The Long and the Short of it
Every few months, I receive a message from one or another of our readers thanking us for The Catholic Thing, but wondering why we chose such an ugly/vague/meaningless/inscrutable/squirrely name for this distinguished series of daily columns. And as we begin fundraising, as we must today, for our annual mid-year campaign (information on how to donate below), it seems a good time to explain, yet again, how and why we decided to step out into the world of online commentary under the admittedly somewhat odd banner: The Catholic Thing.
To begin with, blame Hilaire Belloc (G.K. Chesterton’s comrade in arms, the other half of the Chesterbelloc). Belloc was a brilliant historian who, had he not been quite so combative a Catholic, would have become a celebrated professor at Oxford, where he had distinguished himself as an undergraduate. The centrality of the Church to our whole civilization was something he understood in his bones. And he knew what disasters would arise in a post-Christian world.
Today, we see them all around us.
Only a concrete and living reality could ward off or reverse those corruptions. As he put the case in a famous passage: “My conclusion – and that of all men who have ever once seen it – is the Faith. Corporate, organised, a personality, teaching. A thing, not a theory. It.”