Page 5, 7th August 1998

7th August 1998
Page 5
Page 5, 7th August 1998 — When do converts become 'real' Catholics?

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When do converts become 'real' Catholics?

From Dr Sheridan Gilley Sir, Some of your readers may have seen the issue of The Tablet of 18 July, containing Clifford Longley's open letter to you, rebuking you as a recent convert who is still lacking in -the Catholic mind". As an historian of Catholicism, I find a significance in this form of

criticism beyond the

circumstances which produced it. for Nr Longley's letter illustrates one of the

recurring and more unfortunate elerents of the "Catholic mind".a method of one-upmanship by which cradle Catholics and older converts score of new ones.

Though himself a convert of long ago. Mr Longley's letter echoes Ronald 1'nox's Dr Catacomb. 'who never thought of a convert but as a bird which had flown i 'to the room by acrid rat, to the embarrassment of its occupants."

More fac tally. Mr Longley remi Ids rile of Bishop Hogarth describing the convert Hoary Eiward Manning as "soh a forward piece". and of Bishop Ullathorne informing Manning in a bread Yorkshire accent that "I taught the catechism with :he mitre on my 'ed when you were a 'eretic".

Bishop Wiseman complained e'en louder when the foundng editor of The Tablet, Frederick Lucas, within afew years of his conversion flayed the English and Iris) hierarchies for their want olcormaitment

to his awn high Ultramontanisrt

Yet Mannina and Lucas came into the (hurchwith a catholicity wide thanthat of many cradle Caholics. Lucas's convesion rase in part from hi s Qualerism. Newman's iota of. the development o doctrne and Manning's brief n the universal alit of tte Holy Spirit were no the catcome of the then Ronan thology, but of their en ligem.eit with Anglican Proistantim and liberalism, a d w ih the Greek Fatihrs whom Catholics no lager red.

Yours faithfuil: SHERIDAN GI-LE-1 University of radian

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