Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So we'll live, and pray, and sing, and tell old tales . . .

Some suggest that this poem was written as some sort of allegory for the anglican appropriation of Catholic Church property. When I first read it, I thought that Hillaire Belloc just didn’t like children.

The reality is, Mr. Belloc writes like a machine gun. He was a contemporary of Chesterton, and a good friend to him. The two would assist each other in their efforts. George Bernard Shaw would refer to this indefatigable duo as the “Chesterbelloc”. They wrote extensively on economic theory, basing their ideas on the concept of subsidiarity starting to be enshrined Pope Leo’s great social encyclical.

While Chesterton was content to use newspaper columns, Belloc decided to delve as far as possible into politics. He ran for the parliamentary seat open in his district and immediately faced criticism from his opponent because he was a Catholic. As the story goes, Belloc responded by scheduling his first campaign speech at a Catholic School. There, to open his speech, he held up his rosary. “This is a rosary!” he declared to the crowd. “Near as I can, I tell these beads every day.” He continued, “I am a Catholic. If you refuse to elect me because I am a Catholic, I shall thank you for not making me the representative of such a bigoted people.”

He won by a landslide.

Belloc’s rather moralistic, singsongy poetry, though the product of this . . . uhmmm . . . shall we say “unflinching” personality? . . . is still considered, in my humble opinion, a part of the Catholic Literary Revival of the 19th and 20th centuries. I don’t think he had a dislike for children at all. However, I think he had a strong opposition to any man who, in certain ways, remained childish.

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