Catholic Church probes Chesterton sainthood bid

By Charlotte Oliver, September 25, 2013
Author G K Chesterton

Author G K Chesterton

The priest investigating whether author G K Chesterton should be made a saint has said he will take account of Jewish concerns about the writer’s antisemitism.

Canon John Udris has been asked by the Catholic Diocese of Northampton to begin the lenghty process of considering Chesterton for canonisation.

If he considers the author, well known for his Father Brown detective stories, a suitable candidate for sainthood, an official application will be made to the Vatican.

But some members of the Jewish community feel the writer, who died in 1936, should not be put forward.

Dr Simon Mayers, whose book Chesterton’s Jews highlights the author’s antisemitism, said: “It might be a good thing to declare pretty quickly that he is not an appropriate candidate.”

Canon John Udris said: “I want to hear from people who want to see Chesterton canonised, but I also want to hear from people with reservations about it. The fact that lots of Jewish people will be unhappy will absolutely affect my decision.”

Chesterton’s writing included antisemitic stereotypes, but he also expressed hostility towards Nazism.

Last updated: 8:45am, September 25 2013