Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Chesterton on Reforming the Press

Chesterton wrote about reform of the press - he was a journalist himself - many times.  This one interested me because of the quote about being "loudly and violently saintly" and the recommendation about sending editors who print falsehoods to prison. "Limericks and Counsels of Perfection," from his book All Things Considered, published in 1908.  Yes, that is where the NPR title comes from. 

One can see both similarities and differences in the press of his time and ours, making it worthy of your time.

BTW, the cause for his canonisation has not been opened, as his local bishop did not recommend it in 2019. His successor could reopen the case.


james said...

The local bishop didn't recommend it because, IIRC, there was no cult of prayer for his intercession--which I gather makes the usual verification of sainthood difficult.

I wonder what Chesterton would have thought of bloggers--especially anonymous ones. I use a non-specific email, and don't include my name, to avoid the deluge of spam, but it is the work of a minute to find it out. Your name is mentioned in yours. We both strive to be accurate and to reply to serious questions--I hope he wouldn't be too hard on us.

Grim said...

The Church, if anything, is currently unworthy to sanctify him. Thankfully God retains his rights.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Grim - laughed at that. Always good to keep that in perspective.

@ James - Chesterton is popular among South American Christians, especially Catholics. Jorge Luis Borges, a favorite of mine, loved GKC. Pope Francis may even have pushed for him to be considered. Much of this comes from Chesterton's extreme disapproval of capitalism and communism both (socialism, too, but more mildly) in favor of his own Distributism. Given the extreme crony capitalism (common but not inevitable) and crony communism (redundant, in practice) of Latin America one sees their point. The reasons the bishop gave were three: that there is no "local cult" of devotion - a requirement which seems odd in the 21st C but historically important in the Catholic Church, based on the idea that the locals likely knew best. In fact, it is largely Americans and South Americans that visit his grave in Ecclesfield, write letters to the bishps, and learn from him today. Both strains caused him to subscribe to, and even amplify Jewish stereotypes in his early writing, as he saw them at the heart of both philosophies. That is also reason three, that many of his early writings were (I think inarguably) antisemitic, not only philosophically but in stereotype. That he repented fully of this and made considerable effort to make amends is not even dismissed by his critics as inadequate (which I could accept), but not even mentioned, which to my mind makes them essentially dishonest. He will get another go at canonisation if the world, and the Church, gets beyond this current fevered politicisation.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Post on his antisemitism here: