14 May 2015, The Tablet

Britain's most influential Catholics revealed on The Tablet’s Top 100 list

The Tablet’s top 100 list reveals Catholics in leadership positions across every sector of British society.

Business leaders and politicians mix with writers and stars of showbusiness in a list of Britain’s most influential lay Catholics.

The list has been compiled for The Tablet’s 175th anniversary.

In the number one slot is the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, followed by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools.

Prominent lay female Catholics include Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, who is ranked fourth, and Dame Elish Angiolini, a former Lord Advocate of Scotland.

The General Election result last Thursday, where Scottish Catholic voters contributed to the swing away from Labour to the SNP, has had a direct impact on the list, pushing Sir Tom Devine, the historian widely seen as the intellectual heavyweight behind Scottish nationalism, up to number 7.

Other prominent names include Paul Polman (8), Chief Executive of Unilever; Iain Duncan Smith (18), Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and the singer Sam Smith (77).

The arts are also well represented with the new director of the National Gallery, Gabriele Finaldi appearing at number 12 and Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of London’s Barbican Centre, being listed at number 31.

Catherine Pepinster, editor of The Tablet, said: “The Tablet’s list of Top 100 lay people of 2015 reflects the enormous contribution of Catholics to this country and beyond, in leadership positions in every sector from banking to the arts to sport and to running major charities.”

She added: “A striking feature of the list created to mark our 175th anniversary is how many of those featured have risen to prominence from modest or even underprivileged backgrounds. While recent studies reveal that social mobility in Britain is at a standstill, Catholics have gone from being a minority group, largely a community of working-class immigrants, to playing a key role in British professional and public life – a story that is testament to the transformative power of education in Catholic schools. Many of them declare that their faith underpins their determination to work for the common good of society. This is often a tribute to the exceptional quality of Catholic education but also reflects an instinct instilled by faith for these individuals use their unique God-given gifts.”

The full list will appear in The Tablet’s 16 May edition, which marks 175 years of continual publication of the journal.

For full details of special anniversary events including a literary festival and a concert click here. #tablet175

Above: Mark Carney. Photo: PA

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