venerdì 15 marzo 2013

Elizabeth Lev su Zenit parla della nostra Conference di domani

Saturday, March 16, on the eve of the installation of the first Jesuit Pope, the American and Italian Chesterton Societies will hold an all-day conference at the Oratorian church of Chiesa Nuova.

"All Roads Lead to Rome," draws on the theme of Chesterton's conversion to Roman Catholicism and his great contributions to the Church with his prolific talents.

One of the main reasons the conference is in Rome is to commemorate the extended stay that Chesterton made to Rome in the winter of 1929. He stayed with his wife Frances above the Spanish Steps at the Hotel Hassler and came to know the city, and sought to describe its essence in his book, The Resurrection of Rome. The principal purpose of his visit was the beatification of 136 Catholic martyrs of England and Wales, which included many Jesuits.

At that critical time of reconciliation between the Church and the Italian state, which had wrested Rome away from Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1870, Chesterton had the opportunity to meet Pope Pius XI (as well as Mussolini) and this encounter with the city and the Pope himself helped him grow in his understanding of the universal church.

Chesterton later wrote "Then he [the Pope] made a motion and we all knelt and in the words that followed I understood for the first time something that was once meant by the ceremonial use of the plural; and in a flash I saw the sense of something that had always seemed to me a senseless custom of king. ... I knew that something stood there infinitely greater than an individual; I knew that it was indeed 'We'; We, Peter, and Gregory and Hildebrand and all the dynasty that does not die."

Certainly the city and the world felt the meaning of "We" as we watched Pope Francis step out on the balcony last night as the 265th Successor of St. Peter.

Chesterton, who has garnered a worldwide following in a multitude of languages, fills the bill for the modern evangelization: brilliant, holy and a wonderful communicator to the world as it is today. Chestertonians, as his followers are known, see endless similarities in the challenges their mentor faced in an increasingly secular society and our own times.

Deacon Spencer Howe of the North American College, one of the organizers of the event, explained to me the pertinence of this author from a seemingly far away age, in an ahistorical world.

"Chesterton was a man who saw reality -- and was able to communicate it in unforgettable ways. He was a prophet whose hundred-year-old books are still as pertinent, readable and clear as ever. Before all else he was a believer."

The conference is held in Italian and English and starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, and is free. For more information visit

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