Friday, June 16, 2006

Abandon Hopelessness

Dale Ahlquist's excellent opening speech was about HOPE and how we need a lot more of it in this world. Hand in hand with that, we need joy. But his speech mainly was about hope, and that hope was what Chesterton found in Dickens, and Dickens, after all, is what the conference is mainly about.

The best quote of the speech, and this is not a direct quote for my memory isn't that good, was something like this:
On the day of Chesterton's acceptance into the Catholic Church, he sat somewhere and was reading the catechism. He got to a part where it said, "The two sins against hope are despair and presumption." and he realized in that moment, that that was what he'd been writing against all his career. He felt that the pessimists were those who despaired, and the optimists were those who presumed. The opposite of both these things is hope.


  1. Wonderful words, Mrs. B...

    Thank you so much for posting!

  2. Excellent! I've always loved the distinction about despair and presumption too (well, ever since I first heard about it, I think in college) and I've just been reading some of Chesterton on pessimism and optimism, so it's especially delightful to hear this connnection. Thanks!

  3. One side anecdote: when Chesterton on that great day was digging in his pocket for his penny catechism, out dropped a copy of a penny dreadful (pulp detective fiction). It speaks volumes about Chesterton that he should be carrying both a penny catechism and a penny dreadful in his pocket at the same time, on the day of his reception into the Catholic Church. :-)


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