There is so much to tell you about the weekend, but since the best bit of news came early on, Friday night at the end of Dale Ahlquist’s opening talk, I guess that’s the best place to start.
For quite a while now, probably ten plus years, the Chesterton Society has been advocating for the sainthood of Chesterton. Apparently the cause needs to be taken up by the home diocese of the person in question. Prior bishops in Northampton did not find reason enough to get involved in this process. That seems to have changed. Dale made this announcement:
"Martin Thompson says that Bishop Peter Doyle 'has given me permission to report that the Bishop of Northampton is sympathetic to our wishes and is seeking a suitable cleric to begin an investigation into the potential for opening a cause for Chesterton.'"
This little nudge may have been just what was needed:
Ahlquist cited Pope Francis’ interest in Chesterton as possibly influencing the bishop of Beaconsfield’s recent move for an investigation.
“One of the reasons that especially motivated him is the fact that His Holiness, Pope Francis, expressed support for Chesterton’s cause when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires,” stated Ahlquist.
A March 10 letter to Martin Thompson, a leader of an English G.K. Chesterton group, from Miguel Angel Espeche Gil, an Argentine ambassador who heads a Chesterton group in Argentina, noted that the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, “encourages us in our aspiration to see the initiation of the cause of Chesterton to the altars.” **
**Read more: here
To say that those attending the conference were pleased with this news is an understatement. I think we all read GKC for a variety of reasons, but the common thread among those is that he speaks the Truth across the ages. What he wrote a century ago is just as true today.
Many Catholic converts cite GKC as the reason for their entering the church. One of the speakers at the conference, Joseph Pearce, is one such person. Pearce has an amazing story that is just one example of Chesterton’s influence. He was raised in a staunchly anti-Catholic family, was an agnostic neo-fascist as a teen and was imprisoned twice by the time he reached his early twenties. During this time he began reading Chesterton primarily for his views on politics and economics, but eventually found himself reading Chesterton’s arguments on behalf of the Catholic Church and his defense of orthodox Christianity.
God our Father,
You filled the life of your servant Gilbert Keith
Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave
him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless
work, a charity towards all men, particularly his
opponents, and a hop which sprang from his lifelong
gratitude for the gift of human life.
May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in
fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief,
his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and
his love for all men, especially the poor, bring
cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth
to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to
those without faith.
We beg you to grant the favors we ask through his
intercession, [and especially for …] so that his holiness
may be recognized by all and the Church may proclaim
We ask this through Christ our Lord.