07 September 2010

Nativity of Mary

On this extraordinary of days...

From G.K. Chesterton's, The Ball and the Cross, which I just happened to read this weekend (McIan, the Catholic, speaking to Turnbull, the atheist):
What phrase would inspire the London clerk or workman just now? Perhaps that he is a son of the British Empire on which the sun never sets; perhaps that he is a prop of his Trades Union, or a class-conscious proletarian something or other; perhaps merely that he is a gentleman when he obviously is not. Those names and notions are all honourable; but how long will they last? Empires break; industrial conditions change; the suburbs will not last for ever. What will remain? I will tell you. The Catholic Saint will remain."

"And suppose I don't like him?" said Turnbull.

"On my theory the question is rather whether he will like you: or more probably whether he will ever have heard of you. But I grant the reasonableness of your query. You have a right, if you speak as the ordinary man, to ask if you will like the saint. But as the ordinary man you do like him. You revel in him. If you dislike him it is not because you are a nice ordinary man, but because you are (if you will excuse me) a sophisticated prig of a Fleet Street editor. That is just the funny part of it. The human race has always admired the Catholic virtues, however little it can practise them; and oddly enough it has admired most those of them that the modern world most sharply disputes. You complain of Catholicism for setting up an ideal of virginity; it did nothing of the kind. The whole human race set up an ideal of virginity; the Greeks in Athene, the Romans in the Vestal fire, set up an ideal of virginity. What then is your real quarrel with Catholicism? Your quarrel can only be, your quarrel really only is, that Catholicism has achieved an ideal of virginity; that it is no longer a mere piece of floating poetry. But if you, and a few feverish men, in top hats, running about in a street in London, choose to differ as to the ideal itself, not only from the Church, but from the Parthenon whose name means virginity, from the Roman Empire which went outwards from the virgin flame, from the whole legend and tradition of Europe, from the lion who will not touch virgins, from the unicorn who respects them, and who make up together the bearers of your own national shield, from the most living and lawless of your own poets, from Massinger, who wrote the Virgin Martyr, from Shakespeare, who wrote Measure for Measure—if you in Fleet Street differ from all this human experience, does it never strike you that it may be Fleet Street that is wrong?"


Anonymous said...

LOL I do love ol'G.K.
I was thinking surely there is a movement somewhere to get him and Frances canonised??

And even today i think we can all safely say that Fleet Street and all the hacks most definately and so often get it all so wrong.

God bless

Vincenzo said...

"I was thinking surely there is a movement somewhere to get him and Frances canonised??"

"ZENIT: Who is promoting this cause of beatification?

Gulisano: The cultural association dedicated to him, the Chesterton Society, founded in England in 1974 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the great author's birth, with the idea of spreading awareness of the work, thought and figure of this extraordinary personality. For years now, there has been talk of a possible cause of beatification, and a few days ago, during an international conference organized in Oxford on "The Holiness of G.K. Chesterton" -- with the participation of the best exponents in the field of Chesterton studies -- it was decided to go ahead with this proposal.

ZENIT: Why a beatification?

Gulisano: Many people feel there is clear evidence of Chesterton's sanctity: Testimonies about him speak of a person of great goodness and humility, a man without enemies, who proposed the faith without compromises but also without confrontation, a defender of Truth and Charity..."

More at Zenit

swissmiss said...

Good news for GK, but what's the deal with ZENIT?

The team

Our team is made up of writers and editors, translators, technical staff and administrators. All are committed to making their best effort in offering ZENIT their professional collaboration or volunteer services.

Staffers come from a variety of spiritualities in the Church. Some are religious or consecrated men and women, others are lay people who come from Church groups, both young and ancient (Franciscan and Ignatian spiritualities, Opus Dei, communities from the Charismatic Renewal, Regnum Christi, the Teresian Institute, or parish leaders). Others are committed Catholics with no particular affiliation. Several married couples work for ZENIT.

ZENIT is promoted by the religious congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. Two Legionary priests offer consultation services and collaborate in writing the "Analysis" and "Liturgy" columns.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see something happening, but my sense is that G K was the man he was thanks in great part to his wife.
I think as a couple they stand out as good holy people who carried a cross of infertility with great gentleness.
Yes G K could write- but there's more to being a saint than that.

And I didn't know ZENIT was linked in that way Swissy, thanks for the heads up.
God bless

Vincenzo said...

Post some new things please.

kam said...

No arguments from me, I just loved the post. k

Unknown said...

What a great quote, Swissy! Thank you.

As with so much of Chesterton, it is timeless,prophetic and unambiguous.

I've missed your posting. Get back to work!!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Oh Swissy! Where are you?

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope you are ok.
God bless

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Swissy: This attempt at winning "Best Blog That Needs to be Updated More Often" again in 2011 is shameless and outrageous!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Oh, Swissy..yoo-hoo!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Oh Swissy! Hey, yo!