Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

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.”

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