G.K. Chesterton

Poverty Is Not What You Think It Is

Poverty fell off a cliff after the Second World War. It fell like a stone, including for American blacks. The economy was booming and everyone benefited. The poverty rate dropped from 35 percent in 1950 to less than 20 percent when President Lyndon Johnson, nonetheless, announced his War on Poverty. By the time the War [...]

The Blood-Soaked Seas of Reason: Robert Louis Stevenson and Chesterton as Literary Critics

The craft of the painter or the sculptor, G.K. Chesterton would contend, can reveal, like a law, the rich complexity of reality: this law of fine art (when done finely) curbs man’s passion to control and dominate. It is a law which encourages man’s desire for standing in wonder for the Truth and its vastness. [...]

The Value of Unexpected Friendships

America has weathered the most divisive presidential election in recent memory, and the first round of family gatherings since then, with many Thanksgiving meals expected to have been free-for-all food fights, with turkey drumsticks flying, no doubt. But we are getting along in the new reality, for the most part, and most friendships and family [...]

Chestertonian Common Sense on “Uncommon” Adultery

In The Superstition of Divorce, G.K. Chesterton notes the absurdities of transfiguring marriage into an “ideal,” a “counsel of perfection” akin to monastic life. “A man might be reverently pointed out in the street as a sort of saint, merely because he was married,” Chesterton says. “A man might wear a medal for monogamy; or [...]

Dealing Life: A Review of Manalive by G.K. Chesterton

“What does 'literature' have to do with saving one’s soul?” This question surely has a long and distinguished lineage, all the way back to the Church Father Tertullian, who asked a similar question about the value of pagan philosophy for Christian study: “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” Far from being an obstacle to [...]

Catholics, Chesterton and Concealed Carry

One of GK Chesterton’s central themes was the necessity of gratitude. Here’s a characteristic passage. All my mental doors open outwards into a world I have not made. My last door of liberty opens upon a world of sun and solid things, of objective adventures. The post in the garden; the thing I neither create [...]

The Body Beautiful and the Assumption of Mary

The age of the "body beautiful" will now become the age of the Assumption.  ∼ Ven. Fulton Sheen “I am empowered by my body,” Kim Kardashian declared back on International Women’s Day, voicing triumph in an infamous nude selfie. In a society that worships the brazen sensuality of the body beautiful while eviscerating any link between [...]

Fanatical Ideas and Reasonable Convictions

A fanatic is a person obsessed with one idea, a monomaniac ruled by one dominant compulsion that governs all his thoughts and actions. He is enslaved by one predominant passion that dictates all his motives and decisions. Ruled by revenge, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is determined to hunt and kill the white whale that [...]

The Death of Harambe: Comedy or Tragedy?

On Memorial Day 2016, a day to remember and mourn the sacrifice of America’s war heroes, dozens of people gathered in Cincinnati to mourn and remember a gorilla. Over the Memorial Day weekend, a 3-year-old boy slipped through the barricades at the Cincinnati Zoo into the gorilla enclosure. The horrified crowd screamed as the child [...]

Heroism in the Land of Dragons

Human history contains plenty of dragons. It was the serpent, the most cunning of all the animals (Gen 3:1) who frightened Adam from the side of Eve: she who was taken from his side, and thus should have been inseparable from her protector. The serpent then frightened Eve away from her God, and has turned [...]

Why Children Should Permit Busy Adults to Read Fairy Tales Aloud During Christmastide

I find that there really are human beings who think fairy tales bad for children. I do not speak of the man in the green tie, for him I can never count truly human. But a lady has written me an earnest letter saying that fairy tales ought not to be taught to children even [...]

Only God Could Tell This Tale

When our children were very young—full of beans and wonder—I would often tell them the story of young Henry, whose mother had wisely packed him a sandwich and apple before sending him and his little dog off to explore a distant and dangerous world. His travels took them as far as the backyard where, encircled [...]

Homesick at Home: A Chestertonian Thanksgiving

“Frances! Come here! Come here at once!” Frances Chesterton started and flew from her half-prepared afternoon tea to the study where she had left her husband reading. With flapping apron and flitting heart, she rushed to see what he could possibly be bellowing about so urgently. His voice had not ceased to call for her [...]

GKC’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill: How to Be a Catholic Lunatic

America stands in need of a new revolution to free itself from the tyranny of bureaucracy and the ensuing slavery of boredom. Such freedom is difficult to depict even in the land of the free, because the United States is losing its identity as the home of the brave. Cowardice, termed “tolerance,” is the marching [...]

When a Man Calls Himself a Chicken

Sanity becomes arguable when insanity becomes attractive. Only a sound mind can assess an unsound mind, and the traditional assessment of insanity is that it is a tragedy. The progressive diagnosis is slightly different. Some forms of insanity pertaining to human identity are now considered wholesome and admirable. This cultural stance of endorsing people who [...]

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Planned Parenthood has been caught selling baby parts and the headlines and talk show hosts are screaming with outrage. But not about that. About a guy who shot a lion in Zimbabwe. It turns out that the guy who shot the lion is a dentist. His office is just down the road from my home [...]

Corporate America: A Friend of the Family?

One of the interesting features of the recent public debate over same-sex "marriage" (SSM) has been the high profile support for it by large American corporations. Such support has included sharp attacks against assorted “religious freedom” state laws ostensibly designed to protect those with faith-based scruples. Indeed, Fortune magazine recently described what it termed “an [...]

Why I Remain a Catholic

“Something had given him leave to live in the present.”  ~ Walker Percy A friend of mine sent me an email with this subject line: “A challenge for your blogging….” She included Elizabeth Scalia’s invitation to Catholics everywhere in the internet cosmos to write about “Why Do YOU Remain a Catholic”—an invitation itself prompted by [...]

Reactions to the Pope’s Encyclical on Contraception

It is interesting now to look back at the various reactions when the pope issued his encyclical on contraception. I dug up the following, and I think they pretty much speak for themselves. It is hardly necessary to add any comments at all except to say how little things have changed. A leader from an [...]

Easter and Zombies

Zombies have been making the rounds lately. Not real ones, of course, because there are no real ones. It is to their great disadvantage that they do not exist, considering how popular they are. But then, they would have no great advantages in existing, either. While they may experience a certain brute satisfaction, their intellectual [...]

Democracy is Dead

Democracy is dead. I say so not because I have ceased to believe in it. I retain a half guilty affection for that worst of all forms of government, except for most of the rest. I say so because everyone else has ceased to believe in it.
     Yesterday I asked my students what [...]

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