In an interview with Vatican Radio, Father Ian Boyd, President of the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith and Culture, explained why Chesterton’s writings are more powerful now than when he published them:
“What strikes me most of all in reading Chesterton is that his real audience is today’s audience. When he wrote, the things he described must have seemed fantastic to his contemporaries, but we live in a time when we’ve seen his prophecies fulfilled. I think really Chesterton therefore is a writer, a journalist, who speaks it chiefly to us. I was thinking for example of a comment he made a long time ago, when he said that the next great heresy is going to be an attack on morality, and especially on sexual morality. He said not to be so afraid of the Russians and the Bolsheviks. He said, ‘The madness of tomorrow is far more in Manhattan than in Moscow.’”
“He believed that a consumerist culture had a greater power to undermine morality than any totalitarian system. He said when real evil comes, it always comes from within.”
(For the full interview, click here.)
As Father Boyd reminds us of Chesterton’s prophetic insights, Cardinal Dolan confirms that Manhattan and indeed the entire Archdiocese of New York has become “mission territory.” (New Yorkers shouldn’t feel too isolated, since they have plenty of competition elsewhere.)
“Cardinal Dolan is correct and in fact every city in the United States that has a significant Catholic population should be considered mission territory. Catholics in America are confused because they no longer know what the Church’s real position is on the key moral issues … One of the primary reasons for this confusion is the pervasive silence of the Church’s pulpits—to speak out on these key moral issues in a fashion that is clear, loving and steadfastly Catholic. As a result, many Catholics have been led astray by a secular-oriented society, and by various high-profile Catholics who have publicly embraced and defended it. These high profile Catholics are in the government, media, academia, social services, and even the clergy/religious. It appears that Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and other Church leaders are finally realizing the true nature and seriousness of this problem. Hopefully, this will result in the Bishops taking the lead and also directing their local parishes to boldly speak out against the forces of secularism confronting today’s Catholics. For too long the pulpits have been asleep (Bishops and local parishes). It is now time that they are awakened.”
Chesterton, one trusts, would agree.