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GK Chesterton and his diverse admirers

The writers Kafka and Shaw, Irish patriot Michael Collins, Willliam F. Buckley and President-elect Obama are said to be admirers of GK Chesterton, the apostle of democracy, small government and Christianity.

Allen Barra makes these and other interesting points in his review of Chesterton, whose first two books were published 100 years ago, and are still in print.

Comments (1)

Jeff Hendrix:

Greetings, David and Cat:

I enjoyed your offering on GKC. Lest anyone think that you are co-opting the great man, with a little digging you will find - because I am sure you aren't trying to hide the fact - that he converted to the Catholic Church because he was fully convinced that it was indeed the Church that Our Lord founded upon St. Peter and that there is in fact no Christian faith without Her. Hence a couple of offerings:

"There is nothing supercilious about (the Catholic convert's) attitude; because he is well aware that he has only scratched the surface of the spiritual estate that is now open to him. In other words, the convert does not in the least abandon investigation or even adventure. He does not think he knows everything, nor has he lost curiosity about the things he does not know. But experience has taught him that he will find nearly everything somewhere inside that estate and that a very large number of people are finding next to nothing outside it. For the estate is not only a formal garden or an ordered farm; there is plenty of hunting and fishing on it, and, as the phrase goes, very good sport.

"For this is one of the very queerest of the common delusions about what happens to the convert. In some muddled way people have confused the natural remarks of converts, about having found moral peace, with some idea of their having found mental rest, in the sense of mental inaction. They might as well say that a man who has completely recovered his health, after an attack of palsy or St Vitus' dance, signalises his healthy state by sitting absolutely still like a stone. Recovering his health means recovering his power of moving in the right way as distinct from the wrong way; but he will probably move a great deal more than before. To become a Catholic is not to leave off thinking, but to learn how to think..." (Catholic Church and Conversion, 1927, in CW Vol. lll, p. 105-106)

“...Truth is a magnet, with the powers of attraction and repulsion ... The moment men cease to pull against [the Catholic Church] they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair ... When he has entered the Church, he finds that the Church is much larger inside than it is outside.”

Best/blessings this 4th Day of Christmastide,

Jeff Hendrix

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