Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Quotations at the Foot of this Blog

I sometimes wonder if anybody ever looks at the quotations I've put at the foot of this blog. They've been there for a long time now, and I feel that they sum up my religious views pretty well (though, of course, they could be expanded greatly). Here they are:

One thing in this world is different from all others. It has a personality and a force. It is recognized and (when recognized) most violently hated or loved. It is the Catholic Church. Within that household the human spirit has roof and hearth. Outside it is the night.-- Hilaire Belloc

It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one's own. ..To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.-- Chesterton

From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery. -- Newman

I have come to bring fire to the Earth-- Our Lord, Luke 12:49

Reading over them I was struck especially by "I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of relgion", which-- to me-- expresses the matter perfectly. Newman's prose, which seemed fussy and over-ornate to me when I first read it, increasingly strikes me as a marvel of precision. In our time, we absorb the prejudice that fewer and shorter words are always better, and more to the point; but sometimes (often?) an idea needs to be expressed in more rather than fewer words, abstract rather than concrete words, polysyllables rather than monosyllables.

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