Category Archives: Great Writers
In Medieval universities, the first three subjects a student was instructed in were grammar, logic, and rhetoric: what Aristotle called the Trivium of the seven liberal arts. Respectively, they are the arts of writing, thinking, and speaking well. They are called liberal, because they are skills that every man should acquire in some degree, in contrast with the fine arts, which specialize.
This section of our website is dedicated not to great books, although many are referenced, but to great articles, essays, and poems, composed by great Catholic writers. These masters of the pen were not all exceptionally gifted wordsmiths, but they were all gifted in the art of communicating important Catholic information in logical and lucid composition.
In 1905, just before he entered the House of Commons for four discouraging years (1906-1910), Hilaire Belloc published a variegated and copious book, entitled The Old Road, about his eight-day journey afoot from Winchester to Canterbury, the latter also being the place where, on the 29th of December in 1170, Saint Thomas à Becket was martyred. Click here to VIEW full size, DOWNLOAD as PDF … More →
In 1920, ten years after Hilaire Belloc had stepped down from his four maturing years of publicly elected service in the House of Commons, he published a lucid book-length essay, entitled, The House of Commons and Monarchy. It is a forthright and equitably proportioned work with a clearly stated thesis; and the development of Belloc’s presented evidence and argumentation will help us still better understand … More →
On How to Develop a Catholic Sense Without a Catholic Culture To restore to his people a true memory Alexander Solzhenitsyn has accepted almost unspeakable sacrifice and loss, and especially the cross of patience. Solzhenitsyn has attempted to draw his people forth from an asphyxiating rubble of distortion just as he has himself been drawn forth: trusting and contending, marked and transfigured by grace, an … More →
When Hilaire Belloc was a rumbustious young man in his mid-thirties, and only a few years after he had completed his journey afoot to Rome, he wrote an essay entitled “The Idea of a Pilgrimage,” which first appeared in his memorable 1906 collection of essays Hills and the Sea. In this essay are some insights — even about “the heart of a child” — which … More →
When Hilaire Belloc was a vigorous forty years of age, and three years before his life was shaken and shattered by the death of his wife Elodie on Candlemas 1914, he wrote an intimately evocative essay, entitled “On a Great Wind.” This brief and vivid piece—characteristically combining concrete intimacy and sacred mystery in his inimitably poetic “sacramental prose”—leads us also to the contemplation of God’s … More →
There are still persons who will open a book and read instead of watching whatever’s on television or fiddling with an iPhone when they have leisure and whether or not the time is planned. (When they are truly devoted readers, it will be.) I know these persons exist because I am one. Some of us remaining readers rejoiced a few years ago when The Library … More →
Examining the theme of loss and the isolation of the human soul through the thinking of Chesterton, Belloc, and Baring, this paper considers some of the theological, moral, and psychological matters — both the causes and the effects — while always remaining rationally and resolutely convinced of their finally irreducible mysterious nature: mysteries of human free will and divine grace and of the purity and … More →
This is an essay written in 1988 for Aportes, the prestigious Historical Journal in Spain. Professor Miguel Ayuso y Torres asked the author to submit an article for an edition dedicated to the French Revolution 200 Years Later. The essay was translated into Spanish by Professor Miguel Ayuso y Torres. It came out in early 1990 in Spanish, but was never published in English. Professor … More →
If the Precious Blood had been shed, and yet we had no priesthood, no Sacraments, no jurisdiction, no sacramentals, no mystical life of the visible unity of the Church– life, so it seems, would be almost intolerable. This is the condition of those outside the Church; and certainly as we grow older, as our experience widens, as our knowledge of ourselves deepens, as our acquaintance … More →
Joseph Pearce recalls the extraordinary life of Roy Campbell, who hid St John of the Cross’s letters from anticlerical Spanish militiamen. As you read Pierce’s piece, recall that here in the good old U S of A, people were led to believe that the good guys in this war were the ones that murdered priests, brothers, nuns, and Catholic laity. The bad guys, according to … More →
The current definition of the Middle Ages implies that they are an intermediary epoch between two civilizations, and, therefore, only a break in the course of civilization. There is no term about whose definition there is more perfect agreement than “The Middle Ages.” We are told that the Middle Ages are an intermediary epoch between antiquity and modern times. This is the definition given by … More →
[The Battleground: Syria and Palestine, the Seed Plot of Religion by Hilaire Belloc. Ignatius Press.] Hilaire Belloc, one of my favorite authors, was exceedingly prolific. He wrote one hundred fifty three books of poetry, essays, history, religion, politics, and economics, as well as hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. His life (1870-1953) was long and fascinating, and even had him serving for a time in … More →
What a beautiful and crowning epithet this would have been on his tombstone. He wrote this in his early diary. Zenit has a insightful interview with the head of the Italian Chestertonian Society addressing why the great writer and thinker became a Catholic. For those who love Chesterton this is a good read.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the greatest poets to grace the sunrise of American literature in the mid-nineteenth century, had more than a passing interest in Catholic themes. Study travels to the European countrysides, which were granted him by Maine’s Bowdoin College, in preparation for his assuming the chair of modern languages, gave him a taste for Catholic culture. One of his most endearing poems was Santa Filomena. It … More →
The following extract from the Catechism on Catholic Doctrine, written by the renowned Scottish Bishop, George Hay (1729-1811), is presented for you as a testimony to the Faith of the centuries. A convert from Episcopalianism, Bishop Hay understood, far better than most of our present day Catholic clergy, the need for infallible authority in religious matters.