Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chesterton on St Mary's Part 3

Dear Readers, this could be my last post for a little while or at least my last regular one depending on how things go.

Returning to our topic, Fr Kennedy has often made use of the word "orthodox" and "orthodoxy" in very pejorative ways. Fr Kennedy prides himself on being "unorthodox." Jesus, we are told, was "unorthodox", whatever that's supposed to mean in such a context.

I don't have much further comment to add since I think the following quote from Chesterton mostly speaks for itself. This time, however, it is from another book of his aptly entitled Heretics. I can only hope these snippets might edge some people into reading Chesterton. If you haven't he's one of the best kept secrets out there and for many the greatest author of the 20th century. This section is the opening paragraph of the first chapter. The first chapter of Heretics by the way is an excellent antidote to this whole sorry affair as Chesterton explains the importance of going back to fundamental ideas. The last paragraph on the monk and the lamp post is golden. Anyhow, for now I present the following for your enjoyment:

" Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word "orthodox." In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was the kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox. He had no pride in having rebelled against them; they had rebelled against him. The armies with their cruel security, the kings with their cold faces, the decorous processes of State, the reasonable processes of law--all these like sheep had gone astray. The man was proud of being orthodox, was proud of being right. If he stood alone in a howling wilderness he was more than a man; he was a church. He was the centre of the universe; it was round him that the stars swung. All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical. But a few modern phrases have made him boast of it. He says, with a conscious laugh, "I suppose I am very heretical," and looks round for applause. The word "heresy" not only means no longer being wrong; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word "orthodoxy" not only no longer means being right; it practically means being wrong. All this can mean one thing, and one thing only. It means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right. For obviously a man ought to confess himself crazy before he confesses himself heretical. The Bohemian, with a red tie, ought to pique himself on his orthodoxy. The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to feel that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox."

3 comments:

Stephen said...

How pertinent to the current world we live in!!

Summa Theologiae said...

You'll find yourself saying that about nearly everything he wrote.

Adamgv said...

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Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.


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