Page 11, 25th July 2008

25th July 2008
Page 11
Page 11, 25th July 2008 — Genial mysticism

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Genial mysticism

From Mr Stratford Caldecott SIR Your report (July 11) refers to an important article on G K Chesterton by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker magazine. It is an indication of the growing interest in one of our great Catholic writers that such an article should appear.

But it is a shame that you chose to highlight the most negative aspect of the article: the allegation that "G K Chesterton was an anti-Semite who had an `ugly and obsessive' hatred of Jews".

That allegation has been definitively refuted many times, not least by Jews who knew Chesterton, by the Weiner Library and by Chesterton himself ("the world owes God to the Jews". and "I will die defending the last Jew in Europe").

Mr Gopnik also dislikes the "conservative pre-Vatican II types" who love Chesterton uncritically, but he fails to notice the attraction that Chesterton's genial everyday mysticism and prophetic insight into our present malaise exert on a new generation of post-Vatican II radicals.

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