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Morning Catholic must-reads: 02/08/13

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

By on Friday, 2 August 2013

GK Chesterton takes a stroll in Brighton, England, in 1935 (AP)

GK Chesterton takes a stroll in Brighton, England, in 1935 (AP)

An English bishop is “seeking a suitable cleric” to investigate the possible Cause of GK Chesterton, the American Chesterton Society has reported.

Zenit has published the first part of its full English translation of the Pope’s in-flight press conference.

Benedict XVI knew his successor “only slightly” before his resignation, but “appreciates him very much“, Mgr Georg Ratzinger has said.

The Pope’s prayer intentions for August focus on parents and teachers, and the Church in Africa.

Stephanie Saldana says that kidnapped priest Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio recently told her “he couldn’t bear to remain in the safety of exile while others died” in Syria.

Joseph Shaw argues that the Extraordinary Form appeals across social classes, while the Ordinary Form is “more appealing to the middle class“.

And the New York Times challenges you to distinguish between the teachings of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day

  • Kevin

    Rather than comparing the teachings of three popes, I would be interested in an analysis of that of the present one. If there is anything “curious” about it, it makes no difference whether or not it merely echoes the teachings of his two immediate predecessors.

    As a starting point I would be interested if a clerical commentator were to look at the following statement from the Holy Father’s homily of 18th May (transcribed on the Vatican Radio Web site):
    “The truth does not enter into an encyclopedia. The truth is an encounter – it is a meeting with Supreme Truth: Jesus, the great truth. No one owns the truth. The we receive the truth when we meet [it].”

    What does the Holy Father mean by “an encyclopedia” and what does he mean by an “encounter with Jesus”? Does he mean that we cannot find the truth in a book, such as the Gospels, and instead require a personal revelation? What ought one to expect to find out from such an “encounter” that could not be confused with subjective feelings? Where would one look to guard against such an error?

    And if “no one owns the truth”, what does that say about any impending canonisations? Does the Holy Father believe that they would be infallible? If so, is that not a claim, not just to truth, but to a very extraordinary truth – one that cannot be observed by the human eye or even the most powerful telescope?

    I would like to see Fr. Lucie-Smith writing on this subject, if possible.

  • danibull

    Kevin, the church doesnt own the truth rather the truth has been revealed to her by the holy spirit in the gospels and church doctrine.

  • NatOns

    ‘An English bishop is “seeking a suitable cleric” to investigate the possible Cause of GK Chesterton, the American Chesterton Society has reported.’

    Not before time too, the British – diffident as they can be about holiness (and sanely so) – do not cherish the superabundant grace granted to them of heroic saintly witnesses to down-to-earth, healthy minded, and just plain old common sense Catholic Faith.

    A great many of these, of course, being of the Anglican or Protestant or Free-thinking (so called) background .. led, like Chesterton, to discover that all he hoped to find in searching for ‘truth’ was sitting right there all along – perhaps, in fact no doubt, in some dumpy, unprepossessing yet delightfully surprising and insightful bundle of humanity.

    Mgr Knox, Fr Martindale SJ, Rev Prof Coppleston SJ, G E M Anscombe .., I trust I do not need to list them all, yet one must be dismayed at how little they are feted, audio-booked, or even read by the British and Irish .. true, in great British/ Irish style they’d poo-poo any such need – but thankfully saintliness and heroism are best judged by other not by ourselves .. so CH readers and contributors, get out there in the hustling, bustling, omnibus-to-Hanwell world and proclaim the wonderful treasure of divine love granted to you.

  • firstparepidemos


    From my reading of the text you provide, it is clear that Francis is saying that Christ is the Truth and that the Truth (i.e. Christ) cannot be contained in any piece of writing, whether it be an encyclopaedia, or even any of the Gospel accounts; this is completely orthodox. How can any piece of writing contain a person, let alone Christ?

    You ask what Francis means by “encounter”. The Gospels, which you mention, lead us to an encounter with the Truth. This can occur during prayer, receiving Communion or the realisation that Christ is in the stinking, dishevelled beggar whose hand is raised in supplication. Any encounter/meeting with Christ is much more than something cerebral; it is a conversion for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    Lastly, please do not be suspicious of feelings, for they are a gift from God. The great Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises teach us to “see God in all things” and to be attentive to our deepest feelings, for God often speaks to us in this way.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that Christ is the Truth, no one confines Him, and any encounter with Him changes us.

  • Kevin

    How do you know all this is true?

  • Kevin

    Whom is the Holy Father talking to when he says, “No one owns the truth”? Who claims to own the truth that the Holy Father is saying to them, “No, you don’t”?

    I don’t intend to pit one pope against another, but, for example, does Pope Francis mean to negate the following statement by John Paul II in his “Opening Address to the Puebla Conference”:
    “Thanks to the Gospel, the Church possesses the truth about the human being.”

    The full address by John Paul and the extract from the homily by Francis are 
    available below, though I cannot vouch for the safety of the links:,_not_walls/en1-690203

  • firstparepidemos

    Kevin, I will presume your question is serious and ask you two questions: What is your criteria for ascertaining truth?” and “How do you know, with certainty, that these criteria are reliable?”

  • firstparepidemos

    There is no contradiction regarding the two statements. John Paul II explicitly refers to the human nature of Christ Who, as we know, is also divine. Even the Gospels cannot contain the divine nature of Christ; therefore we do not own this truth because it is beyond our comprehension.

  • Kevin

    “No one owns the truth” is a general proposition (which is itself presented as an assertion of truth).

    “The Church possesses the truth about X” contradicts it.

    In determining what Francis believes I would rather “read Francis through Francis”.

  • Kevin

    Would you ask that question in court?

  • firstparepidemos

    Rather than answer my questions, you respond with a flippant comment, making it clear that you are not truly interested in discussion. Goodbye.

  • anon

    GK Chesterton and the Bishop of Northampton, jolly good!

  • Barbara

    Great!! We LOVE Chesterton and his fantastic and profoundly inspiring writings.

  • Chris

    Seems like you’re playing games to me.

  • Chris

    Yep. Here you go again. Playing games by not answering the questions.

  • Mhairi

    Nicely and clearly expressed firstparapidemos. Thanks.

  • firstparepidemos

    Thank you, Mhairi.

  • firstparepidemos

    Chris, A copy of your response to Kevin was emailed to me. I must say that I found it not only accurate, but quite hilarious. However, it seems that the Herald censor found it a tad rude and marked it for deletion. I only hope that Kevin read it before the censor’s button was pressed :)