Scholarly interest in Wesley’s views of Catholicism and his conceptions of catholicity has increased significantly. This article examines how British Catholics, especially Bishop Richard Challoner of London and Fr Arthur O’Leary of Cork, engaged with Methodism in late Georgian Britain. Despite the proscribed status of the Catholic Church during this period, Catholics participated to an impressive degree in the controversies surrounding Methodism by defining themselves against Wesley both theologically and politically. Their actions aroused considerable interest and controversy, thus demonstrating the vitality of the Catholic community in an age when the Anglican confessional state was under considerable pressure.

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