The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

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

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson on GK Chesterton

And Benson read much of Mr Chesterton, and liked him in a qualified way. 'Have you read,' he asks in this year [1905], 'a book by GK Chesterton called Heretics? If not, do see what you think of it. It seems to me that the spirit underneath it is splendid. He is not a Catholic, but he has the spirit. He is so joyful and confident and sensible! One gets rather annoyed by his extreme love of paradox; but there is a sort of alertness in his religion and in his whole point of view that is simply exhilarating. I have not been so much moved for a long time. He is a real mystic of an odd kind.'  
The Life of Robert Hugh Benson, quoted in The Tumbler of God; Chesterton As Mystic by Father Robert Wild.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

GK Chesterton, Our Lady of Walsingham and the Bishops on Northampton


My Wife spotted this in the information centre at the Angilican Shrine to Our Lady in Walsingham. Henry VIII suppressed the original Shrine, the Bishop of Northampton declined the chance to open part of it up again in the late 1800s, early 1900s. It is now the National Shrine to Our Lady in England. So Bishop Doyle declining to open the Cause for the Beatification of GKC, would seem to mean that St George will need to step aside, in due course, to let GK Chesterton become the Patron Saint of England. 😁

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The American Chesterton Society where kind enough to find this quote of GKC which mentions Our Lady of Walsingham;

"The Dean of St. Paul's ... unveiled to his readers all the horrors of a quotation from Newman; a very shocking and shameful passage, in which that degraded apostate says that he is happy in his religion, and in being surrounded by the things of his religion; that he likes to have objects that have been blessed by the holy and beloved, that there is a sense of being protected by prayers, sacramentals and so on; and that happiness of this sort satisfies the soul. The Dean, having given us this one ghastly glimpse of the Cardinal's spiritual condition, drops the curtain with a groan and says it is Paganism. How different from the Christian orthodoxy of Plotinus!
Now it was exactly that little glimpse that interested me …  not so much a glimpse into the soul of the Cardinal as into the mind of the Dean. I suddenly seemed to see, in much simpler form than I had yet realized, the real issue between him and us. And the curious thing about the issue is this: that what he thinks about us is exactly what we think about him. What I for one feel most strongly, in considering a case like that of the Dean and his quotation from the Cardinal, is that the Dean is a man of distinguished intelligence and culture, that he is always interesting, that he is sometimes even just, or at least justified or justifiable; but that he is first and last the champion of a Superstition; the man who is really and truly defending a Superstition, as it would be understood by people who could define a Superstition...
Dean Inge is a superstitious person because he is worshipping a relic; a relic in the sense of a remnant. He is idolatrously adoring the broken fragment of something; simply because that something happens to have lingered out of the past in the place called England; in the rather battered form called Protestant Christianity. It is as if a local patriot were to venerate the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham only because she was in Walsingham, and without even remembering that she was in Heaven. It is still more as if he venerated a fragment clipped from the toe of the statue and forgot where it came from and ignored Our Lady altogether. I do not think it superstitious to respect the chip in relation to the statue, or the statue in relation to the saint, or the saint in relation to the scheme of theology and philosophy. But I do think it superstitious to venerate, or even to accept, the fragment because it happens to be there. And Dean Inge does accept the fragment called Protestantism because it happens to be there."

From the book The Thing in chapter “The Protestant Superstitions.”

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Happy Birthday Gareth, I forgive you.

"It's been nineteen years, you've got to stop holding a grudge against your Best man." Says the Wife again. But then I point out that it's his fault as he never thanked me for the Birthday Loot I got him back in September 2000. I reminded her that, knowing that Gareth is John Major's biggest fan, I tracked John down to the ends of the earth, carrying his very heavy Autobiography with me and got him to sign it. 'To Gareth Happy Birthday John Major July 2000.'
So the Wife, trying to change the subject, asked me if I had got John to sign my copy of his book as well? "But I don't have a copy" replies myself, to which she asks me, "What's that on your bookshelf then?"
Well I meant to send it to him, so he should have thanked me for it!
Reminds me of Bilbo struggling to give up the One Ring at the start of the Lord of the Rings, but that was only a ring and not a book.

Well, today is Gareth's Birthday and I've sent him the book with a handy GK Chesterton Prayercard inside, which he can use as a bookmark 😎

Monday, 9 September 2019

Chesterton's Ultra Loyal Troop, Local Pilgrimage Report


Oh Miss, our Mr Chesterton dying – he was a sorter saint Miss, wasn’t he – just to look at him when you handed him his hat made you feel sorter awesome.Said a maid with tears in her eyes, of a house GKC used to visit in Beaconsfield. And so believing this maid to be correct we set off on the 9th Annual GK Chesterton Walking Pilgrimage, on Saturday 27th July in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Nineteen. We departed from the local Anglican Church where GKC was Baptised in 1874, St Georges, Aubrey Walk, Notting Hill. We read the paragraph from theAutobiography about his Baptism and said the Chesterton Prayer, you should do both now.

Others joined us along the way in Acton and Ealing. In Hanwell we left the main road to walk to West Drayton along the canal, as this is a nicer and longer route. We left the canal near the Malt Shovel Public House, where we made a brief stop and were joined by yet more Pilgrims. Three impatient youngsters would not wait for the rest of us at this point, so we gave them a map and pointed out the short cut which meant missing a pub along the way and they were off. “As they did not want to be late for Mass!” The main group of Chesterton’s Ultra Loyal Troop, got to the Brigittine Convent in Iver ahead of them as they had missed the shortcut and the Pub! The two young Servers at the Low Old Rite Mass offered by Father O’Donahue FSSP in thanksgiving for the conversion of GK Chesterton, did a great job, particularly as this was the first time Rufus had served at Mass. Father’s sermon about Our Lady was truly inspired as one of the non-Catholics on the Pilgrimage had been chatting with one of the other Pilgrims about this very subject in the morning.


After a quick bite to eat we were off again. Father and others joined us for the last few miles across the fields to Beaconsfield, where in Shepherds Lane GKC is buried. Many Rosaries were said along the way, and we almost ended by saying the Chesterton prayer at his graveside, which we did, but that was not the end. For the day ended in the White Hart Public House which was Chesterton’s local pub for many years. Sitting there in pain and laughter I realised that forty Pilgrims had walked all or part of the 27 miles from the church to the grave and onto the pub. And in the spirituality of GKC we gave thanks to God for all of it, the pain, the rain, the friends, the Mass, our lives, the beer and even the singing and as the LOCAL members of Chesterton's Ultra Loyal Troop went home, I remembered Margaret in her 80’s walking next to a five year old across the fields, with devotion to GKC. And not to forget William age 12 who walked the full 27 miles!

Email your home address to CatholicGKCSociety@yahoo.co.uk (UK and Ireland only) and we will post you a GK Chesterton prayercard, or up to 20 copies, just let us know how many you would like.  Next year’s Pilgrimage, the tenth, will be on Saturday 25 July. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @CatholicGKCSoc.

We are very pleased to say that this year's Pilgrimage has raised £3,327 so far for the Good Counsel Network's life-saving work and you can still donate here; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gkcwalk2019


When thinking of GKC’s Holiness it is interesting to read what Arthur Bryant (successor to GK as the author of the ‘Notebook') had to say about him in regard to the feasts on 1st and 2nd November. Here is what he wrote in the October 31st 1936 edition of the Illustrated London News, the year GK died.

"..there are many whose names appears on no Christian calendar, who by struggle and endeavour and conquest earned their right to be included among the saintly company. Of such was that very wise and good man who for 31 years prior to this summer contributed to this page. Gilbert Keith Chesterton spent his whole life in teaching others how to live. They very sound of his name is like a trumpet call. To him the world was like a strenuous field in which one went about doing battle with evil in order that good might endure. If from his generation one had to select one man who might have stood as type of Don Quixote or of St George who slew the dragon, it was he. If any literary name of our age becomes a legend it will be his…He was the kind of man of whom Bunyan was thinking when he drew the picture of Mr Greatheart. His sword was at the service of pilgrims. And what a sword it was!...his catholicism was an all-comprehending democracy...I never met a more generous man, and I never saw a happier. And I do not believe there is anyone who had the inestimable privilege to know GKC who would not say the same. It is right that he should be remembered on the day set apart for recollection of the saints of God.”


Sunday, 4 August 2019

GK Chesterton Prayer

Please say the #Chesterton Prayer in English, #Igbo, Latin, #French, Hungarian, #Croatian, Portuguese, #Urdu, Lithuanian, #Irish, Welsh, #Maltese, Spanish, #Polish, Romanian, #German, Latvian, #Russian, Slovakian, #Catalan or Italian https://t.co/RVAPTsmjQ3 #GKCWalk

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Read The Convert by GK Chesterton on his anniversary.

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
Today is the 97th Anniversary of GK Chesterton's reception into the Catholic Church, a good day to say his prayer for the Conversion of someone you know. The prayer is below, or you can print copies of in many languages here; https://www.catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk/Printable-Prayercards.html
And a good day to buy the book; https://www.chesterton.org/shop/my-name-is-lazarus/

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. Catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk

Thursday, 20 June 2019

We received the following message just before Easter;

"Something wonderful happened 🙂 I went on GKC pilgrimage just once. It was hard and after 2 or 3 hours it felt like my toes will fall off. I thought I will not be able to continue walking nor finish, but I was very motivated as I had some really special intentions: I was praying for my sister-in-law, who is a Christian, to become a Catholic. Well, I saw her today and found out she will be received into the Catholic Church this Easter 😀! I am just so happy, grateful and overjoyed 😀🙏"

The 9th Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage will take place on Saturday 27th July. There are several ways you can join us, either in prayer, or by joining us in walking a short section of the pilgrimage or even in walking the whole 27 miles! To be involved and maybe help members of your Family into the Catholic Church you can;

A. Send prayer intentions for us to pray for along the way, we will not make the intentions public; catholicgkcsociety@yahoo.co.uk 

And/or

B. Join us on the day of the Pilgrimage, Saturday 27th July, for a Low Old Rite Mass, 2.30pm at The Bridgettine Convent, Fulmer Common Road, Iver, SL0 0NR, email us if you need a lift from West Drayton or Uxbridge to get to the Convent. BRING A PACKED LUNCH.

C. And if you like you can walk 6 miles after Mass to GK Chesterton's Grave. If you leave your car at the Convent the minibus can take you back for it at the end of the day.

D. Or meet us at 9.15am outside Ealing Town Hall to walk on to Mass (approximately 12 miles).

E. Or, to do the whole 27 mile walk, meet us at 7.30am to walk 21 Miles to Mass. And 6 miles after Mass if you want. 

The minibus will drop Pilgrims back to Uxbridge Station, after popping to GKC's pub after the prayer at the graveside.

F. And say the GK Chesterton Prayer on the day wherever you are. Find the prayer in a number of languages here; https://www.catholicgkchestertonsociety.co.uk/Printable-Prayercards.html

G. Invite friends to join us. The best way to do this is to click, Going or Interested/Maybe on the Facebook event and them click on Share and on Invite Friends and select those you wish to invite to join us for any of the above. https://www.facebook.com/events/2293417357382659/

Monday, 1 April 2019

Self Publicists Really Can Annoy Me

Many years ago, I was very happy to see a tweet which said, "Self Publicists Really Can Annoy Me, I'm one of the speakers at the Latin Mass Society Conference, but come anyway" or something like that. I forget exactly how I phrased it. Then a couple of years ago I saw a chap interview a publisher of a very good children's book series, on television. No problem with that, except that the interviewer was the author of the books.

So here is me interviewing myself about a book which I wrote part of.

So Stuart could you tell the reader of your blog how this book came about?

Well Dale Ahlquist, President of The American Chesterton Society contacted me and said 'Stuart you're really famous and important, why don't you write your autobiography?' Or something like that. Being really humble I thought it best to agree with him.

But Stuart, it seems that some others have also written some of the book.

Well yes, when I'd finished, bearing in mind that I still cannot type, Dale said it's a little short for an autobiography. So I suggested he ask some totally unknown writer to do an introduction, which would no doubt help their career. Dale very kindly agreed to write it himself, I'm sure he will have a lot of success as a writer after this.

Sorry, I wasn't just thinking about the excellent introduction by Dale, I was also thinking of the other 33 Converts who contributed chapters about their Conversion stories.

Well it seems that Dale struggled to write a long enough introduction, so I helped out again with another idea. Which is very good of me as I'm sure most authors don't have to help out their publishers quite this much. I suggested that Dale find some other Converts, whose stories would never get published in their own right as they are not as famous and important as myself and use them to pad out my book.

But the book is called My Name is Lazarus, not 'Stuart's Autobiography'.

I remember that Chesterton had a simular problem with a publisher at least once, he had come up with a very good name for one of his books, only to have it turned down by the publisher. Something about 'too long', 'won't help sales'. I thought this book should be called "A bit of the life of the very important and famous Stuart, written by himself". No one has actually explained why we didn't end up using that, but there you go. Ruins the sequel and the prequel though, 'A Bit More...' and 'A Bit Earlier...."

So, any last points?

Buy yourself two or three copies of the book, one to keep nice, one for making notes and at least one to give as a gift. Order your copies here. And remember to stay away from self publicists, I'm just giving this interview to support Dale and the 33 unknowns who have written in this great book. As I saw on twitter earlier this year; 

"It's only January and we already have a winner of the Best, Most Important Book Published in the Whole of 2019 Award! Order your copy here."