On Being Truly Dogmatic

On Being Truly Dogmatic
AP Photo/Emrah Gurel

confess to being not well-versed in Chesterton. I did delve into some “Father Brown” in high school. And then in college an idiosyncratic Jesuit (a pleonasm?) coerced us sophomores into reading The Everlasting Man. I hasten to add that this was long ago and far away—before Vatican II was even a glimmer in Angelo Roncalli's eye. So it was with the delight of a neophyte that I recently came upon this from G.K.:

When the journalist says for the thousandth time, “Living religion is not in dull and dusty dogmas, etc.” we must stop him with a sort of shout and say, “There—you go wrong at the very start.” If he would condescend to ask what the dogmas are, he would find out that it is precisely the dogmas that are living, that are inspiring, that are intellectually interesting. Zeal and charity and unction are admirable as flowers and fruit; but if you are really interested in the living principle you must be interested in the root or the seed.

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