“We should always endeavor to wonder at the permanent things, and not at the mere exceptions…We should be startled by the sun, and not by the eclipse”

Chesterton.org founder Dale Ahlquist speaks about Chesterton:

The first time he read a work of G.K. Chesterton’s, Dale Ahlquist knew he was encountering a writer unlike anyone else he’d ever experienced.
“My first thought was, ‘How did they manage to give me a college degree without having exposed me to this writer?’” Ahlquist said.

Ahlquist, president and co-founder of the American Chesterton Society, host of the EWTN show “G.K. Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense” and extensive writer on Chesterton, spoke to 155 people Feb. 26 at the Santa Maria Winery on “Matters of Life and Death: Chesterton on the Muddle of Modern Culture.” The evening began with a social hour, followed by dinner and then the talk.

And he continued

Ahlquist called Chesterton a prophet. Chesterton predicted the next great heresy would be an attack on morality, especially sexual morality. He said men didn’t differ in what they called evil, but in what evils they called excusable. Humans are learning to do many clever things, he once said, but the next thing they’ll have to learn is not to do them.

Chesterton called abortion a “more than usual barbaric form of birth control,” and predicted that what was being done to babies then, would also eventually be done to people at the other end of life.

“He said that euthanasia is essentially the argument that we were going to start to murder people because they were a nuisance to themselves,” Ahlquist said. “But he said it would be a short step to where we murder them because they’re a nuisance to us.”

Chesterton was shocked when he learned Americans could divorce because of “incompatibility.”

“If that’s the case, they should all be divorced because men and women as such, are incompatible,” Ahlquist said, quoting Chesterton. “The whole point of marriage is to work through the incompatibility. Marriage is a duel to the death.”

Chesterton also predicted that wherever there’s animal worship, there will be human sacrifice.

Ahlquist stressed that Chesterton wasn’t a gloomy writer. He was just warning people of what would happen if they didn’t turn around. Chesterton was actually one of the most life-affirming and joyful writers of the modern world, Ahlquist said. He was a writer full of grace and full of gratitude.

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The Opposite of Employment is not Unemployment – it is Independence! – Chesterton

Great comment from Dale Alquist of the Chesterton Society on Drew Mariani’s show this afternoon!

“There is not supposed to be any such thing as Protestantism”

A great homily posted here by Fr. Ryan Larson at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Naperville, IL

Everything Proves It!

I found this reflection on Catholic apologetics at http://www.JoeConvert.com – the blog by Sean Herriot – host of Morning Air on Relevant Radio. It was written by G.K. Chesterton scholar Dale Alquist:

In Orthodoxy, his masterful defense of the Christian faith, G.K Chesterton writes: “It is very hard for a man to defend anything of which he is entirely convinced. It is comparatively easy when he is only partially convinced. He is partially convinced because he has found this or that proof of the thing, and he can expound it.”

“But a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it.”

Alquist continues:
Chesterton’s point is born out any time someone asks the question, “How do you know the Catholic faith is true?” We have a difficult time coming up with an easy answer. There are so many things we could say that suddenly we can think of nothing to say. None of the answers we could give appear to be sufficient by themselves, but when taken together, they make a case for the faith that is hard to dispute. Indeed, it is not that one thing proves it, it is that everything proves it.
And when we have our days of doubt, when we are confused by the incessant attacks and the personal disappointments, it is a good exercise to sit down and make a list of all the things that prove that the Catholic faith is true.

• The Church is the only consistent defender of morality and virtue. It defends marriage and the family. It defends children and babies and the unborn. It defends the poor. It defends peace and human dignity. It defends order and it also defends freedom. It defends the body and the mind and the soul.

• The Church is the only institution in history that has continually survived its own defeats. Chesterton even maintains that it has survived its own death. Several times in history the Church seemed to be done and destroyed. But it is still here. It has survived its own death, says Chesterton, “because it had a God who knew his way out of the grave.”

• The history of Christianity is the history of the Catholic Church. The Church has not only carried the faith through history, it has carried the whole culture. The monasteries preserved the texts of the ancient world, keeping open our only windows to the past. When iconoclasts were smashing statues, Catholics preserved the art of sculpture. Catholic artists even brought sculpture inside paintings, giving them depth and dimension. They wrote music that we can still sing. The castles built in the medieval times are now museums or ruins. The Cathedrals built at the same time are still being used for their original purpose.

• All other Christian sects are a reaction against or a splitting off from the Catholic Church. They are always something less than the Catholic Church, never anything more. They lack something, whether it be a pope or a priest or a pronouncement. Whatever partial truth they cling to is something that they have received from the Catholic Church, whether it be the Bible or baptism or “bringing in the sheaves.”

• History’s greatest people, the saints, are Catholic. We too often forget how great they are. They have worked miracles, they have defied unbelievable odds, they have written monumental testimonies of truth, they have had exquisite visions, they have suffered unimaginable hardship with unexplainable joy, they have selflessly served their fellow human beings, caring for the sick and the dying and the outcast with astonishing charity. They have willingly died for their faith rather live without it. There may be outstanding individuals in history who did one thing well or lived notable and worthy lives: Buddha, Confucius, Spinoza, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and so on. But whoever you want to name, not one of them — not a one! — compares with the smallest saint — with St. Maria Goretti, with the Little Flower, with Don Bosco, with St. Francis de Sales, with Blessed Miriam Baouardy, with Mother Teresa. One saint is enough to prove the truth of the Church. But we have hundreds and hundreds, every one of them with an exemplary life worth contemplating and imitating.

• Even the sins of the Catholic Church are evidence of its truth. Its failures only point to the great value of its precepts. The world cannot abide the Church failing because the world unconsciously knows that the truth it proclaims must be upheld. Chesterton says that the sins of Christianity are one of the doctrines of Christianity. In other words, our sins point to one of our sacraments: confession. He says, “The Church is not justified when her children do not sin, but when they do.”

The list goes on. We can always add to it. There is always another reason to believe the Church’s teachings, always more evidence to support its truth.

As Chesterton says, the Church “has endured for two thousand years; and the world within the Church has been more lucid, more level-headed, more reasonable in its hopes, more healthy in its instincts, more humorous and cheerful in the face of fate and death, than all the world outside.”

Everything proves it.

Dale Ahlquist is President of the American Chesterton Society and host of EWTN’s The Apostle of Common Sense. 



Catholicism is not just spiritual – it is a “thick steak, a glass of stout, and a good cigar!”



I was recently listening to the new show “Into the Deep” at www.SQPN.com and heard this interesting quote from Chesterton. While searching for the quote I found this great article at www.firstthings.com:


“The Christian sacraments, for example, are not valid unless both form and matter are present as prescribed. The tendency to spiritualize Christianity is nonetheless pervasive-to make it like so many other religions, to attune it to the angelism (i.e. New Age) that in every generation attracts so many of the most intelligent and sensitive souls. In opposition to those who would wish a purely spiritual religion, G. K. Chesterton once defined Catholicism in shocking terms resonant with the sacramental sense of God’s presence in His creation: Catholicism, the very fleshly G. K. said, is a thick steak, a glass of stout, and a good cigar.

“A religion committed to the flesh is at least as lowly as a smoked cigar. It is for commoners as much as (even more than) aristocrats and is also, alas, irremediably vulgar. Catholicism sometimes seems positively weighted down by the flesh, as on a too-hot day, beneath the droning of a too-poor sermon, in a too-crowded church filled with listless, distracted, bored fellow participants. Weary with having tried to make things constantly better, experienced Catholics have learned to employ such experiences as epiphanies of grace, like the sacraments themselves, reflecting that here too Christ is present, emptying himself, making himself disponible, redeeming our heavy humanity. At the heart of Christianity lie the sinner and the humdrum mediocrity of daily life. The neighbor we are called upon to love is not the rosy abstraction, humankind, but exactly those neighbors who get on our nerves-and indeed precisely when they do so. Christianity is not a religion of escape. It commands the acceptance of the banal, the boring, and the repetitive-on the grounds that these especially are vehicles of grace, even though often disdained and contemned as was the Messiah in Isaiah 53. These especially are as surely the bearers of the life of grace as are, for the human body, the repetitive beating of the human heart and the steady circulation of the blood. Such boring realities are always undervalued until their rhythms threaten to come to a halt-when suddenly we glimpse how precious they are, and how miraculous each strong, steady beat of the weakening heart actually is.

“Because it is a religion of the flesh, Catholicism sees signs of the Creator in all the things He has created. Like a lover, one sees bursts of His glory in the morning sun and the crisp air, in the bellowing fury of a storm and in a caterpillar hunching himself on his slow course up the length of a bending leaf. Each angle and idiosyncrasy of concrete things is like a mystery to be read and wondered at. Why are there caterpillars? Why so many species of indescribably poignant roses? Why is there anything at all?”