The Catholic Church and Conversion, G.K. Chesterton

In this short book, Chesterton writes on the topic of conversion to Catholicism, both from his own experience and of prejudices he perceives others hold against Catholicism.

He starts out describing Catholicism as always new and novel, in every age being a threat to the normal way of life, in contrast to other branches of Christianity. For example he thinks people would always be more concerned and surprised about a family member become a Catholic, than say a Baptist.

Moving on, he discusses perceived concerns with Catholicism, and includes an illustration regarding Protestan’s view of the Bible. He imagines a procession of priests in their garments, singing, carrying incense, candles and scrolls. While he thinks it would be logical to dismiss the whole procession as nonsense, he sees it as irrational for Protestans to describe it all as nonsense except for one scroll, the Bible, and to just take that out while leaving the rest.

He then spends some time discussing patriotism, as he sees a lot of people in the Church of England equating Protestantism with patriotism, in contrast to the Catholic Church which is above countries or empires.  However I find this point harder to relate to in this era.

One other perspective of Chesterton’s is seeing all churches under the one Catholic church’s roof already. He describes how one sect, or branch, of Christianity may take one idea and emphasise it to be the differential for their sect, but over time they should realise they have gone too far with this one point, and so as they correct for this they will be stepping back towards Catholicism.

Overall this was an interesting read with some fresh ideas and perspectives. However it felt a less satisfying and complete read than some of his other works on similar topics, such as Orthodoxy.


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This entry was posted on May 11, 2016 by in Christianity and tagged , , , .
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