Your book is unusual in that you tell your story through the stories of the people who influenced your decision to become Catholic. Why was this important to you?
Once I was persuaded to write it, I felt the best way to do it would be to tell the stories of the people I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with in places of conflict or persecution, people in politics and public life whom I’ve known, and writers, thinkers and theologians whom I might not know personally but whose writings have inspired me. I wanted to introduce these amazing people to a wider audience.
How has becoming a Catholic affected your work as a human rights advocate in changing any volatile parts of the world?
It has given me a much deeper theological and spiritual underpinnings for my advocacy. I’ve also come to really love the universality of the Church, the fact that wherever I am in the world — and I travel a lot — whenever I go to Mass I can follow it, even in another language, and I know that we’re praying the same liturgy and reading the same passages of Holy Scripture.
I also love the fact that it is universality and not uniformity, that there is space for cultural diversity. I’ve been to Mass in different parts of England, Burma, Indonesia, South Korea, Florida, California, Washington DC, Paris, Rome, Assisi, Venice, Positano, Stockholm, Geneva, Brussels, Dubrovnik and beyond, and it’s wonderful to see both the universality and the diversity.
Zoe Romanowsky is lifestyle editor for Aleteia.