Seton Hall University

Work of the Institute

 In order to fulfill its mission, the Institute has undertaken several important projects.

Chesterton and Poland
Chesterton's visit to Poland in 1927 convinced him of the importance of that country's long and valiant Christian history. With Ewa Thompson of Rice University, the Institute will be exploring the recovery of the Polish Christian tradition. This work will initiate an ongoing study: Catholic Europe's debt to Poland and of the ties between Poland and its diaspora. The Chesterton Review published a Special Polish Issue in the Spring/Summer 2008 (Vol. XXXIII, Nos. 1&2). The Chesterton Institute has sponsored the following conference series in Warsaw and Krakow in: 2012 “Chesterton & the Challenge of Poland”; 2014: “Chesterton, Distributism & Poland” and 2017: “Chesterton & the Advancement of Humanity.”

Chesterton and Ireland
Chesterton visited Ireland twice and considered it a model Christian nation. In association with the St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, the Chesterton Institute explores the means of recovering a Christian tradition now under threat there and elsewhere in the world. In 2002, the Chesterton Institute sponsored a Conference in Ireland “Chesterton’s Ireland –Then and Now.” 

The Sane Economy Project
The aim of the project is to examine key social and economic issues in the light of principles of solidarity and subsidiary, integrity, justice, wisdom and holiness, with the assistance of social scientists, theologians and philosophers from a broad range of traditions. The project is unusual in taking equally seriously the experiences of economic life, the insights of economists and the tradition of Catholic social teaching as a framework for understanding the purpose of economic activity. The director of the project is Russell Sparkes, a London-based economist, writer and fund manager, author of The Ethical Investor (Harper Collins).

Christian Reunion and Jewish-Christian Dialogue
In conjunction with the Department of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, the Institute has begun to explore Chesterton's insight that the deepest truths are those expressed through fable, story-telling, religious imagination.

Education and Liberty
With help from the Donner Foundation in Canada, the Institute has launched an initiative to alert home-schooling parents to their legal rights. This is a project that the Institute hopes to develop and expand.

Chesterton and the Far East
Although Chesterton never visited Japan his works are well known there, thanks in large part to a translation project directed by Peter Milward, SJ. The Institute is sponsoring a continuing conversation between Christian and Confucian ideas with special reference to Vietnam and Japan.

Chesterton and Bio-Ethics
Chesterton anticipated many of the assaults on human life which Pope John Paul II has characterized as our modern "culture of death". In his own lifetime he led the opposition to eugenics legislation and (as Rabbi Stephen Wise noticed) was one of the first to speak out against Hitlerian anti-Semitism. The Institute wishes to add its voice to those calling for a renewed respect for human life from conception to natural death. The Chesterton Institute has sponsored conferences on the topic of “Chesterton and Eugenics” in Malta, Spain, and Chile.

Human Resources and Tax Reform
In his great distributist manifesto, The Outline of Sanity, Chesterton proposed some principles to bring about a humane and morally decent economic order. The economist John Mueller, treasurer of the Chesterton Institute and member of its Board of Directors, is engaged in a project that examines tax reform as one means to achieve such a property-promoting, family-friendly economy. The Chesterton Institute has sponsored various conferences on the topic of Distributism in England, Argentina, Chile, Poland and Italy.