Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The bbc's "Father Brown" Etc.

Father Brown À La BBC

I dusted off my copy of “The Complete Father Brown”, which of course is incomplete, to re-read “The Hammer of God” before it appeared on the BBC on Monday. It is a fascinating story of a murder in a small English Village. There is a Catholic Priest - Fr Brown, an Anglican Curate, a Presbyterian blacksmith with Catholic wife, an atheist cobbler, a number of policemen and poor Joe the village idiot. It is a story rich with Catholic theology, common sense, adultery, plenty of mystery, and lots of fun. Then we have the BBC version, which claims to be based on a “character” (Father Brown) by GK Chesterton, which has some of the above minus most of the religious element, half a dozen extra characters, allowing the programme to be longer than the 25 minutes it really needed, but this will no doubt increase the BBC’s revenue when selling the series abroad. They have added homosexuality/bisexuality to the programme, along with some blackmail, all of which detracted from the original story as opposed to enhancing it.

Chesterton’s Fr Brown is the sort of person who may awkwardly carry and drop a number of brown paper parcels as in “The Blue Cross”, I can even imagine him having trouble tying his laces, but I cannot imagine him having any difficulty dealing with an atheist or a C of E Curate. I felt that the BBC’s depiction of Fr Brown himself was a tad confused, for he bumbled in areas where he wouldn’t and made comments which I think it would have been unlikely for him to have made. For example at one point he enters a police officer’s office to take a sneaky look at the suspect’s file regarding evidence which was totally unnecessary for the BBC’s Fr Brown as he already knew whether the said evidence existed or not. Had this bit even been in the book, Chesterton’s Fr Brown would not have needed to ask, for he would have known. And later, in conversation with the homosexual character Fr Brown kindly says “If you ever need to talk...” but then added that he would not try to convert him. Chesterton’s Fr Brown always showed massive compassion for those that the Church would say are sinners, but the idea that he would not try to call him to repentance and conversion is preposterous.

On a positive note, the inclusion of one superfluous character in the programme allowed us to have a scene with an old steam locomotive in it and that probably makes their invention tolerable.

Had the programme not been called “Father Brown” and had I not read the original story and if I was interested in detective stories, then I would have found this programme rather pleasant (minus the BBC’s obsession with homosexuality). There was a mystery, a number of suspects, some heroism, a glimpse of Merry England and the steam train!

One good results of this series is that a larger number of people in England and Wales will hear the name of Chesterton again and as the BBC have republished “The Complete Father Brown”, we can hope that a large number of people who enjoy the series will now read the original stories and be suitably impressed.

You can watch the programme here on BBC’s iplayer

You can read many of Chesterton's books for free here; inclueding Fr Brown.

And don't forget to see; to see if he is a Saint.

The American Chesterton Society sell Father Brown Readers for children.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

GK Chesterton on BBC1, on EWTN & an online meeting

GK Chesterton's Fr Brown will be on BBC1 (I think you can watch it online here; ) this coming Monday at 2.10pm. The Hammer of God, Episode 1 of 10, Duration: 50 minutes. When an ungodly man is murdered at the unveiling of a new church clock, Father Brown must find the killer before an innocent woman is sent to the gallows.
You can also see GK Chesterton; Apostle of Common Sense, each week on EWTN. You can watch it at 5pm on Tuesdays, 6.30am on Wednesdays or 10pm on Thursdays. Online; or on sky 589.
And on Monday 14th January you can join the American Chesterton Society online meeting at 8pm EST, . (That is, 1am GMT Tuesday 15th January to those of us who live over here!)
Do let others know about this and keep saying the prayer

Thursday, 10 January 2013

LMS launches Sodality for lapsed or non-Catholic friends

St Monica and St Augustine
The Sodality of St Augustine of Hippo is a new initiative, launched today.

From the website:
The purpose of the Sodality is to unite the prayers of members for the conversion of those dear to them. There can be few Catholics today who do not have family members or close friends who have either lapsed from the practice of the Faith, or never had it; it is a particular source of grief when parents see children and grandchildren living without the support of the Sacraments. We take heart from the example of St Augustine, converted at last by the prayers and tears of his mother St Monica, and wish to demonstrate our fellowship with others in the same position, by praying not only for our own dear ones, but for those of others who will do the same for ours.

The Sodality takes advantage of three principles of Catholic prayer:

1. The Public Prayer of the Church is more pleasing to God than private prayer.
Not only are the Sodality's prayers supported by regular Masses, but the Sodality's own prayer is a Collect of the Roman Missal, linking our individual prayers further to the Church's prayer and the Masses being said for the same intention.

2. The united prayer of a group of Catholics is more pleasing to God than the prayers of individuals alone.
The prayers of Sodality members are united for a single intention: the conversion or return of our friends and family to the Faith.

3. Prayers motivated by charity are more pleasing to God than prayers motivated by necessity.
By praying for each others' friends, members of the Sodality show fraternal solidarity and charity, even towards those unknown to them.

St Thomas Aquinas wrote (quoting someone else):
"Necessity makes us pray for ourselves, fraternal charity urges us to pray for others. But sweeter before God is prayer which is not sent from necessity, but commended by fraternal charity."
(" se orare necessitas cogit, pro altero autem, caritas fraternitatis hortatur. Dulcior autem ante Deum est oratio, non quam necessitas transmittit, sed quam caritas fraternitatis commendat.")
Summa Theologica II, Q88 a.7 c.
So please join the Sodality! There is no fee, you just send us an email:

The penitant Magdalen
You can arrange your own Masses for the intentions of the Sodality, but the LMS is offering the service, which will be convenient for some people, of passing on Mass Offerings to priests for such Masses. We are also going to have at least one Mass a year said publicly, with more solemnity, for this intention, which we will advertise, towards which you can make a donation.

The Sodality prayer (Collect of the 'commemoration' pro devotis amicis):
Deus, qui caritátis dona per grátiam Sancti Spíritus tuórum fidélium córdibus infudísti : da fámulis et famulábus tuis, pro quibus tuam deprecámur cleméntiam, salútem mentis et córporis ; ut te tota virtúte díligent, et quæ tibi plácita sunt, tota dilectióne perfíciant. Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte eiúsdem Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

O God, who, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, hast poured the gifts of charity in the hearts of thy faithful, grant to thy servants and handmaids, for whom we entreat thy mercy, health of mind and body; that they may love thee with all their strength and, by perfect love, may do what is pleasing to thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who liveth and reigneth in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Masses said for the intentions of the Sodality should when possible make a 'commemoration' as per the above Collect, and its accompanying Secret and Postcommunion. These are found among the 'various prayers' in the Roman Missal; they were included in the first printed Missal, that of 1474. They are said in addition to the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion of the day. This liturgical commemoration can be done at any Low Mass on a day of the 4th Class (ie, not on important feast days). The LMS Ordo has more details on these rules.