Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nathan Allen--on Chesterton and Ratzinger

This from correspondent David Deavel:
Deacon Nathan Allen took a stroll through the life and famous quotations of G. K. Chesterton, alternately referring to G. K. Chesterton and “our man.” Halfway through the talk he revealed his trick. When referring to “our man” he had not been referring to Chesterton but to Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, thus revealing certain notable parallels in the life and writing of the two. Allen had been noticing Chestertonian lines in the writings of Ratzinger, the election of the latter to the papacy in 2005 led him to investigate whether Ratzinger had ever quoted Chesterton directly. What he found was that he hadn’t, but that his thought truly was Chestertonian in many respects, particularly the criticism of various forms of biblical “higher criticism,” relativism, and indeed in his sometimes paradoxical descriptions of the life and mission of the Son of Man. Allen concluded that though it was probably fruitless to speculate on what Chesterton would be like as a pope, it is a source of gratitude, and very fruitful, to read the two in tandem. He didn’t use the term, but Allen, who is editing an annotated version of The Four Men by the second half of that odd beast, the “Chesterbelloc,” might consider a book on what we might call the “Chesterzinger”!
Thanks, David.

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