Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Patron Saint of Television!


There's a legend that St. Clare 
appeared at the '36 World Fair.
Some folks at the television display claimed they did see
on the screen the face of the fair saint from Assisi.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Chesterton on EWTN


EWTN rebroadcasts this wonderful show Monday mornings at 6:30. What a pleasant way to begin the week. 

Though it is odd seeing Dale without a beard!

Friday, August 05, 2022

The 100th anniversary of Chesterton’s conversion—and its ripple effect


Dale's article printed in Catholic World Report

Because GKC became Catholic, I became Catholic. And so have countless others.

When G.K. Chesterton was received into the Catholic Church one hundred years ago, on Sunday, July 30, 1922, it was big news. Except it wasn’t. It didn’t quite qualify as “news” because nobody knew about it. The two priests who received him into the Church – Fr. John O’Connor, his long-time friend who was also the inspiration for Chesterton’s immortal fictional detective Father Brown, and Dom Ignatius Rice, a Benedictine monk from Douai Abbey – vowed to say nothing about the ceremony. Not for any religious reasons. They just wanted to see how long it would take the press to find out.

It took three weeks.

And it was big news when it was finally reported. Except it wasn’t. At least for part of the reading public. Many of them thought Chesterton was already Catholic. After all, he’d been defending the Catholic Church for years, and taking the Catholic position at every turn, on every topic, and in every controversy. And he’d already written two dozen popular stories featuring the aforementioned Father Brown.

But there was also many Chesterton admirers and devotees who were genuinely surprised because they refused to believe he would ever do something so inconceivable as actually joining the Catholic Church. This group included both Catholics and non-Catholics, from his best friend and faith Papist Hilaire Belloc to his good friend and philosophical opponent George Bernard Shaw who had long made fun of what he called Chesterton’s “Roman Catholic hobby.” When Shaw heard the news, he fired off a letter to his debating partner saying, “Gilbert! This is going too far!” And Belloc, in genuine and pensive awe, wrote: “I never thought it was possible.”

The reaction within the Church of England, to which he belonged, also ran the gamut. When the local vicar in Beaconsfield heard the news, he said, “I’m glad Chesterton is going over to Rome. He was never a very good Anglican.”

On the other hand, an editorial in the Anglican weekly, The Church Times, said what was strange about Chesterton was not that he had become Catholic, but that he had remained so long in the Anglican communion. The growing liberalism within the Church of England was driving away the educated laity, and had never “attracted one educated man to the church” but rather “robbed that church of the genius of G.K. Chesterton.”

In contrast, the Catholic papers were ecstatic. THE TABLET’s headline crowed: “THE HOMECOMING OF MR. CHESTERTON.” It likened the conversion to that of John Henry Newman, and expressed happiness over having Chesterton’s happiness in the Church. “He will not let the devil have all the frolic.” But it also expressed what many felt: that Chesterton would not change.They wanted the same Chesterton they had already come to know; not a new one, just a Catholic one.

Chesterton called his conversion “the chief event” of his life. And we can say that in his writing and in his public persona, he didn’t change. In fact, there is not a discernible difference in his post-conversion writings from his pre-conversion writings. Except there is. He does in fact take on specific Protestant doctrines and is more specific in his rebuttals of them. He had always challenged Calvinism, but he zeroed in more on Luther. He had always demonstrated a mastery of Scripture but took apart the “Bible-worshippers” whom he found as small minded as the “Bible-bashers.”

He said there were ten thousand reasons, but they all amounted to the same reason. It was because “The Catholic Church is true.”

But when asked, these were some of the other reasons he gave.

The most striking answer: “To get rid of my sins.” Only the Catholic Church can do that.

Another answer was the sober realization that the Anglican Church wasn’t Catholic. “I always believed in the Catholic view of Christianity, at least I have believed it for twenty years. Unless the Church of England was a branch of the Catholic Church, I had no use for it. If it were a Protestant Church, I did not believe in it. In any case the question is whether the Church of England can claim to be in direct descent from the medieval Catholic Church …

“It appears to me quite clear that any church claiming to be an authoritative church must be quite definite when great questions of public morals are put. Can I go in for cannibalism or the murder of babies to reduce the population, or any other scientific and progressive reform? Any church with authority to teach must say whether it can be done. But the Protestant churches are in utter bewilderment on these moral questions.”

One of the moral questions was contraception. When Anglican bishops became champions of what Chesterton called “a low and poisonous trick, not far removed from infanticide,” he realized they were taking a position that was essentially heathenism. They were speaking with no unity, no authority, and could not denounce open immorality. He wanted to be part of the Church Militant. As he explained to his mother, he was joining “the one fighting form of Christianity.”

He was accused – and dismissed – as having a romantic attachment to a love of ritual and the aesthetics of the high Middle Ages with its Gothic Cathedrals reaching towards heaven.

But in a letter to a man named Bertram Hyde, who had raised these very concerns and asked him truly why he became Catholic, Chesterton responded: “I ought to say first that, saving the grace of God, my own conversion to Catholicism was entirely rational; and certainly not at all ritualistic. I was received in a tin shed at the back of a railway hotel. I accepted it because it did afford conviction to my analytical mind. But people can see the ritual and are seldom allowed to hear of the philosophy. About ritual itself I think the truest thing was said by Yeats the poet, certainly not a Catholic or even a Christian; that ceremony goes with innocence. Children are not ashamed of dressing-up, nor great poets at great periods, as when Petrarch wore the laurel. Our world does feel something of what Wells says, because our world is as nervous and irritable as Wells himself. But I think the children and the poets are more permanent.”

Three years later Bertram Hyde was received into the Catholic Church.

Which brings us to the ripple effect of Chesterton’s conversion. G.K. Chesterton might be one of the greatest makers of Catholic converts of the last century, and the ripples continue to be felt.

Here is just one ripple. Because GKC became Catholic, I became Catholic. Here’s another ripple.

Because I read Chesterton and became Catholic, I did a television show about Chesterton on EWTN. And because lots of people watched that show, it helped lead to a revival of interest in Chesterton. And also, many people who watched that show became Catholic, or became more Catholic.

But here’s another ripple. Because I became Catholic, my wife became Catholic, too, that is, she returned to the Catholic Church in which she had been baptized and confirmed, but it was a faith she had never really lived, until we both embraced it. We had the great pleasure and blessing of getting married again, by having our marriage validated by a priest. And because we became Catholic, for some reason we had four more children. And because we had those children, we eventually started the first Chesterton Academy. And because we started the first Chesterton Academy, there are now almost 50 other Chesterton Academies in five countries, with more schools in the works. These schools have led to young men becoming priests and young couples getting married in the Catholic Church, and revival of Catholic classical education across the country and across the world.

(Editor’s note: This essay was first posted on July 19, 2022.)

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Jill Biden


Jill Biden
went for a ride in
a San Antonio cab and asked, "What's the best place to go
to get a good breakfast taco?"

Monday, July 18, 2022

C.S. Lewis Quotations

G.K. Chesterton is one of the most quotable figures of modern times.

One of the men influenced by him, C.S. Lewis, is also eminently quoatble. And, in keeping with that Chesterton influence, some of his quotations sound as if they could have been said by GKC.

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.”

“Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

Here’s a few more from Lewis.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

“I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning...”

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
     - The Magician's Nephew

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
     - Mere Christianity

“She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression.”
     - The Screwtape Letters

“Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.”
     - Mere Christianity

“Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.”

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
     - Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God's love for us does not.”

Thursday, June 30, 2022



The prophet Amos
became justly famous
not for his cookie baking skill,
but for proclaiming God's will.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

What's Wrong with the World


Chesterton Is Right About What’s Wrong With the World

BOOK PICK: New edition of 1910 classic packs relevance today.

‘What’s Wrong With the World’ was written more than 100 years ago.
‘What’s Wrong With the World’ was written more than 100 years ago. (photo: Sophia Institute Press)

Sophia Institute Press has just republished a book with a title that is as perennial as it is thought-provoking: What’s Wrong With the World by G.K. Chesterton. 

Essentially a book of political philosophy, Chesterton lampoons, with forensic wit, what were then faddish ideas in Edwardian Britain. His four targets are: large corporations, even bigger governments, feminism and education. These and the then thinking underpinning them are the public “wrongs” he identifies, alongside an overarching one, namely, man’s fallen human nature. 

First published in 1910, one may well ask: What does What’s Wrong With the World have to say to today’s world? 

Depressingly, the same wrongs are with us still, if receiving fresh expression in the 21st century. Helpfully, Chesterton not only identifies “what’s wrong” with the world but also points out that what people, often erroneously, think is wrong, and then wherein lies the cure of the world’s ills. ...

You can read the rest of this fine review/essay from the National Catholic Register here -