- (Reuters/Issei Kato)
Katie Holmes, married to Tom Cruise for five years, was reported to have registered as a parishioner with the Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City, where she relocated after filing for divorce from the high-profile scientologist. However, an official with the church said Tuesday that the report was false.
The Church of St. Francis Xavier, an inclusive and LGBT-affirming congregation located in Manhattan, was identified by The Huffington Post as the place of worship Holmes had chosen during her transition from her marriage to Cruise, suggesting that the 33-year-old mother of Suri Cruise had "officially returned to the Catholic faith."
The publication's reporter, "Naughty But Nice" Rob Shuter, even shared reaction from a purported unidentified member of the choir at St. Francis Xavier Church, which boasted more than 4,000 registered parishioners last year.
"Everyone is thrilled to have Katie join us," the anonymous member of the church's choir was said to have told Shuter. "She has not yet attended a service, but when she does she will be welcomed with open arms."
Seeking to verify the report, The Christian Post contacted St. Francis Xavier Church Tuesday morning and was told by Parish Manager Jacqueline Salco that Holmes was not listed in the church registry. Salco indicated over the phone that she had looked through the registry, and responded in the affirmative when asked if The Huffington Post report was false.
Shuter, who reportedly has a reputation for breaking news on many celebrities, has worked for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy and other stars, according to his biography on The Huffington Post. His close connections presumably lead to insider information, as was suggested by a commenter on St. Francis Xavier Church's Facebook page.
Nancy Fava shared on the social media page Thursday a link to Shuter's Huffington Post article, writing: "OK who's the mole?"
"Welcome Katie and Suri!" she added.
It was not immediately clear if Fava is a member of St. Francis Xavier Church, although a woman of the same name is listed on its website sharing a brief testimonial. A "Nancy Fava" is also credited on the website with contributing to a new church logo, as well as designing the covers of its 2011 annual report.
Although St. Francis Xavier Church has denied having Katie Holmes as a new member, it is not uncommon for churches to attempt to maintain a certain level of privacy for particularly high-profile parishioners. If Holmes has chosen St. Francis Xavier Church as her place of worship during her time in NYC, time will surely tell ... or at least one of her fellow parishioners might.
Holmes reportedly moved to NYC before surprising Tom Cruise with a petition for divorce two weeks ago. Various reports have indicated that Cruise, a devout member of the Church of Scientology for years, was caught off guard by Holmes' petition and demands, which reportedly include sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter Suri Cruise.
The pair has come to an agreement, which reportedly included Holmes' request that Suri be kept from the teachings of Scientology, commonly viewed as a cult. TMZ reports that the stipulations actually require both parents to avoid discussing certain religious topics with their daughter until she is of a certain age.
People magazine published on Tuesday a statement from Holmes' attorney, Jonathan Wolfe, who revealed: "The case has been settled and the agreement has been signed. We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life."
Cruise and Holmes had released a joint statement Monday, before news that the divorce had been finalized, saying: "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."
Although "irreconcilable differences" was reportedly noted on the divorce filings, speculation had arisen that Cruise's devotion to Scientology, a belief system created by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952, had driven a wedge between he and Holmes.
Holmes, who had reportedly studied Scientology during her five-year marriage to Cruise, was raised as a Roman Catholic and her parents are said to be devout Catholics. In 2009, Holmes reportedly enrolled Suri in a Catholic pre-school.
Cruise was reportedly at one time a devout Roman Catholic himself and pursued the priesthood before eventually becoming one of Scientology's most prominent members. Other high-profile celebrity members of the sect include actors John Travolta and Jason Lee, and actress Juliette Lewis.