What if Chesterton was Right?

“It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair.”

-G.K. Chesterton in his book The Catholic Church and Conversion, ch. 3

Intrigued? Click here for an essay that Chesterton wrote in 1926 called “Why I am a Catholic”

Stay tuned…

-Ben 10/6/13

5 Comments on “What if Chesterton was Right?”

  1. Frank says:

    If you remove “Catholic Church” form that first sentence, and fill in the blank with something else, (i.e. sin, false doctrine, political leanings, your favorite make and model of car), you could say that about anything.

    As far as Chesterton’s essay goes (“Why I am a Catholic”)… I think I could argue against all six of his initial points being that they are not the first and certainly not the only. (from a biblical point of view). Not to mention people fled to other countries (including this one and others) to escape the Catholic Church. There might be something to that. Just a thought.

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      Chesterton had a way with words, and regardless of the different ways that the quote could be changed, I believe the intended meaning is still powerful and worth contemplating. Apparently Catholicism (and dare I say, Christianity in general) seems to satisfy a deep desire within people when they honestly examine it. Chesterton spent years of his life looking for the truth, and eventually settled on Catholicism as the fulfillment of his quest. Many theologically-minded people that I talk to are quick to acknowledge Chesterton’s amazing mind, but they can be just as quick to disregard the personal faith that he ultimately chose. He’s so smart… and yet… so wrong? I find this to be suspiciously and humorously ironic.

      Chesterton started out skeptical of the Catholic Church much like I have been. He said the following in chapter 2 of “The Catholic Church and Conversion”: “I never dreamed that the Roman religion was true; but I knew that its accusers, for some reason or other, were curiously inaccurate.”


  2. Interested follower says:

    This blog has been somewhat interesting to follow until this last post. There seems though to have been a lot of one man’s opinion (GKC); this last quote triggered why this GKC might be off in his thinking somehow: Who wants to have a grand love affair with a organization? What’s that all about? You can visualize Nazis saluting the fatherland, or Communists dying for mother Russia; worse yet, radical terrorists in love with Islam and the Prophet shouting jihad. Love affairs with politics is bad enough.

    • Ben says:

      Thank you for following my blog with interest (until this last post at least). Sometimes I wonder how many people really do. Apparently I have been intrigued by Chesterton to an unhealthy extent (after reading “The Everlasting Man”, surely I can be excused). It’s understandable why you might presume that Chesterton was wrong, but I still cannot help but wonder why he may have been right. We cannot base too much on the quote itself, but instead must journey beyond the quote. The essay that I linked to is a great place to start.

      An organization? Perhaps instead substitute “The Church” for a more fair analysis. The Church, which, if my memory serves, stood diametrically opposed to Nazism, Soviet Communism, and Islamic violence.

      Please continue to follow interestedly, and we’ll see what happens.


  3. Gib says:

    Here I go again. If you have been intrigued with Chesterton to an unhealthy extent, then surely so have I. I love this guy. But when I see him speak of the Catholic Church I rather think of him speaking of the catholic (universal) church with only minor exceptions. Which means the stuff of genuine Christianity across the board. At least that’s the way I filter it. That, I argue, was really what Chesterton was about. He could be likened to my friend who fashions he is a five-point Calvinist while he is trying to tell everyone that Christ loves everyone in the whole wide world and died for everyone in the whole wide world. This is a contradiction I can live with. (Please don’t misunderstand the parallel, I know they are not the same)
    We really do have to judge men in the light of their times. And I also know that Chesterton is no more perfect than I, and as such we can both have chinks in our armor that others constantly misunderstand.