Friday, January 27, 2006

Chesterton on the Pope's New Encyclical

Didn't know he had commented!


  1. I have not yet seen the article, but apparently a recent issue of the Wanderer has an article promoting the idea of Chesterton being named a Doctor of the Church, by Frank Morriss. Has anyone seen it?

  2. It's pretty clear to me that GKC is a doctor (Latin: "teacher") already, and I think once Cardinal Newman is canonised and acclaimed Doctor - ah, then I think it will be time for us to be given a real model of holy married life in Gilbert and Frances. (And though I feel very strongly about this, I must state quite clearly that I make no judgement on these cases in advance of the Church, and submit fully to Her authority regarding them.)

    But to resume the more pressing topic: that is, of GKC on the Pope: I heartily recommend this excerpt:

    A bishop wears a mitre; but he is not thought more or less of a bishop according to whether you can see the very latest curves in his mitre. But a swell is thought more or less of a swell according to whether you can see the very latest curves in his hat. There is more fuss about symbols in the world than in the Church. And yet (strangely enough) though men fuss more about the worldly symbols, they mean less by them. It is the mark of religious forms that they declare something unknown. But it is the mark of worldly forms that they declare something which is known, and which is known to be untrue. When the Pope in an Encyclical calls himself your father, it is a matter of faith or of doubt. But when the Duke of Devonshire in a letter calls himself yours obediently, you know that he means the opposite of what he says. Religious forms are, at the worst, fables; they might be true. Secular forms are falsehoods; they are not true. [GKC, ILN Dec 14, 1907 in CW27:605]


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