G.K. Chesterton and the Common Sense of Catholic Patriotism: A Response to George Soros and Fr. James Martin, S.J.
Editor’s Note: Catholic Family News is pleased to welcome Dr. Jesse Russell as a new contributor. Dr. Russell is a native of Livingston, Montana and a homeschooling father of four.
Throughout Advent and now into the Christmas season, the “Christmas wars” have mutated into a new, Machiavellian level of degeneracy and deception. There has been an unexpected but very telling response to President Trump’s victorious restoration of “Merry Christmas,” in light of years of the secular “Happy Holidays,” peddled by the anti-Christian, anti-Western elites that currently dominate the ruins of Christendom. Recruiting their useful idiots among the Christian Left (as well as the neocon Christians), the powers that be have switched gears and attempted to hijack the Nativity story, arguing that because the Holy Family were themselves refugees, Westerners should allow themselves to be inundated with immigration.
Leading the charge from the Catholic quarter is, of course, Fr. James Martin, S.J. In his America Magazine article, “Were Jesus, Mary and Joseph refugees? Yes,” Fr. Martin argues that because the Holy Family was forced to flee to Egypt from King Herod, this classifies them as “refugees” according to the United Nations’ definition, which Fr. Martin himself duly provides. Using typically effeminate snarkiness and the obnoxious and unnecessary etymological discussions of Greek words, which characterizes so many Novus Ordo homilies, as well as his own virtue signalling stories of his experiences in Kenya working for the Jesuit Refugee Service, Fr. Martin presents the argument that “we should still have compassion and be ready to care for modern-day refugees and migrants.” He states, “Refugees and migrants are our brothers and sisters desperately in need of our help.”
What is more, Fr. Martin writes that the allegedly divine mandate to welcome refugees and migrants calls Catholics to civil disobedience: “Jesus’ command to care for the stranger is also, for the Christian, a law superseding any laws that would hinder, prevent or outlaw such care and compassion.” Thus, Catholics have the requirement to break the laws of their home nations in order to welcome limitless numbers of migrants and refugees, who, one assumes, are identical in appearance and character to the mother and child in the sad portrait the editors of America used to accent Fr. Martin’s impassioned plea. Finally, Fr. Martin, taking a swipe at those Western Catholics who have not been lured into the siren song of demographic and cultural suicide, says that at least the refugees he met in the plush and well-funded Jesuit refugee adventure in Africa in the 1990s were “holy families in their own ways.”
There are three ringing responses to Fr. James Martin’s weak, ahistorical, and untraditional argument.
First of all, we must recognize the genuine suffering of Christians throughout the world who deserve our prayers, financial support, and votes for political candidates who will put the needs of our fellow Christians above and beyond any other ethnic or religious group in the Middle East or any other troubled spot of the world. We also must make allowance for, as a worst-case scenario, small numbers of Christian refugees into the West, provided they do not cause serious harm to the common good of our home countries.
Secondly, Fr. Martin’s descriptions of contemporary refugees as huddled masses of women and children who stand as shining emblems of the Holy Family escaping starvation-level poverty and deadly persecution is completely inaccurate. The overwhelming majority of “refugees” who come into Europe, and who are deliberately flown or boated into Europe by organizations such as IsraAid, are healthy young men who come to Europe with promises of cash handouts, fair-haired European women, and (if they are lucky) are housed in £2.2 Million homes in London, England (OK, that was actually a whole family of Somalis who cashed in on British taxpayers). The brutal rape, mutilation, murder and often sophisticated torture of Western women by refugees has become common knowledge among Westerners (who are blessed enough to not have been “enriched” by refugees first hand), so as not to need much comment. However, it is difficult to see how the acid attacks, human trafficking, and even cannibalism that they perpetrate are in anyway indicative that these racist, violent, and ungrateful young men whom Fr. Martin calls “refugees” resemble the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
However, in response to the horrific violence and dramatic transformation of the entire social landscape of the West by Fr. Martin’s refugees, the West has seen a dramatic rebirth of neopagan right-wing political and social thought. While this neopagan wing of the Alt Right has attempted to market itself as the defender of European Christian civilization, it has at the same time offered eugenics, abortion, and even the worship of the old demon “gods” of Europe as a solution to the refugee crisis that George Soros’s literally lavender-clad clerical cabal has initiated. The Alt Right’s overall argument, which they channel from Friedrich Nietzsche and Edward Gibbon (of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire fame), is that Christianity has failed the West, for it is, at heart, a religion that does not allow for patriotism.
Ironically (or perhaps not), Fr. James Martin and the neopagan wing of the Alt Right seem to be speaking the same message: to be good Christians, Christians must offer up their children's future on the altar of diversity.
Yet, is it possible that both the Alt Right and Fr. Martin are wrong?
The answer to that question is, of course, yes.
Christianity has not only “allowed” but commanded patriotism and defense of one’s family, tradition, heritage, and culture since the Church’s inception. While we could draw from the Church Fathers, the Medievals, the saints and philosophers of the Counter Reformation, and any number of modern Church figures, since it is still the Christmas season, let us draw our discussion of true Catholic patriotism from the wit and waggery of the greatest Catholic essayist of the twentieth century: G.K. Chesterton, whose British warmth and wit are so apropos to frosty evenings around the fire place punctuated by Christmas tales and the family Rosary.
In his oft forgotten but brilliant 1904 essay, “The Patriotic Idea,” Chesterton verbally trounces the grandfathers of Fr. Martin’s neo-Marxist multicultural religion, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century followers of the Christian humanist Count Leo Tolstoy. In very Chestertonian language, loaded with warmth and wit, G.K. Chesterton depicts a nation as being like a gathering of people who have sought refuge from “some grey waste in rain and darkness” in a “strange house” where there are taking place a myriad of “ancient festivals and forms” among groups of people marked by “certain competitions and distinctions.” Chesterton, unlike the extreme elements of the Alt Right, recognizes that there is a plurality of cultures and customs of the human race, each of which is, on a certain level, deserving of respect. However, unlike the cartoonish and actually insulting festishizing of the cultures of the “Global South” by leftist Catholics like Fr. Martin, Chesterton’s patriot, while rejoicing in the true distinctions and diversity of the world, joins in his own festivals and forms, which have been given to him or her by his or her ancestors, cherishing them above (but not in spite of) other cultures and traditions.
Chesterton further states that, in contrast to the faux universalism of “humanists” like Count Leo Tolstoy and his followers,
“real universality is to be reached rather by convincing ourselves that we are in the best possible relation with our immediate surroundings. The man who loves his own children is much more universal, is much more fully in the general order, than the man who dandles the infant hippopotamus or puts the young crocodile in a perambulator. For in loving his own children he is doing something which is (if I may use the phrase) far more essentially hippopotamic than dandling hippopotami; he is doing as they do.”
Real human love and care can only be affected with those with whom one dwells, and it is only natural, right and Christian to seek the well being of one’s family and kin before a guest. Chesterton even humorously notes that even the animals take care of their own offspring (unlike leftists who give “guests” priority over their own children).
Furthermore, Chesterton brilliantly notes that those who think that they love “the human race” or “the marginalized” are, in fact, just in love with the the world of their own imagination, and, ultimately their own selves (Dostoyevsky made a similar point in The Brothers Karamazov as did Dickens in Bleak House). As Chesterton further writes, “A man who loves humanity and ignores patriotism is ignoring humanity,” for it is the most human of things to love one’s own kith and kin. Chesterton’s witty remarks, which are, in fact, entirely consonant with the entire Tradition of the Catholic Church as well as the Holy Scriptures themselves, provide us the blueprint for a true Catholic patriotism built from true charity, which always begins at home.
One of the most pronounced and biting realities in the modern world is that we do not have a Catholic essayist with anywhere near the genius and wit (or the madcap writing ability) of G.K. Chesterton to aid us in this struggle. However, Chesterton is just one of many thinkers in the mostly pre-Vatican II treasure trove of Catholic wise men who come to us bearing the precious gift of the Church’s true teaching. This is not intended to somehow canonize Chesterton, who was in many ways a man with deep personal flaws. Nonetheless, Chesterton’s writings provide a sober and warmly humorous vision of the truly Catholic teaching on patriotism, which avoids the suicidal multicultural fantasies of the Left and the Luciferean and cruel dreams of neopagan racialism. Ultimately, as Christian men and women of the West, we must labor together with our brethren in the Faith across the world to build a new Christendom, one which recognizes and celebrates difference while carefully and patriotically guarding the individual distinctness and beauty of the many human societies around the globe.