The following comes from an August 2 posting on First Things.
The bishop of Northampton will open the cause for the canonization of G. K. Chesterton, the head of the American Chesterton Society has announced, according to a tweet a friend forwarded. A story on this I have not been able to find on the web. But assuming it’s true:
Here’s what his Italian biographer Paolo Gulisano told Zenit a few years ago, explaining why Chesterton might be a saint:
Many people feel there is clear evidence of Chesterton’s sanctity: Testimonies about him speak of a person of great goodness and humility, a man without enemies, who proposed the faith without compromises but also without confrontation, a defender of Truth and Charity. . . .
Faith, hope and charity: These were Chesterton’s fundamental virtues. Moreover, he was innocent, simple, profoundly humble. Though having personally experienced sorrow, he was a chorister of Christian joy. Chesterton’s work is a type of medicine for the soul, or better, it can more precisely be defined as an antidote.
His English biographer William Oddie said this:
The obvious objection to this is that Chesterton was nothing like our idea of how a saint should look or behave. He was greatly given to the pleasures of the table; he was enormously, sometimes riotously funny . . . . The late Cardinal Emmet Carter described him on the 50th anniversary of his death as one of those “holy lay persons” who “have exercised a truly prophetic role within the Church and the world”, but he did not then believe that it would be possible to introduce a Cause for his ultimate canonisation, since he did “not think that we are sufficiently emancipated from certain concepts of sanctity” – though later he change his mind.
The distinguished historian J J Scarisbrick, however, thought that his sanctity was so clear that the opening of his Cause should indeed be seriously contemplated. “We all know,” he responded, “that he was an enormously good man as well as an enormous one. My point is that he was more than that. There was a special integrity and blamelessness about him, a special devotion to the good and to justice … Above all, there was that breathtaking, intuitive (almost angelic) possession of the Truth and awareness of the supernatural which only a truly holy person can enjoy. This was the gift of heroic intelligence and understanding – and of heroic prophecy. He was a giant, spiritually as well as physically. Has there ever been anyone quite like him in Catholic history?”
To read the original posting, click here.