"Our debt to Mr. Chesterton"
4 days ago
I WAS reflecting in the course of the recent feast of Christmas (which, like other feasts, is preceded by a fast) that the combination is still a puzzle to many. The Modernist, or man who boasts of being modern, is generally rather like a man who overeats himself so much on Christmas Eve that he has no appetite on Christmas Day. It is called being In Advance of the Times; and is incumbent upon all who are progressive, prophetic, futuristic and generally looking towards what Mr. Belloc calls the Great Rosy Dawn: a dawn which generally looks a good deal rosier the night before than it does the morning after.-- G.K. Chesterton, The Thing, "The Feasts and the Ascetic"
-- G.K. Chesterton, from The Wild Knight, 1900The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)
The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)
The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.
I do not think that I myself was ever very much worried about Santa Claus, or that alleged dreadful whisper of the little boy that Father Christmas "is only your father." Perhaps the word "only" would strike all children as the mot juste.-- G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography
Economic freedom allows for independent sources of wealth to counterbalance political power and to nourish a pluralistic society. When the state owns or exerts undue control over banking, credit, telecommunications, or newsprint, for example, it controls not only economic activity, but expression as well. It has taken the world far too long to recognize the truth in the statement of early 20th-century writer Hilaire Belloc that "the control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself."(eJournal USA: Issues of Democracy. Dec 2005. link)
Something in the Christmas season rightly tempts us to such sentimental gilding, just as something in the Christmas season tempts us—awk!—to the chaotic chiasmus of this kind of fake-Chestertonian prose, every sentence an aphorism eased along by alliteration’s artful aid, until the words clot up in a giant Christmas pudding that subsides with a half-baked sigh as it cools upon the table. “I’m sick of Chesterton,” F. Scott Fitzgerald has Amory Blaine complain in This Side of Paradise. From January to November, the style of G.K. Chesterton may go down easy. But around Christmas, while the streets jingle with Salvation Army bells and the elevators jangle with Muzaked carols, it’s just too much. Just too much.
... recurring moments of joy and the sustained impact of George MacDonald's Phantastes, which Lewis said "baptized" his imagination, convinced him that there was in reality something to be sought and found.
... Lewis's Oxford friend Owen Barfield convinced him that if physical reality is all there is, thought itself (being a mere byproduct of matter) would lack validity and significance. To maintain his [W.T.] Kirkpatrick-inspired quest for a rational account of reality, Lewis saw that he must believe, as he later expressed in Miracles, that "reason is something more than cerebral bio-chemistry."
... in the mid-1920s, through the impact of friends and of G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man (1926), he found himself thinking that "Christianity was very sensible apart from its Christianity."
... Certainty about the Incarnation came two ... after a late-night talk with J.R.R. Tolkien gave him the idea that the pagan dying-and-rising-god myths were "good dreams" given by God to prepare the ground for myth to become fact in Jesus of Nazareth.
Come snow! where fly, by some strange law,
hard snowballs -- without noise --
through streets untenanted, except
by good unconscious boys.
The first thing [Belloc] attacks in Wells's [Outline of History] is the beginning, which treats of the origin of life. Belloc describes Natural Selection, the theory to which Wells held, as "dead."
The "well-educated" modern reader will smile at this out-of-touch crank...but I wonder what this reader would think if he ever got to the appendix, where Belloc quotes several eminent scientific contemporaries, saying quite clearly that Natural Selection was an inadequate explanation for evolution. Belloc may have been wrong, but it was not a matter of "him and William Jennings Bryan" vs. "Science". There seemed to be a great deal of "science" on his end of things; just what on earth was happening back then, anyway? We can be sure that if there ever was some academic reaction against Darwinism during which it became unfashionable, the Darwinian propagandists have smoothed over this little bump in Progress. Or did it never happen? Was every one of those professors Belloc quoted simply a crank? I have my doubts.
We had talked for about half an hour about politics and God; for men always talk about the most important things to total strangers. It is because in the total stranger we perceive man himself; the image of God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of the wisdom of a moustache.This sounds a bit like blogging, does it not?
Malcolm Muggeridge's Christian conversion and late-life reception into the Catholic Church -- his "media discovery" of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and related events -- were iconic for a generation of believing Christians, of all denominations, throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. Yet how many know who led that notorious stray sheep into the Catholic fold? It was his son, John, and John's wife, Anne -- whose own husband had been her most remarkable convert.
I could assemble a chorus-line of people to affirm that John was the kindest, sweetest, most decent human being ever. I heard several argue that he was a saint -- long before we were ever grieving. But the John I knew, and well, was no saint by natural disposition. He so much loved the world, and everything that was beautifully small; but he was equipped with no more than the standard human conscience. What made him "unnatural," as it were, was the recklessness with which he acknowledged Christ.
Recently, in these columns, I've been touching on the old political puzzle of "church and state." But while meditating on the life of John Muggeridge, as I have been doing inevitably since watching him die, a key to this relation has come home to me. It is that, in church and state alike, there must be an overarching appreciation of the importance of personal holiness. Without this, we have a dog's life, and there is nothing for church nor state to cherish.
[Joseph] Pearce was twice imprisoned in his native England for editing extreme right-wing magazines, according to a biography on the Web site of his publisher, Ignatius Press.(Lakeland Ledger, 11/26/05)
"I was involved in the Protestant paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. As a young man, I was very bigoted toward nonwhites," Pearce said.
He began reading the works of G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), an English journalist and Catholic apologist. Initially attracted by Chesterton's political and economic views, he was later persuaded by Chesterton's defense of the Catholic faith. He converted while in prison.
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 15, 1881 – February 14, 1975) was an English comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success for more than seventy years. Described by Sean O'Casey as "English literature's performing flea", Wodehouse was an acknowledged master of English prose admired both by contemporaries like Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers like Salman Rushdie, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. [P.G. Wodehouse at Wikipedia]
I saw how (fairy) stories could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralysed much of my own religion in childhood.- C.S. Lewis, in an essay called "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said"
Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ?
I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze things. And reverence itself did harm.
The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical.
But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency?
Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God's myth where the others are men's myths: i.e. the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the mind of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing himself through what we call "real things."- The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves
A is an Agnostic dissecting a frog,
B was a Buddhist who had been a dog,
C was a Christian, a Christist I mean,
D was the Dog that the Buddhist had been,
We [Wineskin Media] are pleased to announce our 2007 Social Justice Engagement Calendar, soon to be available from IHS Press [link to IHS press].
With this weekly calendar, you’ll sample major papal writings:
- Rerum Novarum, Leo XIII
- Singulari Quadam, Pius X
- Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI
- Mater et Magistra, John XXIII
- Pacem in Terris, John XXIII
- Populorum Progressio, Paul VI
- Octogesima Adveniens, Paul VI
- Laborem Exercens, John Paul II
- On the Ecological Crisis, John Paul II
- Centesimus Annus, John Paul II
You’ll also hear from Vatican II, with Gaudium et Spes, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
As a bonus, this year’s calendar also includes selections from the works of G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. These engaging Catholic laymen, while certainly not doctrinal authorites, consciously modeled their economic theories on Catholic social principles. They complement the papal writings as they clarify and explore the underlying economic issues. And they’re funny.And as some of us most heartily and vigorously refuse to be led to Socialism, we have long adopted the harder alternative called trying to think things out.
-- G. K. Chesterton, The Outline of Sanity
It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating. Both are much too simple to require any literary explanation. If you are in for the high jump, either jump higher than any one else, or manage somehow to pretend that you have done so. If you want to succeed at whist, either be a good whist-player, or play with marked cards. You may want a book about jumping; you may want a book about whist; you may want a book about cheating at whist. But you cannot want a book about Success. Especially you cannot want a book about Success such as those which you can now find scattered by the hundred about the book-market. You may want to jump or to play cards; but you do not want to read wandering statements to the effect that jumping is jumping, or that games are won by winners. If these writers, for instance, said anything about success in jumping it would be something like this: "The jumper must have a clear aim before him. He must desire definitely to jump higher than the other men who are in for the same competition. He must let no feeble feelings of mercy (sneaked from the sickening Little Englanders and Pro-Boers) prevent him from trying to do his best. He must remember that a competition in jumping is distinctly competitive, and that, as Darwin has gloriously demonstrated, THE WEAKEST GO TO THE WALL." That is the kind of thing the book would say, and very useful it would be, no doubt, if read out in a low and tense voice to a young man just about to take the high jump. Or suppose that in the course of his intellectual rambles the philosopher of Success dropped upon our other case, that of playing cards, his bracing advice would run—"In playing cards it is very necessary to avoid the mistake (commonly made by maudlin humanitarians and Free Traders) of permitting your opponent to win the game. You must have grit and snap and go in to win. The days of idealism and superstition are over. We live in a time of science and hard common sense, and it has now been definitely proved that in any game where two are playing IF ONE DOES NOT WIN THE OTHER WILL." It is all very stirring, of course; but I confess that if I were playing cards I would rather have some decent little book which told me the rules of the game. Beyond the rules of the game it is all a question either of talent or dishonesty; and I will undertake to provide either one or the other—which, it is not for me to say.-- G.K. Chesterton, "The Fallacy of Success" in All Things Considered, 1915
DMN: You draw on St. Augustine, G.K. Chesterton and John Henry Newman. For the layperson who might want to get started with those writers, do you have a reading plan?
Wills: For Augustine, probably the best thing is to read a good biography, and Peter Brown's [Augustine of Hippo] is the best. ... For Chesterton, Orthodoxy is a wonderful starting point. For Newman, any collection of his sermons.
Pages 1 - 10 of 10 in book for beer. (0.04 seconds)
Those great men — Marlowe and Jonson, Shakespeare, and Spenser before him — drank beer at rising, and tamed it with a little bread. ...
Or she would put her head in and say — “I can recommend our excellent beer. It is really preferable to this local wine.” And my neighbour, a tourist, ...
said I. “Beer,” said she. “Anything else?” said I. “No,” said she. “Why, then, give me some of that excellent beer.” I drank this with delight, ...
For my part, I sat silent, crippled with fatigue, trying to forget my wounded feet, drinking stoup after stoup of beer and watching the ...
... which are so many yards and so many yards, . . .“ &c., and so forth . . exactly like a mill. I meanwhile sat on still silent, still drinking beer ...
... we separated; I had no time to preach my full doctrine, but gave him instead a deep and misty glass of cool beer, and pledged him brotherhood, freedom, ...
Let him (said I) drink red wine and white, good beer and mead — if he could get it — liqueurs made by monks, and, in a word, all those feeding, ...
THE GOOD SAVAGES 187 there ordering beer for myself and for a number of peasants (who but for this would have me their butt, and even as it was found ...
[Sorry, this page's content is restricted]
... will return to the simpler life, and there will be dogs, and beer, and catches upon ...
"It is necessary therefore for each of us to arrange an order in our thinking and if you decide to accept these beliefs you must be able to explain why you believe them and how, and within what limitations. Without some such consecutive philosophy, society will become a monster without a brain."
I got home today and needed a good laugh, so I sat down in my bed with two red pillows propped behind me and finished G.K. Chesterton's great work [Orthodoxy]. I never thought that a book on philosophy could make me laugh out loud, but from now on that will be my central deciding factor in all such books. At this point, I would like to write a long quote from the last two pages of the book, a passage that sent chills along my body, carried by a deep, inexpressible joy. However, as I myself usually skim such quotes in other blogs, let me leave it a great and fathomed secret, one that you will only know if you yourself open up this same book and read it. My only recommendation is the penciled words I encountered at the end of my copy, "Wow. I will be forever changed."
The story [Mark Maremont. "The CEO's Private Golf Shuttle". WSJ. 1 Oct 2005] showed in exacting detail how members of the business elite take advantage of corporate planes meant to save time and ensure the security of CEOs. This way, they get free transportation to golf courses where they can indulge their passion for a pastime G.K. Chesterton defined as "an expensive way of playing marbles."
"I regret to inform you that your remarks convey no impression to my mind. Perhaps if you were to remove the remains of your original forehead and some portion of what was once your chin, your meaning would become clearer. Mental lucidity fulfils itself in many ways."- Gabriel Syme, in GKC's The Man Who Was Thursday
If Belloc most wanted to be remembered for his serious verse — although he thought its quality too slight to merit the devoted attention of posterity (a judgement from which I, for one, demur) — he is perhaps best known today as the author of the humorous "Cautionary Verses for Children", and for his historical works. Although he was a historian by training, having read what even then was dubiously referred to as Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford (in between bouts of orating, throwing port, belittling unbelievers, singing, presiding over the Union and walking here and there at tremendous pace with a bottle of wine in one pocket and chunks of bread and cheese in the other), he often felt more duty than pleasure in writing his numerous histories.read more...
Catholic writer Dr William Oddie said it is difficult to pinpoint the reason.
"In a lot of ways England is a bit of a backwater in the Catholic Church - we're really pretty small beer.
"It could be there has been less opportunity to live a heroic life in the modern era."
The former Editor of The Catholic Herald added: "Maybe the English haven't been holy enough."
However Dr Oddie is quick to nominate another English candidate for sainthood - the writer GK Chesterton.
"He was a man of immense holiness - he would also be the first journalist to be canonised."
Traveller's Tales' latest title will try to walk the fine line between intense action and teen-friendly fun, with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe mixing puzzle-solving and exploration with copious amounts of monster slaying. The game hits stores Nov. 15, just ahead of the Disney flick's Dec. 9 release.LINK
As a bit* of a lark, the developers temporarily added computer code that instructed the game to show blood splatters with every impact of sword or arrow on monster flesh, and the screen was soon awash in red as the game's quartet of kid heroes had it out with waves of critters.
But that's not what Narnia is about, said Burton [director of game development studio Traveller's Tales]. "I don't think it glorifies violence," he said. "It's not like you're getting into a car with a prostitute, sleeping with her and killing her to get the money back." [a reference to Grand Theft Auto]
Borrowing a word from that great British thinker of culture and history that was Christopher Dawson, one could say that when the mystical and prophetic dimension of a culture declines, its very religion also "becomes secular, is absorbed in the cultural tradition to such a point that it identifies with it, and finally it becomes only a way of social activity and perhaps even a slave or accomplice of the powers of this world." Much of this is also happening in the present day.
"The utilitarians did assume that man had a special duty to man but the modern view is different -- modern duties must now be equally guided by our relations to animals. The rights of animals is the subject of much controversy, and discussion on the point is undetermined. Some people will eat fish and not meat. There was a man who would eat lobster sauce because it was at the cost of only one life, while he would not eat shrimp sauce because that was a holocaust. In any case it has been well put, that if animals have no rights man has duties to them."
Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213 which legend has attributed to the recitation of the Rosary by St. Dominic, it is believed that Heaven has on many occasions rewarded the faith of those who had recourse to this devotion in times of special danger. More particularly, the naval victory of Lepanto gained by Don John of Austria over the Turkish fleet on the first Sunday of October in 1571 responded wonderfully to the processions made at Rome on that same day by the members of the Rosary confraternity.[LINK. Catholic Encyclopedia. 1912]
Vivat Hispania![LINK. Chesterton. Lepanto. 1915]
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
The Marion E. Wade Center of Wheaton College, Illinois, houses a major research collection of the books and papers of seven British authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams.LINK
[The] Wade Center has a museum where such pieces as C.S. Lewis's family wardrobe and writing desk, Charles Williams's bookcases, J.R.R. Tolkien's desk, Pauline Baynes's original map of Narnia, and a tapestry from Dorothy L. Sayers's home can be viewed. Photographs, rare books and manuscripts, and other small items of memorabilia round off the displays. A current exhibit, entitled "The Craft of Detective Fiction", details the contributions made by G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy L. Sayers to the genre of detective fiction.
Read together with Triumph (Three Rivers Press, New York, 2001), Harry Crocker's recent history of the Church, Woods' book will fascinate, delight and instruct in a manner worthy of the 20th-century Catholic historian and polemicist Hilaire Belloc, showing us how to look backwards to transform the future.LINK
Authentic joy is based on this foundation: that we want to live for God and want to serve others because of God. Let us tell the Lord that we want nothing more than to serve him with joy. If we behave in this way we shall find that our inner peace, our joy, our good humour will attract many souls to God. Give witness to Christian joy. Show to those around you that this is our great secret. We are happy because we are children of God, because we deal with him, because we struggle to become better for him. And when we fail, we go right away to the Sacrament of joy where we recover our sense of fraternity with all men and women.[Alvaro del Portillo, Homily, 12 Apr 1984; quoted by Francis Fernandez Carvajal in In Conversation With God, vol.5, p.155]
As Chesterton suggests, it is joy not because we are in the right place, but because we are in the wrong place. We were lost, but Someone has found us and is leading us home. It is joy not because we are alright — we are not — but because Someone can put us right. Christian joy comes from facing up to the one really sad fact of life, which is sin; and countering it with a joyful fact that is even realer and stronger than sin: God's love and mercy.[cited by Francis Fernandez Carvajal in In Conversation With God, vol. 5, p.145]
The film raises and addresses profound questions about the nature of evil and why God permits the suffering of the innocent—but doesn't pretend to answer them. And that's just what the filmmaker intended. Scott Derrickson, a graduate of the artsy Christian liberal arts university, Biola, calls himself an "orthodox Christian" and confesses that he's addicted to the novels of Walker Percy, and to reading and re-reading G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. In fact, as Derrickson told me in an interview, Catholic screenwriting maven Barbara Nicolosi warns him, "You're just one Chesterton book away from crossing the Tiber," and becoming a Catholic. Whatever his background, Derrickson has crafted a compelling drama which sends you out of the theater feeling queasily fascinated, wondering if you need to seek some kind of protection, despite your faith or lack thereof.LINK
Long words go rattling by us like long railway trains. We know they are carrying thousands who are too tired or too indolent to walk and think for themselves. It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say "The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration."
If we are to be international we must be national. And it is largely because those who call themselves the friends of peace have not dwelt sufficiently on this distinction that they do not impress the bulk of any of the nations to which they belong. International peace means a peace between nations, not a peace after the destruction of nations, like the Buddhist peace after the destruction of personality. The golden age of the good European is like the heaven of the Christian: it is a place where people will love each other; not like the heaven of the Hindu, a place where they will be each other.
[Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis,] wrote "Jack’s Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis," which traces the life and times of best-selling author C.S. Lewis. The book is slated for release in October from Broadman & Holman.LINK
Gresham explained that the memoir is not a scholarly work filled with academic analysis, but a "simple recounting of the story of what I believe to be the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man."
[There] remains much suffering that is not manmade. The question is why there is suffering of any kind. And why would a so-called "good" God allow suffering? Indeed, if there is a good God, according to theologian C. S. Lewis, then he is no less formidable than a cosmic monster. And the more we believe, as traditional Christians do, that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is little hope in avoiding the pains of life. "A cruel man might be bribed—might grow tired of his vile sport," writes C. S. Lewis in his book A Grief Observed, "might have a temporary fit of mercy, as alcoholics have fits of sobriety. But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless."LINK
The tale of our society’s search for a new meaning and a new articulation of marriage reminds me of a novel that G.K. Chesterton once envisioned writing.LINK
The story was to be about an "English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas."
After experiencing all of the fascination and terror of discovering New South Wales, he realized, with a gush of happy tears, that he was actually back in Old South Wales.
The novel was to be a romantic allegory of Chesterton’s own philosophic voyage. "I did try to found a heresy of my own," he later remarked about his younger days. "And when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered it was orthodoxy."
And so as we set sail to found our own heresy regarding marriage, I hope that nature and reason will bid us to discover anew the wisdom behind the public orthodoxy that we have collectively inherited.
The G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture is holding a conference in Argentina to address how problems in contemporary culture directly affect faith.LINK
According to the Rev. Ian Boyd, director of the Chesterton Institute, this is the first conference the institute is holding in the Hispanic world. It will take place Sept. 21-24.
The conference theme, “Chesterton and the Evangelization of Culture,” addresses how the contemporary failure of culture has been the separation of faith and culture.
“Most people borrow their way of thinking and behaving from the culture that surrounds them,” Boyd said.
"Who would condescend to strike down the mere things that he does not fear? Who would debase himself to be merely brave, like any common prizefighter? Who would stoop to be fearless — like a tree? Fight the thing that you fear. You remember the old tale of the English clergyman who gave the last rites to the brigand of Sicily, and how on his death-bed the great robber said, 'I can give you no money, but I can give you advice for a lifetime: your thumb on the blade, and strike upwards.' So I say to you, strike upwards, if you strike at the stars."- Gabriel Syme, in GKC's The Man Who Was Thursday
Ultimately, the key lies in [Father Brown's] understanding of human nature.LINK
Take the following exchange from "Hammer of God", for instance, when Father Brown confronts the criminal with his deed. Horrified at his discovery, the perpetrator attempts to commit suicide.
[He] threw one leg over the parapet, and Father Brown had him in a minute by the collar.
"Not by that door," he said quite gently; "that door leads to hell."
"How do you know all this?" he cried. "Are you a devil?"
"I am a man," answered Father Brown gravely; "and therefore have all devils in my heart...."
The last line sent shivers down my spine when I first read it. In just one line Chesterton had summarized so succinctly the source of human evil, that is, the human heart. That we are neither angels nor supermen. That we are driven by passion and desires. That even the best among us traverse life dancing a delicate dance between good and evil.
Q: Please explain the title "Roman Catholic Political Philosophy," since Catholicism is not a political movement.
Father Schall: The title is deliberately paradoxical, even provocative. It is, if you will, a countercultural thesis. Two different, known things are juxtaposed. They, I argue, have a relation that, if not spelled out, ends up confusing both political and revelational realities.
Since Catholicism is not a political movement, it frees political things to be political things. It does not encourage them, as so often happens in modernity, to be confused with religion or metaphysics, or become, in effect, substitutes for them.
Q: Which philosophers embody the principles of Roman Catholic political philosophy that you outline in your book?
Father Schall: One finds guidance from many sources, of course, not only Roman Catholic ones. I have learned much from Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss. They served in many ways to open political philosophy to a more serious consideration of reality and what is at issue in understanding it.
Among Catholic writers, I am particularly in debt to my teachers, Professor Heinrich Rommen, Father Charles N.R. McCoy, Father Clifford Kossel, S.J., and Father Ernest Fortin, A.A. I have written a book on Jacques Maritain and consider Yves Simon of fundamental importance, as is Etienne Gilson. Christopher Dawson remains a favorite. I have learned much from David Walsh, John and Russell Hittinger, Monsignor Robert Sokolowski, and my colleagues George Carey and Joshua Mitchell.
What can one say of G.K. Chesterton, who is one of the great minds and most incisive as well as most delightful. I have loved Hilaire Belloc, Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, E.F. Schumacher and a host of others.
Several of my books, "Another Sort of Learning" especially, have been guides to reading in these areas. I have long been an admirer of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as first-rate thinkers. And finally there is the abiding debt to Plato and Aristotle, to Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, to whom I return again and again. There is nothing quite like reading these latter four with students.
For more details about the conference go HERE.
George MacDonald and His Children
George MacDonald is seen as the founder of a literary genre: religious fantasy — which, as the 20th century has unexpectedly shown, has become a major and popular form. We welcome papers linking MacDonald and his circle (Charles Kingsley, Lewis Carroll) with his successors, including G. K. Chesterton, Rudyard Kipling, E. Nesbit, and the Oxford Inklings. Also of interest are papers connecting MacDonald with his German roots — Goethe, Schleiermacher, Novalis, and Hoffmann. In addition, we shall have a section on the development of children’s book illustration from Arthur Hughes through to H.R. Millar, which covers the great age of illustrated books before World War I.
"Perhaps policeman is a relative term. In an evolutionary sense the ape fades so gradually into the policeman, that I myself can never detect the shade. The monkey is only the policeman that may be. Perhaps a maiden lady on Clapham Common is only the policeman that might have been."- Gabriel Syme, in GKC's The Man Who Was Thursday
A whole pile of new still shots from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe have appeared online, this time at the German website Altium Silentium. The photos include new views of the Pevensie children at the professor's manor, in the snowy woods around Lantern Waste, and with the White Witch. The locations and ambience seem perfectly adapted from the novel by C.S. Lewis.read the rest HERE
Not everything is the just like the original, however. In spite of the very good reports insiders are relaying, there's at least one modification that seems unnecessary and might annoy fans of the book – just as Peter Jackson's excessive changes to The Lord of the Rings irked many a Tolkien fan.
There are plenty of stories of eccentric British judges, whose asides and obiter dicta from the bench are celebrated in literature and legal anecdotage. One instance from many should suffice. In one of his stories, that incomparable wit, G K Chesterton, has a delightfully unconventional judge telling a young man in the dock. "I am sentencing you to six months imprisonment as the law requires, despite my God-given conviction that what you need is six weeks in the countryside."LINK
Certainly, tolerance of folly and a sense of humour would not come amiss in judges who have to endure a good deal of nonsensical casuistry in the course of their duties.
When British novelist GK Chesterton visited the Cape in the mid-nineteenth century, he commented it was a pity the Cape's poor cheeses were an inferior match for its fine wines. Boy, would he be surprised today. A cellar-door restaurant is de rigueur in a Cape winery portfolio - along with homegrown cheeses, olive oils, preserves, breads and branded winery caps, t-shirts and t-cloths.LINK
The popularity of cycling races just keeps growing and growing. Small wonder, because not only is it engaging TV, it recalls a remark by HG Wells who said, "Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future."LINK
But the unfortunate fact is that “evolution really is mistaken for explanation”, which G.K. Chesterton points in Everlasting Man, which is by far one of the best books on the question of Man, and which everybody ought to read immediately if they haven’t already. “It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the impression that they do understand it and everything else; just as many of them live under a sort of illusion that they have read Origin of Species.”LINK
Much like the Big Bang theory, the theory of Darwinian evolution creates the dangerous aura of The Answer, when it isn’t anything of the sort. It’s exactly the same monstrous fallacy so many made of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, making the ludicrous leap from the relativity of space and time to the relativity of morality, all to the absolute horror of Einstein.
However, contrary to mainstream reporting, being a “close-minded creationist”is not seen by many honest thinkers and believers as the only credible option to Darwinism. That Man may, in some mysterious, miraculous fashion, have resulted from a physical evolution of primates over a period of many, many thousands or millions of years, that led him to the point of coming into the full possession of his sublime and spiritual humanity is by all accounts possible. Remote, but possible, and all the more miraculous for its remoteness.
It seems quite reasonable that no matter how slow a miracle may happen, it still remains a miracle. Says Chesterton: “The Greek witch may have turned sailors to swine with a stroke of the wand. But to see a naval gentleman of our acquaintance looking a little more like a pig every day, till he ended with four trotters and a curly tail, would not be any more soothing. It might be rather more creepy and uncanny.”
Chesterton was fond of pointing out that we currently live, not in the age of common sense, but the age of “uncommon nonsense”. The man of uncommon nonsense—only too often a scholar of great acclaim—puts men and women into a cage and believes that he has proved something sublime. While the man of common sense visiting the zoo in the hope of glimpsing an exotic animal blushes on seeing an exotic dancer instead and promptly goes home to soothe away the distressing feeling that the world has gone completely loony with a drink and a Sinatra record.
"A lot of people think humans are above other animals. When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special,” said another visitor to the zoo, who was evidently suffering from temporary amnesia that caused him to forget the pyramids, the Panama canal, and the complete poetical works of Pope.
There are natural consequences to sex. Our attitude toward sex now is flippant. What if the consequence for whistling or lighting a cigarette were that an angel or genie were tied to our necks like supernatural balloons? Would we be so eager to perform these acts? Chesterton’s point is that sex has major consequences; it isn’t simply something we can do and forget — there are lasting impressions from the act.LINK
One occasionally ended up feeling sorry for the academics. It must be rare enough for them to be addressing students who have actually read the text under discussion; and unheard of to have an audience who have all read it dozens of times. One speaker made the mistake of implying that Frodo only goes to the Undying Lands in spirit, and had to deal with quotes from the Silmarillion in the question and answer session.LINK