The Limits of a Catholic Spirit: John Wesley, Methodism, and Catholicism
This book fills the gap that is John Wesley and Catholicism.
What people are saying
By providing the first book length historical study of John Wesley and Catholicism, Yates has broken new ground. This balanced study shows convincingly that Wesley paradoxically put into practice his ideal of a catholic spirit yet was also a purveyor of popular anti-Catholicism. For anyone interested in Wesley, Methodism, and Catholicism, and ecumenical relations, this is both an essential and rewarding read.
Kenneth J. Collins
In this carefully argued and engaging work, Yates not only shows that the sermon, "Catholic Spirit" was never intended for easing relations with Roman Catholics themselves but also that Letter to a Roman Catholic was drafted by and large to win their trust so that they would be open to evangelical conversion. Beyond this, in opposing of the lifting of the penal laws, John Wesley's deeply imbedded anti-Catholicism remained despite twenty-first century attempts to tidy things up.
A careful and judicious examination of John Wesley's 'catholic spirit.' Steering a middle course between the Scylla of anachronistic ecumenism and the Charybdis of anti-Catholic fundamentalism. Yates's contribution to Methodist scholarship is essential reading.
Yates presents a balanced historical investigation of a neglected subject, John Wesley's troubled relationship with Roman Catholicism. She shows how Wesley's devotion to the early fathers, to primitive church discipline, and to his life-long Arminianism led to recurring but misplaced charges of 'popery' and 'Jesuitism' by Anglican and Calvinist critics, compounded by his misguided perceptions of Jacobite sympathies. She explores the nature and basis of Wesley's enduring anti-Catholic proclivities, exemplified in his writings and experiences in Ireland, while doing full justice for his admiration for Roman Catholic devotional l literature. She explains how this spiritual irenicism coexisted with his doctrinal and political anti-Catholicism. The end result is a coherent and measured analysis of the subtle complexities and tensions in Wesley's thought and practice.