Out of the Portal and Onto the Road… all the Way Home:
(Re)discovering the Church through the Eyes of G.K. Chesterton and John Henry Newman
This paper wishes to contribute to the ongoing discussion on being Church in the west through reflecting on some of the insights of G.K. Chesterton and John Henry Newman. It does so in some sympathy with the thoughts of Antony Godzieba, who is seeking for ways to revitalise and renew aggiornamento theology.
Chesterton wrote that, at a time where Christianity’s “fundamentals are doubted, as at present, we must try to recover the candour and wonder of the child; the unspoilt realism and objectivity of innocence,” we must “invoke the most wild and roaring sort of imagination; the imagination that can see what is there.”
To be able to ‘see what is there’ demands a specific theological approach, marked by two principles: first that of polarity or paradox (both of which are strongly present in Newman and Chesterton), second that of holding together imagination and reason (Chesterton), or the real and the notional (Newman).
For Chesterton and Newman these two principles can only be held in a specifically catholic understanding of the Church and the world.
In the light of our analyses of Chesterton and Newman, we will reflect on how this relates to the meaning as well as the way we are Church, and how this could challenge our concrete Christian communities.