One of the greatest Catholic minds of the twentieth century was a journalist, a playwright, a novelist, a literary critic, a poet, a cartoonist, an essayist, a broadcaster, and even president of the Detection Club.
But he was also a theologian.
G. K. Chesterton, famous for defending Christian belief in his books Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man (the latter helped to convert C.S. Lewis) could not help thinking theologically – even when he was making jokes – and his writings illuminate the profoundest religious themes. In his hands, Christian truth is rescued from becoming a purely academic exercise. He gives us an ‘experience of the fullness and many-sidedness of the truth, in which the Christian can romp without a care’ (Balthasar).
In fact, like Lewis, Chesterton, who was one of the great converts of the twentieth century, draws us directly into an encounter with the Word of God, showing us the faith of the Church as most of us have never seen it before: ‘a new continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals, which is at once wild and hospitable.’ No wonder Pope Benedict XVI told us that ‘in every age the path to faith can take its bearings by converts’.
Essential reading for anyone who already loves Chesterton, the book is also and more importantly a new kind of introduction to theology. It throws fresh light on the oldest of questions: the existence of God, the nature of man and the Church, the meaning of Christ, and the call to holiness. This is the ‘wake-up call’ that many intelligent Catholics have been waiting to hear.