Famed Australian Atheist, Bill Hayden, is Baptized in the Catholic Church at 85

by Steve Ray on April 20, 2019

Originally published a few months ago, but very current and good news!

10281068-3x2-700x467Some amazing news came out of Australia today with a famous atheist politician receiving baptism. Bill Hayden had been the leader of a major Australian political party, then was the Governor General of Australia for 7 years. (The Governor General is the one who signs bills into law in the Queen’s name in 15 Commonwealth countries.) Recently, at 85, he renounced his atheism and joined the Catholic Church.

Getting Close to Death

The Australian reports his motivation to take this step.

Bill Hayden, at age 85, has ­renounced his atheism and been baptised into the Catholic Church.

The former Labor leader and governor-general said it was witnessing so many selfless acts of compassion by Christians over his lifetime, and deep contemplation while recovering from a stroke, that prompted his decision.

Toying with Catholicism for Years

The Australian article continues with a bit of background from Bill Hayden.

“I always regarded myself as a fellow traveller with Catholicism and declared I was a Catholic on official forms, but it wasn’t official,” Mr Hayden said. [His family had been Catholic.] “I would go to mass every Sunday and then go to benediction when I was a teenager. I didn’t know that I wasn’t officially a Catholic, and found that out only later when my sister did the family history.

“When you grow up with it, I don’t think it ever really leaves you. The Catholics have ceremony very much in place. But it was more than that. I could just feel in my heart that I didn’t feel fulfilled.

“There is more to life than just me. I had to make a dedication of myself for the good of others, ­before God. I felt that strongly.”

Sincere Motivations to Convert

It is also worth noting the reasons Bill Hayden wrote to friends about his conversion.

In a letter to family and friends, he explained that the Christian principles of “humanity, social commitment and service to ­others” aligned with his personal and political values, and guided his return to the Catholic faith.

“Christianity represents for me the qualities I have attempted to apply in my life but from now on will strive to uphold, with faith,” he wrote.

So often we can write people off and think there is no hope. However, stories like this of conversion late in life should teach us not to lose hope on anyone.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Ann A Kreitzer April 22, 2019 at 11:12 AM

I love this story and am linking to it on my own blog! Thank you.

Christina Stryker April 29, 2019 at 8:56 AM

This is just one example of the power of making a connection with whomever you meet each day. By living the life our faith in Jesus gives us in Catholicism; that is, showing the virtues of humility, kindness, patience, charity, chastity, diligence, and temperance to others, they will see something in us they want and need.

Fr Khouri April 29, 2019 at 11:36 AM

Where does he mention Christ?

STEVE RAY HERE: Not sure I understand the question. We do not have all of his comments and reasons or the words he used. I would think converting to Catholicism would have Christ at the center of that decision.

C-Marie April 29, 2019 at 1:56 PM

So one would think, regarding Response to Fr. Khouri, but, one near and dear to me “came back” to the Catholic Church, confessions and all, and yet seems to be still working on amending political beliefs, so that the quotes did not at all name Jesus Christ is extremely significant. Hopefully he is open to the Holy Spirit for the fullness of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and perhaps he is already so. Perhaps his words about Jesus Christ will be printed with a continuation of this news, or rather an update?? God bless him dearly for choosing God. God bless, C-Marie

dante April 30, 2019 at 5:50 AM

The catholic church is the only one established by God the rest are by man.

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