Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Chestertonian and the Rosary (or Beads)

Caution! Please do not drink beverages while reading the GKC quote below.

It is quite a delight to read how Joe McDonough is exploring the Rosary with Chesterton, and proposing new "Humorous Mysteries".

Of course all Chestertonians know that "It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it." [ILN June 9, 1906 CW27:206] What is so wonderful about this, of course, is Joe's quotes from GKC in support of his discussion.

Now, speaking of humor, Chesterton, and the Rosary, brings up this excellent little quipy-quip he quotes from someone else. It is this kind of writing which so clearly shows how awesome GKC's blog would have been... It's so nice to recall that he had a Blogg whom he spent so much time with, hee hee hee hee... (whew!) OK, now, to the quote.

At the moment I only wish to wallow in sheer shameless enjoyment of the way in which the Psychic News attacks the Catholic Church and attacks me. I admit that this is mere self-indulgence on my part. I know that numbers of judicious friends will tell me that I ought not to take any notice of such an article. But nothing that can be called human is uninteresting, and this involves, to begin with, one puzzle which always interests me very much. And that is why people who fly into a rage with the Catholic Church always use an extraordinary diction, or verbal style, in which all sorts of incommensurate things are jumbled up together, so that the very order of the words is a joke. "Spiritualism depends only on the evidence which people receive in their own homes. It [409] does not require priests. Neither do enquirers have to buy rosaries or beads, or crucifixes, or pay for candles or masses." It must be a dreadful moment of indecision for the enquirers, when they have to make up their minds whether they will buy rosaries or beads. But the last term is the best; and here the order of words is especially significant. Apparently the first object of a Catholic is to get a candle. If once he can get hold of a candle, and walk about everywhere clasping his candle, he is all right. But if he cannot get a candle, he has the alternative of purchasing a mass; an instrument that is a sort of substitute for a candle.
GKC, The Well and the Shallows CW3:408-409

Indeed, Mr. C, as we say nowadays, ROTFL... rosaries or beads...


At 13 October, 2005 22:18, Blogger rhapsody said...

Thanks for the warning, Dr. T,
Chesterton was wise to use humor as a response to critics. Enjoyed the humorous mysteries also, as well as the comment about Jewish mothers... that had me ROTF...

At 14 October, 2005 13:03, Blogger love2learnmom said...

How delightful. It reminds me of when my little ones were being cared for by a very Protestant teen neighbor (to allow me to get some chores done around the house). She was reading a story of Shadrach, Michek and Abednego (I just love those names) and mentioned to Jacinta (then 6) that we had statues in our house (obviously thinking that this was a bad thing). I was keeping an ear out from the other room and was delighted to hear my daughter's very happy-go-lucky response: "Oh yes, we have statues and crucifixes and rosaries and scapulars and holy water..." :)

At 15 October, 2005 08:24, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

As I re-read this post, I noticed that there is an interesting classical reference here:

"nothing that can be called human is uninteresting"

Here, GKC paraphrases Terence (195?-159 B.C., a Roman comic playwright):

Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto.

That is: "I am a man; nothing human is alien to me."

At 16 October, 2005 09:35, Blogger rhapsody said...

Late PS
How about, 'if he cannot get a candle, he has the alternative of purchasing a mass'...?
Good one!
And, if 'spiritualism... does not require priests,' or 'rosaries or beads,' then why are there psychics & crystals? Have you seen their rates?!!!

Their rationale only works one way.
It reminds me of someone who calls herself a Christian, who was complaining about organized religion, (an oft repeated empty argument, as most religions &
businesses are ORGANIZED-
otherwise they'd be CHAOTIC!)
When I asked if she meant ALL organized religions, she said no, just Catholicism.

Have to go pray.
Will keep laughing, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home