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‘The world owes God to the Jews,’ wrote Chesterton; if anything he was pro-Jewish rather than – as the calumny alleges – anti-Semitic

He was one of the few convinced anti-racists of his time: the allegation just doesn’t add up

By on Friday, 8 July 2011

G K Chesterton said he would only take racial distinctions seriously 'when I find a man classifying himself as inferior' (PA photo)

G K Chesterton said he would only take racial distinctions seriously 'when I find a man classifying himself as inferior' (PA photo)

The week before the Chesterton Society’s biennial conference in Oxford at the beginning of this month I wrote a Herald blog about the conference’s subject, The Prophetic Voice of GK Chesterton. One of the hazards of blogging is the response – sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile – that accumulates beneath one’s article. Most of the comment was pro-Chesterton. Some was not. One comment was distinctly sarcastic. It read as follows: “I too can’t get enough of Chesterton or ‘GK’ as I like to call him. The wit, the learning, the sidesplitting humour, the rabid antisemitism… oops.” Oh dear. I replied by saying that Chesterton was not a rabid anti-Semite and that if my correspondent wanted to hear this question confronted by someone who knew what he was talking about (ie me) why not come to the conference? Or (another plug) why not read about it in The Holiness of GK Chesterton (Gracewing)?

The fact is that every time one speaks of Chesterton’s holiness or his prophetic voice, this question arises sooner or later; I had thought at one time that this calumny had died away, but it seems to be on the way back. When I published the main talks in the last Chesterton Society conference on The Holiness of GK Chesterton, together with some additional chapters, one of the chapters I found it had become necessary to add was based on a good deal of work I had done (in the Chesterton papers and other better known material), to do with Chesterton’s attitude to the Jews, as a result of which I came to the view that his attitude to Jewish people, and to Jewish culture and history, were such that I had to conclude that there was a much better case for saying that Chesterton was actually if anything pro-Jewish rather than anti-Semitic: and I ended up calling my chapter “The philosemitism of GK Chesterton”.

But the contrary perception is general, if the subject is addressed at all. One response to a friendly review of the Holiness book in the Tablet by Russell Sparkes was a letter to the editor from that supposed admirer of Chesterton, Richard Ingrams, who claimed that Chesterton “shut his eyes to a great deal of the unpleasantness and cruelty in the world, including his own circle”: by this he referred to his brother Cecil’s and his friend Hilaire Belloc’s anti-Semitism, which Ingrams claims influenced Chesterton “publicly to espouse views which were foreign to his nature but which remain a permanent blot on his reputation”.

Ingrams is certainly right when he says that anti-Semitism was foreign to Chesterton’s nature, despite his intermittent attacks on certain particular Jews, especially after the Marconi scandal: but it was their corruption or their plutocracy, not their Jewishness, that he hated. Speaking to the Jewish West End Literary society (incidentally, is it really conceivable that an anti-Semite would address such a body?) one newspaper recorded that “Mr Chesterton said that speaking generally, as with most other communities, ‘THE POOR JEWS WERE NICE AND THE RICH WERE NASTY’.”

Nor did he “shut his eyes” to the cruelties of anti-Semitism. He wrote with disgust of the “thousands of Jews [who] have… been rabbled or ruined or driven from their homes” by the Nazis, who “beat and bully poor Jews in concentration camps [this predated the policy of mass extermination] …. Heartily… I do indeed despise the Hitlerites”: he was “appalled by the Hitlerite atrocities”. But this was no deathbed conversion, as is sometimes supposed. There is a growing body of evidence of his fierce and lifelong hostility to anti-Jewish persecutions, his genuine support for the Zionist cause and his respect for Jewish culture.

It is sometimes worthwhile to state the obvious: if you are an anti-Semite, you are necessarily a racist. But Chesterton was one of the fiercest of anti-racists, in a culture in which most people really did believe in the notion of racial superiority – a belief expressed and codified in the widely accepted pseudo-science of eugenics, of which Chesterton was himself virtually the only major opponent. “I shall,” he wrote in 1925, “begin to take [racial distinctions] seriously … when I find a man classifying himself as inferior … I never heard a man say: Anthropology shows that I belong to an inferior race.” In 1934, he wrote that “the stupidest thing done in the last two or three centuries, was the acceptance by the Germans of the dictatorship of Hitler”, who had risen to power by “appealing to racial pride”. It was, he wrote, “staggering” that “a whole huge people should base its whole historical tradition on something that is … a lie”; this “racial religion” stank with “the odours of decay…”

Chesterton was aware of the accusations of anti-Semitism. “I lived to have…”, he wrote in his autobiography, “the name of an anti-Semite; whereas from my first days at school I very largely had the name of a pro-Semite… I was criticised … for quixotry and priggishness in protecting Jews”, a reference to his habit of intervening when Jewish boys were being bullied. Autobiographies are not always reliable: but there is considerable contemporary evidence for his schoolboy attitude to the Jews (including his Jewish friendships, notably with the Solomon brothers; Lawrence Solomon and his wife later moved to Beaconsfield to be near the Chestertons).

Chesterton was incensed by Russian persecution of the Jews, and recorded in his diary at the age of 18 his disgust at reading of the “Brutal falsehood and cruelty [shown by an official] to a Jewish girl. Made me feel strongly inclined to knock somebody down….” He wrote a series of anti-Russian articles in the school magazine he co-founded. “What do you think,” he wrote in one of them “of the persecution of the Jews in Russia? It has, at least, done one service to orthodoxy. It has restored my belief in the Devil.” In an undergraduate notebook, he recorded the following pensée: “No Christian ought to be an anti-Semite. But every Christian ought to be a Zionist.” At around this time he wrote a poem, praising Cromwell for re-admitting the Jews to England, and another bitterly attacking the French over the Dreyfus affair.

During his journey to Palestine in 1919, Chesterton had lunch with Chaim Weizmann, later the first President of Israel: Weizmann would certainly have sniffed out an anti-Semite if Chesterton had actually been one; and there is a good deal to be said (but no space here to say it) about Chesterton’s belief in the Zionist cause. On his return, Chesterton wrote of his reverence for the Jewish spiritual tradition: “…if the Jew cannot be at ease in Zion [a reference to Amos 6:1: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion”] we can never again persuade ourselves that he is at ease out of Zion. We can only salute as it passes that restless and mysterious figure, knowing at last that there must be in him something mystical as well as mysterious; that whether in the sense of the sorrows of Christ or of the sorrows of Cain, he must pass by, for he belongs to God.” With that, we can place the following passage on “the mission… of the Jews” from The Everlasting Man, his first Catholic masterpiece: “…the meaning of the Jews,” says Chesterton, was “that the world owes God to the Jews… The more we really understand of the ancient conditions that contributed to the final culture of the Faith, the more we shall have a real and even a realistic reverence for the greatness of the Prophets of Israel.”

Chesterton was certainly not anti-Jewish. He was, however, writing at a time of a recent large-scale and as yet unassimilated Jewish immigration; and he accepted the Zionist analysis of this phenomenon: in the words of Theodore Herzl, the founding father of Zionism: “We are aliens here, they do not let us dissolve into the population, and if they let us we would not do it. Let us go forth!” Better to understand Chesterton’s Zionist idea that Jews were not naturally a part of English culture, without perceiving it through the intervening lens of the Nazi Holocaust, we might compare it with some modern English perceptions of the Muslim community, still widely seen as being impossible to assimilate: thus, there is understood by many perfectly decent and tolerant people to be what might be termed a “Muslim problem”. The perspective of history may similarly show this “problem” too to be illusory. Chesterton, I suspect, would not be a Zionist today.

  • Auricularis

    “Chesterton, I suspect, would not be a Zionist today.”

    I doubt if he knew what St. Pius X said to Theodore Herzl, he would have been a Zionist then:

    “We are unable to favour this movement [of Zionism]. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem but we could never sanction it. The ground of Jerusalem, if it were not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot answer you otherwise. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.”

    (Rosenthal, Diaries of Theodor Herzl, pp. 427- 430.)

    Harsh words but none the less coming from the mouth of a canonised saint.

  • Martin

    Which is why i suppose, some would prefer to leave the canonising of individuals to Christ rather than people, (fully committed, the leadership or otherwise). …….. The last sentence you quote, doesnt actually make logical sense. Recognizing a Jew as a Jew is not the same as recognizing Jesus as Messiah….unless he was refering to the Spiritual aspect of being a Jew? (book of Rmns)…is that the context of his quote? I dont have the book to refer too.

  • ms catholic state

    If you think Europe becoming a majority Muslim continent is ‘assimilation’ (?)….and a good thing…..then sure….the ‘Muslim problem’ is illusory.

    I disagree though. 

  • Brian A Cook

    I appreciate your efforts to seriously address a serious allegation. 

  • Martin


    I would add that there is a confusion here between what is a Jew and what is a Muslim and the culture that they would bring with them. As i understand it, they are not comparable….Correct me if i am wrong.

    A Jew can be Jewish, secular or Christian or whatever in regards to faith

    A Muslim can only be Islamic (regardless of whether they are passive or extreme of view). (It would have been different if you had said Arab).

    Muslim expansion would therefore effect us a lot differently than if the race of Jews expanded.

    The Jew would be as open (or closed) to ideas as everyone else within Europe is in regard to freeedon of expression for religion.

    The Muslim is a ideology, not a race and it does not allow for other views (open your newspapers for references), unless you are willing to submit to them and pay a tax.

    Surely therefore they are not the same?

    I would be especially be interested Dr Oddie on your thoughts?

  • ms catholic state

    Other differences are……the Jews in total number only about 16 million worldwide (and could never have dominated Europe)….while one in 5 of the world’s population is Muslim.  Also before the war….the Jews had no Jewish homeland….while Muslims do hold large swathes of the earth’s land already. 

  • Martin

    Interesting point, I could expand that to include the point that as the Muslim views any land conquered by them to be eternally Muslim (regardless if they loose them for a period of time..such as Spain and france (at least in part)) then the right of the Jew to Israel (using their standard) as given by God must trump any claim of the Muslim when they claim that the Jews have taken their land (since the end of the second world war). There wasnt anything called a muslim before around 600AD.

    So, not only do the Jews have an orignal right to their land by Divine decree and conquest (the establishment of the kingdom as per the Old testament),  but more recently by the UN and conquest again during the 7 day war.

    But this is also a difference, the Jews were never once told to expand into any territory that wasnt originally given to them by Divine decree, but the Muslim faith however expands in order to agressively (if neccesary…and it is), dominate the world.

    Which goes back to the original point….of the muslim problem.

  • Joan

    I’ve never heard that quote before but if the pope actually said that, it makes a lot  more sense that this pope saying the Jews can be saved without Christ.

  • Genevieve

    While I enjoyed the article, I was entirely baffled by your last sentence. A Zionist is one who believes that the state of Israel has a fundamental right to exist, not that everything that the political leaders do is perfect. If he was a Zionist in the early years of Israel’s establishment, then why would he change now? And to what? One who believes [with the majority of Muslims] that Israel must be eradicated?

    Furthermore, the sentence structure of the second-to-last sentence makes the point difficult to decipher, but I believe you are comparing the present Muslim population in England to that of her Jewish citizens in the past, and it’s hardly a fair comparison. The Muslims’ non-assimilation is very different than the way that Jews peacefully managed to retain their cultural identity while adjusting to the British way of life. You might owe the Anglo-Jewish population an apology for that in the end.

  • Martin

    Bottom line is that no one can be saved without Christ. ;)

  • Martin

    Bottom line is that no one can be saved without Christ. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Why were comments not allowed in yesterday’s piece about liberation theology?

  • Parasum

    “‘The world owes God to the Jews,’ wrote Chesterton”

    ## No. This is very unsound theology – it’s back to front.

    Zionism is Jewish chauvinism. It’s pagan – the worship of the Divine State, but in a Jewish form. What are a few feet of earth, without the God Who alone gives value to the earth ? It beggars belief that there are “Christian Zionists”.

  • The Moz

    GKC was a genius and a prophet. Reading him for the first time last year turned my liberal secular worldview on its head and I haven’t looked back. God bless him.

  • ms catholic state

    I guess that’s Bradford and Tower Hamlets gone for good then!  Will London be next?!

  • Simon Mayers

    One problem with Dr William Oddie’s argument is that it relies on material which dates back to the 1890s to defend Chesterton. Oddie refers to entries from Chesterton’s diary and The Debater school magazine, both from 1891, to demonstrate that Chesterton was hostile to Russian antisemitism. He also cites a poem published in The Wild Knight in 1900 to demonstrate Chesterton’s shocked reaction to the persecution of Dreyfus. These in fact do reflect his early attitude towards Jews. However, early into the 20th century his attitude towards Jews became increasingly negative. He denounced the type of Jew “who is a traitor in France and a tyrant in England” (The Nation, 18 March 1911) and he stated that in “the case of Dreyfus” he was quite certain that “the British public was systematically and despotically duped by some power – and I naturally wonder what power” (The Nation, 8 April 1911). By the fourth edition of The Wild Knight he had added a note about his Dreyfus poem which stated that whilst “there may have been a fog of injustice in the French courts; I know that there was a fog of injustice in the English newspapers.” According to the added note, he was now unable to reach a final “verdict on the individual” which he came “largely to attribute” to the “acrid and irrational unanimity of the English Press” (The Wild Knight, 4th edition, 1914). Furthermore, the following passage from Manalive about Moses Gould, a Jew, would seem to suggest that he had become ambivalent about his belief in the innocence of Jews suffering in Russian pogroms: “But wherever there is conflict, crises come in which any soul, personal or racial, unconsciously turns on the world the most hateful of its hundred faces. English reverence, Irish mysticism, American idealism, looked up and saw on the face of Moses a certain smile. It was that smile of the Cynic Triumphant, which has been the tocsin for many a cruel riot in Russian villages or medieval towns.” (G.K Chesterton, Manalive, 1912).
    Another problem is that equating antisemitism purely as a racial prejudice is too simplistic. Oddie is of course right when he suggests that the Holocaust has made it difficult to view and interpret antisemitism and attitudes towards Jews objectively. If his point was simply that Chesterton was not subject to the vicious, eliminationist and racialist antisemitism of the Nazis then I would happily agree with him. One needs to avoid looking backwards through a Holocaust lens to accuse or exonerate Chesterton. But it is possible to be hostile to Jews without advocating violence or invoking race or indeed religion just as it is possible to be hostile to Catholics without advocating violence or invoking race or religion. For example, in his recent book, The Holiness of G.K. Chesterton (2010), Oddie contended that Adam Gopnik’s article a few years ago was motivated by a secularist “anti-Catholic” worldview. I presume Oddie is not accusing Gopnik of disliking Catholics with the same passion that the Nazis hated Jews because he wrote an article critical of Chesterton. But in that case, why is a lower threshold of hostility sufficient for Gopnik to be accused of being an anti-Catholic than is required for someone to be an antisemite? Why is one article about Chesterton sufficient for someone to be an anti-Catholic but you have to embrace a Nazi racial worldview to be considered anti-Jewish? I would contend that Oddie is both right and wrong. Chesterton was not a racialist antisemite, but he did express hostility to ‘the Jews’ qua Jews, and not just to individual Jews. Maybe you can call this socio-political antisemitism to distinguish it from racial antisemitism or alternatively invent a new phrase without the historical baggage. ‘Anti-Jew’ or ‘Anti-Jewish’ perhaps. Chesterton’s caricatures of Jews are perhaps best described as cultural and socio-political rather than racial or religious. For example, his caricatures in his fiction and his criticisms in The New Jerusalem and The New Witness were that Jews were essentially foreign, financially exploitative, lacked European conceptions of bravery and patriotism and were secretive. No doubt there have been some Jewish individuals who were financially exploitative, cowardly, lacked patriotism and secretive. No doubt there have also been Catholic individuals who were guilty of the same vices. But individuals can be criticised for having such vices without making an issue of their Jewishness if they are Jewish or Protestantism if they are Protestant or Catholicism if they are Catholic. Chesterton’s caricatures of Jews were in any case not always targeted at individuals. Sometimes they were, such as the Isaac brothers, but other times they were aimed at Jews in general. He caricatured Jews in general as financially exploitative and secretive. For example, he stated in The New Jerusalem that “there may be good Gipsies; There may be good qualities which especially belong to them as Gipsies … But no student ever praised them for an exaggerated respect for private property, and the whole argument about Gipsy theft can be roughly repeated about Hebrew usury.” (G.K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem, 1920).
    His caricatures of Jewish secrecy can be found in a number of his novels. In The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond, published and set in the late 1930s, the protagonist, Mr Pond, asked a Jewish shopkeeper the following question: “Why do you people do it? It will be more than half your own fault if there’s a row of some kind and a Jingo mob comes here and breaks your windows for your absurd German name.” Why, he asked, “can’t you call yourself Levy, like your fathers before you – your fathers who go back to the most ancient priesthood of the world? And you’ll get into trouble with the Germans, too, some day, if you go about calling yourself Schiller.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton, The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (1937; repr., London: Darwen Finlayson, 1967), 180-181. A similar example can be found in The Ball and the Cross (i.e. the Jewish shopkeeper who was of the “Thornton Percy branch of the chosen people” whose “industrious object” was to make themselves invisible among the gentiles and who deserved to be “ruled like a dog or killed like a cockroach.”). It may of course be objected that these were fiction and that characters in novels do not represent the views of the author. But he expressed similar views about Jewish secrecy in The New Jerusalem. Chesterton stated that the “folly of the fashion by which Jews often concealed their Jewish names, must surely be manifest by this time even to those who concealed them.” (G.K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem, 1920). The accusation of Jewish secrecy became more sinister in his newspaper, The New Witness. In ‘The Jew and the Journalist’ he argued that “where the Jew is dangerous, is as a spy and not a soldier, it is by the weapon of the spy, which is secrecy.” He blamed journalists for depicting Jews as Englishmen, Germans or Russians rather than as Jews and he concluded that “it took our journalists such a long time to admit that a Jew was a Jew that it naturally took them even longer to learn that a Jew was a German spy.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton, ‘The Jew and the Journalist’, The New Witness, 11 October 1917, 562-563.
    Perhaps a more reasonable middle ground can be reached which takes into account the positive (yes, Chesterton did write some positive things about Jews) and the negative things that Chesterton wrote. The truth lies somewhere in between the black and white poles and if one is willing to wrestle with the ambivalence – always more complex and difficult than arguing for absolute positions – then a more authentic understanding and appreciation of Chesterton will surely be possible.
    Simon Mayers.

  • Martin

    Not sure, but keep an eye on Birmingham, Coventry and the local towns.

    The Muslim faith is/has reached into the large centres of population and pushed out quite successfully, hub and spoke style.

    I cant blame them however, this is exactly what Christians do with outreach….however the results are not the same.

    I would have limited issues if they did this as Arab’s(in the main), rather than muslim as stated before. It is the culture that a Muslim brings with them that is the issue, not the actual person him or herself.

  • Tom Ryan

    GKC was certainly prescient about Hitler and the evil he would bring.

  • chiaramonti

    As Pius XI said – ‘Anti-semitism is inadmissible.  Spiritually, we are all semites.’

  • Nat_ons

    Another one of those marvellously Chestertonian paradoxes set out in an awesomely Chesterton-esque manner, thank you for this timely little treasure, WO. As with another maligned saintly soul, the Servant of God Pius XII, a confusion of meaning in terms can lead to the building of an industry of defamation: the anti-semite, true or false – debate, sort. And as with so many other industries, it is the unforeseen toxic waste that pollutes, abides and deforms in all it touches.

    However, I suspect K G C would not be a ‘modern’ Zionist (Israel the expansionist, imperialistic, colonising state and only Israel thus); not because it refers to the Jews, or a dispute between land-hungry semitic tribes, nor even that it seems to set Judaism against its Muslim and Christian neighbours, but because he had a healthy scepticism about human dominion in the name of nation, race or freedom (to expand, claim a piece of the sun, be a state that others have to respect).

    God bless – and do please keep on plugging on about the holiness of Chesterton, that is the Spirit not man at work, and would no doubt have the good hearted man laugh out cheerily amid the courts of heaven – Nat.

  • Nat_ons

    SM, yes I can see your point and almost agree with it. Nonetheless, I believe it to be misguided. Ant because it is essential untrue, but because it is not fundamentally fair (a much harder thing to be when judging others).

    The world and his wife at one time found it easy to be anti-semitic and anti-Jewish – WO is right to draw the distinction, though it displeases some – yet now neither anti-semitic, anti-Jewish nor anti-Israeli seem quite the thing to admit .. although all three abound and are quite as virulent in the inhuman appeals made upon them to common (no longer highest, supreme or ueber) humanity. It would hardly be surprising to find in Chesterton at least a tinge of that one-time cultural ambiguity then prevailing in the domineering nationalism of his beloved England; or that this inevitably led to a degree of phobic reaction to the patently non-English perception of the human condition. A mentality of No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish did exist in England even in my lifetime; none of this base and utterly unthinking dislike, however, was Chesterton’s view of nation, nationality or nationalism let alone his expressed opinions on the less than sane ‘scientific’ notion of race and its purity.

    ‘Chesterton’ you point out, ‘stated that the “folly of the fashion by which Jews often concealed their Jewish names, must surely be manifest by this time even to those who concealed them.” (G.K. Chesterton, The New Jerusalem, 1920). The accusation of Jewish secrecy became more sinister in his newspaper, The New Witness. In ‘The Jew and the Journalist’ he argued that “where the Jew is dangerous, is as a spy and not a soldier, it is by the weapon of the spy, which is secrecy.” He blamed journalists for depicting Jews as Englishmen, Germans or Russians rather than as Jews and he concluded that “it took our journalists such a long time to admit that a Jew was a Jew that it naturally took them even longer to learn that a Jew was a German spy.” Gilbert Keith Chesterton, ‘The Jew and the Journalist’, The New Witness, 11 October 1917, 562-563.’

    Note well, all of this is somewhat true: not as any slight against Judaism or the Semite but against the occult and duplicitous character, which, sadly, seems to have been the all too necessary means available to some Jews to express their opinions let alone any positive political identity. Look at what he says, the Jews should be Jews, and be called so, not diminished to another nation; this is Zionism, not in the political statehood sense, but in the truly liberal sense of being what one is as a man (and in being this, good or ill, seeking to be what one ought to be, as God so wills not man dictates). None of what he says there is specifically anti-semitic, for – in the context of the time – the exact same could be said of the Irish and with almost as much truth in terms of its hidden or latent threat to the British way of being accepted as culturally advanced ‘humanity’ (except that the Irish tended to make a show of Irishness in defiance of homelessness and the patent oddities of ‘race’).

    God bless, Nat.

  • W Oddie

    He would change now because he would see, as has become evident, that Jews CAN assimilate into British culture. It was by no means evident then. That’s what i mean. And i strongly suspect that he would now have some sympathy with the Palestinians.

  • W Oddie

    You may be right. But I didn’t exclude that possibiity.

  • W Oddie

    And where exactly did he say that? And who exactly is “wee jock” ? Editor CT, perhaps, in one of her many protean manifestations? If so, be warned that this woman will back anything hostile to the present pope.

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal




    Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal


    Fr Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal



    Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Dcruz

    You are absolutely right that Europe will be a muslim continent with all the illegal immigrants from neighbouring muslim countries coming into Europe. The constiution of Europeon countries allows them to be head of state but non- muslims are barred from being head of state in muslim counties and non- muslims are even persecuted.In some countires of Europe even the catholic cuhurch is attacked.

  • Dcruz

    The Jews own God and muslims own Allah and the word cannot be used by non-muslims. Jews are killing muslims nd muslims are killing jews, infidels ( non muslims ) and even muslims in the name of their God.This is the present day scenario

  • Wee Jock

    Yes, there is only one person commenting from Scotland. Sheesh…

    The Holy Father said the following in Light of the World:

    A change also seemed necessary to me in the ancient liturgy. In fact, the formula was such as to truly wound the Jews, and it certainly did not express in a positive way the great, profound unity between Old and New Testament. For this reason, I thought that a modification was necessary in the ancient liturgy, in particular in reference to our relationship with our Jewish friends. I modified it in such a way that it contained our faith, that Christ is salvation for all. That there do not exist two ways of salvation, and that therefore Christ is also the savior of the Jews, and not only of the pagans. But also in such a way that one did not pray directly for the conversion of the Jews in a missionary sense, but that the Lord might hasten the historic hour in which we will all be united.

    More details at

    Now, this strongly suggests that the Holy Father does not see the individual conversion of Jews as necessary. Rather, he looks forward to a sort of ‘corporate conversion’ of the Jewish people. There may be such an event in the future (which is devoutly to be wished) but to use that as an excuse not to pray for the conversion of Jews now, that is whilst they are still in the wayfaring state and capable of conversion, cannot be justified.

  • Wee Jock

    Indeed, outside of the Church, which is His Mystical Body, there is no salvation. 

    Not a popular truth though.

  • Dcruz

    Father Thomas I suppose you have not lived in a muslim country and seen how shabily christians are treated despite all the good done for people of all creeds specially muslims. Muslims live in self denial, have no respect for other faiths and reducle it to prove that their religion only has the right to exist. You can see what is the end result total disaster in the muslim world and they are now heading towards the west to create more disaster there.

  • Dcruz

    Presently America and Europe are saving the jews and its their arms and ammunation that are saving them. let us see how they will be saved. In the end no one will come to their rescue and the jews are on the decline.

  • W Oddie

    What I said was “The perspective of history may similarly show this “problem” too to be illusory”. It MAY. It’s a possibility.  But actually, I agree: they’re after a takeover, and any urban area they have taken over is considered Muslim territory. The Jews were never interested in taking US over: just (some of them) Palestine.

  • W Oddie

    He never said that. What he said was ” Christ is salvation for all….there do not exist two ways of salvation, and … therefore Christ is also the saviour of the Jews, and not only of the pagans”

  • Brian A Cook

    I know this is old, but I felt a need to include a warning.  Israel Shamir is a known anti-Jewish propagandist. 

  • Polypubs

    The bigger question is- was Chesterton ever really Catholic? Our Anglophone perspective, based on our Nineteenth Century reception on First Vatican, is that, yes, Chesterton was fighting the good fight. Father Brown stands for Aristotle and the supremacy of Logic while Sherlock Holmes is hopelessly empiricist and Humean. Yet, Chesterton’s hold on us arises from his unsurpassed ability to conjure up Gnostic nightmares in a manner that put the Golden Dawn to shame. Yet, Christianity as a sort of Freikorps of Witch Hunter generals is not a Catholic or synoecist conception. There is little in Chesterton- or nothing I can think of- which bears the stamp of a Catholic education or sensibility.
    Thus there is something particularly shocking- constitutive indeed of a scandal for the lazier sort of convert or Anglo Catholic- in Chesterton’s beery Bellocian anti-semitism. It has no roots in anything we recognize as Christian but appears merely the sham egalitarianism of the aesthete thrown into terror by Foster’s education Act who, realizing the great unwashed can  now overhear what he says, is careful to aggressively drop his aithes and pepper his speech with profanity.