How G.K. Chesterton Influenced Pope Paul VI

Humanae Vitae Giving Day

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By Dale Ahlquist

G.K. ChestertonIn his book of St. Francis of Assisi, G.K. Chesterton says, “The moment that sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant.” He understood that separating sex from birth would lead not only to personal strife but societal strife, to broken relationships, to perversion, to a loss of control and a loss of dignity.

He wrote the book in 1924. It was reviewed in Italy by a young priest named Giovanni Battisti Montini. He saw something prophetic in Chesterton’s words.

Forty years later, this priest would be Pope Paul VI, who in 1968 would write prophetic words on the very same subject. All of his grave warnings about contraception have gone unheeded, and we have seen precisely what he predicted: contraception has led to abortion, divorce, sexual perversion and all forms of abuse.

But the point of any prophecy is to call a people to repentance. Repentance is followed by renewal and rejuvenation. We should celebrate the fact that Blessed Pope Paul VI stood up against the whole world, that he has been proved right and that Church’s arms are open, offering forgiveness, hope and life.


Dale AhlquistDale Ahlquist is president of the American Chesterton Society.

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