Unpacking report that Katie Holmes has rejoined Catholic Church
Actress Katie Holmes recently filed for divorce from actor Tom Cruise.
July 11th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Unpacking report that Katie Holmes has rejoined Catholic Church

By Eric Marrapodi, Co-Editor, CNN's Belief Blog

(CNN) - In the blizzard of reports surrounding Tom Cruise's recent split with Katie Holmes, this one stands out: After her years married to Scientologist Cruise, Holmes is said to be rejoining the Roman Catholic Church of her youth.

A report from the Huffington Post with the decisive headline "Katie Holmes Returns to Catholic Church" has been rattling around the Internet since Monday. But the Internet newspaper cites a lone unnamed member of the church choir, who claims Holmes has registered as a parishioner of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York.

“Everyone is thrilled to have Katie join us,” the church member told Huffington Post reporter Naughty But Nice Rob. “She has not yet attended a service, but when she does she will be welcomed with open arms.”

“We have no comment regarding Katie Holmes in the context of reports of her becoming a parishioner of the Church St. Francis Xavier,” said Patrick Brewis, the church’s director of stewardship.

Brewis said the church has been flooded with calls and e-mails about the prospect of Holmes’ possible registration. He noted that regardless of who a parishioner or potential parishioner might be, the church doesn’t disclose that information.

“If Jane Smith or John Doe or Katie Holmes was a parishioner, we would not be sharing that information,” he said.

Holmes has likewise been mum since the recent news of her divorce, save a joint statement issued by representatives of the star couple.

"We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other's commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other's roles as parents," the statement read. It's unclear whether Holmes ever formally joined the Church of Scientology.

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The pastor of Church of St. Francis Xavier, Father Joe Costantino, told the Daily Beast he was caught off-guard when reporters started calling about Holmes' alleged membership.

“I didn’t even know who she was,” Costantino told the site. He added that if she had registered or taken Communion there recently, “It’s news to me.”

Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, couldn't confirm or deny that Holmes had joined the Church of St. Francis Xavier or any other Catholic church, saying that "if a person joined the parish, it’s done on the parish level.” Zwilling said he had not heard one way or the other from St. Francis Xavier's administrative offices.

Celebrities have bemoaned their lack of privacy when it comes to matters religious. "Next time I'm in church, please no photos," raps Kanye West in "Run this Town," a hit song he recorded with Rihanna and Jay-Z.

The Archdiocese of New York is no stranger to celebrity guests at its services, particularly at the famed St. Patrick's Cathedral, Zwilling said, but "we have not had any incidents with paparazzi or other people approaching (celebrities) at Mass. If they did they’d be asked to leave."

"Anyone who comes to Mass would be expected to follow the proper protocols," he said. "I think people understand and respect when you're in church, you don’t disturb them when they’re in a house of worship.”

Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was born in Hollywood and grew up going to St. Charles Catholic Church in North Hollywood. He remembered going to services with "Farrah Fawcett on one side of me, John Wayne's family on the other side of me and the Bob Hope family behind me."

Tamberg said he has had few, if any, incidents surrounding celebrities attending worship services.

"When they come through the doors of the church, people know who people are, but people are doing their own thing," he said. “I’ve never seen anyone ask for autographs over the years ... and I’ve been in position to see it a lot.”

Should Holmes decide to return to the Catholic Church, she could follow a similar script as Nicole Kidman, who was also once married to Cruise and was also raised Catholic.

Tamberg said Kidman has returned to the church since her divorce.

“Usually, what happens is, there’s still some ties to the church through your family,” he said. "My understanding with the Kidman story is, she was close to a priest her family had known their whole lives. That was helpful to her in picking up the pieces after the divorce."

Should Holmes decide to return to Catholicism, Tamberg said, it's a fairly easy process.

“You basically can pick it up where you left off,” he said, pointing to Jesus talking often in the Bible of rejoicing over wandering adherents returning to the fold.

"There’s no test you have to take. Once you’ve received the sacraments, those are a permanent mark," he said, citing the sacraments of Communion, baptism and confirmation.

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Even if a person has publicly renounced his or her faith, Tamberg said, returning would only be a matter of private counseling with a priest, though even that process is not formalized.

As the unnamed member of the Church of St. Francis Xavier and hordes of reporters wait for Holmes to attend a service in New York, they may want to consider that the parish has an online registration form that anyone can fill out.

In most parishes,  Zwilling noted, that's a form you have to fill out in person.

Brewis welcomed the attention paid to the Church of St. Francis Xavier, saying it is “striving to be a vibrant parishioner-driven community.” He added, “On the plus side, many people who hadn't heard about us and the extraordinary work we do have heard about us now.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church

soundoff (1,139 Responses)
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    October 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
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    September 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
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    August 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  4. New Gawker

    Leave the crazies to join the pedophiles.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  5. Corry

    Hum... one cult to another. Only for the weak.

    July 23, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • rh

      Wonder if the Scientologists made her renounce Catholicism. If so, she might have to work to get back in.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Ok, she went from one REALLY wacky cult to one that supports pedophiles. The next one will be a cult that wears special underwear.


      July 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  6. musings

    I have to say that as a Catholic like Holmes who took off where I left off (and still remain somewhat skeptical of many of the dogmas, though not of the transcendent goodness of Christ), the one person I truly miss as a mental sparring partner is Christopher Hitchens. Interesting name too.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  7. Jennifer P.

    What I find shocking is the people who are poo-pooing Christianity and not the one created by a Sci-Fi author only a few decades back.

    July 15, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Adam

      What is the difference? Aside from the few millenia Christianity has been afforded for the tool marks of human artifice to have eroded from view?

      July 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • karenvaughan

      The old religions were developed by great minds over the centuries, with beliefs, explanations, philosophical discussions, rich rituals, art and music; Scientology was developed as a psychological technique that only started claiming religious status for tax reasons. It is the imagination of one man not the historical collaboration representing the values of a collective people. They call it "the tech", and it may offer some decent biofeedback although their ethics could use some work. Not even comparable to the great religions, whatever imperfections they may have.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      I'll poo-poo any religion that believes in the supernatural. Take your pick. Religion=power and control.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Is the Rev. Gene Scott still around? He was funny.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Awww...he died in 2005. He was right up there with the Rev Ike. Smart man. Slightly twisted, tho. lol

      July 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Reality

    Lee Strobel, another in the "make an easy buck" world of Christian evangelists.

    "Lee Patrick Strobel (b. January 25, 1952 in Arlington Heights, Illinois) is an American Christian author, journalist and pastor. He has written several books, including four which received ECPA Christian Book Awards (1994, 1999, 2001, 2005)[1] and a series which addresses challenges to a Biblically inerrant view of Christianity.[2] Strobel also hosted a television program called Faith Under Fire on PAX TV,[3] and runs a video apologetics web site. Strobel has been interviewed on numerous national television programs, including ABC's 20/20, Fox News and CNN.[4]

    [hide] 1 Biography
    2 Books 2.1 The Case for a Creator
    2.2 Other books

    3 Bibliography 3.1 Children's apologetics series

    4 References
    5 External links

    [edit] Biography

    Strobel received a journalism degree from University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale Law School,[5] becoming a journalist for The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers for 14 years. He states that he was an atheist and began investigating the Biblical claims about Christ after his wife's conversion. As a result of the evidence he discovered in his investigation, he became a Christian.[6]

    July 15, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • the voice of reason

      Why are christians the only ones that go on TV and beg for money? Always wondered about that.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  9. joycelen

    I am happy to learn that the sacraments are permanent marks. I knew my baptism was, but nice to hear the others are too. I have also found the rudest, most vile sounding, hostile people are anti-Christian, anti Catholic. Just leave her alone everyone. Just have some respect.

    July 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Timmuh

      They weren't permanent for me. We'll stop being so hostile when you, gee i don't know, stop telling the credulous that aids is bad or condoms are worse, or telling children, who aren't old enough to think for themselves, that they will burn in hell for simply not believing the way you do, all without a lick of evidence.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Mark

      Get out of government, quit abusing women's rights, overpopulating the world, impeding science for centuries, and I'll stop being rude.

      A former catholic so relieved to have been educated and freed from this horrible religion. Forcing a child into ANY RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE

      July 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • bob

      "Just leave her alone everyone. Just have some respect."

      If some non believers seem rude to you maybe its because they had enough adults forcing fairy tales
      down their throats, and making world changing decisions based on magic and hit a breaking point.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  10. Griffco

    Katie Holmes is a gorgeous woman. I wish I had a chance at her! I'd tap that!

    July 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • bob

      Idea. your not gonna met her posting on cnn

      July 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  11. Reality

    Dear Katie H,

    Stop and read this. It is well worth your time.

    Putting the kibosh on religion: (it boggles the mind how inexpensive and easy this is)

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    July 14, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • *Markham

      read Case for Christ by lee stroebel. Compelling for all. How will YOU respond to what is presented in this amazing book ?

      July 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • james

      You are wrong about almost everything.

      July 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Reality

      Added details, Part I:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      July 15, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  12. Lily Chase

    Does anyone even read what they write before they write it? Some of the rudest people I encounter are in the comments section on these boards.
    Consider that you are engaging in conversation with actual people, and act accordingly.
    If your comment still comes out rude and ignorant, I pity you.

    Pertaining to the article, just goes to show how celebrity-focused we are in America, to the point of really shoddy reporting. The point is not that she's joining what some consider a bogus religion, rather that some attention-seeking parishioner spoke on something they didn't know about. That and the Huffington Post needs a new fact-checker.

    July 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! .

      July 15, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • rh

      And religion is even more unhealthy.

      At least my kids are moral and honest because it is the right thing to do, not that they are afraid of a sky god or a guy with a pitchfork. Evil exists mostly because of religion, because once people find out that you *can* be evil and not struck down, there is no reason for them to stop being evil.

      Stop religion, and return to a moral and civil society.

      July 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  14. midwest rail

    Bill, no need for me to pursue a Pulitzer. Have you read the Cloyne Report ? I have, and the level of abuse coupled with the systemic cover-up should outrage everyone.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.