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Setback In Chesterton Sainthood Cause

G.K. Chesterton at desk (Chesterton.org)

Tonight at the opening session of the American G.K. Chesterton Society conference, president Dale Ahlquist read to the crowd a letter from the Catholic Bishop of Northampton (Chesterton’s diocese), giving his decision about the cause to beatify the English writer.

It’s not going to happen. The bishop said in his letter that there is no local cult of Chesterton veneration, which is the usual thing for a new saint, and therefore a problem for GKC. Second, the bishop found no sustained evidence for heroic sanctity what the bishop called “a pattern of personal spirituality” in Chesterton’s character. And third, the bishop was concerned about allegations that GKC was anti-Semitic.

(I may have gotten some details wrong; I was sitting near the back, and couldn’t hear well. I’ll correct the report if I did.) [Report corrected — sorry for the mistake]

So that’s where it stops for now. Dale Ahlquist left the door open for continuing the push, perhaps with a new bishop who may be more friendly to GKC.

This will be a great disappointment to lovers and admirers of Chesterton. I doubt there was a single person in the room tonight here in Kansas City who doesn’t believe that GKC is a saint. Here’s an interview Crux did with Dale Ahlquist earlier this year, in which Dale talked about how GKC was a saint.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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