Dr O'leary And Father Callanan





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.





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