Saint Chesterton?

G.K. Chesterton in 1909.

It’s not just Tolkien – there’s a move afoot to make author G.K. Chesterton a Catholic saint, too. The Word on Fire Blog questioned the president of the American Chesterton Society about his prospects: “Saint G.K. Chesterton? An Interview with Dale Ahlquist”.

BRANDON: I know many people are excited about the possibility of G.K. Chesterton being named saint one day. Why do you think he’s a saint? And can you give us an update on his cause?

DALE: First the update: the Bishop of Northampton, England, Peter Doyle, appointed a priest, Fr. John Udris, to be the investigator for Chesterton’s potential. Father Udris is completing his report to the Bishop within the next month, and the Bishop is expected to approach the Congregation for Saints in Rome to officially open the Cause for Beatification. If that happens, Chesterton would be declared a Servant of God, and a postulator would be appointed. And the real work begins, with a thorough examination of Chesterton’s holiness and his cultus. The cultus is us, those who are devoted to him. And that is the answer to the first question. I think he’s a saint because there is a universal cultus devoted to him, finding in him a model Christian, especially a model of lay spirituality, and a friend and companion. That’s what the Communion of the Saints is all about.

Chesterton is already remembered liturgically on June 13 by the Episcopal Church, with a provisional feast day as adopted at the 2009 General Convention.

His influential essays and nonfiction are the foundations of his case for sainthood, though some of his views have led to charges of antisemitism.

Among fans, Chesterton is known for fiction like The Man Who Was Thursday. Neil Gaiman has stated that he grew up reading Chesterton, whose The Napoleon of Notting Hill was an important influence on Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which used a quote from it as an epigraph. Gaiman also based the character Gilbert, from the comic book The Sandman, on Chesterton.

2 thoughts on “Saint Chesterton?

  1. Interesting; I had the impression that sainthood reflected the person’s own deeds (including post-mortem attributed miracles) rather than their following, but I’m so not up on Catholic doctrine (including recent revisions — I vaguely recall hearing about less stringency wrt miracles?).

  2. If Chesterton does get canonized (or even beatified), and you attend the ceremony, make sure you are properly attired: be sure to put your “best shirt on”.

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