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BY Tim Drake
If a group of Chesterton scholars meeting at Oxford next month has their way, the British journalist and convert G.K. Chesterton’s Cause could be taken up by the Church.
According to a story that originally appeared in the UK Catholic Herald, Chesterton biographer William Oddie will bring the subject up at the conference on July 4th.
“It is becoming clear that serious attention needs to be paid in the country of his birth to the question of Chesterton’s holiness,” said Oddie. “It’ll be a long time before anything gets under way. The purpose of the conference is to make it thinkable.”
American Chesterton Society president Dale Ahlquist told the Register that there are two practical problems facing Chesterton’s cause. They are funding and reading what Chesterton wrote.
“Technically, I suppose only what he wrote after his conversion in 1922 could count against him, whereas everything he wrote before that would count in his favor,” said Ahlquist. “Everything after 1922 is still a monstrous amount. It includes all of G.K.‘s Weekly, 14 years worth of Illustrated London News, and hundreds of articles for other publications, both Catholic and secular. Plus the ten or so books.”
While there’s been much interest in Chesterton’s cause among members of the American Chesterton Society, Ahlquist said that there’s been no formal effort to promote it or fund-raise for it. Ahlquist, has, however, been in regular contact with Bishop Doyle of Northampton, and his predecessor Bishop McDonald.
“The things in his favor have never been properly considered,” said Ahlquist. “Not only his holiness and his goodness and his divine wisdom, but let’s face it - he has a cult. And it is growing.”
Ahlquist notes that he’s kept a growing list of Catholic converts who look to Chesterton as one of their principal reasons for becoming Catholic. Currently, there are more than 130 names on the list.
Said Ahlquist, “I have no doubt he’s a saint.”