Quotes Suitable for Framing: Oscar Wilde


Hilary Mantel, the author of the howlingly ahistoric, and Catholic bashing, Wolf Hall, has opined, The Catholic Church “is not an institution for respectable people”.

In that she is absolutely correct.  Oscar Wilde nailed it long ago:

“The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do.” A death bed convert to Catholicism, Wilde understood the essence of the institution he was joining.

More to explorer


  1. King Charles II observed to Mr Mallock: “There be three kinds of religion in my realm; the Presbyterian and Independent and that kind – for I count those all one; and that is no religion for a gentleman. And there is the Church of England, of which I am the Head, which numbers many gentlemen, but is no religion for a Christian; and there is the Catholic, which is the only religion (so far as I am acquainted with any) suited for both gentlemen and Christians. That is my view of the matter, Mr Mallock.”

  2. Am I wrong to think Mantel’s quote ironic, given the fact that that his anti-hero, Cromwell, was not, by the standards of the day, a respectable person?
    Maybe I am. I’m going off of the Masterpiece Theater/BBC interpretation –and I’ve missed as much as I’ve seen.

  3. In Scotland, historically Catholics have been over-represented in what the prevailing Calvinist culture regarded as rather disreputable trades: the Stage, the Turf, the Liquor trade and so on.
    Even today, it is notable how many Catholic jockeys, trainers and bookmakers one encounters, if, like me, one moves in those circles. Again, many Glasgow pubs, with live-in bar staff, have a tradition of advertising vacancies in the Irish Press.

  4. The issue revolves around one’s definition of “respectable.”

    Among persons needing conversion are those that believe that they are saints.
    We are fallen. We need redemption which we cannot achieve. But, for God all things are possible.
    Desire a love of humility. Think of the humiilty of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words, “Hail, full of grace!” The First Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation.

  5. Ted Turner once said “Christianity is for losers”. The Orthodox writer John Garvey wrote to the effect that “That is true in a way Ted Turner could not possibly understand”.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: