Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Saturday 29 October 2011

Author Of The Exorcist, Reads On Catholic Television

William Peter Blatty, Catholic author and Academy Award winning screenwriter of The Exorcist, will be interviewed on The World Over Live on EWTN. He will be on the second half of the programme which is on for an hour at 3pm Sunday or 8am Monday, (Sky 589, BBC FreeSat or online).

There is a clip online of the after show, where he continues his discussion on the 40th anniversary edition of his landmark novel and reads some more from it.

GK's Weekly, The Thing, The Hat And The Halo


PERHAPS it is a little ungenerous to refer again to the fiasco of the unfortunate Bishop of Birmingham, when he made an exhibition of himself on the subject of St. Francis. That he should be unable to restrain himself from attacking one whom so many free-thinkers have loved and reverenced is interesting as showing how far sectarians can go. But the tone of the attack raises a question more interesting than the personal one. It may be called broadly the question of Sentiment; but it involves the whole question of what things in life are deep and what things shallow; what is central and what is merely external. It is needless to say that people like the Bishop invariably and instinctively get them the wrong way round.

For instance, he said something to the effect that people are now seeing St. Francis in a halo of false sentiment, or through a haze of false sentiment. I am not sure which he said and I doubt whether he knew which he meant. If the Bishop had a halo it would probably be rather like a haze. But anyhow he implied that the hero-worship of St. Francis was a sort of external and extraneous thing, a dazzling distraction or a distorting medium, something added to his figure afterwards; whereas the facts about the real St. Francis were quite different and decidedly repulsive to a refined person. Well, the poor Bishop got all his facts about St. Francis quite wrong; and his claim to talk about the REAL St. Francis, even in an ordinary historical sense, was pretty rapidly shown up. But there was something behind it which interests me much more. It is the curious trick of turning everything inside out; so that the really central things become external and the merely external things central. The inmost soul of St. Francis is a haze of false sentiment; but the accidents of his historical setting, as viewed by people without any historical sense, are a sort of dreadful secret of his soul.
According to this sort of criticism, St. Francis had a great soul; which was merely a cloak for a miserable body. It is sentimental to consider what he felt like. But it is realistic to consider what he looked like. Or rather it is realistic to consider what he would have looked like to the best-dressed people in Birmingham who never saw him, or the fashionable tailor in Bond Street who never had the opportunity of making him a suit of clothes. The critic tells us what some hypothetical suburban snob of the twentieth century would have thought of the Saint he never saw; and THAT is the real truth about the Saint. We can tell him what the Saint would have thought of the suburban snob (and his thoughts would have been full of the simple and spontaneous tenderness which he showed to all small and helpless creatures) but that is only sentiment about St. Francis. What St Francis himself felt about all other creatures is only a misleading and artificial addition to his character. But what some of the most limited and least imaginative of those creatures might possibly think about him, or rather about his clothes or his meals--that alone is reality.

When the admirers of St. Francis, who number myriads of Protestants and Agnostics as well as Catholics, say that they admire that great man, they mean that they admire his mind, his affections, his tastes, his point of view. They mean that, like any other poet, he puts them in a position to view the world in a certain way; and that life looked at from his mental standpoint is more inspiring or intelligible. But when the Bishop tells them that they do not know the facts about St. Francis, he does not mean that St. Francis had some other mind or some other standpoint. He means that St. Francis did not have hot and cold water laid on in the bathroom, did not put on a clean collar every morning, did not send a sufficient number of shirts to the Birmingham Imperial Laundry every week, did not have black mud smeared on his boots or white mud to stiffen his shirt front, and all the rest of it. And THAT is what he calls the truth about St. Francis! Everything else, including everything that St. Francis did do, is a haze of sentiment.

That is the deeper problem of which this foolish affair happens to be an illustration. How are we to make these superficial people understand that we are not being sentimental about St. Francis, that we are not presenting an elegant and poetical picture of St. Francis; that we are not presenting irresponsible emotional ravings about St. Francis; that we are simply presenting St. Francis? We are presenting a remarkable mind; just as Plato presented a remarkable mind, whether it was his own or somebody else's. We think no more of Bishop Barnes and his nonsense than a Platonist would think about some joke in Aristophanes about Socrates catching fleas.
There may have been people who saw that mind through a haze of false sentiment; there were people who saw it through a haze of exaggerated enthusiasm; like those heretics who made St. Francis greater than Christ and the founder of a new dispensation. But even those fanatics were more like philosophers than a gentleman who is content to say either of a true saint or a false god, that his taste in linen and steam laundries was "not ours." In short, the true situation is simple and obvious enough. It is we who are thinking about the real Francis Bernadone, even the realistic Francis Bernadone, the actual man whose mind and mood we admire. It is the critic who is thinking of the unreal Francis, a fantastic phantom produced by looking at him in a Bond Street looking-glass or comparing him with the fashion-plates of 1926. If it is well for a man to be happy, to have the way of welcoming the thing that happens and the next man that comes along, then St. Francis was happy; happier than most modern men. If it be good that a man should be sympathetic, should include a large number of things in his imaginative sympathy, should have a hospitality of the heart for strange things and strange people, then St. Francis was sympathetic; more sympathetic than most modern men. If it be good that a man should be original, should add something creative and not merely customary or conventional, should do what he thinks right in his own way and without fear of worldly consequences in ruin or starvation, then St. Francis was original; more original than most modern men. All these are tests at once personal and permanent; they deal with the very essence of the ego or individual and they are not affected by changes in external fashion. To say that these things are mere sentiment is to say that the inmost sense of the inmost self is mere sentiment. And yet how are we to stop superficial people from calling it mere sentiment? How are we to make them realise that it is not we who have a sentimental attachment to a mediaeval friar, but they who have an entirely sentimental attachment to certain modern conventions?

Such critics have never really thought of asking what they mean by "sentiment," still less what they mean by "false sentiment." "False" is simply a conventional term of abuse to be applied to "sentiment"; and "sentiment" is simply a conventional term of abuse to be applied to Catholicism. But it is very much more applicable nowadays to Protestantism. It is especially applicable to Bishop Barnes's own rather nebulous type of Protestantism. Men of his school always complain of our thinking too much of theology, just as they complained a few centuries before of our thinking too little of theology. But theology is only the element of reason in religion; the reason that prevents it from being a mere emotion. There are a good many broad-minded persons for whom it is only an emotion; and it would hardly be unfair to say it is only a sentiment. And we have not to look far for them in cases like these.

If a school of critics were found prepared to pay divine honours to a certain person while doubting whether he was divine, men who took off their hats in his churches while denying that he was present on his altars, who hinted that he was only a religious teacher and then hinted again that he must be served as if he were the only teacher of religion; who are always ready to treat him as a fallible individual in relation to his rivals, and then to invoke him as an infallible authority against his followers, who dismiss every text they choose to think dogmatic and then gush over every text they choose to think amiable, who heckle him with Higher Criticism about three-quarters of what he said and then grovel before a mawkish and unmanly ideal made by misunderstanding the little which is left--if there were a school of critics in THIS relation to a historical character, we might very well admit that they were not getting to grips with it, but surrounding it with "a halo of false sentiment."

That is the vital distinction. At least we do not admit sentiment as a substitute for statement; still less as a contradiction of something that we state. There may be devotional expressions that are emotional, and even extravagantly emotional; but they do not actually distort any definition that is purely intellectual. But in the case of our critics, the confusion is in the intellect. We do not claim that all our pictorial or poetical expressions are adequate; but the fault is in the execution not in the conception. And there is a conception which is not a confusion. We do not say that every pink and blue doll from an Art Repository is a satisfactory symbol of the Mother of God. But we do say that it is less of a contradiction than exists in a person who says there is no Original Sin in anybody, and then calls it Mariolatry to say there was no Original Sin in Mary. We do not profess to admire the little varnished pictures of waxen angels or wooden children around the Communion Table. But we do most strongly profess and proclaim that they are less of a blot on the intellectual landscape than a bishop who suggests that the Host may actually be the divine Presence, but that High Church curates will do his lordship a personal favour if they take no notice of it. We are under no illusions about the literary quality of a large number of hymns in our hymn-books, or any other hymn-books. But we modestly submit that though they are doggerel they are not nonsense; and that saying that we can assert a personal God, a personal immortality, a personal divine love that extends to the least and worst, and do all this without holding "a Creed," IS nonsense. We know that the nearest sane agnostic or atheist would agree that it is nonsense. Devotional art and literature are often out of balance or broken in expression; sometimes because the emotion is too real and too strong for the reason, the same thing which makes the love-letters of the wisest men like the letters of lunatics; sometimes from a real deficiency in the individual power of reason; but never from a theoretical repudiation of reason, like that of the Pragmatists and about three-quarters of the Modernists. And in the same way it is the very reverse of the truth to say that a mere emotional distortion of the facts has drawn the modern mind towards St. Francis. It is, on the contrary, emphatically an attraction of mind to mind; and the more purely mental the process, the less it will be interrupted by ignorant irritation against the strangeness of Italian manners or mediaeval conditions. And in this case there is no international problem. Thousands of Englishmen who know nothing but England glow with love and understanding of St. Francis. We may well feel an unaffected pity for the one unlucky Englishman who cannot understand.

Friday 28 October 2011

Pro Abortion MP To Talk To Catholics!

Vigil of reparation outside Blackfriars, Oxford, for the invitation of Jon Cruddas MP, the pro-abortion politician to speak at their conference

Dr Jon Cruddas MP is due to speak at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, on Saturday 29th October at their conference 'The Modern State and the Kingdom of God'. Dr Cruddas will speak about 'Building democracy'.

In December 2010 Jon Cruddas told The Catholic Herald that abortion "should be safe, legal and rare" and in June 2007 he said to BBC Sunday AM , when questioned about abortion ,“I'm perfectly happy with the current situation”. The current situation in the UK is that there are 570 registered abortions on average each day, with abortions carried out up to birth.

Since 2000, Jon Cruddas MP voted 18 times with the anti-life lobby. For example:

voting in favour of the anti-life Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act at second reading - a law designed to kill millions of innocent human beings deliberately created never to be born.

voting for the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act.

Prior to this campaign, Daniel Blackman wrote three times to the interim director of the Las Casas Institute Fr Richard Finn OP. The letters were dated 17th August 2011, 21st September 2011 and 7th October 2011.

These letters raised objections to Jon Cruddas MP being invited to speak, with a request that the invitation to him be withdrawn. Daniel received one reply to his first letter. Fr Richard said in his reply that they took their Catholic identity seriously, but that they thought it was acceptable to invite a speaker along with whom they wouldn't necessarily agree with on all issues. Fr Richard did not respond to Daniel's two subsequent letters and he has been informed several days in advance that this vigil will be taking place. Whilst there is still time, it is hoped Las Casas will withdraw their invitation to Jon Cruddas. In the absence of this happening, an act of public prayer and witness is felt to be a sensible and respectful course of action.

"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." ~ US Catholic bishops' document Catholics in Political Life, June 2004

"Platforms which would suggest support for their actions" had been interpreted to mean "speaking invitations, as these invitations would suggest support for their actions."

Catholics are naturally scandalised that a Catholic institution have invited a speaker who has on several occasions voted for measures which deny human beings their fundamental right to life and which are in direct contradiction to Church teaching. Therefore we will be holding a vigil in reparation for this event outside Blackfriars, Oxford, from 3pm - 5pm Saturday 29th October. You are welcome to join us.

We are praying for the conversion of Dr Jon Cruddas MP, those who invited him to speak and those Catholics associated with Blackfriars who have not raised their voice in opposition to this scandal. We also pray for all those whose faith has been weakened or destroyed by scandals within the Church. We entrust them all to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In light of his record we are calling on Blackfriars to cancel Dr Jon Cruddas' address, just as the Catholic Parliamentary Internship Scheme recently cancelled their placement of an intern with him.

This event has been organised by Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise. You can contact us at or visit our blog

Most of the above information was taken from John Smeaton, SPUC Director: Jon Cruddas MP reappears on Catholic speaking circuit

Pro-Life Old Rite Mass

For awhile a group of youngsters have been coming to the Good Counsel Mass on the 2nd Friday of each month at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, at 6.30pm. After Mass they would go out for dinner. They have now started to have Mass at St Patrick's details below. As well as this the Mass at Corpus Christi will still continue. (Photo)

Juventutem London have moved to St Patrick's, Soho. The High Old Rite Mass at 6.30pm will be offered for the Good Counsel Network. (But the collection will be for Juventutem)

For more details about the Masses organised by Juventutem London click
here. We're especially keen for people to realise that the Mass is not only for people between the ages of 18-35, but that the social afterwards is!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Invitation To Pray With Bishop Hopes, Or Be Quiet!

Roman Catholic Bishop Alan Hopes will join 40 days for Life London to lead us in prayer for an end to abortion. Bishop Hopes will arrive at the abortuary at 26-27 Bedford Square London, WC1B 3HP, for 7pm on Friday 4th November.

A few months ago Bishop Hopes joined the Helpers of God's Precious Infants in Twickenham to lead a pro-life vigil at another BPAS abortion facility (Report & Photos).

We feel very blessed to have Bishop Hopes with us. This will be the first time 40 Days for Life London has had a bishop join us in prayer at the vigil.

You are warmly invited to join us and bring a friend or anyboby else if you don't have any friends.

Deerstalker tip to John Smeaton

But why does it say, "or be quiet" in the title? Simple, here is a Bishop doing something right and just, be there or don't complain about the Bishops. 20% of the Bishops of Westminster will take part in 40 Days for Life, if 20% of the Mass attending Catholics in Westminster did the same the abortuary would close. Prove me wrong if you can, you just need to get 30,336 Catholics to attend the vigil!

(Photo of Bishop Hopes on way to the Twickenham abortuary)

Saturday 22 October 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, Who Are The Conspirators?

[Wow! We are now more than half way through this wonderful, 35 chapter book by Chesterton! As I said in the beginning a Catholic paper should have done this, but no matter. What shall we do to celebrate when we get to the end of it, a few months from now? "Read your blog on Saturdays!" Cynics! "Make him a Saint in the hope that that would stop you doing this again?" Oo that gives me an idea!]


I CAME across, more or less indirectly, the other day, a lady of educated and even elegant pretensions, of the sort whom her foes would call luxurious and her friends cultured, who happened to mention a certain small West Country town, and added with a sort of hiss that it contained "a nest of Roman Catholics." This apparently referred to a family with which I happen to be acquainted. The lady then said, her voice changing to a deep note of doom, "God alone knows what is said and done behind those closed doors."

On hearing this stimulating speculation, my mind went back to what I remembered of the household in question, which was largely concerned with macaroons, and a little girl who rightly persuaded herself that I could eat an almost unlimited number of them. But when I contrasted that memory with that vision it was brought suddenly and stunningly to my mind what a vast abyss still yawns between us and many of our countrymen, and what extraordinary ideas are still entertained about us, by people who walk about the world without keepers or strait-waistcoats and are apparently, on all other subjects, sane. It is doubtless true, and theologically sound, to say that God alone knows what goes on in Catholic homes; as it is to say that God alone knows what goes on in Protestant heads. I do not know why a Catholic's doors should be any more closed than anybody else's doors; the habit is not unusual in persons of all philosophical beliefs when retiring for the night; and on other occasions depends on the weather and the individual taste. But even those who would find it difficult to believe that an ordinary Catholic is so eccentric as to bolt and padlock himself in the drawing-room or the smoking-room, whenever he strolls into those apartments, do really have a haunting idea that it is more conceivable of a Catholic than of a Calvinistic Methodist or a Plymouth Brother. There does remain the stale savour of a sort of sensational romance about us; as if we were all foreign counts and conspirators. And the really interesting fact is that this absurd melodrama can be found among educated people; though now rather in an educated individual than in an educated class. The world still pays us this wild and imaginative compliment of imagining that we are much less ordinary than we really are. The argument, of course, is the one with which we are wearily familiar in twenty other aspects; the argument that because the evidence against us cannot be produced, it must have been concealed. It is obvious that Roman Catholics do not generally shout to each other the arrangements of a St. Bartholomew Massacre across the public streets; and the only deduction any reasonable man can draw is that they do it behind closed doors. It is but seldom that the project of burning down London is proclaimed in large letters on the posters of the UNIVERSE; so what possible deduction can there be, except that the signals are given at the private tea-table by means of a symbolical alphabet of macaroons? It would be an exaggeration to say that it is my daily habit to leap upon aged Jews in Fleet Street and tear out their teeth; so, given my admitted monomania on the subject, it only remains to suppose that my private house is fitted up like a torture chamber for this mode of mediaeval dentistry. Catholic crimes are not plotted in public, so it stands to reason that they must be plotted in private. There is indeed a third remote and theoretical alternative; that they are not plotted anywhere; but it is unreasonable to expect our fellow-countrymen to suggest anything so fanciful as that.

Now this mysterious delusion, still far commoner than many suppose even in England, and covering whole interior spaces of America, happens to be another illustration of what I have been suggesting in an earlier essay; the fact that those who are always digging and prying for secret things about us, have never even glanced at the most self-evident things about themselves. We have only to ask ourselves, with a sort of shudder, what would have been said if we really had confessed to conspiracy as shamelessly as half our accusers have confessed to it themselves. What in the world would be said, either in America or in Europe, if we really had behaved like a secret society, in places where the groups of our enemies cannot even deny that they are secret societies? What in the world would happen if a Catholic Congress at Glasgow or Leeds really consisted entirely of hooded and white-robed delegates, all with their faces covered and their names unknown, looking out of slits in their ghastly masks of white? Yet this was, until just lately, the rigid routine of the great American organisation to destroy Catholicism; an organisation which recently threatened to seize all government in America. What would have been said, if there really was a definite, recognised, but entirely unknown thing, called the Secret of the Catholics; as there has been for long past a recognised but unknown reality called the Secret of the Freemasons? I dare say a great deal involved in such things is mere harmless foolery. But if we had done such things, would our critics have said it was harmless foolery? Suppose we had started to spread the propaganda of the Faith by means of a movement called "Know Nothing," because we were in the habit of always shaking our heads and shrugging our shoulders and swearing that we knew nothing of the Faith we meant to spread. Suppose our veneration for the dignity of St. Peter were wholly and solely a veneration for the denial of St. Peter; and we used it as a sort of motto or password to swear that we knew not Christ. Yet that was admittedly the policy of a whole political movement in America, which aimed at destroying the citizenship of Catholics. Suppose that the Mafia and all the murderous secret associations of the Continent had been notoriously working on the Catholic side, instead of the other side. Should we ever have heard the last of it? Would not the world have rung with indignant denunciation of a disgrace clinging to all our conduct, and a treason that must never be forgot? Yet these things are done constantly, and at regular intervals, and right down to the present day, by the Anti-Catholic parties; and it is never thought necessary to recall them, or say a word of apology for them, in the writings of any Anti-Catholic partisan. It would be just our Jesuitical way to dare to look over hedges, when everybody else is only stealing horses.

In short, what I recently said of bigotry is even more true of secrecy. In so far as there is something merely antiquated about a certain type of doctrinal narrowness, it is much more characteristic of Dayton, Tennessee, than of Louvain or Rome. And in the same way, in so far as there is something antiquated about all these antics in masks and cloaks, it has been much more characteristic of the Ku Klux Klan than of the Jesuits. Indeed, this sort of Protestant is a figure of old-fashioned melodrama in a double sense and in a double aspect. He is antiquated in the plots he attributes to us and in the plots that he practises himself.

As regards the latter, it is probable that the whole world will discover this fact a long time before he does. The anti-clerical will go on playing solemnly the pranks of Cagliostro, like a medium still blindfolded in broad daylight; and will open his mouth in mysteries long after everybody in the world is completely illuminated about the illuminati. And though the almost half-witted humour of the American society, which seemed to consist entirely of beginning as many words as possible with KL, has been rather abruptly toned down by a reaction of relative sanity, I have no doubt that there is still many a noble Nordic fellow going about hugging himself over the happy secret that he is a Kleagle or a Klemperor, long after everybody has ceased to klare a klam whether he is or not. On the political side the power of these conspiracies has been practically broken in both Continents; in Italy by the Fascists and in America by a rally of reasonable and public-spirited governors of both political parties. But the point of historical interest remains: that it was the very people who accused us of mummery and mystery who surrounded all their secularising activities with far more fantastic mysteries and mummeries; that they had not even the manhood to fight an ancient ritual with the appearance of republican simplicity, but boasted of hiding everything in a sort of comic complexity; even when there was nothing to hide. By this time such movements as the Ku Klux Klan have very little left which can be hidden or which is worth hiding; and it is therefore probable that our romantic curiosity about them will be considerably colder than their undying romantic curiosity about us. The Protestant lady will continue to resent the fact that God does not share with her his knowledge of the terrible significance of tea and macaroons in the Catholic home. But we shall probably in the future feel a fainter and fainter interest in whatever it is that Kleagues do behind closed-- or perhaps I should say Klosed Doors.

Saturday 15 October 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, The Feasts And The Ascetic


I WAS reflecting in the course of the recent feast of Christmas (which, like other feasts, is preceded by a fast) that the combination is still a puzzle to many. The Modernist, or man who boasts of being modern, is generally rather like a man who overeats himself so much on Christmas Eve that he has no appetite on Christmas Day. It is called being In Advance of the Times; and is incumbent upon all who are progressive, prophetic, futuristic and generally looking towards what Mr. Belloc calls the Great Rosy Dawn: a dawn which generally looks a good deal rosier the night before than it does the morning after.

To many people, however, who are not offensively in advance of the times the combination of these ideas does seem to be a sort of contradiction or confusion. But in real fact it is not only not so confused, but even not so complicated. The great temptation of the Catholic in the modern world is the temptation to intellectual pride. It is so obvious that most his critics are talking without in the least knowing what they are talking about, that he is sometimes a little provoked towards the very un-Christian logic of answering a fool according to his folly. He is a little bit disposed to luxuriate in secret, as it were over the much greater subtlety and richness of the philosophy he inherits; and only answer a bewildered barbarian so as to bewilder him still more. He is tempted to ironical agreements or even to disguising himself as a dunce. Men who have an elaborate philosophical defence of their views sometimes take pleasure in boasting of their almost babyish credulity. Having reached their own goal through labyrinths of logic, they will point the stranger only to the very shortest short cut of authority; merely in order to shock the simpleton with simplicity. Or, as in the present case, they will find a grim amusement in presenting the separate parts of the scheme as if they were really separate; and leave the outsider to make what he can of them. So when somebody says that a fast is the opposite to a feast, and yet both seem to be sacred to us, some of us will always be moved merely to say, "Yes," and relapse into an objectionable grin. When the anxious ethical enquirer says, "Christmas is devoted to merry-making, to eating meat and drinking wine, and yet you encourage this pagan and materialistic enjoyment," you or I will be tempted to say, "Quite right, my boy," and leave it at that. When he then says, looking even more worried, "Yet you admire men for fasting in caves and deserts and denying themselves ordinary pleasures; you are clearly committed, like the Buddhists, to the opposite or ascetic principle," we shall be similarly inspired to say, "Quite correct, old bean," or "Got it first time, old top," and merely propose an adjournment for convivial refreshment.

Nevertheless, it is a temptation to be resisted. Not only is it obviously our duty to explain to the other people that what seems to them contradictory is really complementary, but we are not altogether justified in any such tone of superiority. We are not right in making our geniality an expression of our despair. We are not entitled to despair of explaining the truth; nor is it really so horribly difficult to explain. The real difficulty is not so much that the critic is crude as that we ourselves are not always clear, even in our own minds, far less in our public expositions. It is not so much that they are not subtle enough to understand it, as that they and we and everybody else are not simple enough to understand it. Those two things are obviously part of one thing, if we are straightforward enough to look at the thing; and to see it simply as it is. I suggested recently that people would see the Christian story if it could only be told as a heathen story. The Faith is simply the story of a God who died for men. But, queerly enough, if we were even to print the words without a capital G, as if it were the cult of some new and nameless tribe, many would realise the idea for the first time. Many would feel the thrill of a new fear and sympathy if we simply wrote, "the story of a god who died for men." People would sit up suddenly and say what a beautiful and touching pagan religion that must be.

Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that the Church is out of the question; that we have nothing but the earth and the children of man pottering about on it, with their normal mortal tales and traditions. Then suppose there appears on this earth a prodigy, a portent, or what is alleged to be a portent. In some way heaven has rent the veil or the gods have given some new marvel to mankind. Suppose, for instance, it is a fountain of magic water, said to be flowing at the top of a mountain. It blesses like holy water; it heals diseases; it inspires more than wine, or those who drink of it never thirst again. Well, this story may be true or false; but among those who spread it as true, it is perfectly obvious that the story will produce a number of other stories. It is equally obvious that those stories will be of two kinds. The first sort will say: "When the water was brought down to the valley there was dancing in all the villages; the young men and maidens rejoiced with music and laughter. A surly husband and wife were sprinkled with the holy water and reconciled, so that their house was full of happy children. A cripple was sprinkled and he went capering about gaily like an acrobat. The gardens were watered and became gay with flowers," and so on. It is quite equally obvious that there will be another sort of story from exactly the same source, told with exactly the same motive. "A man limped a hundred miles, till he was quite lame, to find the sacred fountain. Men lay broken and bleeding among the rocks on the mountainside in their efforts to climb after it. A man sold all his lands and the rivers running through them for one drop of the water. A man refused to turn back from it, when confronted with brigands, but was tortured and died calling for it," and so on. There is nothing in the least inconsistent between these two types of legend. They are exactly what would naturally be expected, given the original legend of the miraculous fountain. Anyone who can really look at them simply, can see that they are both equally simple. But we in our time have confused ourselves with long words for unreal distinctions; and talking incessantly about optimism and pessimism, about asceticism and hedonism, about what we call Paganism and what we think about Buddhism, till we cannot understand a plain tale when it is told. The Pagan would have understood it much better.

This very simple truth explains another fact that I have heard the learned insist on with some excitement: the emphasis and repetition touching the ascetic side of religion. It is exactly what would happen with any human story, even if it were a heathen story. We remark upon the case of the man who starves to get the water more than on the case of the man who is merely glad to get the water. We remark upon it more because it is more remarkable. Any human tradition would make more of the heroes who suffered for something than of the human beings who simply benefited by it. But that does not alter the fact that there are more human beings than heroes; and that this great majority of human beings has benefited by it. It is natural that men should marvel more at the man who deliberately lames himself than at the man who dances when he is no longer lame. But that does not alter the fact that the countries where that legend prevails are, in fact, full of dancing. I have here only suggested how very simple, after all, is the contradiction between austerity and jollity which puzzles our critics so much. There is a higher application of it to ascetics, which I may consider on another occasion. Here I will only hint at it by saying: "The more a man could LIVE only on the water, the more he would prove it to be the water of life."

Friday 14 October 2011

Catholic Walks 184 For Old Rite Mass!

David Aron, a young Catholic from Bristol, is soon to complete his 184 mile journey along the Thames Pathway. This Journey started in the Cotswolds, not far from Cirencester, and winds its way to the the Thames barrier in London encompassing a number of towns and cities including Oxford, Reading and Windsor. He has decided to attempt this 8-day walk to raise money for The Good Counsel Network in a sincere hope that his efforts will help to save more unborn lives. Please help him do this by sponsoring him today. Please also leave a message of support to encourage and thank him for the sacrifice he has made and remember to pray for the success of his walk.

We expect to meet David at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Maiden Lane tonight at 6.30pm where he will attend our Mass organised for The Good Counsel Network, by the Latin Mass Society.

We will have pictures soon to show he has completed his arduous journey.

You can also make direct donations

Monday 10 October 2011

The Crimes Of England

When I read this book by GK Chesterton, I started at the back of the book where I found the note on England and the word English. I was saddened to find the Scots and Irish there, but not the Welsh. So I was happy that when I read the book I found the following;

I will have nothing to do with the fatuous front-bench pretensions that our governors always govern well, that our statesmen are never whitewashed and never in need of whitewash. The only moral superiority I claim is that of not defending the indefensible. I most earnestly urge my countrymen not to hide behind thin official excuses, which the sister kingdoms and the subject races can easily see through. We can confess that our crimes have been as mountains, and still not be afraid of the present comparison. There may be, in the eyes of some, a risk in dwelling in this dark hour on our failures in the past: I believe profoundly that the risk is all the other way. I believe that the most deadly danger to our arms to-day lies in any whiff of that self-praise, any flavour of that moral cowardice, any glimpse of that impudent and ultimate impenitence, that may make one Boer or Scot or Welshman or Irishman or Indian feel that he is only smoothing the path for a second Prussia. I have passed the great part of my life in criticising and condemning the existing rulers and institutions of my country: I think it is infinitely the most patriotic thing that a man can do. I have no illusions either about our past or our present. I think our whole history in Ireland has been a vulgar and ignorant hatred of the crucifix, expressed by a crucifixion. I think the South African War was a dirty work which we did under the whips of moneylenders. I think Mitchelstown was a disgrace; I think Denshawi was a devilry.

The Wrong Horse, being chapter VIII of The Crimes of England, by GK Chesterton (First Published 1915) read the whole book.

Saturday 8 October 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, The Revolt Against Ideas


AT the time when the DAILY EXPRESS communiques provided some pretty awful revelations about Mexico, the DAILY EXPRESS correspondence column provided almost equally awful revelations about England. It gave us a glimpse of what monstrous and misshapen things are still living in our midst, veiled in red brick villas or disguised under bowler hats. The awful revelations about England were, of course, mainly psychological. It was not anarchy in the State, which is the failing of the fighting Latin peoples. It was anarchy in the mind, which is the special character of those whom we call, in moments of anger, Anglo-Saxons. A Mexican atheist would be quite capable of cutting the throat of a priest or training a cannon on a nunnery. But he would be quite incapable of arguing, as the English Protestants did in the newspaper, that it was quite right of Calles to persecute this belief on this occasion, because it was quite wrong of Catholics to persecute any belief on any occasion. No anarchist can be as anarchical as all that. Calles might blow up a St. Peter's but he would not blame a Spaniard for having once done what he was praising a Mexican for trying to do. To that extent even Calles is more of a Catholic as well as more of a Latin. He wants to have his own way, and to prevent thousands of people from having their way; but he does not want to have it both ways. That wild sacrament, the miracle of the vanishing and reappearing cake, of the cake that is ever devoured and ever remaining--that miracle belongs to the religion of unreason and only takes place in the chapels of our own free country.

Amid a welter of such words there was a phrase in one of the letters which is of some sociological interest to us. One of these intolerant tolerationists was endeavouring to defend Calles by suggesting that only prejudice can accuse him of anarchical or anti-religious extremes of opinion. It is quite unfair (it was said) to call Calles an atheist or a Bolshevist. Indeed, we may learn from all these letters that Calles is probably a Wesleyan Methodist and regularly attends a chapel in East Croydon. But he is even worse. They appear to regard it as a favour to Calles to pay him the extraordinary compliment of comparing him to the sixteenth century Reformers. The correspondent
here in question uses this as an argument against any alleged anarchism in the Mexican--if he is a Mexican. "Calles and his partisans are branded as Atheists and Bolsheviks--Why? Were the English Reformers Bolsheviks? Certainly not."

Here we are happily all able to agree. With heartfelt unanimity we can repeat, "Certainly not." The English Reformers were certainly not Bolshevists. None will withhold the handsome admission that the English Reformers were Capitalists. Few people in history have deserved to be described so exactly, so completely, so typically as Capitalists. They were a great many other things besides Capitalists; some of them were cads, some gentlemen, a few honest men, many thieves, a baser sort courtiers, a better sort monomaniacs; but they were all Capitalists and what they created was Capitalism. They all conducted their powerful political operations on a basis of much accumulated capital; but they never, even with their dying eyes, lost the light of hope andexpectation; the promise and the vision of more capital.

But what concerns us nowadays is this; that it is their Capitalism that has remained. As a matter of fact, many of them did have other ideals of spiritual simplification which might in some ways be compared to Communism. We should never be likely to call a man like Cranmer or a man like Burleigh a Bolshevist. We could only say, with Hamlet, that we would he were so honest a man. But there were men in that movement, or that muddle, who were as mad and as honest as Bolshevists. There were theoretical, and especially theological enthusiasms which moved specially towards simplicity; like that of the Bolshevists. But the point to fix and rivet is that THOSE theories are dead. There was a logical and even lofty scheme of thought; but it is that which is utterly abandoned by modern thought. There were sincere ideals in some of the early Protestants; but they are not the ideals of any of the modern Protestants. Thus Calvinism was a clear philosophy; which is alone enough to distinguish it from Modern Thought. But in so far as they had an element of Calvinism, their Calvinism is dead. If they had had an element of Communism, as some of them might, that Communism would now be dead. Nothing but their Capitalism is alive.

We must remember that even to talk of the corruption of the monasteries is a compliment to the monasteries. For we do not talk of the corruption of the corrupt. Nobody pretends that the mediaeval institutions began in mere greed and pride. But the modern institutions did. Nobody says that St. Benedict drew up his rule of labour in order to make his monks lazy; but only that they became lazy. Nobody says that the first Franciscans practised poverty to obtain wealth; but only that later fraternities did obtain wealth. But it is quite certain that the Cecils and the Russells and the rest did from the first want to obtain wealth. That which was death to Catholicism was actually the birth of Capitalism. Since then we have had, not the inconsistency that a man who vowed to be poor became rich; but rather a shocking consistency, that the man who vowed to be rich became richer. After that there was no stopping a race of relative ambition; and a belief in bigger and bigger things. It is indeed true that the Reformers were not Communists. It might be aptly retorted that the Religious were Communists. But the more vital point is not Communism, but a certain comparative spirit. The English squire increased and the English yeoman diminished. Both found their pride in private ownership of land. But the pride was more and more in having a great estate, and not in having an estate. So, in his turn, the English shopkeeper ceased to be proud of minding his own business and could only be proud of the number of businesses he could mind. From this has come all the mercantile megalomania to-day; with its universal transformation of Trades into Trusts. It is the natural conclusion of the movement away from the transformation of all Trades into Guilds. But its genesis was the change from an ideal of humility, in which many failed, to an ideal of pride in which (by its nature) only a few can succeed.

In this sense we may agree with the newspaper correspondent; that the Reformers were not Revolutionists. We can reassure that simple gentleman of our full realisation that they were not Bolshevists. We can entirely absolve the Cranmers and the Cromwells of any restless desire to raise the proletariat. We can clear the great names of Burleigh and Bacon of the stain of any dangerous sympathy with the poor. The distinguishing mark of the Reformers was a profound respect for the powers that be, but an even profounder respect for the wealth that was to be; and a really unfathomable reverence for the wealth that was to be their own. Some people like that spirit, and regard it as the soundest foundation of stable government; we need not argue about it here. It is, broadly speaking, what is regarded as respectability by all those who have nothing else
to respect. Certainly nobody could confuse it with revolution. But the point of historical importance could be put in another fashion, also more or less favourable to the Reformers. Capitalism was not only solid, it was in a sense candid. It set up a class to be worshipped openly and frankly because of its wealth. That is the point at the moment and the real contrast between this and the older mediaeval order. Such wealth was the abuse of the monks and abbots; it was the use of the merchants and the squires. The avaricious abbot violated his ideals. The avaricious employer had no ideals to violate. For there never has been, properly speaking, such a thing as the ideal good of Capitalism; though there are any number of good men who are Capitalists following other ideals. The Reformation, especially in England, was above all the abandonment of the attempt to rule the world by ideals, or even by ideas. The attempt had undoubtedly failed, in part, because those who were supposed to be the idealists failed to uphold the ideals; and any number of people who were supposed to accept the general idea thwarted the fulfilment of the ideas. But it also fell under the attack of those who hated, not only those ideals, but any ideals. It was the result of the impatient and imperious appetites of humanity, hating to be restrained by bonds; but most of all to be restrained by invisible bonds. For the English Reformers did not really set up an opposite ideal or an alternative set of ideas. As our friend truly said, they were not Bolshevists. They set up certain very formidable things called facts. They set out almost avowedly to rule the realm merely by facts; by the fact that somebody called Russell had two hundred times more money than any of his neighbours; by the fact that somebody called Cecil had obtained the power of having any of his neighbours hanged. Facts are at least solid while they last; but the fatal thing about them is that they do not last. It is only the ideas that last. And to-day a man may be called Russell and have considerably less money than a man who is called Rockefeller; and history may see the amazing spectacle of a man called Cecil largely thrust out of practical politics and called an idealist and a failure.

The same progress of Capitalism that made the squires has destroyed the squires. The same commercial advance that exalted England before Europe has abased England before America. Exactly in so far as we have our affections healthily attached to this
adventurous and patriotic England of the last few centuries, we shall see that our affections and attachments are bound to be betrayed. The process called practical, the attempt to rule merely by facts, has in its own nature the essence of all betrayal. We discover that facts, which seem so solid, are of all things the most fluid. As the professors and the prigs say, facts are always evolving; in other words, they are always evading or escaping or running away. Men who bow down to the wealth of a squire, because it enables him to behave like a gentleman, have to go on bowing down to the same wealth in somebody who cannot behave like a gentleman; and eventually perhaps to the same wealth not attached to any recognisable human being at all, but invested in an irresponsible company in a foreign country. Wealth does indeed take to itself wings, and even abide in the uttermost parts of the sea. Wealth becomes formless and almost fabulous; indeed, they were unconscious satirists who talked about "fabulous wealth." Great financiers buy and sell thousands of things that nobody has ever seen; and which are for all practical purposes imaginary. So ends the adventure of trusting only to facts; it ends in a fairyland of fantastic abstractions.

We must go back to the idea of government by ideas. There is just that grain of truth in the already mentioned fantasy of Communism. But there were many richer, and subtler and better balanced ideas even in the mediaeval make-up of Catholicism. I repeat that this Catholicism was ruined by Catholics as well as Protestants. Mediaeval sins hampered and corrupted mediaeval ideas, before the Reformers decided to throw away all ideas. But that was the right thing to follow, or to try to follow; and there is not and never will be anything else to do except to try again. Many mediaeval men failed in the attempt to live up to those ideals. But many more modern men are more disastrously failing in the attempt to live without them. And through that failure we shall gradually
come to understand the real advantages of that ancient scheme which only partly failed; according to which, in theory at least, the man of peace was higher than the man of war, and poverty superior to wealth.

There is one quaint little phrase in Macaulay's essay on Bacon; that great outbreak of the Philistines against the Philosophers. In one small sentence the great Philistine betrays the weakness of his whole argument of utility. Speaking scornfully of the Schoolmen, he says that St. Thomas Aquinas would doubtless (such was his simplicity) have thought it more important to engage in the manufacture of syllogisms than in the manufacture of gunpowder. Not even the Gunpowder Plot could prevent that sturdy Protestant from assuming that gunpowder is always useful. Since his time we have seen a good deal more gunpowder. One does not need to be a pacifist to think that gunpowder need hardly go on being useful on quite such a grand scale. And a great part of the world has now reached a mood of reaction, in which it is disposed to cry out, "If there are any syllogisms that will save us from all this gunpowder, for God's sake let us listen to them." Even logic they are prepared, in their despair, to accept. They will not only listen to religion, they will even perhaps listen to reason, if it will promise them a little peace.

Friday 7 October 2011

A Battle, A Poem And A Rosary

Four Hundred & Forty years ago today Catholics won the battle of Lepanto. One hundred years ago GK Chesterton wrote his poem. Pray the Rosary, Pray the Rosary.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Rosary Crusade, Saturday 8th October

“You have seen Hell where the Souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the World Devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say is done, many Souls will be saved and there will be peace.”

Our Lady’s Words to Lucia 13th July 1917

The 27th Annual National Rosary Crusade of Reparation Saturday 8th October 2011
Assemble by 1.45 pm outside Westminster Cathedral (Ambrosden Avenue)
Nearest Underground: Victoria

Procession to Brompton Oratory, Brompton Road, London, SW7
Nearest Underground : South Kensington

Patron: His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Led by: The Rt. Revd. Monsignor Keith Newton Protonotary Apostolic and Ordinary of The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Holy Mass is offered for benefactors every month

Procession with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to Brompton Oratory praying the Rosary en-route

Consecration to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary

Scapular Enrolment

Solemn Benediction

End about 5.00 pm (Anticipated Mass of Sunday at 6.00 pm)

Spiritual Director: the Revd. Ronald Creighton-Jobe, Cong. Orat.

For Information Contact:
Francis Carey (01494) 729223 — Mathias Menezes (020) 8764 0262 or 07950 384515
or by post: 27 First Avenue, Amersham, Bucks., HP7 9BL
Public Procession of Reparation for Sins Committed Against The Immaculate Heart

(Could I get the poster to appear on my blog? Clearly not, but here are the details anyway)

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Ending Abortion One Mother & Baby At A Time

40 Days for Life is now back in London. People will be praying and counselling outside the BPAS abortuary at 26-27 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HP, 8am until 8pm everyday, until 6th November. It is a fact that many lives have been saved in London since 40 Days for Life started here last year. (Photo, Bishop McMahon of Brentwood, leading the Rosary outside another abortuary, as he does each year)

This Thursday, 6th October, Good Counsel will be at the abortuary from 8am-8pm. Please come and join us as we will be quite pushed that day as we have a lot on in the office as well as having the daily vigil at the other Central London abortuary. Nearest Tube: Goodge St or Tottenham Court Road.

(Photo, Bishop Hopes of Westminster leading the Rosary at another abortuary earlier this year)

"But I live near Birmingham!" That's great, see here. "Manchester?" No problem, see here.

And for other vigils at abortuarys around the UK, see here.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

GK Chesterton A Prophet For Our Times?

While sitting at this years Chesterton Society's Conference on GK Chesterton as Prophet, I jotted down the following;

"People cannot see the Prophetic nature of GKC because they cannot accept that the wrongs he predicted are wrongs. Even the Bishop?"

Sadly there is much evil in the world today which is called normal or even good by those around us. Right and wrong will be decided by our liberal regime and not by God and a sense of absolute morals. There are many in the Church who will go with the flow or even lead the way!

I only wrote down, 'even the Bishop?', as someone had claimed, that Bishop Peter Doyle, the current Bishop of Northampton, where GKC lived and died, is not interested in the Cause for his Beatification. Bishops really need our prayers (see; A LITANY ON BEHALF OF BISHOPS), The Church really needs our prayers.

And then I saw this;

It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem. ~ GK Chesterton!

Monday 3 October 2011

SSPX Superiors To Discuss "Doctrinal Preamble" On October 7-8

SSPX Superiors to discuss "Doctrinal Preamble" on October 7-8 in Albano
From DICI:

Italy: Meeting of Superiors of the Society of St. Pius X

As announced in the interview given to DICI on September 14, 2011, following the meeting with Cardinal William Levada, Bishop Bernard Fellay will consult the Superiors of the SSPX about the doctrinal preamble, given to him by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Society’s Superiors will meet together behind closed doors at the Italian District Headquarters, in Albano, on October 7 and 8, 2011.

I know this is not news anymore, but do say a few prayers this week that all goes well.

Prayer for Wales

O Almighty God,
Who in Thine infinite goodness
has sent Thine only-begotten Son into this world
to open once more the gates of heaven,
and to teach us how to know, love and serve Thee,
have mercy on Thy people Who dwell in Wales.
Grant to them the precious gift of faith,
and unite them in the one true Church
founded by Thy Divine Son; that,
acknowledging her authority and obeying her voice,
they may serve Thee, love Thee, and worship Thee
as Thou desirest in this world,
and obtain for themselves everlasting happiness
in the world to come.
Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for Wales.

Saint David, pray for Wales.

Saint Winefride, pray for Wales.

Saturday 1 October 2011

GK's Weekly, The thing, On The Novel With A Purpose


I SEE that Mr. Patrick Braybrooke and others, writing to the CATHOLIC TIMES, have raised the question of Catholic propaganda in novels written by Catholics. The very phrase, which we are all compelled to use, is awkward and even false. A Catholic putting Catholicism into a novel, or a song, or a sonnet, or anything else, is not being a propagandist; he is simply being a Catholic. Everybody understands this about every other enthusiasm in the world. When we say that a poet's landscape and atmosphere are full of the spirit of England, we do not mean that he is necessarily conducting an Anti-German propaganda during the Great War. We mean that if he is really an English poet, his poetry cannot be anything but English. When we say that songs are full of the spirit of the sea, we do not mean that the poet is recruiting for the Navy or even trying to collect men for the merchant service. We mean that he loves the sea; and for that reason would like other people to love it. Personally, I am all for propaganda; and a great deal of what I write is deliberately propagandist. But even when it is not in the least propagandist, it will probably be full of the implications of my own religion; because that is what is meant by having a religion. So the jokes of a Buddhist, if there were any, would be Buddhist jokes. So the love-songs of a Calvinistic Methodist, should they burst from him, would be Calvinistic Methodist love-songs. Catholics have produced more jokes and love-songs than Calvinists and Buddhists. That is because, saving their holy presence, Calvinists and Buddhists have not got so large or human a religion. But anything they did express would be steeped in any convictions that they do hold; and that is a piece of common sense which would seem to be quite self-evident; yet I foresee a vast amount of difficulty about it in the one isolated case of the Catholic Church.

To begin with, what I have said would be true of any other real religion; but so much of the modern world is full of a religiosity that is rather a sort of unconscious prejudice. Buddhism is a real religion, or at any rate, a very real philosophy. Calvinism was a real religion, with a real theology. But the mind of the modern man is a curious mixture of decayed Calvinism and diluted Buddhism; and he expresses his philosophy without knowing that he holds it. We say what it is natural to us to say; but we know what we are saying; therefore it is assumed that we are saying it for effect. He says what it is natural to him to say; but he does not know what he is saying, still less why he is saying it. So he is not accused of uttering his dogma with the purpose of revealing it to the world; for he has not really revealed it to himself. He is just as partisan; he is just as particularist; he is just as much depending on one doctrinal system as distinct from another. But he has taken it for granted so often that he has forgotten what it is. So his literature does not seem to him partisan, even when it is. But our literature does seem to him propagandist, even when it isn't.

Suppose I write a story, let us hope a short story, say, about a wood that is haunted by evil spirits. Let us give ourselves the pleasure of supposing that at night all the branches have the appearance of being hung with hundreds of corpses, like the orchard of Louis the Eleventh, the spirits of travellers who have hanged themselves when they came to that spot; or anything bright and cheery like that. Suppose I make my hero, Gorlias Fitzgorgon (that noble character) make the sign of the cross as he passes this spot; or the friend who represents wisdom and experience advise him to consult a priest with a view to exorcism. Making the sign of the cross seems to me not only religiously right, but artistically appropriate and psychologically probable. It is what I should do; it is what I conceive that my friend Fitzgorgon would do; it is also aesthetically apt, or, as they say, "in the picture." I rather fancy it might be effective if the traveller saw with the mystical eye, as he saw the forest of dead men, a sort of shining pattern or silver tangle of crosses hovering in the dark, where so many human fingers had made that sign upon the empty air. But though I am writing what seems to me natural and appropriate and artistic, I know that the moment I have written it, a great roar and bellow will go up with the word "Propaganda" coming from a thousand throats; and that every other critic, even if he is kind enough to commend the story, will certainly add: "But why does Mr. Chesterton drag in his Roman Catholicism?"

Now let us suppose that Mr Chesterton has not this disgusting habit. Let us suppose that I write the same story, or the same sort of story, informed with a philosophy which is familiar and therefore unobserved. Let us suppose that I accept the ready-made assumptions of the hour, without examining them any more than the others do. Suppose I get into the smooth rut of newspaper routine and political catchwords; and make the man in my story act exactly like the man in the average magazine story. I know exactly what the man in the average magazine story would do. I can almost give you his exact words. In that case Fitzgorgon, on first catching a glimpse of the crowds of swaying spectres in the moon, will almost inevitably say: "But this is the twentieth century!"

In itself, of course, the remark is simply meaningless. It is far more meaningless than making the sign of the cross could ever be; for to that even its enemies attach some sort of meaning. But to answer a ghost by saying, "This is the twentieth century," is in itself quite unmeaning; like seeing somebody commit a murder and then saying, "But this is the second Tuesday in August!" Nevertheless, the magazine writer who for the thousandth time puts these words into the magazine story, has an intention in this
illogical phrase. He is really depending upon two dogmas; neither of which he dares to question and neither of which he is able to state. The dogmas are: first, that humanity is perpetually and permanently improving through the process of time; and, second, that improvement consists in a greater and greater indifference or incredulity about the miraculous. Neither of these two statements can be proved. And it goes without saying that the man who uses them cannot prove them, for he cannot even state them. In so far as they are at all in the order of things that can be proved, they are things that can be disproved. For certainly there have been historical periods of relapse and retrogression; and there certainly are highly organised and scientific civilizations very much excited about the super-natural; as people are about Spiritualism to-day. But anyhow, those two dogmas must be accepted on authority as absolutely true before there is any sense whatever in Gorlias Fitzgorgon saying, "But this is the twentieth century." The phrase depends on the philosophy; and the philosophy is put into the story.

Yet nobody says the magazine story is propagandist. Nobody says it is preaching that philosophy because it contains that phrase. We do not say that the writer has dragged in his progressive party politics. We do not say that he is going out of his way to turn the short story into a novel with a purpose. He does not feel as if he were going out of his way; his way lies straight through the haunted wood, as does the other; and he only makes Gorlias say what seems to him a sensible thing to say; as I make him do what seems to me a sensible thing to do. We are both artists in the same sense; we are both propagandists in the same sense and non-propagandists in the same sense. The only difference is that I can defend my dogma and he cannot even define his.

In other words, this world of to-day does not know that all the novels and newspapers that it reads or writes are in fact full of certain assumptions, that are just as dogmatic as dogmas. With some of those assumptions I agree, such as the ideal of human equality implied in all romantic stories from CINDERELLA to OLIVER TWIST; that the rich are insulting God in despising poverty. With some of them I totally disagree; as in the curious idea of human inequality, which is permitted about races though not about classes. "Nordic" people are so much superior to "Dagoes," that a score of Spanish desperados armed to the teeth are certain to flee in terror from the fist of any solitary gentleman who has learned all the military and heroic virtues in Wall Street or the Stock Exchange. But the point about these assumptions, true or false, is that they are felt as being assumed, or alluded to, or taken naturally as they come. They are not felt as being preached; and therefore they are not called propaganda. Yet they have in practice all the double character of propaganda; they involve certain views with which everyone does not agree; and they do in fact spread those views by means of fiction and popular literature. What they do not do is to state them clearly so that they can be criticised. I do not blame the writers for putting their philosophy into their stories. I should not blame them even if they used their stories to spread their philosophy. But they do blame us; and the real reason is that they have not yet realised that we have a philosophy at all.

The truth is, I think, that they are caught in a sort of argument in a circle. Their vague philosophy says to them: "All religion is dead; Roman Catholicism is a religious sect which must be particularly dead, since it consists of mere external acts and attitudes, crossings, genuflections and the rest; which these sectarians suppose they have to perform in a particular place at a particular time." Then some Catholic will write a romance or a tragedy about the love of a man and woman, or the rivalry of two men, or any other general human affair; and they will be astonished to find that he cannot preach these things in an "unsectarian" way. They say, "Why does he drag in his religion?" They mean, "Why does he drag in his religion, which consists entirely of crossings, genuflections and external acts belonging to a particular place and time, when he is talking about the wide world and the beauty of woman and the anger and ambition of man?" In other words, they say, "When we have assumed that his creed is a small and dead thing, how dare he apply it as a universal and living thing? It has no right to be so broad, when we all know it is so narrow."

I conclude therefore that, while Mr. Braybrooke was quite right in suggesting that a novelist with a creed ought not to be ashamed of having a cause, the more immediate necessity is to find some way of popularising our whole philosophy of life, by putting it more plainly than it can be put in the symbol of a story. The difficulty with a story is in its very simplicity and especially in its swiftness. Men do things and do not define or defend them. Gorlias Fitzgorgon makes the sign of the cross; he does not stop in the middle of the demon wood to explain why it is at once an invocation of the Trinity and a memorial of the Crucifixion. What is wanted is a popular outline of the way in which ordinary affairs are affected by our view of life, and how it is also a view of death, a view of sex, a view of social decencies, and so on. When people understood the light that shines for us upon all these facts, they would no longer be surprised to find it shining in our fictions.