Having missed the bus to Oxford, by 30 seconds, I still arrived at 9.59am for the 10am start of The GK Chesterton Society Oxford Conference. Nothing much happened for the next 10-15 minutes as this was a mostly Catholic gathering. Dr Oddie's opening remarks did refer to the Catholic sense of time! He said some interesting things about Jews & GKC, he talked of a Jewish problem in Chesterton's day, which was summed up by Theodore Herzl, the founding father of Zionism thus, "We are aliens here, they do not let us dissolve into the population, and if they let us we would not do it. Let us go forth!"(Appendix A, of The Holiness of GK Chesterton) He felt that people may look back in the future on the worries that some have today about muslim integration and wonder why the fuss, just as many now look back on the Jewish problem. Lynette Burrows then spoke, and I think she was not so confident about muslim integration. But she gave a very interesting talk. (I'm told all the talks will appear on the website soon).
Fr Ian Ker, author of many books including his latest one of 700 pages on GK Chesterton, which Dr Oddie described as being a book that no fan of Chesterton could afford to be without. But at £30 I'm not sure it is one I can afford to be with! Father gave a great talk about GKC, Jesus and all that, it was quite amazing. It was also a very English talk as Father muddled his papers and was very embarrassed. At one bit he talked about GKC making us look at Jesus, we have become distracted since Vatican II with Justice & Peace, Just War, etc. and we think of Jesus as a kindly uncle who does not mind what we do, and forgives us. But Chesterton makes us look the Jesus of the Gospels.
After Mass, Celebrated by Fr Hean the Treasurer, now a Priest of the Ordinariate, and lunch, Dale Ahlquist spoke; "Thank you for showing up for your afternoon nap", with glass of wine in hand, "I will be joining you shortly". He did go on to say much of interest, with over one hundred quotes from GKC! "Have you noticed how, many people in the suburbs have pets but no children. Wherever you have animal worship you have human sacrifice."
All in all a very good day, and what I have said does not do it justice. Do keep an eye on The GK Chesterton Society's website to read the talks in full. And as the quotes above are from memory (and as Conor will tell you, I don't have one) handle with care! Another odd thing that day was as I walked towards the Conference, the people walking in front of me. One of the girls had purple, pink & lighter pink hair, I thought to myself, this generation, this Country, this culture, what hope for GKC? I stopped to buy myself a mocha, to help keep me awake. I sat at the back of the Conference room and the same group of youngsters sat in front of me! (see photos)
For GK Chesterton Prayer cards