The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue
"Oh PLEASE say I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury!"

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sermon For The 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage

"A pilgrimage like the one you’re making today is meant, in part, to be a symbol of the pilgrimage of life itself – the ups and downs, the twist and turns, the paths lined with flowers and trees and the paths lined with bramble and nettles, but all along the final destination kept firmly in view, spurring us on.

Today’s walk follows the life of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. You started at the place of his baptism: Campden Hill, Kensington. In his Autobiography he remembered how the church stood opposite a large Waterworks Tower : ‘I do not allege any significance in the relation of the two buildings; and I indignantly deny that the church was chosen because it needed the whole water-power of West London to turn me into a Christian.’ And he thought it symbolic in another way: the tower reminded him of some ‘colossal water-snake that might be the Great Sea Serpent’ while the church’s spire rose ‘like a spear; and I have always been pleased to remember that it was dedicated to St George.’ In the waters of baptism, the devil is defeated and the child receives the pledge of eternal life.

The walk through the sometimes grey suburbs of London to Uxbridge could be seen as representing his early years and his search for the truth, which took him down some strange byways – agnosticism, sceptisicism, spiritualism. A conversion experience returned him to the Church of England although, rather like Newman, his thought was essentially Catholic for some time before his reception into the Church and his books from this period can be fruitfully read.

As we offer this Mass, we think of Chesterton becoming a Catholic at last in 1922, ninety years ago almost exactly to the day, at the Railway Hotel in Beaconsfield (which was then being used as a temporary Mass centre for local Catholics). As Mgr Ronald Knox said shortly after his death, his conversion followed the law that ‘if you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time. That was all that happened when Chesterton was converted. He had looked for the thousandth time at the Catholic faith and for the first time he saw it. Nothing in the Church was new to him, and yet everything was new to him; he was like the man in his own story who had wandered round the world in order to see, with fresh eyes, his own home.’

The next stage of the walk will take you to Beaconsfield ; depending on the route you’ve chosen, this should be greener and more pleasant, a reflection of Chesterton’s final years as a Catholic. We thank the Lord for the childlike wonder that he brought to the mystery of life, the unfamiliar perspectives he brought to familiar things, the joy and humour of his writings (essential Christian hallmarks) and his prophetic voice that is as relevant today (if not more so) as it was in his lifetime.

At Beaconsfield you will come to the end of your day pilgrimage at Chesterton’s grave. It was at Beaconsfield that he died on 14 June 1936, aged only 62. Shortly before he died, he was visited by his friend Fr Vincent McNabb, the famous Dominican preacher, who sang the Salve Regina at his bedside (as is the Dominican custom for dying friars) and kissed Chesterton’s pen that lay on a nearby table.

Chesterton ended his pilgrimage through this world with his eyes fixed on Heaven and left behind him a valuable legacy. So may it be for us. We pray that he is at peace, if he needs our prayers at all, and should he have a heavenly vantage point, as we believe he has, we ask for his prayers."

Given by Fr Nicholas Schofield, Archivist of the Archdiocese of Westminster and Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes & St Michael, Uxbridge. Saturday 28th July 2012 in his Parish Church, at Mass offerred in thanksgiving for GK Chesterton Conversion. £750 has been raised for Good Counsel from the walk on the day.

A detailed report with photos, of the Pilgrimage can be seen here. In the meanwhile here is the prayer, for printables copies in English, Spanish, Italian and French see here. German to follow shortly.

God Our Father, Thou didst fill the life of Thy servant Gilbert Keith Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless work, a charity towards all men, particularly his opponents, and a hope which sprang from his lifelong gratitude for the gift of human life. May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief, his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his love for all men, especially for the poor, bring cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to those without faith. We beg Thee to grant the favours we ask through his intercession, the end of abortion in this Country, so that his holiness may be recognised by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pray The GK Chesterton Novena For Someone's Conversion


Monday 30th July is the 90th Anniversary of the Conversion of GK Chesterton. The location was, "the Railway Hotel in Beaconsfield, the dance-room of which had been converted into a makeshift chapel in the absence of any Catholic church in the town. In truth it was little more than a shed with a corrugated-iron roof and wooden walls, fitted with chapel fixtures by Sir Philip Rose and made available by the hotel's Irish landlady, Mrs Borlase. However, if Father Rice had failed to persuade Chesterton to be received in more luxurious surroundings [Douai Abbey School where Father was headmaster], he was compensated amply when Gilbert requested that he be present with Father O'Connor at his reception on Sunday, 30th July. The two Priests breakfasted together at the inn at which Father O'Connor was staying before walking together to Top Meadow [GKC's house]. According to Father Rice, they found Gilbert in an armchair reading the catechism, 'pulling faces and making noises as he used to do when reading'. Greeting his two friends, he got up and stuffed the catechism in his pocket. At lunch he drank water and poured wine for everyone else, and at about three o'clock they set out for the church. While Gilbert was making his Confession to Father O'Connor, Frances [GK's Wife], who was weeping continually, was comforted by Father Rice."

From Wisdom and Innocence, A Life of GK Chesterton by Joseph Pearce, which I am able to quote from as
Terry Pratchett has not been round to borrow it yet!
As there are hundreds of Converts to the Catholic Church who 'blame' Chesterton for their Conversion, it would seem like a good idea to say the Prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton for the next nine days, and to offer it for the Conversion of someone you love. See the end of this post for the Prayer.
And remember that we will pray for your intentions on;
The Delayed 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Walking Pilgrimage, Saturday 28th July.

9am Meet outside St George's C of E Church, Aubrey Walk, London, W8 7JG where GKC was Baptised as a baby. Walk to Uxbridge (14 miles approx), stopping for breakfast.

1.30pm Old Rite Mass in thanks giving for Chesterton's Conversion, which took place 90 years ago this month. Our Lady of Lourdes and St Michael, Osborn Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1UE, you are welcome to attend the Mass even if you are not doing the walk. Walk onto Beaconsfield (10 miles approx) where Chesterton lived, converted, died and is buried. Say the prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton at his graveside.
www.catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk

For more details or to join the pilgrimage see www.justgiving.com/Stuart-McCullough or follow on Twitter on the day, @Stuart1927
Prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton

God Our Father, Thou didst fill the life of Thy servant Gilbert Keith Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless work, a charity towards all men, particularly his opponents, and a hope which sprang from his lifelong gratitude for the gift of human life. May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief, his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his love for all men, especially for the poor, bring cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to those without faith. We beg Thee to grant the favours we ask through his intercession, the end of abortion in this Country [and especially for……] so that his holiness may be recognised by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
See here for copies of this prayer in Spanish, French and Italian and for printable prayercards.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

GK Chesterton Pilgrimage Poster Spotted In Shop Window!


With just ten days left until the delayed, 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage, Declan (who also took these photos) has sent me this photo. It is a copy of the Pilgrimage Poster in a shop window, in the Diocese where GKC lived and died!

It is also nice to have seen the following notice in a number of Parish Newsletters;

The Delayed 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Walking Pilgrimage, Saturday 28th July.

9am Meet outside St George's C of E Church, Aubrey Walk, London, W8 7JG where GKC was Baptised as a baby. Walk to Uxbridge (9 miles approx), stopping for breakfast.

1.30pm Old Rite Mass in thanks giving for Chesterton's Conversion, which took place 90 years ago this month. Our Lady of Lourdes and St Michael, Osborn Road, Uxbridge, UB8 1UE, you are welcome to attend the Mass even if you are not doing the walk. Walk onto Beaconsfield (13 miles approx) where Chesterton lived, converted, died and is buried. Say the prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton at his graveside. www.catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk

For more details or to join the pilgrimage see www.justgiving.com/Stuart-McCullough or follow on Twitter on the day, @Stuart1927
Prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton

God Our Father, Thou didst fill the life of Thy servant Gilbert Keith Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless work, a charity towards all men, particularly his opponents, and a hope which sprang from his lifelong gratitude for the gift of human life. May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief, his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his love for all men, especially for the poor, bring cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to those without faith. We beg Thee to grant the favours we ask through his intercession, the end of abortion in this Country [and especially for……] so that his holiness may be recognised by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
See here for copies of this prayer in Spanish, French and Italian and for printable prayercards.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Belloc's House Spotted On Pro-Life Sponsored Walk


Today Good Counsel held a ten mile sponsored walk from Wandsworth to Wapping. About 20 people did the walk, God bless you all. Hats off to Conor, who organised the day and did the walk with his young daughter on his back. Also Rhos (@RhoslynThomas) who had a wild journey up from Wales and Clare & Del who were both late due to helping Good Counsel Mums this morning. Clare was then given the wrong directions and went off walking the wrong way! Fr Edwards of Wansworth came on the walk and gave Benediction at the end in St Patrick's Wapping, thanks to Canon Samuels the PP. Declan has asked us to credit his photos, the one of Belloc's house is on of his, I recognise his finger! Please do still sponsor these wonderful people.
"Right we're not moving until you us show us the map, and tell us the name of that bridge!"
The house of Belloc, pointed out by Declan.
And now we can go home.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Pro-Life Walk On Now


Today Good Counsel is having our annual sponsored walk, which this year is from Wandsworth to Wapping. Fr Martin Edwards of Wandsworth is joining the walk. Two of the walkers are running late without a map! The walk is 10 miles long through central London mainly following the route alongside the River Thames. We have a number of brave people who have decided to take part in this event. It costs approximately £350 to save a life. Some of our walkers are getting close to raising this amount. Can you help them to save a life?
Below are some of the walkers pages, please read them and consider sponsoring them.

Clare McCullough http://www.justgiving.com/Clare-McCullough

Rhoslyn Thomas http://www.justgiving.com/Rhoslyn-Thomas

Karisha Kimone George-Llewellyn http://www.justgiving.com/Karisha
Follow @GoodCounselNet on Twitter and you may get an update from time to time! Or try me @Stuart1927

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

If A Chesterton Pilgrimage Is Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Badly


After last year’s annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage, I told the World that, “Next year we will walk to Beaconsfield from London!” Then on the 11th June I put up the details on my blog:

Fr Schofield joins the Chesterton Walking Pilgrimage June 14th - London.

Right, we're off! Well at least Fr Nicholas Schofield and myself are. After last year's Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage, some idiot (yes it was me) announced that next year we will be walking to Beaconsfield from Campden Hill, Kensington, London (where GKC was born & Baptised). Now I've looked it up, only 23 miles in a straight line!...................

So far so good, then my toothache came back with a vengeance! I saw the dentist on the 13th, started on antibiotics and lots of pain killers, at 1am on the 14th, unable to sleep my Wife said, “Have you asked Chesterton to sort it out”. I said the Chesterton Prayer and asked him to stop the pain and by 3am I was asleep. When I got up at 6am my tooth was fine, but I could not get out of bed due to sickness induced by the antibiotics! My Wife phoned and emailed Priests etc and the Pilgrimage was off!

The 30th July will be the 90th anniversary of GK Chesterton’s Conversion , therefore on the nearest Saturday (28th July) the delayed 2nd annual Chesterton Pilgrimage will take place. No doubt GKC wants us to remember his Coversion, as well as the many Converts who will tell you that they are Catholic today because of GKC.

The day will of course start at about 9am (when Stuart wakes up and realises he has slept through the alarm again - Wife) at St George's Church of England Church, Aubrey Walk, London, W8 7JG, where GK Chesterton was baptised. Here we will read the first paragraph of Chesterton's Autobiography, say the Chesterton Prayer and then march (stroll slowly) off in the direction of Uxbridge looking for a cafe where we can stop for breakfast.

Uxbridge parish seems to be about half way between Kensington and Beaconsfield. Fr Nicholas Schofield is quite happy to have an Old Rite Mass in his parish at 1.30pm on the day for those of us who have walked from Kensington that morning, but all are more than welcome to join us for the Mass. If we find one or two people who can sing it will be a Missa Cantata. The Church is Our Lady of Lourdes and St Michael, Osborn Rd, Uxbridge, UB8 1UE. (Father will not be able to join us on the walk this time)

And then onto Beaconsfield. Upon arrival in Beaconsfield, we will go to GK Chesterton's graveside and recite the prayer for his beatification. And that is all I’ve made up so far.

Let me know if you plan to attend, on Twitter @stuart1927 or email info@goodcounselnetwork.freeserve.co.uk or on Face Book, tell Good Counsel.

At the moment, The Good Counsel Network has no money, so I will do this as a sponsored walk. Good Counsel is having trouble supporting a number of Mothers who have chosen to keep their babies and not to abort them. You can post donations, payable to; The Giuld of Our Lady of Good Counsel, P.O. Box 46679, London, England, NW9 8ZT or online.

God Our Father, Thou didst fill the life of Thy servant Gilbert Keith Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless work, a charity towards all men, particularly his opponents, and a hope which sprang from his lifelong gratitude for the gift of human life. May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief, his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his love for all men, especially for the poor, bring cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to those without faith. We beg Thee to grant the favours we ask through his intercession, the end of abortion in this Country [and especially for……] so that his holiness may be recognized by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Meptist 'Bishop' Of/In Marylebone?


Many years ago when I was a pagan, a friend and his cousin spent an hour or so trying to make me a Christian. One was a Baptist and the other was a Methodist. I did not really take them very seriously, and spent most of my time taking the mick. I did however ask them both, Why should I go to your church and not his, what's the difference? To which they both replied, Nothing really go to either. And so I named them Meptists on the spot! (Sorry Nan)
Then walking passed Marylebone Station the other day with my niece, she started to say, That women looks like... but she stopped. I went back and said Hello, what church are you from, politely (No, really Iwas polite, I didn't ask, How old is your church?). She said she was a Methodist from Gambia and, yes in her church she is a bishop. I asked if I could take her photo to show to a friend of mine who is a former Methodist, now Catholic.
Peter of the GK Chesterton tie told me, when I showed him the the photo, that the Methodists in England don't have bishops, but that elsewhere they do.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

GK Chesterton, Logic And Lawn Tennis


[I put this post up last year, here it is again, for the rest of the articles from The Thing see here]
A few weeks ago I start to serialise Gk Chesterton's book, The Thing each Saturday and called it GK's Weekly in honour of his newspaper of that name. (First part here) A number of people have said it is too long, the typeface is too small, it needs pictures etc. So I've used a larger font, put in photos, but will still put up a whole chapter each Saturday. Today's chapter is half the length of last weeks! People are reading it so there we have it. You can get a short daily GKC quote from here if you prefer. Clearly not a course of action that Mr Murry would approve of.

LOGIC AND LAWN TENNIS (V)

WHEN we say that we doubt the intellectual improvement produced by Protestantism and Rationalism and the modern world, there generally arises a very confused controversy, which is a sort of tangle of terminology. But, broadly speaking, the difference between us and our critics is this. They mean by growth an increase of the tangle; whereas we mean by thought a disentangling of the tangle. Even a short and simple length of straight and untangled wire is worth more to us than whole forests of mere entanglement. That there are more topics talked about, or more terms used, or more people using them, or more books and other authorities cited-- all this is nothing to us if people misuse the terms, misunderstand the topics, invoke the authorities at random and without the use of reason; and finally bring out a false result. A peasant who merely says, "I have five pigs; if I kill one I shall have four pigs," is thinking in an extremely simple and elementary way; but he is thinking as clearly and correctly as Aristotle or Euclid. But suppose he reads or half-reads newspapers and books of popular science. Suppose he starts to call one pig the Land and another pig Capital and a third pig Exports, and finally brings out the result that the more pigs he kills the more he possesses; or that every sow that litters decreases the number of pigs in the world. He has learnt economic terminology, merely as a means of becoming entangled in economic fallacy. It is a fallacy he could never have fallen into while he was grounded in the divine dogma that Pigs is Pigs. Now for that sort of intellectual instruction and advancement we have no use at all; and in that sense only it is true that we prefer the ignorant peasant to the instructed pedant. But that is not because we think ignorance better than instruction or barbarism better than culture. It is merely that we think a short length of the untangled logical chain is better than an interminable length of it that is interminably tangled. It is merely that we prefer a man to do a sum of simple addition right than a sum in long division wrong.

Now what we observe about the whole current culture of journalism and general discussion is that people do not know how to begin to think. Not only is their thinking at third and fourth hand, but it always starts about three-quarters of the way through the process. Men do not know where their own thoughts came from. They do not know what their own words imply. They come in at the end of every controversy and know nothing of where it began or what it is all about. They are constantly assuming certain absolutes, which, if correctly defined, would strike even themselves as being not absolutes but absurdities. To think thus is to be in a tangle; to go on thinking is to be in more and more of a tangle. And at the back of all there is always something understood; which is really something misunderstood.


For instance, I read an article by the admirable Mr. Tilden, the great tennis-player, who was debating what is wrong with English Tennis. "Nothing can save English Tennis," he said, except certain reforms of a fundamental sort, which he proceeded to explain. The English, it appears, have a weird and unnatural way of regarding tennis as a game, or thing to be enjoyed. He admitted that this has been part of a sort of amateur spirit in everything which is (as he very truly noted) also a part of the national character. But all this stands in the way of what he called saving English Tennis. He meant what some would call making it perfect, and others would call making it professional. Now, I take that as a very typical passage, taken from the papers at random, and containing the views of a keen and acute person on a subject that he thoroughly understands. But what he does not understand is the thing which he supposes to be understood. He thoroughly knows his subject and yet he does not know what he is talking about; because he does not know what he is taking for granted. He does not realise the relation of means and ends, or axioms and inferences, in his own philosophy. And nobody would probably be more surprised and even legitimately indignant than he, if I were to say that the first principles of his philosophy appear to be as follows:


(1) There is in the nature of things a certain absolute and divine Being, whose name is Mr. Lawn Tennis.

(2) All men exist for the good and glory of this Mr. Tennis and are bound to approximate to his perfections and fulfil his will.

(3) To this higher duty they are bound to surrender their natural desire for enjoyment in this life.

(4) They are bound to put this loyalty first; and to love it more passionately than patriotic tradition, the preservation of their own national type and national culture; not to mention even their national virtues.

That is the creed or scheme of doctrine that is here developed without being defined. The only way for us to save the game of Lawn Tennis is to prevent it from being a game. The only way to save English Tennis is to prevent it from being English. It does not occur to such thinkers that some people may possibly like it because it is English and enjoy it because it is enjoyable. There is some abstract divine standard in the thing, to which it is everybody's duty to rise, at any sacrifice of pleasure or affection. When Christians say this of the sacrifices made for Christ, it sounds rather a hard saying. But when tennis-players say it about the sacrifices demanded by tennis, it sounds quite ordinary and casual in the confusion of current thought and expression. And nobody notices that a sort of human sacrifice is being offered to a sort of new and nameless god.

In the good old days of Victorian rationalism it used to be the conventional habit to scoff at St. Thomas Aquinas and the mediaeval theologians; and especially to repeat perpetually a well-worn joke about the man who discussed how many angels could dance on the point of a needle. The comfortable and commercial Victorians, with their money and merchandise, might well have felt a sharper end of the same needle, even if it was the other end of it. It would have been good for their souls to have looked for that needle, not in the haystack of mediaeval metaphysics, but in the neat needle-case of their own favourite pocket Bible. It would have been better for them to meditate, not on how many angels could go on the point of a needle, but on how many camels could go through the eye of it. But there is another comment on this curious joke or catchword, which is more relevant to our purpose here. If the mediaeval mystic ever did argue about angels standing on a needle, at least he did not argue as if the object of angels was to stand on a needle; as if God had created all the Angels and Archangels, all the Thrones, Virtues, Powers and Principalities, solely in order that there might be something to clothe and decorate the unseemly nakedness of the point of a needle. But that is the way that modern rationalists reason. The mediaeval mystic would not even have said that a needle exists to be a standing-ground for angels. The mediaeval mystic would have been the first to say that a needle exists to make clothes for men. For mediaeval mystics, in their dim transcendental way, were much interested in the real reasons for things and the distinction between the means and the end. They wanted to know what a thing was really for, and what was the dependence of one idea on another. And they might even have suggested, what so many journalists seem to forget, the paradoxical possibility that Tennis was made for Man and not Man for Tennis.

The Modernists were peculiarly unfortunate when they said that the modern world must not be expected to tolerate the old syllogistic methods of the Schoolmen. They were proposing to scrap the one mediaeval instrument which the modern world will most immediately require. There would have been a far better case for saying that the revival of Gothic architecture has been sentimental and futile; that the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art was only an eccentric episode; that the fashionable use of the word "Guild" for every possible sort of social institution was affected and artificial; that the feudalism of Young England was very different from that of Old England. But this method of clean-cut deduction, with the definition of the postulates and the actual answering of the question, is something of which the whole of our newspaper-flattered society is in sharp and instant need; as the poisoned are in need of medicine. I have here taken only one example which happened to catch my eye out of a hundred thousand that flash past every hour. And as Tennis, like every other good game, has to be played with the head as well as the hand, I think it highly desirable that it should be occasionally discussed at least as intelligently as it is played.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy 4th July

For the life of me I can't remember how to put a video from youtube up on my blog, so you will just have to click on this link, sorry. The Wife won't help, as she says, I'm just trying to start a war!