The Corner

Earnest Men at Siege

St. Benedict Press has just released a new anthology of passages from the writings of Hilaire Belloc, titled The Essential Belloc. A blanket endorsement of the views of Belloc is the furthest thing from my intention; Europe, to take perhaps the most notorious example, is not the Faith, and never was. But who does not recognize the wisdom in this following passage? It’s from The Path to Rome: “Then let us love one another and laugh. Time passes, and we shall soon laugh no longer — and meanwhile common life is a burden, and earnest men are at siege upon us all around. Let us suffer absurdities, for that is only to suffer one another.” The political hatreds of our time are, indeed, the occupation of earnest men at siege, but even in a besieged city one can every so often look over the parapet and think, “And yet, even these men with their siege engines are my brothers and sisters.” It is not the struggle that is final, but the common humanity under the disposition of its Creator.

(The volume is co-edited by Rev. C. John McCloskey — a figure well-known and in fact beloved in conservative Catholic circles as a winner of converts — Scott J. Bloch, and Brian Robertson.)


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