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Reading more like an adventure story than an ecclesiastic’s autobiography, The Devil is a Jackass plots the course of William Ullathorne from cabin boy on the high seas to the establishment of the Catholic Bishopric of Birmingham.
A direct descendant of St. Thomas More, Ullathorne spent four years before the mast before seeking to become a monk of the English Benedictine Conngregation, entering the monastery at Downside.
He volunteered for the Australian mission, of which he was made first Vicar-General at the astonishingly young age of 26, playing a major part in bringing transportation to an end and publishing the first popular attacks on the convict system.
The key figure behind the establishment of a Catholic Hierarchy in Australia, as the last of the English Vicars-Apostolic, he was later able to use his Australian experience to pilot the reintroduction of the Hierarchy in England.
Here for is the full story of his life told in the Archbishop’s own words. The editor, Leo Madigan, has produced a rich and fascinating account by conflating the two versions of the autobiography produced by Ullathorne.
Ullathorne’s spiritual heirs in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Catholics of Australia will find this compelling story of particular interest, but general readers interested in the history of the 19th century will also find it an historical and spiritual document of the widest significance. $38.95