Chesterton the Catholic

The ever quotable G.K. Chesterton from The Well and the Shallows (1935):

At least six times during the last few years, I have found myself in a situation in which I should certainly have become a Catholic, if I had not been restrained from that rash step by the fortunate accident that I was one already. The point is not merely personal but has some representative interest, because our critics constantly expect the convert to suffer some sort of reaction, ending in disappointment and perhaps desertion. As a rule, the most that they will concede to us is that we have found peace by the surrender of reason; which generally means in practice that we pass the rest of our lives in interminable controversies with a perpetual appeal to logic. But, as a fact, it is in a rather peculiar sense, the other way about. The strongest sort of confirmation often comes to the convert after he has received enough to establish conviction.

Chesterton had already converted to the Catholic Church in 1922. Although, if you are familiar with Chesterton’s writing you know that it may be more aptly said that Chesterton officially recognized that he was a Catholic in 1922. There is nary a differnce between Chesterton’s writings pre-1922 (Heretics, Orthodoxy, What’s Wrong With the World, etc.) and post-1922 (Saint Francis of Assisi, The Everlasting Man, The Outline of Sanity, etc.). Chesterton wrote like a Catholic from beginning to end.


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