Was John Wesley charitable to Catholics?

1749 - 4 years after Culloden under Penal Laws, when any Catholic he met might have been recently despoiled by Protestant supporters of Hannoveran usurpation - he wrote, obviously writing back and answering something, to a Roman Catholic, answering Catholic polemics of the time. In Dublin, to an Irishman.

I found this thanks to a Greek Orthodox priest who was "appealing to the Reformers" (including John Wesley a little higher in this letter) against what is called "the error of Helvidius". Since I was brought up by a Salvationist (who might now consider becoming a Catholic) and William Booth was a former Methodist, i e disciple of  John Wesley, and since I have since back then converted to Catholicism, I was curious.

First  John Wesley made an appeal to the Charity of the Catholic, then he gave a very full confession of his beliefs, none of which was directly wrong in Catholic theology (and that he knew), omitting anything in Protestant doctrines directly offensive to Catholics, like denial of Real Presence (which is not a tenet of all Protestants, I agree) then he asked "is anything in this wrong" and presumed (rightly) that the Catholic would say no, but there are other things a Christian should believe too.

So, from Catholics he demanded full excuse for any omission of the full Catholic doctrine and concluded that section


Do you keep your body in sobriety, temperance, and chastity, as knowing it is the temple of the Holy Ghost and that, ff any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy? Have you learned, in every state wherein you are, therewith to be content? Do you labor to get your own living abhorring idleness as you abhor hell-fire ? The devil tempts other men; but an idle man tempts the devil: an idle man's brain is the devil's shop, where he is continually working mischief. Are you not slothful in business? Whatever your hand finds to do, do you do it with your might? And do you do all as unto the Lord, as a sacrifice unto God, acceptable in Christ Jesus? The, and this alone is the old religion. This is true, primitive Christianity. Oh, when shall it spread over all the earth? when shall it be found both in us and you? Without waiting for others, let each of us by the grace of God amend one.

from §15 of
To a Roman Catholic

DUBLIN July 18, 1749.
which is cited among others at

When speaking about the Holy Ghost: its temple being our body, St Paul speaks of "chastity", John Wesley of "sobriety temperance and chastity". 34 words.

Then more than 80 words about work ethic, starting with contentment (this said to a man living under penal laws).

This which hereafter follows was not yet written on that FB wall post with comments, but this morning I wondered what I would say if someone asked me those things?

I am begging. Do you prefer me to labor or to be content with my state? I do both, since I write, and since my writings so far have not taken me out of the state of a a beggar. Which, legitimately they could have. Dito for my musical compositions. How can I be content with my state if it is wrong for me to not live off my "toil"? Or how can I live off my "toil" as long as one insists I be content with my position? I do both things you ask of me, and you blame me for both, and yet you claim to be charitable and reasonable to me!

I think that answers the Protestants' claim of being the charitable and reasonable party.

Would to God the Catholics around here had been less Protestant, less Wesleyite!

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Mairie du III, Paris

Nowadays "his followers" issue warrants for abortions where St Gianna Beretta Molla would not abort. And should not have either.