Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chesterton on St Mary's Part 1

So, you didn't think this great British literary giant had anything to say on the matter?

Think again.

I've deliberately titled this part one as it will be one of three small segments regarding sections from Chesterton which pertain in some way to this topic. Be prepared to see outside the box... (Chesterton has a habit of forcing the reader to do this).

Probably the most consistent defense of St Marys is its commitment to "social justice" (and we all know there's no other organizations around that do that kind of thing).

That apparently justifies everything. They are committed to this one virtue. Now for the Chesterton (specifically it's from Orthodoxy):

"When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was at the Reformation) it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildy and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful. For example, Mr Blatchford attacks Christianity because he is mad on one Christian virtue: the merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity. He has a strange idea that he will make it easier to forgive sins by saying that there are no sins to forgive."

Only Chesterton would be brilliant enough to realise that virtues on steroids (as one person put it to me) can do a lot of damage when they run off by themselves.

Here we see the effect of social justice when divorced from other virtues such as, I don't know, obedience perhaps. One way it does more damage is acting as a cover.

By the way, has anyone seen St Mary's say anything on the biggest violation of social justice in Australia, abortion? Strange, I hadn't either.

Stay tuned.

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