But when they drag in Tolkien, Lewis, Belloc, and Chesterton, and adopt St. Nicholas as their patron saint, well, they have my attention.
is a new blog that celebrates the four cited writers - and beards.
As they explain about themselves:
The League is meant to be held together by nothing much more than a sincere and spontaneous appreciation for Catholic culture, for authentic Catholic manhood and for the company of Catholic men and the women who tolerate them. If there is a chewy center to the Tootsie Roll Pop that is The League, it is an appreciation and gratitude especially for the lives and literary work of Tolkien, Lewis, Belloc and Chesterton - TLBC - (not necessarily in that order).
So, TLBC stands equally for The League of Bearded Catholics, and for Tolkien, Lewis, Belloc and Chesterton. You may have noticed that they are all dead British guys, and all important Christian writers of the twentieth century. You may also have noticed that not all of these gentlemen wore beards.
The last point is an important one. External beards are not required. Belloc was the only one of the four who had a beard (later in life). Chesterton had a moustache. Tolkien and Lewis were clean shaven. (The official position of the The League at this time is that, in spite of their smooth cheeks, both men sported a beard on the inside, which is the important and crucial thing. After all, some men - through no fault of their own - can't grow a beard, and we would not want to see them excluded from the fellowship by any mere accident of nature.)
They go on to explain, with tongue firmly in cheek (a beard-covered cheek, or course): The purpose of TLBC, then, is the same purpose for which God made wine... "To gladden the heart of man." We are glad to be alive, and our gratitude is expressed in what used to be called "merriment". The League is just a good-natured romp, even if our other goal (saving Western civilization) might sound to outsiders fairly grave and ambitious. If Western Civilization can be saved by beer, we stand ready to give it our best effort.
They even have bylaws, including:
1) The League is not a ministry and is not affiliated with or endorsed by any ecclesiastical body, however, we are guided in all things by the creeds, teachings and laws of the Catholic Church.
2) Membership in The League is open to all adults who are not witches or devil-worshipers or some such, so long as they can abide by the dictates of Rule #1.
3) Membership in The League places no obligation on any one. Meetings are strictly for the purpose of enjoyment, both the enjoyment of the literary tradition of the Four Patrons (Tolkien, Lewis, Belloc and Chesterton) , and that of meeting together with others of like mind. Preferably over drinks and good food. Or drinks, anyway.
5) *Though membership is open to all, individuals wishing to gain admittance to meetings must be bearded. For those without a beard, one will be provided, but it is the duty of the Sergeant at Arms to make certain that each who begs entry must wear a beard. Friendly non-members are welcome at meetings and some may even attain the exalted rank of Designated Driver.
6) Members attending meetings must also bring a passage (by one of the Four Patrons, or in the same tradition) which is to be read aloud - or even cooler, recited from memory. In addition, members are encouraged to make the fullest use of other media - movies, television programs, the internet, music, etc... . By the end of each meeting, a rough plan of the next meeting should be agreed on, with one or another member.
11) The League highly encourages and wishes to promote the creative projects of members, whether they be writing, art, video, music, cooking, brewing or other ventures. The colorfully written exploits of local chapter meetings and activities are especially coveted by the Homely Office, and will be published on the TLBC blog, probably.
Chesterton, of course, famously stated, "You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." I suspect you could form a bearded league in a moment of passion, though whether such a thing would survive long once the passion abated is questionable.
Anyway, don your beards and check out The League of Bearded Catholics.