Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Would Chesterton (and Belloc) Do?

A Facebook friend asks me what Chesterton would make of those in pop-Catholic circles who spiritualize sex and who imply that lust (i.e. obesssion with sex) is a good thing because (so to speak) an erection points heavenward.   What would Chesterton say about this "All sex leads to God" nonsense?  What would he say about those who like to talk about sex sex sex sex God and sex?

I reply ...

  • Kevin O'Brien
    He would admit that these folks were right to see in sex the shape of the Spirit of God, who puts his imprint on all creation. He would admit they were right in seeing sex as a sign for union with the divine and for the eschaton. He would think they were foolish and laughable in seeing penises in steeples, as his companion (Rougemont) did.
  • He would know that sex, like beer and bacon and baseball, was a natural pleasure that needed to be confined to a very strict and narrow channel, that unlike all other human passions it had the greatest potential to turn us into beasts, and that men who spoke flippantly of such a gift were scoundrels who were not to be trusted.
  • But Belloc ...
    Belloc would put a curse on all their houses, eat asparagus and pee on their front lawns.

Oh, and Chesterton would point out (as he did) ...

Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; and it is positive and not negative, noble and not base, creative and not destructive, because it produces this institution. That institution is the family; a small state or commonwealth which has hundreds of aspects, when it is once started, that are not sexual at all. It includes worship, justice, festivity, decoration, instruction, comradeship, repose. Sex is the gate of that house; and romantic and imaginative people naturally like looking through a gateway. But the house is very much larger than the gate. There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further.

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