Monday, June 15, 2009

G.K. and Canonisation

Just some sketchy thoughts on the question of the canonisation of G.K., reproduced from my personal blog Sing Me the Old Songs:

The question of G.K. Chesterton being canonised is being raised once again, and getting a little bit of buzz in the Chestertonian blogging world. Sean Dailey, of one of my favourite Chestertonian blogs The Blue Boar, wrote about it initially here, and again here.

In his second post he offered a sort of apology for saying: "The world needs more fat saints." And while it's true that dear Uncle Gilbert was a heck of a lot more than a jolly fat man, I think there's some validity in Mr. Dailey's statement.

St. Gianna Molla was recently a topic of discussion in our house, and one thing about this extraordinary and heroic woman was that she was not the stereotypical saint. She was a working woman - a pediatrician, to be precise - and she was a married woman.

But frankly I don't think any of the saints were stereotypical saints. Their 'failure' to conform to the stereotypes is, I'd almost venture to say, what made them saints. The Church has always been about breaking stereotypes. From the wild sinner to saint Augustine, to the radically simple Francis of Assisi, to the quiet Therese following her Little Way, to the 'dumb ox' Aquinas, saints have always been found in the most unlikely of places.

I don't know whether Uncle Gilbert merits canonisation or not... I haven't made it a course of study, and I can only testify to the radical way he changed my life.

But I do believe that if he breaks from the mold of the stereotypical saint, on account of all his most stereotypically Chesterton qualities, then that's the first step, and the first proof that maybe he should be canonised. The world needs more fat saints because the world needs more saints... holy men and women who challenge us to break past the stereotypes and live in an unthought of and radical way for God.

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