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Fortieth Anniversary of the G. K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture
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G.K. Chesterton InstituteThe G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture is celebrating its 40th birthday this year – a landmark achievement in the Catholic world and a cause for pleasure far beyond the confines of Seton Hall where it makes its home. Founded by Father Ian Boyd, C.S.B. in 1974, the Chesterton Institute publishes The Chesterton Review, a major journal devoted to Chesterton and his intellectual circle which has been widely praised for the depth subtlety and liveliness of its writing. Now published in five languages – English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian – The Chesterton Review brings together some of the sharpest intellects in the Christian world to explore the application of Chesterton’s thought to our own culturally needy times. In addition to publishing the Review, the Chesterton Institute also sponsors international conferences, lectures, and research, thereby gathering together Chesterton scholars from across the globe to explain and examine the moral and religious tradition that inspired Chesterton. That Chestertonian tradition of orthodox Christianity is, says Father Boyd, the urgent answer to many of the moral and social problems of today. The family is under threat from the eugenics movement and the “culture of death.” Traditional societies and communities have been undermined by consumerism and waste. Popular culture has cheapened and coarsened our collective moral imagination. That is why, offering sane alternatives to these threats to human decency, the Chesterton Institute’s birthday is important. That is why it is worth celebrating.

“Chesterton believed that the imagination was an organ of perception,” says Father Boyd. “His insights into life, the life of our nation, of America and the Western world, are still relevant today.” Chesterton was a novelist, playwright, philosopher, journalist, poet, essayist and artist – a man of huge intellectual gifts.

Dermot Quinn, D.Phil., Prof of History at Seton Hall and Associate Editor of The Chesterton Review, agrees. “Chesterton is a figure that speaks to our time in a profound and versatile way,” says Quinn. “At Seton Hall there is a natural home for that kind of Christian conversation.”

Since its foundation, the Institute has grown in weight and influence. “To begin with,” says Quinn, “the Institute was devoted primarily to the publication of the Review. Now, in addition to that, we find ourselves involved in major conferences and research programs throughout the world.” The appetite for Chesterton’s wisdom has grown just as the need for it is greater, making this, Quinn says, a “truly Chestertonian moment.” The 40th birthday, he continues, is “a grace not only for us but for Seton Hall.”

Wonder and gratitude are the key components of Chesterton’s philosophy. “With that in mind,” says Father Boyd, “I am profoundly grateful to Seton Hall for giving our work a home. What we do is central to Seton Hall’s mission as a Catholic university, as a place where ‘the Church does its thinking.’ ” He continues: “I am also conscious of, and thankful for, the great work done by my colleague Mrs. Gloria Garafulich-Grabois, managing editor of The Chesterton Review, who has helped in so many ways with the international aspects of our work.”

Asked to name Chesterton’s most popular character, Father Boyd immediately answered: Father Brown! For many people, the anonymous little priest is the first and easiest introduction to Chesterton. “As we celebrate our birthday,” said Father Boyd, “I like to think that we sound like the title of a Father Brown story.” We are, he said, “The Secret Treasure of Seton Hall.” In that spirit, the two priests – Boyd and Brown – hope that many people throughout the world will join the university in thanksgiving for the Institute’s first forty years and in prayers for the next forty.

For more information please contact:
Gloria Garafulich-Grabois
(973) 275-2431
gloria.garafulich-grabois@shu.edu

 

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