Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Belloc on Religion and Politics

Hilaire Belloc was a Anglo-Franco author in the earlier 20th century, most remembered for his contributions with G.K. Chesterton. He was educated by the Oratorians of Birmingham, at the school founded by Bl John Henry Cardinal Newman. After serving in the French military, Belloc studied at Balliol College of the University of Oxford where he was President of the Oxford Union, the incredibly prestigious debating society, and tried to win a fellowship to All Saints, Oxford. Apparently, he placed a small statue of the Virgin Mary on the table during his interview, which didn't help his cause, as there were fierce debates in the Anglican Church over the Anglo-Catholics in the Oxford Movement.
Belloc then entered politics, after becoming a British subject. He stood for election to the House of Commons. An obnoxious Anglican shouted from the crowd if he was a Papist. He replied:
I am a Catholic. As far as possible I go to Mass every day. This is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative!
I wish those who want to 'keep religion out of politics' would think about that for a minute. I would rather hold my head high, as a Catholic in love with my God and my family, than sacrifice it for the sake of winning a political office.

The great translator of the Bible Monsignor Ronald Knox had this to offer during the homily at Belloc's funeral in 1953:
"No man of his time fought so hard for the good things."
That says something, does it not? Exalted even above Chesterton, who he was great friends with, and they lead each other into the Church, before Chesterton's conversion (when Knox entered) and when Chesterton crossed the Tiber. He also preached at Chesterton's funeral.

Belloc was not always so serious.
"Wherever the Catholic sun does shine, there's always laughter and good red wine."

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