Papal knights, camels and needles’ eyes

By Laurie Bennett

February 24, 2011 at 11:45am

In itself, regardless of page content, this is a jarring URL:

It happens to be a story about media baron Rupert Murdoch donating $10 million for construction of a Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles.

Even more interesting is a biographical detail we had somehow overlooked. Murdoch is a papal knight, an honor bestowed by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

As the Independent reported at the time: “Senior Catholics are said to have been ‘mystified and astonished’ when they heard that the purveyor of newspaper sex, scandal and nudity was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory at a ceremony in Los Angeles last month.”

We came across this nugget in researching today’s news about another papal knight - Albert Gubay, founder of Kwik Save. BBC reports that Gubay has been granted knighthood by the archbishop of Westminster. The 82-year-old billionaire is leaving his fortune to the church.

Another billionaire knighted by the church include Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and Legatus.

Papal knight and hedge funder Michael Hintze, ranked number 880 last year on the <Forbes billionaire list>, paid for restoration of Michelangelo’s frescoes at the Pauline Chapel.

John Studzinski, senior managing director of the Blackstone Group, was knighted for his work with the homeless. He is a founder of The Passage, day center for homeless people in London.

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