15 October 2010


One of the blogs I catch up with from time to time is Illegitimi non carborundum written by Fr James Farfaglia. I'll leave you to work out the translation if you're not familiar with Latin, but a short cut is here.

I digress. Today, Fr James is defending himself against some critics of a recent article he has written in regard to the new translation of the Roman Missal, widely reported to be introduced to these shores on the first Sunday of Advent, 2011. You can read the response to the critics here, and the original article written here (beware there are annoying little pop ups). Again, I
digress. What caught my attention was this quote from Chesterton in regard to Orthodoxy. I'm not sure the orthodox church comes out in the best light, but the style and force of Chesterton's statement is worth repeating in full...

“This is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. The Church in its early days went fierce and fast with any warhorse; yet it is utterly unhistoric to say that she merely went mad along one idea, like a vulgar fanaticism. She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. She left on one hand the huge bulk of Arianism, buttressed by all the worldly powers to make Christianity too worldly. The next instant she was swerving to avoid an orientalism, which would have made it too unworldly. The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable. It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom—that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.”

Taken from 'Orthodoxy' by GK Chesterton and available to buy here.

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