Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.

Expand Messages
  • WendellWag@aol.com
    I think that both of the below statements are going too far in treating Chesterton s writings as being perfect and unchallengeable. In a message dated
    Message 1 of 22 , Feb 20, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      I think that both of the below statements are going too far in treating Chesterton's writings as being perfect and unchallengeable.
       
       
      In a message dated 2/19/2012 7:33:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
      It is so easy to become disenchanted about the desacralized cosmos we find ourselves inhabiting today anyway--a huge and present danger--that I would think GKC a potent and much needed antidote to our modern malaise. I see him as a noble re-enchanter, perhaps one of the greatest ever, and so found it ironic that you would speak of being disenchanted by him.
       
      In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
      I realize that neither John R. nor Mike Foster nor you were saying GKC is not 'a great writer in many ways'; if any person did say this, I would say (based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen) that person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject.
       
      Furthermore, based on the following statement, I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself to just ones you've already decided are perfect and unchallengeable.
       
       
      In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
      Furthermore, I am unconcerned with what Hitchens says about GKC, or at least am not surprised he didn't find him charming or convincing and I am not curious enough to read the article he wrote to discover any more about his opinion at present.
       
      Wendell Wagner
    • Travis Buchanan
      Wendell, I never claimed GKC s writings were perfect and unchallengable . That s your non sequitur interpretation of what I said. I did claim that
      Message 2 of 22 , Mar 1, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Wendell,

        I never claimed GKC's writings were 'perfect and unchallengable'. That's your non sequitur interpretation of what I said. I did claim that Chesterton's work is noble and he is one of the best re-enchanters of the modern disenchanted universe I am aware of. I think this statement not out of step with the opinions of many others--scholarly and popular--on him and his work.

        As for your second comment, a non sequitur ad hominem, I'm mystified that you would take my disagreement with Mike Foster about GKC and my affirmation of what Foster did say (that GKC was a great writer) and my pronouncement that 'based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen' that a 'person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject' if he would disagree with Foster's comment that GKC is 'a great writer in many ways' as evidence of narrow reading on my part, of confining myself to only authors whom I have beforehand 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. GKC as every man was imperfect and not beyond criticism. He would have been the first to admit this. This is a point I clearly expressed before. It appears, Wendell, you are drawing unfounded conclusions based on my comments. If one (in this case, Mike Foster) challenges the worth of an author, may another not defend it?

        Travis



        Not all those who wander are lost.
                                - J. R. R. Tolkien



        On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
         

        I think that both of the below statements are going too far in treating Chesterton's writings as being perfect and unchallengeable.
         
         
        In a message dated 2/19/2012 7:33:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
        It is so easy to become disenchanted about the desacralized cosmos we find ourselves inhabiting today anyway--a huge and present danger--that I would think GKC a potent and much needed antidote to our modern malaise. I see him as a noble re-enchanter, perhaps one of the greatest ever, and so found it ironic that you would speak of being disenchanted by him.
         
        In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
        I realize that neither John R. nor Mike Foster nor you were saying GKC is not 'a great writer in many ways'; if any person did say this, I would say (based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen) that person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject.
         
        Furthermore, based on the following statement, I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself to just ones you've already decided are perfect and unchallengeable.
         
         
        In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
        Furthermore, I am unconcerned with what Hitchens says about GKC, or at least am not surprised he didn't find him charming or convincing and I am not curious enough to read the article he wrote to discover any more about his opinion at present.
         
        Wendell Wagner


      • Zachary Bos
        We might here hearken to the critical rule of thumb, that if we ve not read the text under discussion (and going further, the authors under scrutiny in the
        Message 3 of 22 , Mar 1, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          We might here hearken to the critical rule of thumb, that if we've not read the text under discussion (and going further, the authors under scrutiny in the text under discussion), we might hold our responses in reserve until we've gotten to the reading.

          *

          As for me, I found the Atlantic piece useful, and persuasive. And I say this as a staunch (if not starch-collarer) materialist who appreciates the kind of enchantment works of literary imagination can supply to a universe mostly unconcerned with our human mutterings and putterings.

          All best,

          Zachary
        • Mike Foster
          Travis & Wendell, I admired GKC more before I fell in with (and then was defenestrated from my contributing & copy editor’s post with GILBERT) The American
          Message 4 of 22 , Mar 1, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Travis & Wendell,
                I admired GKC more before I fell in with (and then was defenestrated from my contributing & copy editor’s post with GILBERT) The American Chesterton Society. 
             
            Mike
             
            Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 11:11 AM
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
             
             

            Wendell,

             
            I never claimed GKC's writings were 'perfect and unchallengable'. That's your non sequitur interpretation of what I said. I did claim that Chesterton's work is noble and he is one of the best re-enchanters of the modern disenchanted universe I am aware of. I think this statement not out of step with the opinions of many others--scholarly and popular--on him and his work.
             
            As for your second comment, a non sequitur ad hominem, I'm mystified that you would take my disagreement with Mike Foster about GKC and my affirmation of what Foster did say (that GKC was a great writer) and my pronouncement that 'based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen' that a 'person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject' if he would disagree with Foster's comment that GKC is 'a great writer in many ways' as evidence of narrow reading on my part, of confining myself to only authors whom I have beforehand 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. GKC as every man was imperfect and not beyond criticism. He would have been the first to admit this. This is a point I clearly expressed before. It appears, Wendell, you are drawing unfounded conclusions based on my comments. If one (in this case, Mike Foster) challenges the worth of an author, may another not defend it?
             
            Travis



            Not all those who wander are lost.
                                    - J. R. R. Tolkien



            On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
             

            I think that both of the below statements are going too far in treating Chesterton's writings as being perfect and unchallengeable.
             
             
            In a message dated 2/19/2012 7:33:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
            It is so easy to become disenchanted about the desacralized cosmos we find ourselves inhabiting today anyway--a huge and present danger--that I would think GKC a potent and much needed antidote to our modern malaise. I see him as a noble re-enchanter, perhaps one of the greatest ever, and so found it ironic that you would speak of being disenchanted by him.
             
            In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
            I realize that neither John R. nor Mike Foster nor you were saying GKC is not 'a great writer in many ways'; if any person did say this, I would say (based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen) that person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject.
             
            Furthermore, based on the following statement, I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself to just ones you've already decided are perfect and unchallengeable.
             
             
            In a message dated 2/20/2012 6:32:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
            Furthermore, I am unconcerned with what Hitchens says about GKC, or at least am not surprised he didn't find him charming or convincing and I am not curious enough to read the article he wrote to discover any more about his opinion at present.
             
            Wendell Wagner
             
          • Jef Murray
            Mike,    So, you don t like Chesterton anymore because you had a falling out with the editor of a Chestertonian magazine?! Come on, Mike, I know you know
            Message 5 of 22 , Mar 2, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Mike,

                 So, you don't like Chesterton anymore because you had a falling
              out with the editor of a Chestertonian magazine?! Come on, Mike, I know
              you know that's hardly a valid critique of _Chesterton_!

                 And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
              on people he doesn't even know with any further response.

                 Sheesh!

                     Jef


              ===================================================================
              Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                       http://www.JefMurray.com
              ===================================================================
            • Mike Foster
              Jef, See John Lennon on Jesus. “It was His thick disciples muddling it up.” Chesterton was a very uneven writer, to say the least. This is one of the
              Message 6 of 22 , Mar 2, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Jef,
                See John Lennon on Jesus.
                 
                “It was His thick disciples muddling it up.”
                 
                Chesterton was a very uneven writer, to say the least.
                 
                This is one of the articles that GILBERT refused to print because Bernardin was not a true Catholic.  I also argued with the editor that his calling Michelle Obama “a vile, arrogant bitch” was not exactly Chestertonian debate.  I was also suspected of occasionally voting for Democrats:

                            Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Chicago archbishop whose pacific pastoral ministry of reconciliation and amity endures.

                            His last book, The Gift of Peace, unforgettably recounts the spiritual and physical courage he demonstrated in his last three years.  It begins with a former seminarian’s false allegation of sexual misconduct, followed by his accuser’s recantation and Bernardin’s moving pilgrimage of forgiveness to the dying man.  It ends with discovery of the pancreatic cancer that, after 17 months, would take his life.  Completed on All Saints’ Day, 1996, only thirteen days before his death, a hand-written letter to readers is its preface:

                            “To paraphrase Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, ‘it has been the best of times, it has been the worst of times.’  The worst because of the humiliation, physical pain, anxiety, and fear.  The best because of reconciliation, love, pastoral sensitivity and peace that have resulted from God’s grace and the support of so many people…God can write straight with crooked lines.”

                            With humbleness and wit, The Gift of Peace chronicles the joys and sorrows of Bernardin’s life.  Through it all shines the gentle benedictive voice of its author.

                            Sr. Rachel Bergschneider, OSB, pastoral associate at St. Thomas parish in Peoria Heights, is one admirer:

                            “It’s a marvelous book, a great testimony to his faith that death was such a friend to him.”

                            Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, remembers Bernardin’s visits to the University of  Notre Dame, where he assisted the Cardinal at Mass.  “[He was] very kind, very intelligent and gentle.  He realized near the end of his life that folks loved their Bishop and wanted him home rather than away at meetings--a good lesson for all Bishops.

                            His life and death are a legacy to all the faithful. He was a good shepherd to Chicago and served the universal Church as well.”     

                            Sr. Rachel agrees, noting his ministry for peace and the “Seamless Garment” consistent ethic of life from conception to death. 

                            She also praised “his efforts to bring people of different and diverse opinions to a consensus through the Common Ground Project he initiated.”

                            Bernardin’s book first confronts the “deep humiliation” of the 1993 sexual accusation.

                            Former Journal Star reporter Ray Long was covering politics for the Chicago Sun-Times when Bernardin convened a press conference to address the allegation.  Long’s editors called him in to be “the hammer.”

                            “Time was running short,” Long, sitting in the overcrowded room’s front row, recalled.  “The key question had not been asked.  So I asked, ‘I realize these are personal questions, but have you ever had sex of any kind?’

                            “Bernardin replied, ‘I’m 65 years old and I can tell you that all my life I have lived a chaste and celibate life’.”

                            Said Long:

                            “You had to ask the tough questions to be fair.  It was a hardball and he knocked it out of the park.”

                             “I could read in the eyes of the assembled journalists that they believed me,” Bernardin wrote.

                            Br. Donald Houde, CSV, who was an English teacher and later principal at Spalding Institute in Peoria and worked in the Chicago Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education while Bernardin was Archbishop, was there:

                            “He was calm and ready to follow the regulations that he set up for any priest who was guilty of that misconduct.  We who knew the Cardinal were numb in our unbelief.  We were in awe of his courage.  He went higher in our esteem.  Time and agony followed, and I was there when he held the press conference telling reporters with the same dignity that the young man admitted that he had lied.  He then told us he visited the young man and forgave him.”

                            Of that moment, when his tearful accuser apologized for the untrue allegation and accepted his offer to celebrate Mass with him right then, Bernardin wrote: “Never in my priesthood have I witnessed a more profound reconciliation.”

                            His decision to fully disclose the news of his cancer required even greater fortitude.  He was “dying publicly.”  His chronicle of his ordeal is frank but spare.  Gentle jokes pervade what could be a grim account.  He finds himself serving as an unofficial chaplain to some 700 fellow cancer patients, including the little girl who said, “I want to see that Pope man.”

                            “Suffering and pain make little sense to me without God,” he declares, “only in terms of their redemptive, salvific qualities.  My decision to go through my cancer in public has been to share a simple message: faith really matters.”

                            Concluding his book, Bernardin wrote, “I am both exhausted and exhilarated.  As I write these final words, my heart is filled with joy.      I am at peace”

                            “Chicago winters are harsh.  It is a time of dying….But we know that spring will soon come with all its new life and wonder.         

                            “It is quite clear I will not be alive in the spring.  But I will experience new life in a different way.”

                            “I will be home.”

                            This brave book is a precious portrait of a single soul’s triumph.  In a full life of dedication to his faith and his faithful, Joseph Bernardin saved his best for last.

                            Br. Houde: “He was a holy man.  He was shy.  He was very kind to people.  He was always very well prepared for the tasks ahead of him--yes, even death.”

                 

                By Mike Foster

                Published in the Peoria Journal Star, November 11, 2006.

                 
                Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 8:44 AM
                Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
                 
                 

                Mike,

                   So, you don't like Chesterton anymore because you had a falling
                out with the editor of a Chestertonian magazine?! Come on, Mike, I know
                you know that's hardly a valid critique of _Chesterton_!

                   And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                on people he doesn't even know with any further response.

                   Sheesh!

                       Jef
                 

                ===================================================================
                Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                         http://www.JefMurray.com
                ===================================================================
              • Travis Buchanan
                Mike, That is a moving account of what sounds like a godly man. *Gilbert* is poorer for not carrying it. Thanks for letting all of us read it. As for the
                Message 7 of 22 , Mar 3, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  Mike,

                  That is a moving account of what sounds like a godly man. Gilbert is poorer for not carrying it. Thanks for letting all of us read it.

                  As for the unevenness of GKC's writing, I would like to know more specifically from you what you mean. That may be the case certainly. The exposure I have had to Chesterton has only been positive, and I have delighted in most all of what I've read of his. But perhaps I am too generous a reader. Certainly Chesterton was not for all tastes. Tolkien remarked to his son Christopher once:

                  P[riscilla].... has been wading through The Ballad of the White Horse for the last many nights; and my efforts to explain the obscurer parts to her convince me that it is not as good as I thought. The ending is absurd. The brilliant smash and glitter of the words and phrases (when they come off, and are not mere loud colours) cannot disguise the fact that G. K. C. knew nothing whatever about the 'North', heathen or Christian. (Carpenter, ed., 1980, Letter 80, 3 September 1944)

                  Tolkien did seem to be found more often criticizing what he didn't like in literature rather than praising what he did, however.

                  Cheers,

                  Travis



                  Not all those who wander are lost.
                                          - J. R. R. Tolkien



                  On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM, Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote:
                   

                  Jef,
                  See John Lennon on Jesus.
                   
                  “It was His thick disciples muddling it up.”
                   
                  Chesterton was a very uneven writer, to say the least.
                   
                  This is one of the articles that GILBERT refused to print because Bernardin was not a true Catholic.  I also argued with the editor that his calling Michelle Obama “a vile, arrogant bitch” was not exactly Chestertonian debate.  I was also suspected of occasionally voting for Democrats:

                              Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Chicago archbishop whose pacific pastoral ministry of reconciliation and amity endures.

                              His last book, The Gift of Peace, unforgettably recounts the spiritual and physical courage he demonstrated in his last three years.  It begins with a former seminarian’s false allegation of sexual misconduct, followed by his accuser’s recantation and Bernardin’s moving pilgrimage of forgiveness to the dying man.  It ends with discovery of the pancreatic cancer that, after 17 months, would take his life.  Completed on All Saints’ Day, 1996, only thirteen days before his death, a hand-written letter to readers is its preface:

                              “To paraphrase Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, ‘it has been the best of times, it has been the worst of times.’  The worst because of the humiliation, physical pain, anxiety, and fear.  The best because of reconciliation, love, pastoral sensitivity and peace that have resulted from God’s grace and the support of so many people…God can write straight with crooked lines.”

                              With humbleness and wit, The Gift of Peace chronicles the joys and sorrows of Bernardin’s life.  Through it all shines the gentle benedictive voice of its author.

                              Sr. Rachel Bergschneider, OSB, pastoral associate at St. Thomas parish in Peoria Heights, is one admirer:

                              “It’s a marvelous book, a great testimony to his faith that death was such a friend to him.”

                              Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, remembers Bernardin’s visits to the University of  Notre Dame, where he assisted the Cardinal at Mass.  “[He was] very kind, very intelligent and gentle.  He realized near the end of his life that folks loved their Bishop and wanted him home rather than away at meetings--a good lesson for all Bishops.

                              His life and death are a legacy to all the faithful. He was a good shepherd to Chicago and served the universal Church as well.”     

                              Sr. Rachel agrees, noting his ministry for peace and the “Seamless Garment” consistent ethic of life from conception to death. 

                              She also praised “his efforts to bring people of different and diverse opinions to a consensus through the Common Ground Project he initiated.”

                              Bernardin’s book first confronts the “deep humiliation” of the 1993 sexual accusation.

                              Former Journal Star reporter Ray Long was covering politics for the Chicago Sun-Times when Bernardin convened a press conference to address the allegation.  Long’s editors called him in to be “the hammer.”

                              “Time was running short,” Long, sitting in the overcrowded room’s front row, recalled.  “The key question had not been asked.  So I asked, ‘I realize these are personal questions, but have you ever had sex of any kind?’

                              “Bernardin replied, ‘I’m 65 years old and I can tell you that all my life I have lived a chaste and celibate life’.”

                              Said Long:

                              “You had to ask the tough questions to be fair.  It was a hardball and he knocked it out of the park.”

                               “I could read in the eyes of the assembled journalists that they believed me,” Bernardin wrote.

                              Br. Donald Houde, CSV, who was an English teacher and later principal at Spalding Institute in Peoria and worked in the Chicago Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education while Bernardin was Archbishop, was there:

                              “He was calm and ready to follow the regulations that he set up for any priest who was guilty of that misconduct.  We who knew the Cardinal were numb in our unbelief.  We were in awe of his courage.  He went higher in our esteem.  Time and agony followed, and I was there when he held the press conference telling reporters with the same dignity that the young man admitted that he had lied.  He then told us he visited the young man and forgave him.”

                              Of that moment, when his tearful accuser apologized for the untrue allegation and accepted his offer to celebrate Mass with him right then, Bernardin wrote: “Never in my priesthood have I witnessed a more profound reconciliation.”

                              His decision to fully disclose the news of his cancer required even greater fortitude.  He was “dying publicly.”  His chronicle of his ordeal is frank but spare.  Gentle jokes pervade what could be a grim account.  He finds himself serving as an unofficial chaplain to some 700 fellow cancer patients, including the little girl who said, “I want to see that Pope man.”

                              “Suffering and pain make little sense to me without God,” he declares, “only in terms of their redemptive, salvific qualities.  My decision to go through my cancer in public has been to share a simple message: faith really matters.”

                              Concluding his book, Bernardin wrote, “I am both exhausted and exhilarated.  As I write these final words, my heart is filled with joy.      I am at peace”

                              “Chicago winters are harsh.  It is a time of dying….But we know that spring will soon come with all its new life and wonder.         

                              “It is quite clear I will not be alive in the spring.  But I will experience new life in a different way.”

                              “I will be home.”

                              This brave book is a precious portrait of a single soul’s triumph.  In a full life of dedication to his faith and his faithful, Joseph Bernardin saved his best for last.

                              Br. Houde: “He was a holy man.  He was shy.  He was very kind to people.  He was always very well prepared for the tasks ahead of him--yes, even death.”

                   

                  By Mike Foster

                  Published in the Peoria Journal Star, November 11, 2006.

                   
                  Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 8:44 AM
                  Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
                   
                   

                  Mike,

                     So, you don't like Chesterton anymore because you had a falling
                  out with the editor of a Chestertonian magazine?! Come on, Mike, I know
                  you know that's hardly a valid critique of _Chesterton_!

                     And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                  on people he doesn't even know with any further response.

                     Sheesh!

                         Jef
                   

                  ===================================================================
                  Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                           http://www.JefMurray.com
                  ===================================================================


                • Mike Foster
                  Travis, Thanks for the kind words. Indeed on JRRT on more critical on texts than, say, CSL was. Clyde Kilby told me that he’d sent JRRT one of his books &
                  Message 8 of 22 , Mar 3, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Travis,
                    Thanks for the kind words.
                     
                    Indeed on JRRT on more critical on texts than, say, CSL was.
                     
                    Clyde Kilby told me that he’d sent JRRT one of his books & received no reply.  Warnie Lewis told Prof. Kilby, “Well, if he liked your book, it’d be the first one he liked.”
                     
                    But I agree with Tolkien:  GKC doesn’t hold up to re-reading in many cases.
                     
                    And as a recovering newspaper reporter, editor, adviser, GKC’s flippant attitude towards factuality miffs me.  His Dickens book is a sterling example.
                     
                    Cheers,
                    Mike
                     
                    Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2012 10:54 AM
                    Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
                     
                     

                    Mike,
                     
                    That is a moving account of what sounds like a godly man. Gilbert is poorer for not carrying it. Thanks for letting all of us read it.
                     
                    As for the unevenness of GKC's writing, I would like to know more specifically from you what you mean. That may be the case certainly. The exposure I have had to Chesterton has only been positive, and I have delighted in most all of what I've read of his. But perhaps I am too generous a reader. Certainly Chesterton was not for all tastes. Tolkien remarked to his son Christopher once:
                     
                    P[riscilla].... has been wading through The Ballad of the White Horse for the last many nights; and my efforts to explain the obscurer parts to her convince me that it is not as good as I thought. The ending is absurd. The brilliant smash and glitter of the words and phrases (when they come off, and are not mere loud colours) cannot disguise the fact that G. K. C. knew nothing whatever about the 'North', heathen or Christian. (Carpenter, ed., 1980, Letter 80, 3 September 1944)
                     
                    Tolkien did seem to be found more often criticizing what he didn't like in literature rather than praising what he did, however.
                     
                    Cheers,
                     
                    Travis



                    Not all those who wander are lost.
                                            - J. R. R. Tolkien



                    On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM, Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote:
                     
                    Jef,
                    See John Lennon on Jesus.
                     
                    “It was His thick disciples muddling it up.”
                     
                    Chesterton was a very uneven writer, to say the least.
                     
                    This is one of the articles that GILBERT refused to print because Bernardin was not a true Catholic.  I also argued with the editor that his calling Michelle Obama “a vile, arrogant bitch” was not exactly Chestertonian debate.  I was also suspected of occasionally voting for Democrats:

                                Tuesday marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the Chicago archbishop whose pacific pastoral ministry of reconciliation and amity endures.

                                His last book, The Gift of Peace, unforgettably recounts the spiritual and physical courage he demonstrated in his last three years.  It begins with a former seminarian’s false allegation of sexual misconduct, followed by his accuser’s recantation and Bernardin’s moving pilgrimage of forgiveness to the dying man.  It ends with discovery of the pancreatic cancer that, after 17 months, would take his life.  Completed on All Saints’ Day, 1996, only thirteen days before his death, a hand-written letter to readers is its preface:

                                “To paraphrase Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, ‘it has been the best of times, it has been the worst of times.’  The worst because of the humiliation, physical pain, anxiety, and fear.  The best because of reconciliation, love, pastoral sensitivity and peace that have resulted from God’s grace and the support of so many people…God can write straight with crooked lines.”

                                With humbleness and wit, The Gift of Peace chronicles the joys and sorrows of Bernardin’s life.  Through it all shines the gentle benedictive voice of its author.

                                Sr. Rachel Bergschneider, OSB, pastoral associate at St. Thomas parish in Peoria Heights, is one admirer:

                                “It’s a marvelous book, a great testimony to his faith that death was such a friend to him.”

                                Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, remembers Bernardin’s visits to the University of  Notre Dame, where he assisted the Cardinal at Mass.  “[He was] very kind, very intelligent and gentle.  He realized near the end of his life that folks loved their Bishop and wanted him home rather than away at meetings--a good lesson for all Bishops.

                                His life and death are a legacy to all the faithful. He was a good shepherd to Chicago and served the universal Church as well.”     

                                Sr. Rachel agrees, noting his ministry for peace and the “Seamless Garment” consistent ethic of life from conception to death. 

                                She also praised “his efforts to bring people of different and diverse opinions to a consensus through the Common Ground Project he initiated.”

                                Bernardin’s book first confronts the “deep humiliation” of the 1993 sexual accusation.

                                Former Journal Star reporter Ray Long was covering politics for the Chicago Sun-Times when Bernardin convened a press conference to address the allegation.  Long’s editors called him in to be “the hammer.”

                                “Time was running short,” Long, sitting in the overcrowded room’s front row, recalled.  “The key question had not been asked.  So I asked, ‘I realize these are personal questions, but have you ever had sex of any kind?’

                                “Bernardin replied, ‘I’m 65 years old and I can tell you that all my life I have lived a chaste and celibate life’.”

                                Said Long:

                                “You had to ask the tough questions to be fair.  It was a hardball and he knocked it out of the park.”

                                 “I could read in the eyes of the assembled journalists that they believed me,” Bernardin wrote.

                                Br. Donald Houde, CSV, who was an English teacher and later principal at Spalding Institute in Peoria and worked in the Chicago Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education while Bernardin was Archbishop, was there:

                                “He was calm and ready to follow the regulations that he set up for any priest who was guilty of that misconduct.  We who knew the Cardinal were numb in our unbelief.  We were in awe of his courage.  He went higher in our esteem.  Time and agony followed, and I was there when he held the press conference telling reporters with the same dignity that the young man admitted that he had lied.  He then told us he visited the young man and forgave him.”

                                Of that moment, when his tearful accuser apologized for the untrue allegation and accepted his offer to celebrate Mass with him right then, Bernardin wrote: “Never in my priesthood have I witnessed a more profound reconciliation.”

                                His decision to fully disclose the news of his cancer required even greater fortitude.  He was “dying publicly.”  His chronicle of his ordeal is frank but spare.  Gentle jokes pervade what could be a grim account.  He finds himself serving as an unofficial chaplain to some 700 fellow cancer patients, including the little girl who said, “I want to see that Pope man.”

                                “Suffering and pain make little sense to me without God,” he declares, “only in terms of their redemptive, salvific qualities.  My decision to go through my cancer in public has been to share a simple message: faith really matters.”

                                Concluding his book, Bernardin wrote, “I am both exhausted and exhilarated.  As I write these final words, my heart is filled with joy.      I am at peace”

                                “Chicago winters are harsh.  It is a time of dying….But we know that spring will soon come with all its new life and wonder.         

                                “It is quite clear I will not be alive in the spring.  But I will experience new life in a different way.”

                                “I will be home.”

                                This brave book is a precious portrait of a single soul’s triumph.  In a full life of dedication to his faith and his faithful, Joseph Bernardin saved his best for last.

                                Br. Houde: “He was a holy man.  He was shy.  He was very kind to people.  He was always very well prepared for the tasks ahead of him--yes, even death.”

                     

                    By Mike Foster

                    Published in the Peoria Journal Star, November 11, 2006.

                     
                    Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 8:44 AM
                    Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
                     
                     
                    Mike,

                       So, you don't like Chesterton anymore because you had a falling
                    out with the editor of a Chestertonian magazine?! Come on, Mike, I know
                    you know that's hardly a valid critique of _Chesterton_!

                       And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                    on people he doesn't even know with any further response.

                       Sheesh!

                           Jef
                     

                    ===================================================================
                    Mystical Realms - Exploring the boundaries between worlds.....
                             http://www.JefMurray.com
                    ===================================================================

                  • davise@cs.nyu.edu
                    [I posted this this morning, but for some reason, it didn t show up. If it shows up twice, my apologies.] ... Mike -- I agree that Chesterton s casual attitude
                    Message 9 of 22 , Mar 4, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      [I posted this this morning, but for some reason, it didn't show up.
                      If it shows up twice, my apologies.]

                      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Foster" <mafoster@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > But I agree with Tolkien: GKC doesn't hold up to re-reading in
                      > many cases.
                      >
                      > And as a recovering newspaper reporter, editor, adviser, GKC's
                      > flippant attitude towards factuality miffs me. His Dickens book
                      > is a sterling example.

                      Mike --

                      I agree that Chesterton's casual attitude toward facts can be
                      irritating. But as a Dickens fan -- even as a fan whose taste in
                      Dickens is just about the opposite of Chesterton's; Little Dorrit is
                      one of my favorites, while Pickwick is the only one of the novels I
                      really had to force myself to finish --- I very much value
                      and enjoy Chesterton's book on Dickens, and I highly recommend it,
                      and I often reread it. (And the same is true of "The Victorian Age
                      in Literature") Chesterton often says things that he knows aren't
                      true just because they sound good, but he often says things that
                      hit the nail on the head in a perfectly apt phrase in a way that
                      no one else does. Dickens himself, of course, is also a tremendously
                      uneven writer.

                      -- Ernie
                    • WendellWag@aol.com
                      You re misusing the term ad hominem. An ad hominem attack is one where you question the character of the person you re arguing with. I never discussed
                      Message 10 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        You're misusing the term "ad hominem."  An ad hominem attack is one where you question the character of the person you're arguing with.  I never discussed Travis Buck's character.  I may disagree with his argumentation or the facts he cites, but I have nothing to say about his character.
                         
                        Wendell Wagner
                         
                        In a message dated 3/2/2012 9:44:25 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, jef.murray@... writes:
                        And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                        on people he doesn't even know with any further response.
                      • WendellWag@aol.com
                        In every other conversation, E-mail exchange, online discussion, etc. about Chesterton I ve ever had, I have always been the one defending Chesterton. (O.K.,
                        Message 11 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          In every other conversation, E-mail exchange, online discussion, etc. about Chesterton I've ever had,  I have always been the one defending Chesterton.  (O.K., that's only about a half a dozen instances, but Chesterton doesn't come up in conversation very often.)  Someone else will find some problem with Chesterton, and I will rise to defend him.  I consider The Man Who Was Thursday to be one of the best novels of the twentieth century.  I think that his writings are full of interesting analogies, well-stated arguments, and great writing.  I also think that he sometimes gets his facts wrong, that he sometimes fails to follow out his arguments as well as he should, and that he sometimes starts from odd assumptions.
                           
                          I just don't meet anyone who think that he's an absolutely wonderful writer.  The people who I talk to who have read Chesterton at all (or who have read someone else's skewed comments on Chesterton which they think are representative of all of Chesterton) get hung up on the wrong facts, arguments, and assumptions in Chesterton.  I tell them that they should read more of Chesterton (or that they should read him and not content themselves with second-hand accounts, if they're merely relying on someone else's comments).  I tell them that there are wonderful things in Chesterton's writings, and that their picky oo-I-found-something-I disagree-with-so-I-can-forget-reading-anything-else-by-him attitude is not a useful way to appreciate any writer.  If I were to praise Chesterton in your exaggerated way, I would actually drive these people off.  By being willing to admit he's a flawed writer, I can get them to go back and read more of Chesterton.
                           
                          Wendell Wagner
                           
                          In a message dated 3/1/2012 12:11:51 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
                          I never claimed GKC's writings were 'perfect and unchallengable'. That's your non sequitur interpretation of what I said. I did claim that Chesterton's work is noble and he is one of the best re-enchanters of the modern disenchanted universe I am aware of. I think this statement not out of step with the opinions of many others--scholarly and popular--on him and his work.

                          As for your second comment, a non sequitur ad hominem, I'm mystified that you would take my disagreement with Mike Foster about GKC and my affirmation of what Foster did say (that GKC was a great writer) and my pronouncement that 'based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen' that a 'person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject' if he would disagree with Foster's comment that GKC is 'a great writer in many ways' as evidence of narrow reading on my part, of confining myself to only authors whom I have beforehand 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. GKC as every man was imperfect and not beyond criticism. He would have been the first to admit this. This is a point I clearly expressed before. It appears, Wendell, you are drawing unfounded conclusions based on my comments. If one (in this case, Mike Foster) challenges the worth of an author, may another not defend it?
                        • Travis Buchanan
                          Wendell, I never said GKC wasn t flawed! He never said that either! I said he was a great writer and his work nobly representative of re-enchantment which
                          Message 12 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Wendell,

                            I never said GKC wasn't flawed! He never said that either! I said he was a 'great writer' and his work nobly representative of re-enchantment which the world needs more of, not less. How is this still not clear to you?

                            Travis



                            Not all those who wander are lost.
                                                    - J. R. R. Tolkien



                            On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 1:23 PM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
                             

                            In every other conversation, E-mail exchange, online discussion, etc. about Chesterton I've ever had,  I have always been the one defending Chesterton.  (O.K., that's only about a half a dozen instances, but Chesterton doesn't come up in conversation very often.)  Someone else will find some problem with Chesterton, and I will rise to defend him.  I consider The Man Who Was Thursday to be one of the best novels of the twentieth century.  I think that his writings are full of interesting analogies, well-stated arguments, and great writing.  I also think that he sometimes gets his facts wrong, that he sometimes fails to follow out his arguments as well as he should, and that he sometimes starts from odd assumptions.
                             
                            I just don't meet anyone who think that he's an absolutely wonderful writer.  The people who I talk to who have read Chesterton at all (or who have read someone else's skewed comments on Chesterton which they think are representative of all of Chesterton) get hung up on the wrong facts, arguments, and assumptions in Chesterton.  I tell them that they should read more of Chesterton (or that they should read him and not content themselves with second-hand accounts, if they're merely relying on someone else's comments).  I tell them that there are wonderful things in Chesterton's writings, and that their picky oo-I-found-something-I disagree-with-so-I-can-forget-reading-anything-else-by-him attitude is not a useful way to appreciate any writer.  If I were to praise Chesterton in your exaggerated way, I would actually drive these people off.  By being willing to admit he's a flawed writer, I can get them to go back and read more of Chesterton.
                             
                            Wendell Wagner
                             
                            In a message dated 3/1/2012 12:11:51 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, travisbuck7@... writes:
                            I never claimed GKC's writings were 'perfect and unchallengable'. That's your non sequitur interpretation of what I said. I did claim that Chesterton's work is noble and he is one of the best re-enchanters of the modern disenchanted universe I am aware of. I think this statement not out of step with the opinions of many others--scholarly and popular--on him and his work.

                            As for your second comment, a non sequitur ad hominem, I'm mystified that you would take my disagreement with Mike Foster about GKC and my affirmation of what Foster did say (that GKC was a great writer) and my pronouncement that 'based on the sheer output and variety that poured forth from GKC's learned mind and prodigious pen' that a 'person is a fool and not worth listening to on any subject' if he would disagree with Foster's comment that GKC is 'a great writer in many ways' as evidence of narrow reading on my part, of confining myself to only authors whom I have beforehand 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. GKC as every man was imperfect and not beyond criticism. He would have been the first to admit this. This is a point I clearly expressed before. It appears, Wendell, you are drawing unfounded conclusions based on my comments. If one (in this case, Mike Foster) challenges the worth of an author, may another not defend it?


                          • Zachary Bos
                            [Disclosure: I appreciate GKC as a writer, though I feel no urge to modify that opinion with superlatives.] Speaking of the world s need for re-enchantment, I
                            Message 13 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              [Disclosure: I appreciate GKC as a writer, though I feel no urge to modify that opinion with superlatives.] 

                              Speaking of the world's need for re-enchantment, I noticed recently that the GKC is widely quoted by the organized religious right, e.g. "We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders", at http://www.nationalchristian.com/1266. The National Christian Foundation is a major sponsor of the Discovery Institute and Focus on the Family, among other causes.

                              Musingly,

                              Zachary

                              PS: My copy of "As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality" just arrived by post.
                              PPS, wanting to change the record: Has anyone else on the list read the first two books in the Kingkiller Chronicles?


                              On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM, Travis Buchanan <travisbuck7@...> wrote:

                              Wendell,

                              I never said GKC wasn't flawed! He never said that either! I said he was a 'great writer' and his work nobly representative of re-enchantment which the world needs more of, not less. How is this still not clear to you?

                              Travis
                            • Travis Buchanan
                              Wendell, I disagree that I was misusing the term ad hominem . You wrote that I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself
                              Message 14 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Wendell,

                                I disagree that I was misusing the term 'ad hominem'. You wrote that 'I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself to just ones you've already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. You impugn my character when you accuse me of narrow reading, of confining myself to only authors whom I have 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. Based on a few scant comments on GKC, how could you derive such conclusive knowledge of my reading habits? How is that comment based on my argumentation? To my mind, a person who does that--reads only authors they have beforehand decided are 'perfect and unchallengeable'--lacks certain desirable qualities one would wish in a whole reader and thinker, that is, in a whole person. I took offense at the personal implication which went well beyond any argumentation offered by me to a speculative assumption presented as fact by you and broadcasted to the entire list about my reading and thinking habits, which are not incidental to my character. Please don't misunderstand: I am not upset about it--I haven't even thought since about it until your e-mail today. But please do me the courtesy of calling a spade a spade. I would appreciate it more if you would own up to what you said instead of giving me a lesson on the meaning of 'ad hominem'.

                                Travis





                                On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 1:23 PM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
                                 

                                You're misusing the term "ad hominem."  An ad hominem attack is one where you question the character of the person you're arguing with.  I never discussed Travis Buck's character.  I may disagree with his argumentation or the facts he cites, but I have nothing to say about his character.
                                 
                                Wendell Wagner
                                 
                                In a message dated 3/2/2012 9:44:25 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, jef.murray@... writes:
                                And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                                on people he doesn't even know with any further response.


                              • Mike Foster
                                Chesterton: “An argument is ruined by turning it into a quarrel.” That said, Travis makes good points. There’s more any and each of us than a single
                                Message 15 of 22 , Mar 14, 2012
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Chesterton: “An argument is ruined by turning it into a quarrel.”
                                   
                                  That said, Travis makes good points.  There’s more any and each of us than a single page can hold.
                                   
                                  Mike
                                   
                                  Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 8:43 AM
                                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Christopher Hitchens on G.K.C.
                                   
                                   

                                  Wendell,


                                  I disagree that I was misusing the term 'ad hominem'. You wrote that 'I think you ought to read the writings of more authors and not confine yourself to just ones you've already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. You impugn my character when you accuse me of narrow reading, of confining myself to only authors whom I have 'already decided are perfect and unchallengeable'. Based on a few scant comments on GKC, how could you derive such conclusive knowledge of my reading habits? How is that comment based on my argumentation? To my mind, a person who does that--reads only authors they have beforehand decided are 'perfect and unchallengeable'--lacks certain desirable qualities one would wish in a whole reader and thinker, that is, in a whole person. I took offense at the personal implication which went well beyond any argumentation offered by me to a speculative assumption presented as fact by you and broadcasted to the entire list about my reading and thinking habits, which are not incidental to my character. Please don't misunderstand: I am not upset about it--I haven't even thought since about it until your e-mail today. But please do me the courtesy of calling a spade a spade. I would appreciate it more if you would own up to what you said instead of giving me a lesson on the meaning of 'ad hominem'.

                                  Travis





                                  On Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 1:23 PM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
                                   

                                  You're misusing the term "ad hominem."  An ad hominem attack is one where you question the character of the person you're arguing with.  I never discussed Travis Buck's character.  I may disagree with his argumentation or the facts he cites, but I have nothing to say about his character.
                                   
                                  Wendell Wagner
                                   
                                  In a message dated 3/2/2012 9:44:25 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, jef.murray@... writes:
                                  And, regarding Wendell, I won't dignify his wild ad hominem attacks
                                  on people he doesn't even know with any further response.
                                   
                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.