A blog dedicated to providing quotes by and posts relating to one of the most influential (and quotable!) authors of the twentieth century, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). If you do not know much about GKC, I suggest visiting the webpage of the American Chesterton Society as well as this wonderful Chesterton Facebook Page by a fellow Chestertonian

I also have created a list detailing examples of the influence of Chesterton if you are interested, that I work on from time to time.

(Moreover, for a list of short GKC quotes, I have created one here, citing the sources)

"...Stevenson had found that the secret of life lies in laughter and humility."

-Heretics (1905)

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"The Speaker" Articles

A book I published containing 112 pieces Chesterton wrote for the newspaper "The Speaker" at the beginning of his career.

They are also available for free electronically on another blog of mine here, if you wish to read them that way.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

More John Paul I on GKC



I just came across a book of writings by Pope John Paul I. It is called A Passionate Adventure; Living the Catholic Faith Today. I should note I only have access to the Google books preview feature.) In any case, I came across a few places in which he refers to Chesterton (from homilies given before he became Pope), so I have included them below.

First, from this homily:

"Not Convention, but Conviction"
Homily to the Riveneto Convention of Communion and Liberation
May 31, 1976

There was a little island- Chesterton wrote- and the children used to go there to play ball. They played serenely and securely, because the playing field was completely surrounded by a high wall. One day some important people approached the little island and said: "knock down that wall: don't you see that it limits you and takes away your space? Away with it, more air, more liberty." They were listened to, the wall was thrown down. But now, if you go to the island, you find the children unhappy; there is no longer the same security as before; every so often a ball falls into the sea, and they waste time fishing it out; sometimes the waves carry it away. "Away with the Pope," some people say, "he limits you! More air, more liberty!" Sometimes they are listened to, but the consequences are under our eyes: without the Pope we lack a sure reference point, they slip in others to act like the Pope, and great insecurity, doubt, and confusion are the result.

The story he references, with some variations, can be found in the last chapter of GKC's book Orthodoxy, called "Authority and the Adventurer", which you can read online here:

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/orthodoxy/ch9.html

Then, from this homily:

 "Death and Eternal Life"
Homily for All Souls Day
November 2, 1976

 Luther has said: human nature is corrupt, it can produce only sin. Goodness consists of the fact that God covers these sins with a mantle of mercy. The Marxists say: man, taken individually, is egotistical and wicked. He will become good and happy if he is placed in a collective regime that achieves economic prosperity for everyone. It has been noted, however, that in a period of great prosperity, juvenile delinquency increases, while religious life prospers when the vow and the spirit of poverty are practiced in earnest. 

The truth lies in between the two hypotheses: we all experience in ourselves moments of goodness and moments of wickedness; we are like a watch that has all of its wheels, but needs a mainspring that will make it move. The mainspring is the grace of God: if we do not resist it, our spiritual wheels will work and produce good. Naturally, these are mysterious things; we hold them through faith, we do not know exactly how they work, they do not lend themselves to verification. Should we be surprised? "There is nothing," Pascal wrote, "about which we know everything." And Chesterton: "How could physical science prove that man is not depraved? You do not cut a man open to find his sins. You do not boil him until he gives forth the unmistakable green fumes of depravity. How could physical science find any traces of a moral fall?...Did [the scientist] expect to find a fossil Eve with an fossil apple inside her? Did he suppose that the ages would have spared for him a complete skeleton of Adam...attached to a slightly faded fig leaf?" [2]

[Footnote]

[2] G.K. Chesterton, "Science and Religion," in All Things Considered [1908; reprint Philadelphia: Dufour Editions, 1969, pp. 124-25.- Trans].


BTW, here is a link to the essay "Science and Religion" which was quoted:

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/11505-h.htm#SCIENCE_AND_RELIGION


Finally, from this homily:

"Light in Our Darkness"
Homily for the Feast of St. Lucy
December 13, 1977

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, after the doubts and uncertainties of his youth, became first a fervent Anglican, then, by meditating and conversing with faithful Anglicans and studying, crossed over to the Catholic Church. He declared: "A church that wants to have authority must possess absolutely clear ideas when it comes to the great moral questions...it must say a yes or a no: but the Protestant churches are completely lost in the face of such moral questions...clarity and resolve before the powerful questions of modern life- I find them only in the Catholic Church; therefore I became Catholic." [5]

[Footnote]

[5] G.K. Chesterton to the Washington News Service, [1923. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original English text.- Trans].

Also, speaking of John Paul I, as I've mentioned on this blog before, he once wrote a "letter" to Chesterton (as a literary form, of course, as GKC had been dead for decades when the "letter" was written). You can read it here:

http://chestertonandfriends.blogspot.com/2007/07/undelivered-mail.html

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