List of former Roman Catholics
This page lists individuals in history who were at least nominally raised in the Roman Catholic faith and later rejected it or converted to other faiths. One study estimates that 10.1% of people in the United States describe themselves as former Catholics in some sense. Although a small majority converted to another religion a substantial minority of them are counted as currently unaffiliated.
According to Catholic canon law, only a formal act of defection (or an excommunication) renders a person a "former Catholic". Some individuals on this list, and in that study, are therefore still Catholics in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Most, however, of those who appear below (and are currently registered and in the records of their respective new churches or religious organizations [with their registration canonically being a "formal act of defection"]), are considered former Catholics.
Note: The list includes those who leave the Roman Catholic Church including any Eastern Catholic church which is part of it. People such as Eddie Doherty, who was allowed to transfer from the Latin Catholic Church to an Eastern Catholic church are not considered as "former Roman Catholics", while Eastern Catholics who convert to a church or another religion are considered as such.
- 1 Individuals who converted to other denominations and faiths
- 1.1 Eastern Orthodoxy
- 1.2 Anglicanism and churches in communion
- 1.3 Independent Catholic churches
- 1.4 Protestantism
- 1.5 Buddhism
- 1.6 Christian Science
- 1.7 Islam
- 1.8 Judaism
- 1.9 Kabbalism
- 1.10 Mormonism
- 1.11 Raëlism
- 1.12 Scientology
- 1.13 Debatable
- 2 Atheism, agnosticism, or non-religious
- 3 See also
- 4 Footnotes
Individuals who converted to other denominations and faiths
- Rod Dreher, writer who converted to Catholicism and then to Eastern Orthodoxy
- H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., philosopher and bioethicist
- Tom Hanks, actor who converted to the Greek Orthodox Church after marrying his wife
- Karl Matzek, artist who joined the Eastern Orthodox Church
- John Anthony McGuckin, scholar, poet, and priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church
- Alexis Toth, Ruthenian Catholic Church priest who converted to Orthodoxy and became a saint in the Orthodox Church in America
- Thom Nickels, writer and novelist, who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 2012.
- Nathaniel (Popp), archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America's Romanian Episcopate and former interim Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America who converted from the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church on 15 February, 1968.
Anglicanism and churches in communion
- Gregorio Aglipay, Filipino priest who joined the Philippine Independent Church
- Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State
- The Very Revd Miriam Byrne, Irish Catholic nun who became a cathedral provost in the Scottish Episcopal Church
- Alberto Cutié, priest who was received in the Episcopal Church after a leave of absence granted by his former bishop and decided to continue priestly ministry as a married man
- Matthew Fox, scholar and priest who became an Episcopalian
- Jim McGreevey, former Governor of New Jersey , who became Episcopalian
- The Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, raised Muslim but baptised in the Roman Catholic Church at school and received into Anglicanism at age 20
- Autumn Phillips, received into the Church of England before marrying Peter Phillips
- Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia
- The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, first woman primate in the Anglican Communion
- Josette Sheeran, director of the United Nations World Food Programme and former editor with the Washington Times, left the Catholic Church to join the Unification Church and later joined the Episcopal Church
- Joris Vercammen, Archbishop of Utrecht, spiritual leader of the Utrecht Union of Old Catholic Churches
- John B. Switzer, professor of theology at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. A former Roman Catholic seminarian who is now married, he has announced his intention to be ordained in the Episcopal Church
Independent Catholic churches
- Manuel Alonso Corral, Palmarian Catholic Church (anti)pope
- Clemente Domínguez y Gómez, Palmarian Catholic Church (anti)pope
- Sinéad O'Connor, joined Palmarian Catholic Church
- Godfrey Silvester Shiundu, Kenyan priest who joined Reformed Catholic Church
- Joseph Liu Xinhong, excommunicated for accepting ordination by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association 
- Joseph Ma Yinglin, excommunicated for accepting ordination by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association 
- John Calvin, French religious reformer
- Charles Chiniquy, American anti-Catholic writer
- Clive Derby-Lewis South African Far-Right politician and convicted murderer 
- Hugh Hewitt, law professor, author, radio talk show host, blogger; became a Presbyterian after growing up as a Catholic in Warren, Ohio
- Dorothy Lucey, news reporter on Good Day LA, converted to the Presbyterian Church (USA) 
- Georges Sada – Raised in the Chaldean Catholic Church, which is in communion with Rome. He is the President of the National Presbyterian Church and chairs the Assembly of Iraqi Evangelical Presbyterian Churches. (Also a Senior Warden at an Anglican church)
- Tom Tancredo, former U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, U.S. Presidential candidate in 2008, Constitution Party candidate for Governor of Colorado in 2010, now Evangelical Presbyterian
- Diana DeGette, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 1st congressional district, now a member of Presbyterian Church (USA).
- Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
- Marie Cavallier (now Princess Marie of Denmark), converted upon marriage to Prince Joachim of Denmark
- Friedrich Heiler, religious scholar in High Church Lutheranism. (Dispute about whether he truly left Catholicism)
- Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark,converted upon marriage to Heiress Presumptive Margrethe (now Queen Margrethe II of Denmark)
- Katharina Luther, former nun who married Martin Luther
- Martin Luther, theologian, excommunicated by papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem
- Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, German politician of the SPD
- Marcelo Crivella, senator in the federal government of Brazil
- J. Regina Hyland, a pioneer in the field of animals and religion
- Edir Macedo, founded the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God
- Efraín Ríos Montt, a former de facto President of Guatemala
- Mark Finley, pastor and speaker emeritus of It Is Written (Adventist TV program)
- Marianne Thieme, Dutch politician
- Walter Veith, is a scientist, author and speaker known for his work in nutrition, creationism and other Christian topics
- Stephen Baldwin, actor converted to non-denominational Christian
- Bob Enyart, Christian talk-show host, pastor of a non-denominational Christian church.
- Johannes Gossner, priest, became Protestant, probably Lutheran
- John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, converted after parents' death to non-denominational Protestant
- Bill McCartney, Colorado-based American evangelical/conservative activist
- Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, converted with family as a child to non-denominational Protestant
- Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota 2003–2011, Converted and attending Protestant church with spouse Mary Pawlenty
Self-described former Christians
American writer Anne Rice converted from Roman Catholicism and made this official through several messages on her website on 29 July 2010. She no longer wishes to be referred to as a ‘Christian’, though retains her belief in Christ, disagreeing with various positions of the Roman Catholic Church. See the WikiPedia article on the writer.
- Patrick Duffy, actor
- Alanis Morissette, singer-songwriter
- Hwang Woo-Suk, South Korean scientist
- Sabina Guzzanti, Italian satirist, actress, writer and producer
- Roberto Baggio, Italian footballer
- Joan Crawford, American actress
- Doris Day, American actress
- Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian, British Ambassador
- Keith Ellison, first Muslim to serve in the United States Congress
- Everlast, Irish-American rapper and guitar player
- René Guénon, French philosopher
- Diana Haddad, singer raised in the Maronite Church
- Murad Wilfred Hofmann, diplomat
- Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America. (She abandoned Catholicism years before her conversion to Islam)
- Matthew Saad Muhammad, boxer
- Peter Murphy, lead singer of Bauhaus
- Vinnie Paz, also known as Ikon the Verbal Hologram; American rapper for the underground hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks
- Franck Ribéry, French footballer
- Abel Xavier, Portuguese footballer
- Abraham ben Abraham, Polish Talmudic scholar (conflicting stories though)
- B'nai Moshe, Peruvian community of Inca descent which embraced Judaism
- Bishop Bodo, deacon
- Campbell Brown, American television news reporter, currently an anchor and political pundit for CNN and a former co-anchor of NBC's Weekend Today
- Yisrael Campbell, comedian
- Kenneth Cox, priest
- Stephen Dubner, American author
- Aaron Freeman, American journalist and comedian
- Thomas Jones
- Cameron Kerry, American politician and brother of U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry
- John King, American journalist and the host of CNN's State of the Union
- Anne Meara (1929 -), American comedian and actress, partner and wife of Jerry Stiller
- Mary Doria Russell, American author
- Jews of San Nicandro, Roman Catholic proselyte community to Judaism in Italy
- Joseph Abraham Steblicki, teacher and treasurer
- Karen Tintori, American author of fiction and nonfiction
- Géza Vermes, priest, Biblical scholar, and an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls
- Mare Winningham, American actress
- Madonna Ciccone, American entertainer
- Claudio R. M. Costa
- Isabelle Collin Dufresne- later known as Ultra Violet, one of the Warhol Superstars
- Glenn Beck
- Brigitte Boisselier, mostly known for her association with Clonaid and the Raëlian Church, raised as a Catholic in Champagne, France, holds a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Dijon in France and another one in analytical chemistry from the University of Houston
- Tom Cruise, American actor, originally desired to become a priest.
- Jenna Elfman, American actress
- David Miscavige leading figure in Scientology
- John Travolta, American actor, in 1975
This section lists some who, while adopting ideas that some others would consider incompatible with the Catholic faith, may have defected from the Church neither by a formal act nor even informally by an act of heresy, schism or apostasy. Mere attendance at services of another religion or adoption of certain meditation techniques need not signify abandonment of one's own religion. According to a 2009 survey of the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life, one in five American Catholics report that they at times attend places of worship other than the local Catholic parish (which does not have to mean non-Catholic places). The same survey noted that some Catholics incorporate "yoga as a spiritual practice", emphasize psychics, and draw on and involve themselves in other religious movements.
- Fidel Castro, excommunicated
- Jack Clayton, British director who identified himself as an "ex-Catholic"
- Robert Crumb, X-rated American cartoonist
- Irene Dailey, American actress who became a Unitarian
- Christopher Durang, American playwright
- Rosario Francesco Esposito, joined Freemasonry
- Edward Gibbon, converted to Catholicism at Oxford University, a year later under threat of being disinherited, returned to Anglicanism
- Heather Graham, American actress (Transcendental Meditation)
- Harry Hay, British-born American gay activist, founded the Radical Faeries
- Ammon Hennacy, an American pacifist, Christian anarchist, vegetarian and social activist
- Anne Jackson, American actress of Irish and Croatian extraction; married to Eli Wallach
- Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German politician
- Bill Keller, New York Times editor who said he was a "collapsed Catholic"
- Richard Lugner, excommunicated, he is a successful Austrian entrepreneur in the construction industry, and a Viennese society figure
- Ashton Kutcher, American actor
- Emmanuel Milingo, excommunicated, former Zambian Roman Catholic archbishop
- Conor Oberst, singer-songwriter
- Rosie O'Donnell, American comedian and actress
- Paul Provenza, Italian-American comic .
- Jean Jacques Rousseau, converted to Catholicism upon moving to France, rejected it for Calvinism upon moving back to Geneva
- Martin Scorsese, Italian-American director
- Orson Welles, legendary American filmmaker and actor
- Jim Carrey, Canadian American actor and comedian; describes himself as spiritual.
- Chris Martin, lead vocalist of the band Coldplay
- Victor Hugo, French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist
- Antonio Banderas, Spanish actor
Atheism, agnosticism, or non-religious
This section contains people who rejected Catholicism in favor of a non-religious philosophy.
- Steve Allen, actor, TV show host, writer, pundit (humanism)
- Javier Bardem, Spanish actor
- Paul Bettany, British actor
- Mike Birbiglia, American comedian, writer, actor, and director
- Frankie Boyle, Scottish comedian and writer, quoted saying "Religion is just what we thought before we understood what mental illness was."
- Christopher Buckley, political satirist
- Ed Byrne, Irish stand-up comedian
- George Carlin, American comedian
- Antonio Carluccio, Italian chef, restaurateur and food expert
- Jimmy Carr, British comedian
- Jim Carroll, American poet, diarist and musician
- George Clooney, American actor
- Pat Condell, comedian
- Billy Connolly, Scottish stand-up comedian
- Marie Curie, Nobel laureate in chemistry and physics
- Guillermo del Toro, Mexican film director
- Amanda Donohoe, British actress
- Theodore Dreiser, American writer (Socialism and possibly Christian Science)
- Roger Ebert, American journalist, film critic and screenwriter
- Brian Eno, British musician and record producer
- Siobhan Fahey, British musician, member of Bananarama, now interested in spiritualism
- Nick Frost, English actor, comedian and screenwriter
- Janeane Garofalo, American comedienne (Freethought advocate).
- Éamon Gilmore, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) of Ireland (2011–)
- Kathy Griffin, American comedienne and actress
- Amber Heard, American actress
- Joe Higgins, Socialist Party Member of the European Parliament for Dublin, Ireland
- François Hollande, 24th president of France
- Anthony Jeselnik, American stand-up comedian and television writer
- Denis Leary, American actor
- John Lydon, British musician, singer for The Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd.
- Seth MacFarlane, writer, creator, producer for Family Guy, American Dad, etc. (grew up as a Catholic but as an adult began to embrace atheism).
- James McAvoy, Scottish actor
- Timothy McVeigh, American terrorist
- Bill Maher, American comedian and television personality
- Zoran Milanović, Croatian politician and a leader of Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP)
- Roh Moo-hyun, 16th President of South Korea
- Giorgio Napolitano, 11th President of Italy
- Dara Ó Briain, Irish stand-up comedian and television presenter
- Joyce Carol Oates, author, critic (atheist)
- Conor Oberst, American singer-songwriter
- Bob Odenkirk, American actor and comedian; stated on his Twitter
- Park Chan-wook, South Korean film director
- Joe Rogan, American sports commentator and comedian (agnostic)
- Chris Rush, American comedian who considers himself spiritual rather than religious.
- Dan Savage, author
- Andy Serkis, British actor
- Omar Sharif, actor and bridge player; an Egyptian Melkite Catholic who converted to Islam, but is now an atheist
- Aziz Shavershian, Australian bodybuilder and internet celebrity.
- Julia Sweeney, atheist comedian on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America
- Laurie Taylor (sociologist)
- Jerome Tuccille, author of Heretic: Confessions of an Ex-Catholic Rebel
- Dana White, First and current president of UFC
- Terry Wogan, Irish and British radio personality
- Greg Gutfeld, American television personality
- List of people excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church
- List of people who converted to Catholicism
- List of former atheists and agnostics
- List of former Christians
- List of former Latter Day Saints
- List of former Muslims
- List of former Protestants
- Changes in American religious affiliation – Pew
- Danish Prince Weds French Catholic
- 403 Forbidden
- Belleville News
- Onetime Catholic Priest Abraham Carmel Celebrates His 25th Year as An Orthodox Jew : People.com
- << stephen j. dubner >>
- O'Toole, Lesley (December 22, 2006). "Ben Stiller : 'Doing comedy is scary'". The Independent. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
- Judaism – Reflections on Giur
- Buy.com – Providential Accidents: An Autobiography : Geza Vermes : ISBN 978-0-8476-9340-5
- Clonaid chief backpedals on baby proof, Associated Press. 9 January 2003. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
-  "RD: You were Catholic originally. Cruise: Well, we went from Episcopalian, to atheist, to Catholic..."
-  "In 1990 Cruise renounced his devout Catholic beliefs and embraced The Church Of Scientology claiming that Scientology teachings had cured him of the dyslexia that had plagued him all of his life."
- David Miscavige: A Biography of, and resources on, David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center
- Scientology Effective Solutions
- Editors, "Believers mix their creeds, survey finds", The Tablet, 19/26 December 2009, 53.
- If any of them merely ceased to practice the Catholic religion without renouncing it, in the belief, for instance, that their ideas were consistent with the Catholic faith, they could be considered lapsed Catholics, rather than former Catholics.
- Quoted from episode 1 of Tramadol Nights at Contrarian: Frankie Boyle.
- Solomon, Deborah, The Right Stuff, 23 October 2008, The New York Times
- Reid, Robert William (1974). Marie Curie. London: Collins. p. 19. ISBN 0-00-211539-5. "Unusually at such an early age, she became what T. H. Huxley had just invented a word for: agnostic."
- Seth MacFarlane – Celebrity Atheist List
- Comedian Chris Rush – Media Funhouse (part one of three) – YouTube
- Interview: Omar Sharif (English translation) – El Mundo on 2002.
- Shavershian, Aziz. "What religion are you?". Formspring.me. Retrieved December 18, 2011.