Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chesterton's Iceberg Floats Along

I know I have written a lot on Chesterton the last few days, but the debate presently going on about him is interesting: it provides us with an opportunity to explore the idea of virtue, what it means, how we live it and the part it plays in our sanctification. For one thing we might actually realize that virtue is not as rarefied as we may think it is and how it is actually meant to be a part of our basic human experience. In God's plan we were meant to be naturally virtuous, sin was to be an alien thing, sadly that was undone by the Fall, but our lives here on earth are meant to be a reversing of the unnatural dynamic and God gives us grace to help us in that process.

Anyway, a quick post to bring another article to your attention. Dale Ahlquist, that great Chestertonian, has written a response to Steven Drummel's piece on Chesterton's lack of temperance. It is a spirited defence of the man, well argued and informative. It is worth reading. I hope the priest conducting the preliminary investigations include this one in his file and takes note of what Ahlquist has to say.

Some interesting points of information in it. I didn't realise that St Pius X liked snuff, and I doubt Blessed Pier Giorgio was impressed when some Vatican official airbrushed his pipe out of the beatification picture. I heard somewhere that the Ven. Pius XII stopped a Cause when he heard the candidate liked to smoke - anyone hear that? If true that is ironic given that it is said that Pius like a cigarette himself. Other saints with habits: St John Paul II liked the odd cigar and he had a very sweet tooth which he liked to satisfy with very sweet Polish desserts. St John Kemble, the English martyr, was puffing his pipe when news of his execution arrived, he decided to have another pipe before preparing for his end. And in case you haven't heard St Therese of Lisieux asked for an eclair as she was dying and ate it and enjoyed it! Chesterton would approve. 


  1. Do people even know what the virtues are?
    Words like prudence and temperence are rarely used anymore.

    As for heroic virtue well we can all hope I suppose.

    The motu proprio of St Pius X:
    Aticle 19. The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy or frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like.

    Do these motu proprio,s ever get lifted?
    There is a piano in the catholic church on Haddington Rd. Dublin.

    If St Pius the tenth were to enter the average catholic mass in Ireland today I think he would have a massive heart attack after listening to what passes for music.

    I am in danger myself of getting intemperate on this subject of sacred music so I will desist.
    Good luck and thanks for your interesting blogs on great people.

  2. None of this addresses the substance of Drummel's piece. People who knew Chesterton commented on his intemperance.