Douthat On Gopnik On Chesterton


Ross's posts have added to my enjoyment of Adam Gopnik's review. This latest one on Chesterton, enthusiasm and Catholicism is great. Money quote:

Not all of these doubters will be moved by Chesterton's style of apologetics, which asks them to approach Catholicism like a man from, say, 1355 entering a FedEx store for the first time - that is, as though they'd never even conceived that an institution like the Church might be possible, let alone an enduring player in human affairs. And perhaps some would be convinced by the more jaundiced, world-weary, "it's horribly flawed but it gets the job done" approach to apologetics that it seems as though Gopnik might prefer. But you don't turn to Chesterton for jaundiced world-weariness, and complaining that his enthusiasm for the Church is akin to a child's enthusiasm for a post office or a railway station is like complaining that Schopenhauer is too pessimistic, or Waugh too savage: If you don't like childlike enthusiasm, you don't have any business liking Chesterton.

In my darker moments, I see only the flaws of the Church. When I'm calmer, all I can see is the miraculousness of its existence at all.

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