Recently a writer in "The Sunday Times" said that Dr. Piette. a Catholic scholar. pia ce d John Wesley beside the saintly founders of the religious orders St. Benedict, St. Dominic, etc. How is it possible for a Catholic to write in such a way of an heresiarch?
Icall John Wesley an heresiarch is depriving the word of all meaning, An heresiarch is someone from whom a heresy takes its rise; no heresy took its rise from Wesley. He inherited, in all good faith, a mistaken view of the nature of the Church and of the Bible as the sole rule of faith.
God did not work the miracle (all but) that would have been needed to correct that mistake in those circumstances in 18th-century England, but used Wesley for a great renewal of the Christian life in our country. This is the basis of the comparison with the great founders. instruments of renewal of the Christ-life.
Incidentally, it is reasonable to see a line of spiritual descent from Wesley's revival to the Oxford Movement, and so to the Second Spring.
A study of Wesley's expressed convictions, and of the hymns (perhaps especially the eucharistic hymns) of his brother. will show how, in the confusion of doctrine inherited from the Reformation. the Wesleys chose truth and rejected error. A study of John Wesley's life perhaps in Dr. Piette's biography, or Wesley's own journal--will show the great sanctity of a man who, while he had the grace of baptism, the Word of God in the Scriptures, and prayer, lacked those many means of grace which we who are visibly members of the Church enjoy and neglect.
The Church does not canonise those who. even through no fault of their own, could not bear witness in their lives to the truth which is embodied in the visible Church; but she has a title which she uses for those on whose sanctity she has not pronounced. which we need not be afraid to apply to John Wesley
servant of God.