nicomachean Ethics, 8, 1178b. 5.
48 Ibid. (Emphasis mine)
49 Ibid., 8, 1178b, passim.
50 Josef Schmitz, Disput uber das Teleologische Denken (Mainz: Matthias- Grunewald Verlag, 1960), p. 111.

The Courage to Think For Yourself The Search For Truth and The Meaning of Human Life: Aristotle: Four Causes Part2(1) Is the Universe De...

The Courage to Think For Yourself The Search For Truth and The Meaning of Human Life: Aristotle: Four Causes Part2(1) Is the Universe De...: Aristotle Aristotle is the first philosopher in the Greek tradition who developed the full technical analysis of final cause. He is f...

Aristotle: Four Causes Part2(1) Is the Universe Designed?


Aristotle is the first philosopher in the Greek tradition who developed the full technical analysis of final cause. He is fully aware of that fact and expresses this awareness when he criticizes his predecessors for failing to understand the crucial value of final cause.for any serious philosophical explanation of reality.1 This philosophy of final cause is found mainly in the first book of his Metaphysics and the second book of Physics. Occasionally he develops the concept of final cause in other places within the body of his writings. The Aristotelian notion of final cause deserves a thorough examination on two counts: (a) he is the first one to give complete metaphysical analysis of final cause, and (b) he influenced in this respect very deeply the thought of Thomas Aquinas and many other thinkers in the West.

The Explanation of Change Through the Employment of the Idea of Act and Potency.

Without a clear knowledge of change (or motion) there is no understanding of the nature of things since by nature Aristotle understands that which is the origin of motion and change. “For those things are natural which by a continuous movement originated from an internal principle arrive at some completion, but always the tendency is towards the same end if there is no impediment.” 2 The essential meaning of “nature” is for Aristotle “…the essence of those things, which have the principle of movement in themselves, insofar as they are this something.”3

Nature therefore contains the following elements: (a) it is a principle, a metaphysical beginning or a source, (b) a principle of movement or change, (c) it is internal, constitutive of the essence of a being, (d) it is a tendency to a determined end, (e) it is a tendency towards a state of completion, perfection, actualization.

From the above it is clear that the analysis of change is the central focus of the Aristotelian Metaphysics and his Philosophy of Nature. Confronted with the Parmenidean monism of immutable being, on the one hand, and the obvious, omnipresent and real fact of change on the other, Aristotle gave a masterly metaphysical analysis of change and becoming in dynamical terms. Basic Aristotelian insight in this respect remains true even today. We shall also see that every natural change is intelligible to him only through the notion of final cause.

In order to solve the problem of change in general, Aristotle introduces the notion of potency. This notion of “potency” as correlative to “act” makes change intelligible. The thing which is changing is in the process of transition from one mode (terminus a quo), to another mode of being (terminus ad quern). There are two main types of such transition: one, called accidental, when one and the same being changes and acquires a new state retaining its proper nature; a second, called substantial, when the transition is from one nature to another, a different one. One being ceases to exist and a new one emerges. At this point we are interested in the first type of change. It occurs in beings composed of potency and act.

Potency as a metaphysical and internal component is openness, possibility, capacity for a being to move from one actual mode of existing to another, a new one. It makes newness intelligible. By newness here we understand the gradual transition to the “terminus ad quem.” This transition is always a “transition toward,” never something in itself, but it is a movement of something which itself changes. Something can be in the movement of change only insofar as it is actually not yet completed, not having yet what it can have, not completely realized. It cannot at “terminus a quo” be already what it becomes at “terminus adquem”. The changing movement is therefore defined by Aristotle as realization of the potential as such.4

A being can exist in three possible modes: (a) it is not yet moving, (b) it is in the mode of complete realization, full completion; then it moves no more, (c) it is in the middle mode of movement-change, in the transition from one mode of being to another, to its realization.

Change, therefore, is a state of a being which does not yet fully realize all the potency of “this something” It still is in the position to acquire new “points of completion.” Each natural change is an internal going towards its end perfection, or full realization: towards its final completion. Each natural movement is for the “where-for” or the “good” for which the movement occurs. Each natural movement has an aim. This, however, is the Aristotelian definition of final cause 5 proposed, e.g., in Metaphysics (Bk. XII, Chap. 1): “For final cause is (a) some being for whose good an action is done, and (b) something at which the action aims.”6 Since we are considering here internal directionality towards final actualization, this actualization is precisely “that for the sake of which” and „that at which the action aims.” Both are Aristotelian definitions of final cause.

It remains to show that the internal finality in natural beings is identical with the form as final cause. Form is the essence of “that which is coming to be.”7 For it is clear that the Aristotelian notion of finality is rooted in the analysis of motion-change. This analysis, as mentioned above, makes the notion of “nature” very clear. As a matter of fact, for Aristotle both nature and internal final cause are identical.

Change as Natural Tendency to Self-Realization

According to Aristotle nature is (a) a principle of movement and rest within a thing (all beings that have such a principle are “natural,” they act by “nature”), (b) nature constitutes the essence of a “this something,” (c) nature is the source of the tendency and action-movement towards actualization.

We already noticed that form contributes to a being its actuality, its essence, and it constitutes the being's internal finality. It is the final cause inside the thing. Aristotle identifies “nature” many times in his writings with “essence,” “whatness,” and consequently with form. “The term according to nature” is applied to all these things and also to the attributes which belong to them in virtue of what they are.” 8 In another place he says „The form is ‘nature' rather than matter.”9

The nature of a thing is revealed in the process of growth (change) by which its complete fullness is attained. The internal movement is initiated by nature, but on the other hand, nature is attained, completely realized in that process. Then Aristotle expressly affirms: “But the nature is the end or “that for the sake of which.”10 But “that for the sake of which” means what is best and the end of things that lead up to it.11

To confirm this further Aristotle stresses: “Now, the causes being four, it is the business of the physicist to know about them all, and if he refers his problems back to all of them, he will assign the 'why' proper to his science–the matter, the form, the mover, that for the sake of which. The last three often coincide for the 'what' and ‘that for the sake of which’ are one.”12

Nature itself therefore plays the role of final cause. This identity is very clearly stated by Aristotle: “Therefore action for an end is present in things which come to be and are by nature.”13 Both artificial and natural products are therefore for ends. Aristotle mentions animals other than man which make things neither by art nor after deliberation: spiders, ants. He also mentions plants.

If then it is both by nature and for an end that the swallow makes its nest and the spider its web, and plants grow leaves for the sake of the fruit and send their roots down (not up) for the sake of nourishment, it is plain that this kind of cause is operative in things which come to be and are by nature. And since “nature” means two things, the matter and the form, of which the latter is the end, and since all the rest is for the sake of the end, the form must be the same in the sense of “that for the sake of which.”14

Aristotle concludes: “It is absurd to suppose that purpose is not present because we do not observe the agent deliberating.”15 It is clear from the above quotations that for Aristotle all natural tendency is finally directed. Nature is operating for a purpose. Change as natural tendency is self-realization at which the transition aims. This “aim” or “end” is the actualizing or the full completion of the form, which, as Aristotle stated above, very often is identified with “that for the sake of which,” the purpose, the goal: the final cause.

Finality therefore or purposiveness is rooted in the very nature of all natural beings. It can be stated that this is a fundamental principle of the entire universe. Aristotle affirms towards the end of the Physics that anyone who denies finality in Nature denies natures themselves.


Weekly Roundup: Francis in the White House, 'Religious Freedom,' and overexcited nuns

Weekly Roundup: Francis in the White House, 'Religious Freedom,' and overexcited nuns

Catholic Converts :"Pray for those who are entering the Church this Easter " Pope Francis

Catholicism gets strong Protestants while Protestantism gets weak Catholics.
Mega pastor Ulf Ekman, Bible scholar Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Marcus Grodi, Fr. Le...slie Rumble, Philisopher,Jacques Maritain, John Henry Cardinal Newman, G.K. Chesterton
Other lists of intellectual converts (Wikipedia)
Greg Abbott: Texas Attorney General.(1)
Creighton Abrams: US Army General. Converted while commanding US forces in Vietnam.(2)
Anna Abrikosova: Russian convert to Eastern-rite Catholicism who was imprisoned by the Soviets.(3)
Audrey Assad: American singer-songwriter and contemporary Christian music artist.(4)
Vladimir Abrikosov: Russian who became an Eastern-rite priest and husband to Anna Abrikosova.(5)
John Adams: Beatified person and Catholic martyr.(6)
Mortimer J. Adler: American philosopher, educator, and popular author. He converted, from agnosticism, after decades of interest in Thomism.[7]
Afonso I of Kongo: African king. Although politically motivated he became quite pious[8]
Leo Allatius: Greek theologian[9]
Fanny Allen: Daughter of Ethan Allen who became a nun.[10][11]
Thomas William Allies: English writer.[12]
Mother Mary Alphonsa: Daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, born "Rose Hawthorne", she went on to become a nun and founder of "St. Rose's Free Home for Incurable Cancer."[13][14]
Veit Amerbach: A Lutheran theologian and humanist before conversion.[15]
Władysław Anders: General in the Polish Army and later in life a politician with the Polish government-in-exile in London.[16]
William Henry Anderdon: English Jesuit and writer.[17]
G. E. M. Anscombe: British analytical philosopher and theologian who introduced the term consequentialism into the English language[18]
Francis Arinze: Nigerian Cardinal and Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments[19]
Thomas Aufield: English priest and martyr.[20]
Johann Christian Bach: Composer, the youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach.[21]
Thomas Bailey (priest): A royalist and controversialist whose father was Anglican bishop Lewis Bayly.[22]
Beryl Bainbridge: English novelist[23]
Francis Asbury Baker: American priest, missionary, and social worker, known as one of the founders of the Paulist Fathers in 1858.[24]
Josephine Bakhita : A Sudanese-born former slave who became a Canossian Religious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In 2000 she was declared a saint.[25]
Banine : French writer of Azeri descent.[26][27]
Maurice Baring: English intellectual, writer, and war correspondent.[28][29]
Barlaam of Seminara: Involved in the Hesychast controversy as an opponent to Gregory Palamas, possibly a revert.[30]
Mark Barkworth: An English Catholic priest, martyr, and beatified person.[31]
Edwin Barnes: Formerly an Anglican bishop.[32]
Joan Bartlett: Foundress of the Servite Secular Institute.[33]
James Roosevelt Bayley: First bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.[34]
Aubrey Beardsley: An English illustrator and author who, before his death, converted to Catholicism and renounced his erotic drawings.[35]
Benedict Mar Gregorios: Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum from 1955 to 1994.[36][37]
Francis J. Beckwith: American philosopher, Baylor University professor, and former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. Beckwith is technically a revert[38]
Jean Mohamed Ben Abdejlil: Moroccan scholar and Roman Catholic priest[39]
Peter Benenson: founder of human rights group Amnesty International.[40]
Robert Hugh Benson: English writer and theologian, son of an Archbishop of Canterbury[41]
Elizabeth Bentley: Former Soviet spy who defected to the West. Converted by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
Bernardo the Japanese: One of the first Japanese to set foot in Europe.[42]
Jiao Bingzhen: A noted painter and astronomer.[43]
Conrad Black: A Canadian-born historian, columnist, UK peer, and convicted felon for fraud. (Though his conviction was overturned subsequently on appeal.)[44]
Tony Blair: former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; converted Dec. 22, 2007, after stepping down as prime minister[45]
Andrea Bocelli: Italian tenor.[46]
Cherry Boone: Daughter of devoutly evangelical Christian entertainer, Pat Boone; she went public about her battle with anorexia nervosa[47]
John Wilkes Booth: 19th-century actor and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. His sister Asia Booth asserted in her 1874 memoir that Booth, baptized an Episcopalian at age 14, had become a Catholic. For the good of the Church during a notoriously anti-Catholic time in American history, Booth's conversion was not publicized.[48]
Robert Bork: American jurist and unsuccessful nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Converted to Catholicism in 2003. His wife was a former Catholic nun.[49]
William Maziere Brady: Irish historian and journalist, formerly a Church of Ireland priest.[50][51]
Elinor Brent-Dyer: English writer[52]
Alexander Briant: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[53]
John Broadhurst: Formerly an Anglican bishop.[32]
George Mackay Brown: Scottish poet, author and dramatist from the Orkney Islands.[54]
Sam Brownback: U.S. senator from Kansas[55]
Orestes Brownson: American writer[56]
Dave Brubeck: American jazz musician.[57]
David-Augustin de Brueys: French theologian and dramatist.[58]
Ismaël Bullialdus: French astronomer who converted from Calvinism and became a Catholic priest.[59]
Andrew Burnham (priest): Formerly an Anglican bishop.[32]
John Ellis Bush: American politician, forty-third Governor of Florida[60]
Thomas Byles: Priest who died serving others on the RMS Titanic.[61][62]
Roy Campbell: South-African-born, English-based (later Portuguese-based) poet[63]
Edmund Campion: Jesuit martyr who wrote Decem Rationes, which denounced Anglicanism, and is noted as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[64]
Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland (His conversion is disputed by some historians.)[65]
Cecil Chesterton: British journalist, younger brother of G.K. Chesterton[66]
G.K. Chesterton: British writer, journalist and essayist, famous for his Christian Apologetics Orthodoxy, Heretics and the Everlasting Man[67]
Wesley Clark: US Army General and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, Candidate for Democratic nomination for President in 2004[68]
Christina, Queen of Sweden: Seventeenth-century monarch.[69]
Emily Coleman: American born writer, and a lifelong compulsive diary keeper.[70]
Henry James Coleridge: Son of John Taylor Coleridge who became a priest.[71]
James Collinson: Artist who briefly went back to Anglicanism in order to marry Christina Rossetti.[72]
Constantine the African: Tunisian doctor who converted from Islam and became a Benedictine monk.[73][74]
Gary Cooper: American actor who converted to the Church late in life saying of it, "that decision I made was the right one."[75]
Tim Conway: American comedian. Converted to Catholicism because he said he liked the way the Church is structured.
Frederick Copleston: English historian of philosophy and Jesuit priest[76]
Richard Crashaw: English poet and son of a staunch anti-Catholic father.[77]
Lorenzo Da Ponte: Italian writer and poet (conversion from Judaism on his father's remarriage)[78]
Christopher Davenport: Recollect friar whose efforts to show that the Thirty-Nine Articles could be interpreted more in accordance with Catholic teaching caused controversy among fellow Catholics.[79]
Dorothy Day: social activist and pacifist, founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Raised nominally Episcopalian.[80]
David-Augustin de Brueys: French theologian[81]
Regina Derieva: Russian poet[82]
Catherine Doherty: Canadian pioneer of social justice, from Russian Christianity.[83]
Diana Dors: Actress who was once called a "wayward hussy" by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, in the 1970s she converted to Catholicism and had a Catholic funeral.[84][85]
David Paul Drach: French Talmudic scholar and librarian of the College of Propaganda in Rome.[86]
Augusta Theodosia Drane: English writer and theologian also known as Mother Francis Raphael, O.S.D[87]
John Dryden: English poet, literary critic, and playwright[88]
Avery Dulles: American Jesuit Theologian, Professor at Fordham University.[89] (Son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.)
Michael Dummett: British Analytic philosopher who devised the Quota Borda system.[90]
Faye Dunaway: American actress.[91]
Joseph Dutton: A veteran of the American Civil War who worked with Father Damien.[92]
Alfred Döblin: German expressionist novelist, best known for Berlin Alexanderplatz.[93
Dawn Eden: Rock journalist of Jewish ethnicity who was agnostic, now a Catholic concerned with the moral values of chastity.[94][95]
Martin Eisengrein: German theologian and polemicist.[96]
Ulf Ekman: Swedish charismatic pastor and founder of the Livets Ord congregation of the Word of Faith movement in Uppsala, Sweden.[97]
Black Elk: Oglala medicine-man[98]
Veit Erbermann: German theologian and controversialist.[99]
William Everson: Beat poet whose parents were Christian Scientists, he took the name Brother Antoninus in the 18 years he spent as a Dominican[100]
Thomas Ewing: U.S. Senator from Ohio who served as Secretary of the Treasury and first Secretary of the Interior. Foster brother of William Tecumseh Sherman.[101]
Frederick William Faber: English theologian and hymnwriter.[102]
Lola Falana: Dancer and actress who became a Catholic evangelist after converting and founded The Lambs of God Ministry.[103][104]
Leonid Feodorov: An Exarch of the Russian Greek Catholic Church, he was a Gulag survivor beatified by Pope John Paul II.[105][106]
Ronald Firbank: British novelist[107]
Sir Henry Fletcher, 3rd Baronet, of Hutton le Forest: Baronet who converted and spent his last years in a monastery.[108][109]
Kasper Franck: German theologian and controversialist.[110]
Antonia Fraser: British historian, biographer and novelist (Her parents converted when she was little)[111]
André Frossard: French journalist and essayist.[112][113]
Georgiana Fullerton: English novelist who converted in 1846 when she was in her 30s.[114]
Ivan Gagarin: Russian Jesuit and writer of aristocratic origin.[115]
Maggie Gallagher: Conservative activist and a founder of the National Organization for Marriage.[116]
Edmund Gennings and John Gennings: Two brothers. Edmund was a priest and martyr who converted at sixteen. His death lead to John's conversion. John restored the English province of Franciscan friars.[117]
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese: Historian and founder of the Institute of Women's Studies, wife of Eugene D. Genovese.[118]
Eugene D. Genovese: Historian who had once been an atheist and Marxist.[119]
Fathia Ghali: Daughter of King Fuad I of Egypt and his Queen, Nazli Sabri. In 1950, both mother and daughter converted to Catholicism from Islam. Enraged, King Farouk I forbade them from returning to Egypt again. After Farouk's death, they asked President Anwar Sadat to restore their passports, which he did.
Vladimir Ghika: Romanian nobleman who became a Catholic monsignor and political dissident.[120][121]
Richard Gilmour: A bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.[122]
Newt Gingrich: American politician, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.[123]
Rumer Godden: English author of Black Narcissus and the 1972 Whitbread Award winner The Diddakoi. She converted to Catholicism in 1968, which inspired the book In This House of Brede.[124]
John Gother: English Roman Catholic convert, priest and controversialist.[125]
John Willem Gran: Former Bishop of Oslo who had been an atheist working in the film industry.[126][127]
Graham Greene: British writer whose Catholicism influenced novels like The Power and the Glory.[128] Although in later life he once referred to himself as a "Catholic atheist."[129]
Wilton Daniel Gregory: American Archbishop of Atlanta, 2005–present.[130]
Moritz Gudenus: German priest.[131]
Alec Guinness: British actor[132] who the Catholic Association of Performing Arts (UK) named an award after.[133]
Theodor Haecker: German writer, translator and cultural critic.[134]
Kimberly Hahn: Former Presbyterian; theologian, apologist and author of many books[135]
Scott Hahn: Former Presbyterian minister; theologian, Scripture scholar and author of many books[136]
Jeffrey Hamm: British fascist leader. Converted by the renegade Catholic priest Fr. Clement Russell. Succeeded Oswald Mosley as head of the British Union of Fascists.
Thomas Morton Harper: Jesuit priest, philosopher, theologian and preacher.[137]
Chris Haw: Theologian and author of numerous books, including one detailing his conversion away from evangelical Protestantism.[138]
Anna Haycraft: Raised in Auguste Comte's atheistic "church of humanity", but became a conservative Catholic in adulthood.[139]
Susan Hayward: Academy Award winning American actress who helped found a church.[140][141]
Carlton J. H. Hayes: An American ambassador to Spain. He helped found the American Catholic Historical Association and was co-chair of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.[142][143]
Isaac Hecker: Founder of the Paulist Fathers.[144]
Elisabeth Hesselblad: Raised Lutheran. After her conversion she became a nun. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 9, 2000, and in 2004 she was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations for her work in helping Jews during World War II.[145][146]
Dietrich von Hildebrand: German theologian.[147][148]
Walter Hooper: Trustee and literary advisor of the estate of C.S. Lewis.[149]
James Hope-Scott: English lawyer connected to the Oxford Movement.[150]
Gerard Manley Hopkins: English poet and Catholic priest.[151]
Allen Hunt: American radio personality. Former Methodist pastor.[152]
E. Howard Hunt: American spy and novelist[153]
Reinhard Hütter: American theologian[154]
Princess Irene of the Netherlands: her conversion, related to her marrying a Carlist, became something of a national issue.[156][157]
Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov: Poet and playwright associated to Russian symbolism. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1926.[158][159]
Levi Silliman Ives: Episcopal Church of the USA Bishop of North Carolina.[160][161]
Laura Ingraham: American broadcaster and political commentator
Bobby Jindal: Governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana, converted in his teens.[162]
Gwen John: Artist and Auguste Rodin's lover. After the relationship she had a religious conversion and did portraits of nuns.[163]
Walter B. Jones: U.S. politician, Member of the United States House of Representatives.[164]
Nirmala Joshi: Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity from 1997 to 2009.[165]
Johannes Jørgensen: Danish writer, best known for his biographies of Catholic saints.[166][167]
Nicholas Kao Se Tseien: World's oldest priest[168]
Katharine, Duchess of Kent: The first member of the British Royal Family to convert to Catholicism for more than 300 years.[169]
Joyce Kilmer: American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer and editor.[170][171]
Kim Yuna: A South Korean figure skater and Olympic gold medalist.[172]
Russell Kirk: American historian, moralist and figure in Conservatism in the United States.[173]
Sister Gregory Kirkus: An English Roman Catholic nun, educator, historian and archivist.[174]
Harm Klueting: Priest and historian who had been Lutheran and had two children.[175]
Dean Koontz: American novelist known for thrillers and suspense. He converted in college.[176]
Knud Karl Krogh-Tonning: Norwegian who had been a Lutheran Professor of Theology.[177]
Albert Küchler: Danish painter who became a Franciscan friar.[178]
Lawrence Kudlow: CNBC host and business columnist.[179][180]
William Kurelek: Canadian painter.[181]
Stephan Kuttner: An expert in Canon Law.[182]
Demetrios Kydones: Byzantine theologian, writer and statesman.[183]
Joseph Lane: Territorial Governor of Oregon, 1st U.S. Senator from Oregon, and pro-slavery Democratic Candidate for U.S. Vice-President in 1860. Lane, who was openly sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War, studied Catholic doctrine and converted with his family in 1867.[184]
Halldór Laxness: Icelandic writer, converted in 1923,[185] left the Church, but returned at end of his life.[186]
Graham Leonard: A former Anglican Bishop of London.[187][188]
Ignace Lepp: French psychiatrist whose parents were freethinkers and who joined the Communist party at age fifteen. He broke with the party in 1937 and eventually became a Catholic priest.[189]
Dilwyn Lewis: Welsh clothes designer and priest.[190]
Francis Libermann: Venerated Catholic, raised in Orthodox Judaism, who has been called "The Second Founder of the Holy Ghost Fathers".[191]
William Lockhart: First member of the Oxford Movement to convert and become a Catholic priest.[192]
Dwight Longenecker: Former Evangelical fundamentalist, then Anglican priest, ordained a Catholic priest and active as an author, blogger, broadcaster and speaker.[193]
James Longstreet: Confederate general turned Republican "scalawag".[194]
Frederick Lucas: Quaker who converted and founded The Tablet.[195]
Clare Boothe Luce: American playwright, editor, politician, and diplomat. Wife of Time-Life founder Henry Luce. She worked on the screenplay of the nun-themed film Come to the Stable and became a Dame of Malta.[196][197]
Arnold Lunn: A skier, mountaineer, and writer. As an agnostic he wrote Roman Converts, which took a critical view of Catholicism and the converts to it. He later converted to Catholicism due to debating with converts, and became an apologist for the faith, although he retained a few criticisms of said faith.[198]
James Patterson Lyke: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta from 1991 to 1992.[199]
Henry Edward Manning: English Anglican clergyman who became a Catholic Cardinal and Archbishop of Westminster[200]
Gabriel Marcel: A leading Christian existentialist. His upbringing was agnostic.[201]
Jacques Maritain: French Thomist philosopher, who helped form the basis for international law and human rights law in his writings, also laid the intellectual foundation for the christian democratic movement[202]
Gustav Mahler: Austrian composer. Converted from Judaism.[203]
Alasdair MacIntyre: Virtue ethicist and moral philosopher.[204]
James McAuley: Australian poet, converted in 1952.[205]
Claude McKay: Bisexual Jamaican poet who went from Communist-leaning atheist to an active Catholic Christian after a stroke.[206][207]
Marshall McLuhan: Canadian philosopher of communication theory. Coined the terms the medium is the message and the global village. Converted in 1937 after reading the works of G.K. Chesterton.
Thomas Merton: American Trappist monk and spiritual writer.[208]
Vittorio Messori: An Italian journalist and writer called the "most translated Catholic writer in the world" by Sandro Magister. Before his conversion in 1964 he had a "perspective as a secularist and agnostic."[209][210][211]
Alice Meynell: Poet and suffragist.[212]
John Brande Morris: Priest, writer, student of Patristic theology, and scholar of the Syriac language.[213]
Henry Morse: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[214]
Malcolm Muggeridge: British journalist and author who went from agnosticism to the Catholic Church.[215][216]
Takashi Nagai: A physician specializing in radiology and author of The Bells of Nagasaki.[217]
Bernard Nathanson: Medical doctor who was a founding member of NARAL, later becoming a Pro-Life proponent.[218]
Patricia Neal: She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Hud.[219]
Knut Ansgar Nelson: Danish born convert who was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockholm.[220]
Irène Némirovsky: Author of the controversial David Golder, autobiographical Le Vin de solitude, and posthumous success Suite française.[221][222][223]
Richard John Neuhaus: Priest, founder and editor of the journal First Things.[224]
John Henry Newman: English Priest and Cardinal, famous for his autobiographical book Apologia Pro Vita Sua in which he details his reasons for converting[225]
Keith Newton: Formerly an Anglican bishop.[32]
Donald Nicholl: A British historian and theologian who has been described as "one of the most widely influential of modern Christian thinkers."[226]
Barthold Nihus: German convert who became a bishop and controversialist.[227]
Robert Novak: American journalist and political commentator. Raised Jewish, but practiced no religion for many years before converting to Catholicism in the last years of his life.[228]
Alfred Noyes: English poet, best known for The Highwayman. He dealt with his conversion in The Unknown God and The Last Voyage, in his The Torch-Bearers trilogy, was influenced by his conversion.[229][230]
Frederick Oakeley: Priest and author known for his translation of Adeste Fideles into English as "O Come, All Ye Faithful".[231][232]
John M. Oesterreicher: Jewish convert who became a monsignor and a leading advocate of Jewish-Catholic reconciliation.[233]
William E. Orchard: A liturgist, pacifist and ecumenicist. Before becoming a Catholic priest he had been a Protestant minister.[234]
Johann Friedrich Overbeck: German painter in the Nazarene movement of religious art.[235]
Coventry Patmore: English poet and critic known for The Angel in the House.[236]
Joseph Pearce: An anti-Catholic and agnostic British National Front member who became a devoted Catholic writer with a series on EWTN.[237][238]
Vladimir Pecherin: Russian convert and priest whose memoirs were controversial for criticizing both the Russian government and the Catholic Church of his time.[239]
Charles Péguy: French poet, essayist, and editor. He went from agnostic humanist to a pro-Republic Catholic.[240]
Walker Percy: Laetare Medal winning author of The Moviegoer, Love in the Ruins, and others.[241]
Johann Pistorius: A German controversialist and historian.[242]
John Hungerford Pollen: He wrote for The Tablet and was Professor of Fine Arts at the Catholic University of Ireland.[243]
Vincent Price: American actor. Converted to Catholicism to marry his third wife, Australian actress Coral Browne. (She became an American citizen for him.) He reportedly lost interest in the faith after her death.[244]
Erik Prince: founder of Blackwater Worldwide.[245]
Augustus Pugin: English-born architect, designer and theorist of design. Known for Gothic Revival architecture and advocate for reviving the Catholic Church in England.[246
Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne: A co-founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, which originally worked to convert Jewish people like himself.[247]
Marie Theodor Ratisbonne: A co-founder of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, converted before his brother.[248]
Sally Read: Eric Gregory Award winning poet who converted to Catholicism.[249]
William Reynolds: English Roman Catholic theologian and Biblical scholar.[250]
Anthony Rhodes, English writer.
Paul Richardson: Formerly an Anglican bishop.[251]
Alban Roe: Benedictine who was one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[252]
Sylvester Horton Rosecrans: First bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.[253]
William Rosecrans – Sylvester's brother, a Union Army general in the American Civil War.[253]
Anthony Ross: Scottish priest who served as Rector of the University of Edinburgh from 1979 to 1982.[254]
Joseph Rovan: A historian, member of the French Resistance, and an adviser on Franco-German relations.[255]
Nazli Sabri: Queen of Egypt. Mother of King Farouk of Egypt.
Siegfried Sassoon: English poet, writer and soldier who converted in 1957.[256]
Joseph Saurin: French mathematician and Calvinist minister.[257]
Paul Schenck: Converted from Judaism to Episcopalianism to Catholicism. Currently is a Catholic priest and pro-life activist.[258][259]
Heinrich Schlier: German theologian.[260]
Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer): American mobster. Converted to Catholicism during his second trial, convinced that Jesus Christ had spared him jail time. After being fatally shot by underworld rivals, he asked to see a priest and was given the last rites. His mother, however, insisted on dressing him in a Jewish prayer shawl prior to his interment in the Catholic Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
E. F. Schumacher: Economic thinker known for Small Is Beautiful, his A Guide for the Perplexed criticizes what he termed "materialistic scientism." He went from atheism to Buddhism to Catholicism.[261]
Countess of Ségur: French writer of Russian birth.[262]
John Sergeant: English priest, controversialist and theologian.[263]
Elizabeth Ann Seton: First native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.[264][265]
Frances Shand Kydd: Mother of Diana, Princess of Wales.[266]
Michael Shen Fu-Tsung: A Qing Dynasty bureaucrat who toured Europe. A painting of him was titled "The Chinese Convert."[267]
Ralph Sherwin: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[268]
Frederick Charles Shrady: American religious artist, primarily sculpture.[269]
Angelus Silesius: A German Catholic priest and physician, known as a mystic and religious poet.[270][271]
David Silk (priest): Formerly an Anglican bishop.[32]
Richard Simpson: Literary writer and scholar who wrote a biography of Edmund Campion.[272]
Edith Sitwell:[273][274]
Delia Smith: English cook and television presenter, her books A Feast for Lent and A Feast for Advent involve Catholicism.[275]
Timo Soini: Politician who leads the Eurosceptic True Finns party. He converted during the time of Pope John Paul II.[276]
Reinhard Sorge: Expressionist playwright who went from Nietzschean to Catholic.[277][278]
Etsuro Sotoo: Japanese sculptor.[279]
Muriel Spark: Scottish novelist, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Penelope Fitzgerald states that Spark said that after her conversion she was better able to, "see human existence as a whole, as a novelist needs to do."[280]
Ignatius Spencer: The son of George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer who became a Passionist priest and worked for the conversion of England to the Catholic faith.[281]
Adrienne von Speyr: Swiss medical doctor and later Catholic mystic[282]
Henri Spondanus: A French jurist, historian, continuator of the Annales Ecclesiastici, and Bishop of Pamiers.[283]
Friedrich Staphylus: German theologian who drew up several opinions on reform for the Council of Trent despite not attending.[284]
Ellen Gates Starr: A founder of Hull House who became an Oblate of the Third Order of St. Benedict.[285]
Jeffrey N. Steenson: First ordinary to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. He had formerly been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.[286]
Edith Stein: Phenomenologist philosopher who converted to Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun; declared a saint by John Paul II.[287]
Nicolas Steno: Pioneer in geology and anatomy who converted from Lutheranism. He became a bishop, wrote spiritual works, and was beatified in 1988.[288][289]
Karl Stern: A German-Canadian neurologist and psychiatrist. His book Pillar of Fire concerns his conversion.[290]
John Lawson Stoddard: Divinity student who became an agnostic and "Scientific humanist." Later he converted to Catholicism.[291]
Göran Stenius (fi): A Swedish-Finnish writer whose Klockorna i Rom (The Bells of Rome) has been praised as a post-war religious novel.[292][293]
Sven Stolpe: Swedish convert and writer.[294]
R. J. Stove: Australian writer, editor, and composer who was raised atheist as the son of David Stove.[295]
Graham Sutherland: An English artist who did religious art and a fascination with Christ's Crucifixion.[296]
Robert Sutton: English priest and martyr.[297]
Su Xuelin: A Chinese author and scholar whose semi-autobiographical novel Bitter Heart discusses her introduction, and conversion to, Catholicism.[298]
Sophie Swetchine: Russian salon-holder and mystic.[299]
John B. Tabb: American poet, priest, and educator.[300]
John Michael Talbot: American Roman Catholic singer-songwriter-guitarist, once a secular musician in the group Mason Proffit.[301][302]
Allen Tate: American poet, essayist and social commentator, and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.[303]
Frances Margaret Taylor: Founded the Poor Servants of the Mother of God.[304]
Kateri Tekakwitha: Catholic saint informally known as Lily of the Mohawks.[305]
Elliot Griffin Thomas: The third bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Thomas.[306]
John Sparrow David Thompson: First Catholic to be Prime Minister of Canada.[307]
Tobie Matthew: Member of English Parliament who became a Catholic priest.[308]
Alice B. Toklas: An American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century who had once been Gertrude Stein's lover.[309]
Meriol Trevor: British biographer, novelist and children's writer.[310][311]
Lou Tseng-Tsiang: Chinese diplomat who became Benedictine abbot and priest Pierre-Célestin.[312][313][314]
Hasekura Tsunenaga: Samurai and Keichō diplomat who toured Europe.[315]
Malcolm Turnbull
Julia Gardiner Tyler: The second wife of U.S. President John Tyler.[316]
Barry Ulanov: An editor of Metronome magazine and a founder of the St. Thomas More Society.[317] He was also Mary Lou Williams's godfather.[318]
Kaspar Ulenberg: A theological writer and translator of the Bible who had previously been Lutheran.[319]
Sigrid Undset: Norwegian Nobel laureate who had previously been agnosticism.[320]
Sheldon Vanauken: Author of A Severe Mercy and a contributing editor of the New Oxford Review.[321]
Bill Veeck: American baseball team owner[322]
Johann Emanuel Veith: A Bohemian Roman Catholic preacher.[323]
Jean-Baptiste Ventura: Soldier, mercenary and adventurer of Jewish origin[324]
Johannes Vermeer: Dutch Golden Age painter.[325]
Mother Veronica of the Passion: Founder of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel.[326]
Karl Freiherr von Vogelsang: Politician and editor of the Catholic newspaper Das Vaterland.[327]
William George Ward: A theologian and philosopher, also a lecturer in mathematics.[328]
Evelyn Waugh: English writer, his Brideshead Revisited concerns an aristocratic Catholic family.[329]
John Wayne: American Actor, predominately known for his roles in War Films and Westerns, converted to the Catholic Church shortly before his death[330]
E. T. Whittaker: English mathematician who was awarded the cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1935.[331]
Zacharias Werner: German poet, dramatist and preacher.[332]
Eustace White: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.[333]
Ann Widdecombe: Former British Conservative Party politician, and novelist since 2000.[334]
Chelsea Olivia Wijaya: Indonesian actress and model, Born in the Protestant religion.[335]
Oscar Wilde: Irish writer and poet. Converted on his deathbed.[336]
Mary Lou Williams: Jazz pianist who, after conversion, did some religious jazz music like Black Christ of the Andes.[318][337]
Paul Williams: Academic who was raised Anglican and lived as a Tibetan Buddhist for twenty years before becoming Catholic.[338][339]
Tennessee Williams: American playwright. Converted in his later years as his life spiralled downwards.
Lord Nicholas Windsor: Son of Catholic convert Katharine, Duchess of Kent and a Pro-Life writer.[340][341]
Gene Wolfe: A Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master in science fiction and fantasy.[342][343]
John Woodcock: Among the Eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales.[344]
Thomas Woods: American historian and Austrian School economist who wrote How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.[345]
John Ching Hsiung Wu: He wrote Chinese Humanism and Christian spirituality and has been called "One of China's chief lay exponents of Catholic ideas."[346]
Wu Li: Chinese painter and poet who became one of the first Chinese Jesuit priests.[347]
John C. Wright: Science fiction author who went from atheist to Christian, specifically Catholic.[348] Chapter 1 of the book "Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion", edited by Rebecca Vitz Cherico, is by him.[349]
John Michael Wright: A portrait painter in the Baroque style.[350]
Xu Guangqi: A Chinese scholar-bureaucrat, agricultural scientist, astronomer, and mathematician during the Ming Dynasty.[351] He is classed as one of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.
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