Thursday, May 25, 2006


I really liked Father Schall's essay on Fanaticism.

First of all, I was amazed that he found an essay of Chesterton's that he'd never read.

OK, here are the passages I loved:

"Already for a half century before his time, Chesterton noted something that is very common today, namely the view that religion is the origin of 'fanaticism.' There is a whole literature today whose thesis is that religion causes 'fanaticism.' Indeed, this is the major issue of our time, so that the taming or eliminating of religion is the way to peace....Scientists and politicians, Chesterton thought, are just as capable of being 'fanatics' as priests, perhaps more so."

"....mysticism has help men sane. It is the mystic who is open to all things, even if they seem at first not to make sense."

"[Chesterton] chastisied the Augustinians and the platonists for their withdrawl from things to contemplate the One as if they could not also find the One through particular things which after all originated in the same One."

"[Chesterton] was a Thomist...he held that logic will not save us."

And this, the best line of all:

"The "fanatical" concern about the religious cause of "fanaticism" has blinded us to the "fanaticisms" that stem from science itself and has caused us to misunderstand what it is within Islam that often makes it so "fanatical.""


  1. Yes.

    All that is "human" is elliptical, and all that is elliptical breeds fanaticism.

    Fr. S. DOES have his act together.

  2. "Fr. S. DOES have his act together."

    Well of course he does. He's a Chestertonian! :-D

  3. Where can I find the Schall article? TIA.

  4. Hello, pontificator. That article is in the latest issue of Gilbert Magazine. Unfortunately, we do not publish articles online. but if you e-mail me at, we can discuss how I might get you the article.

  5. for those of us whose snail mail truly moves at the pace of a snail, the latest issue, alas, is still w/ the USPS, not in our hands.

  6. I just got my subscriptoin copy yesterday, anonymous. depending on where you live, those can take a while.

  7. the snail came today

  8. More here:


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