The first privately published edition of We Believe appeared anonymously in 1983 and subsequently, to the author's great surprise, took a wider readership by storm, selling more than 15,000 copies before his death at the age of 97 in 1998. Alfred Gilbey was already a well-known priest, having been from 1932 to 1965 Chaplain to the Catholic Undergraduates of Cambridge University. The course of instructions he gave to enquirers into the Catholic Faith had, in A. N. Wilson's words, already "acquired a legendary status", and had been responsible for more than forty vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Devoted to the life of prayer, his Commentary on the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, as this work is sub-titled, is based on a lifetime's reflection on the truths of the Faith and, his many friends would wish to add, on the daily example he gave of the precepts of Faith, Hope and Charity. The late Basil Cardinal Hume OSB, OM, revealed at Mgr Gilbey's 90th birthday celebration that he had been the model of the Cardinal's own priesthood. Anyone who has read this book without having known the author will have been aware of the spirit of humility and integrity breathing through its pages. Mgr Gilbey was endowed with remarkable gifts which were both pastoral and expository, and We Believe is an enduring legacy of his life and thought. Above all, Alfred Gilbey was guided by a conviction that, contrary to the collectivist spirit of the age, our Creator made us to be not equal to one another but, in virtue of our relationship to Him, unique; as awe-inspiring a thought, whenever we allow it to come into focus, as the author fully intended it to be in the pages of his book.
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