Page 4, 7th June 1946

7th June 1946
Page 4
Page 4, 7th June 1946 — I Catholic Profiles : 56

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Locations: Athens, London, Rome, Boston, Oxford


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I Catholic Profiles : 56


THE task beginning a profile

of Gregory Macdonald was simplified by a friend in Fleet

Street, who. hearing the name, re

Europe than any other journalist I ihnngTjio h'

no'-'nce, but many no'-'nce, but many

omment may be a rather sweepreaders of the articles he contributed every week to G.K.'s Weekly and the Catholic Times would endorse it with little hesitation.

Cheeterton, what was probably his last' letter, wrote thus of his work for GX.'s Weekly: " I can do Imre little to express what we all owe to him for his immense information."

Information, of course, would not be enough without lucidity of exposition. The strength of Gregory Macdonald's work really lies in prolonged study of European history and current affairs, an understanding of the real meanine of the term " European civilisation," a very ready wit, and the development or a prose style that has matured from much reading and much practice. Ir debate, whether on the platform or in print, he is quick to grasp the essentia points maintained by his opponent and to perceive their essential weaknesses; whets he smiles, the opponent should move warily, for then he is getting reads for the final thrust. But he is not an easy person to draw into debate, wheel. seldom interests him as a mere mental exercise. While he likes good talk and has considerable gifts both as a satirist and as a critic, he feels that fools should be suffered gladly but in silence.

(IF Scottish and Irish descent, Gregory Macdonald was born in Boston, "the Athens of America," in 1903, but he has been domiciled in England for some 30 years and is a naturalised British subject. He was educated at Doua School and Wadham College, Oxford, and in 1924 he began his active camel as a journalist in Fleet Street.

For the next few ycarste contributed essays, articles and reviews to deffe newspapers and to a number of Catholic papers, besides sharing .the editorshir and writing of books on English cathedrals and castles. His interest then, w now, was in the discussion of politics, economics and foreign affairs; and foi that reason he was attracted particularly by the news that G.K.'s Weekly wn‘ to be founded as a successor to the Eye-Witness and the New Witness. ith reading had brought him into close touch with the work of &floc and Gilbert and Cecil Chesterton; so the new review seemed to be an outlet for what hc most wanted to say in print.

Thus began an association that lasted from the first number of the new paper until after Chesterton's death. Initially he contributed reviews, satiricee articles, sketches and verse: but after a few numbers had appeared he WA asked for editorial notes and leaders. He played a prominent part in the foun. dation of the Distributist League and, when an Editorial Board was formed. he became active in the general production of the paper and in the organisation of functions planned to assist it financially. Outstanding among these was the famous debate "Do We Agree?" between Chesterton and Shaw at the Kings. way Hall.

Perhaps the most interesting of this series of meetings and debates, apart front "Do We Agree?" was one at the Essex Hall, at which Chesterton was to speak ott his visit to Poland. Belloc and Cardinal Bourne were othet speakers and Chesterton appeared on the platform with the eagle-headed stick. given to him in Poland, which be-carne as characteristic of him as his cape and hat. Gregory Macdonald spoke briefly during the discussion and mentioned afterwards that he intended to spend his next holiday in Poland.

The holiday was only the first of his visits to Poland, to which he journeyed in roundabout ways, returning to London on one occasion by way of Germany, Austria, Italy and .France.' But in addition to writing regularly and collecting first-hand material for further articles, he was increasing his knowledge of languages. In 1933 he won the Marshal Prize for Polish, London University. I should mention here that his greatest achieveinent was that he proposed and accompanied the great pilgrimage of the unemployed to Rome.

SOME day the full story of G.K.'s Weekly will be written to show how a paper with it small tirculation was so widely quoted that to be connected with it, however remotely, was a passport anywhere abroad where discussion was alive. Gregory Macdonald had a meat deal to do with this sttoces trestine, writing editorial notes each week in addition to special articles and reviews and supplying information that helped to shape general policy. On MmldaYen ings the page proofs were corrected in the smoking-roorn a Lontdon

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