Dutch Schultz – Cold blooded killer/Catholic convert. This conversion caused quite the uproar.
Born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer, he has to be one of the least likely converts. His parents were both German Jews who attempted to raise their son in their faith but instead he became the notorious gangster known as Public Enemy #1 Dutch Schultz.
In 1935, while plotting criminal activity Schultz was gunned down in the rear of a bar. He was rushed to a hospital where he registered as a Jew. But early the next morning, he unexpectedly called for a Catholic priest. Father Cornelius McInerney was told by Schultz that he wanted to die a Catholic. Father McInerney baptized him, and gave him the last rites of the Catholic Church. That night, Schultz died and he was later buried in a Catholic cemetery.
There were reportedly several protests concerning the Church’s acceptance of Schultz. Newspapers opined against it and people were outraged. They’d obviously forgotten the story about the thief on the cross next to Jesus.
Oscar Wilde -Wilde is known today for his wit and celebrated for a homosexual lifestyle. In fact, I’d bet he’s more well known for his flamboyancy than he is for his literary achievements which often had a strong moral lesson. The fact that Wilde was a deathbed convert to Catholicism is just about completely ignored. It doesn’t really fit into the caricature of Wilde.