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Dr O'leary And Father Callanan

Irish Humour Home

Dr. O'Leary, though with great talents for a controversialist, always
sedulously avoided the angry theme of religious disputation. Once,
however, notwithstanding his declared aversion to polemics, he was led
into a controversy. While he was at Cork, he received a letter through
the Post Office, the writer of which, in terms expressive of the utmost
anxiety, stated that he was a clergyman of the established church, on
whose mind impressions favorable to the Catholic Creed had been made by
some of O'Leary's sermons. The writer then professing his enmity to
angry controversy, wished to seek further information on some articles
of the Catholic creed. His name he forbore to reveal. O'Leary, anxious
to propagate the doctrine of his Church, replied in a manner perfectly
satisfactory to his anonymous correspondent. Other doubts were
expressed, and dissipated, until the correspondence had extended to
eight or ten long letters.

O'Leary, in joy at his supposed triumph, whispered the important secret
to a few ecclesiastical confidants; among whom was his bosom friend, the
Rev. Lawrence Callanan, a Francisan friar, of Cork. Their
congratulations and approbation were not wanting, to urge forward the
champion of orthodoxy. His arguments bore all before them; even the
obstacles arising from family and legal notions, were disregarded by the
enthusiastic convert, and he besought O'Leary to name a time and place,
at which he might lift the mysterious vizor by which he had hitherto
been concealed; and above all, have an opportunity of expressing his
gratitude to his friend and teacher.

The appointed hour arrived. O'Leary arranged his orthodox wig, put on
his Sunday suit of sable, and sallied forth with all collected gravity
of a man fully conscious of the novelty and responsibility of the
affair in which he was engaged. He arrived at the appointed place of
meeting some minutes after the fixed time, and was told that a
respectable clergyman awaited his arrival in an adjoining parlor.
O'Leary enters the room, where he finds, sitting at the table, with the
whole correspondence before him, his brother friar, Lawrence Callanan,
who, either from an eccentric freak, or from a wish to call O'Leary's
controversial powers into action, had thus drawn him into a lengthened
correspondence. The joke, in O'Leary's opinion, however, was carried too
far, and it required the sacrifice of the correspondence and the
interference of mutual friends; to effect a reconciliation.

Next: O'leary And The Quakers

Previous: Meeting Of O'leary And Wesley

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