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G.K. Chesterton; a corrupting influence on Irish Catholicism?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by SwordOfStCatherine, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. SwordOfStCatherine

    SwordOfStCatherine Legend Political Irish

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    Historic Gaelic Christendom was justly famed for it's ascetic valour and poetic rapture, however let us face the reality that if you go around most Parishes today despite the fact that we are on the soil which has produced such a wonderful harvest of Saints whom I'm certain are looking down from Heaven and interceding for Ireland still you are not going to find much of either. In fact your average Priest is likely to actively discourage both, especially anything ascetic. Something has gone terribly wrong and there is no point in blaming Vatican II since the Church in both England and France are in a significantly more healthy condition. This of course doesn't mean that there are not plenty genuinely Believing pure souls out there- there are- but they aren't getting the support and encouragement to reach their full Spiritual potential.

    One of the things that surprised me about the South of Ireland, shocked me even, was the popularity of G.K. Chesterton here and that he was seen as a great Conservative Catholic thinker and even a Spiritual authority by far to many people. My mum in law considers him to have been homosexual, and while I don't rule out that possibility I'm not completely convinced of this, however what is for certain is that he was a drunkard and a glutton. How can such a person be considered a Spiritual authority? Could any sane person imagine ascetic strugglers such as St Kevin and St Columbanus seeking wisdom from a fat self-obsessed alcho?

    The other thing is that he was no Conservative. Yes he was no Socialist but he most certainly was not a Tory. He was supportive of not only the French Revolution but also and more scandalously as a supposed English Patriot the rebellion of some of Britain's North American colonies. In fact he never made a secret out of being an out right Whig. A lot of his defences of private property were aimed at Fredrick Denison Maurice is was a far more interesting man and thinker as well as genuinely being much more of a Tory, who converted to Anglicanism from the darkness of Quakerism and brilliantly argued that Christianity in Britain would be best served by making it Socialist. I personally have never understood the whole romance about small business people, a very American thing, which G.K. Chesterton championed.

    The other thing about him is that he was incredibly smug. I find smugness the most repellent trait almost in people.

    I will give him this though the chapter in his book "Irish Impressions" about Belfast is hilarious and though I'm sure is exaggerated does capture quite brilliantly the modes of insanity of certain of the more crazier Ulster Prods. However that book is shot through with Anti-German hate and GK Chesterton's role in beating the war drums against Germany has to be remembered. Objectively looked at the UK was totally in the wrong in WWI and the defeat of the Central Powers in it was an utter disaster for European civilization.
     
  2. Esto Praesidium

    Esto Praesidium New Political Irish

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    Interesting. Some of the people over at Irish Catholic forum invited Desmond Fennell to speak at at meeting of the Irish GK Chesterton Society, and he refused saying he had never read a word of Chesterton. He made some good quotations like Oscar Wilde I suppose. What Catholic writers would you recommend? What good books are there on ancient Irish Christianity?
     
  3. OP
    SwordOfStCatherine

    SwordOfStCatherine Legend Political Irish

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    I think it is best to begin with to read the historic Saint's lives.

    Dom Columba Marmion of Blessed Memory is an incredibly interesting Irish Catholic writer who has sadly not half as known about as he should be.

    Christ: The Ideal of the Monk : Columba Marmion, Abbot : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

    Columba Marmion - Wikipedia
     
  4. Tadhg Gaelach

    Tadhg Gaelach Legend Political Irish Donator

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    I actually had never heard of Chesterton until Zizek started quoting him in his books. He does seem to have had an unusual, and sometimes perceptive, turn of phrase. Zizek is particularly fond of the one about, for an instant, God becoming an atheist on the Cross.
     
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  5. Heraclitus

    Heraclitus Member Political Irish

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    Christianity was a corrupting influence right from the start. Never mind some morbidly obese, flatulent English bloke.

    The spread of Christianity was the first Abrahamic jihad.
     
  6. Esto Praesidium

    Esto Praesidium New Political Irish

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    How is it "corrupting"?
     
  7. Heraclitus

    Heraclitus Member Political Irish

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    Because it didn't tolerate the vibrant philosophical and spiritual pluralism that existed in Pre-Christian Europe. The rich tapestry of philosophical worldviews, such as the Stoics and the Epicureans, and the vast pantheon of gods/goddesses accommodated the many temperaments of humanity.
    Christianity, with the exception of the Gnostic variants, which I have some time for, pushed a monolithic creed.
    This culminated in the ban of competing schools of thought by Justinian I in the 6th century.

    Incidentally, I think Nero was maligned for the very reason that he saw Christianity for what it was.
     
  8. The Potato Mystic

    The Potato Mystic Legend Political Irish

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    I actually don't think Chesterton is that influential. He's popular, he's discussed in Catholic circles but that's a little different from being influential in some sort of game changer way. The Brit Whig state was already in allliance with the Irish Catholic Church since Maynooth. I do think he falls through the gaps off adhering to several positions inimical to each other so as a figure he bobs about at a loose end but I think in a general sense these English Catholics are useful in moderating Britain but in respect to Irish Catholicism, such types are a gateway for Irish Catholics to gravitate towards dazeds unionist positions.

    Britain has been the anti-Europe since Henry broke with the Pope. The aftermath of the Cromwellian experiment was the prism that defined America. Even if the specific American rebellion hadn't have happened, we'd have some equivalent tendency out there today. That's why I don't put too much stress on the specific happenstance of the America revolution. Indeed, I prefer the isolationist tendencies of the states, than the global empire building of the British Empire proper. Isolationist tendencies, that weaved were into the DNA of US and were popular and was only overthrown, after the bankster neo-liberals staged their palace coup and consolidated their rule.

    I actually can't recall why Chesterton took the view that he did in respect to the FR. A repugnance to Czarist autocracy that was current around the turn of century and as vehement as Putin bashing is today? I can't remember.

     
  9. OP
    SwordOfStCatherine

    SwordOfStCatherine Legend Political Irish

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    Interesting that you should say that. I never thought about GK Chesterton in that regard. He was a strong supporter of Irish Home Rule and though he didn't support the 1916 Rising he did speak highly of it's leaders. He believed that Ulster Unionists were mad. I'm not sure what position he took during the Tan war though.
     
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  10. Myles O'Reilly

    Myles O'Reilly Legend Political Irish Donator

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    I don't know OP but I do watch every episode of Father Brown. I have it on automatic record you see.