Michael Seed (born 1957) is a Latin Rite Catholic priest, a Franciscan friar and former Ecumenical Advisor to the Archbishop of Westminster. Seed is known for his involvement in helping several British celebrities and politicians in their journey to embrace Catholicism.
Michael Seed was born as Steven Wayne Godwin in Manchester, 1957, to a young woman called Marie, and baptised into the Catholic Church as an infant. He was adopted in 1958 by Joseph and Lillian Seed. During his early childhood he and Lillian were subjected to abuse at the hands of his adoptive father, resulting in a number of unsuccessful suicide attempts by his mother. Seed was subjected to relentless bullying during his school years, alongside the constant abuse he faced at home. Following the suicide of his mother in 1966 and the death of his father in 1968, he was raised by his maternal grandmother.
In his youth Seed was involved in several different Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, the Salvation Army and the Baptist Union. Eventually, at the age of 18, Seed joined the Society of African Missions in 1976 and spent a year at the novitiate in Cork (city) in Ireland. After the novitiate he went to the SMA's house in New Barnet in north London and attended the now-defunct Missionary Institute in Mill Hill along with members of several religious congregations which prepare men for a lifetime of service to the poor of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Seed struck up a relationship with the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement (the Society of the Atonement) who ran a library close to Westminster Cathedral and eventually left his missionary society and joined the Franciscans, taking his first vows in 1982. He was ordained a priest on 18 January 1986 and, in 1988, Cardinal Basil Hume assigned him the post of Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs at Westminster Cathedral. Whilst at Westminster Cathedral, Seed assisted numerous people, including MPs Ann Widdecombe and John Gummer in their decision to enter the Catholic Church. He celebrated Masses for the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his family, prior to Blair's conversion to Catholicism in December 2007. He also has many connections with celebrity figures such as Charles Kennedy and Terry Wogan. In 2003 Seed was painted by artist Christian Furr who has done a portrait of the Queen.
In 2007, it was reported that Seed was in trouble with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor; apparently the cardinal was upset that Seed had introduced wealthy businessmen to government officials in an attempt to secure financing for Labour's flagship academies. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor saw this move by Seed as unwarranted support of specific Labour policies. The cardinal was also reported as being annoyed at Seed's statement that the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, would become a Catholic upon leaving Downing Street. As noted above, Blair did indeed become a Catholic shortly after leaving office.
On 15 July 2009, Seed launched the second volume of his autobiography, Sinners and Saints, at Stringfellows lapdancing club in London's West End. The book received some scathing reviews from several sources: The Church Times referred to it as an "unpriestly book" and "careless talk" with A.N. Wilson of The Observer bluntly stating that "He has now left Westminster Cathedral but he will surely not have left the public stage. Where two or three Hello!-style celebs are gathered together, Father Michael Seed will surely be there in their midst, managing to be both clumsily sycophantic and intrusive." Even the tabloid Daily Mail's John McEntee, who seemed to enjoy Seed's book, wonders who released to the press the account of the final moments of the former Minister, Alan Clark, seeing as Seed was the only other person present: "'Which of the two - the dead Clark or God - leaked the story to a newspaper?'"
- Nobody's Child by Michael Seed (John Blake Publishing Ltd. 2007) ISBN 978-1-84454-343-4
- Guardian Profile: 7 April 2006
- Timesonline 2 April 2006
- The Tablet
- Religionnewsblog.com 17 May 2007
- BBC: Tony Blair joins Catholic Faith 22 Dec 2007
- Michael Seed
- The Telegraph: 16 June 2007
- The Telegraph 16 June 2007
- West End Extra 10 July 2009
- The Church Times 4 December 2009
- The Observer 2 August 2009
- Daily Mail 21 August 2009
- Website of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement
- Website of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
- Website of the Catholic National Library,London
- Article on Paul of Graymoor: Founder of the Society of the Atonement and Father of the Church Unity Octave at Catholic.org
- Article on Mother Lurana, Foundress of the Sisters of the Atonement at Catholic.org