Chesterton society will feature Babylon Bee CEO at 40th annual conference 

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

G.K. Chesterton / Public domain

Washington D.C., Jul 14, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton will hold its 40th annual conference later this month, with keynote speakers including the CEO of the Christian satirical website The Babylon Bee.

The conference is scheduled to take place from July 29-31 in Chicago. Keynote speakers include Seth Dillon, CEO of the satirical website The Babylon Bee.

Dale Ahlquist, president of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, told CNA in an interview that the website’s use of satire is similar to Chesterton’s worldview. “They just employ a lot of G.K. Chesterton’s satirical view of the modern world,” Ahlquist said.

“Chesterton said the modern world has become a parody of itself; it’s impossible to parody it, and some of the headlines they write are so absurd that people think they’re real because that’s how absurd the real world has become,” he said. “So we’re very happy to have him [Dillon] paying homage to Chesterton.”

Chesterton, born in 1874, was a British journalist and author who converted to the Catholic faith from Anglicanism and was received into the Church in 1922. He was known as a prominent Catholic apologist who authored works including “Orthodoxy” and “The Everlasting Man,” as well as numerous essays and the fictional “Father Brown” detective series. He died in 1936.

Ahlquist told CNA that the Chesterton society began as a literary group that promoted the late British author’s writing. It later developed into a Catholic lay apostolate for evangelization and education.

“He [Chesterton] does represent a model of lay Catholic spirituality,” Ahlquist said. “He’s someone who lived in the secular world, and yet he evangelized, defended the faith, promoted a Catholic view of the world. And he did it with great joy, and a prophetic wit.”

Ahlquist said the group’s annual conference is a source of education and fellowship.

Although Chesterton died in 1936, Ahlquist said, his writings are “timely” in the modern world.

“The reason he’s timely is he understands what has gone wrong with our society,” Ahlquist said. “The attacks on the family, the attacks on the normal, Chesterton saw all these things coming and he really provides a lot of wisdom and insight on how to defend what’s good, what’s true, and what’s beautiful.”

Chesterton’s cause for canonization was formally investigated in recent years but was ultimately not opened.

Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton, Chesterton’s home diocese, noted in a 2019 letter that Chesterton’s cause did not advance because he lacked a “cult” of local devotion, his writing did not reveal a “pattern of personal spirituality,” and faced charges of anti-Semitism in some of his writings.

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