G.K. Chesterton was a big man any way you look at him.

“He probably weighed nearly 300 pounds and he’s the most quoted author outside of Shakespeare and the King James Bible,” said Fr. Robert McElwee.

G.K. Chesterton was a big man any  way you look at him.

“He probably weighed nearly  300 pounds and he’s the most quoted author outside of Shakespeare and the King James Bible,” said Fr. Robert McElwee.

For the past  year and a half, Fr. McElwee, retired priest, and his wife, Ginger, have hosted a Chesterton discussion group on the second Sunday of the month in the living room at their home, 4084 Mt. Carmel  Road, Frontenac.

“I’ll do a traditional Latin Mass at 4 p.m. for those who wish to attend it, then around 5 p.m. we have our Chesterton discussion group with food and some adult beverages,” Fr. McElwee said.

“We do designate a book, a chapter of a book, a poem or essay for discussion,” added Michael Ehling, an avid member of the group who assists the priest with it.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born May 29, 1874, in England and became a lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer and Christian apologist. He was, and still is, well-known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, but that was only a portion of what he wrote.

“He would write essays about looking up at the ceiling or about eating cheese,” Fr. McElwee said. “Every time somebody cleans out their attic they find more essays, reviews and articles he wrote that were previously unknown.”

Chesterton, who first described  himself as an “orthodox Christian,” later converted to Roman Christianity.

“He converted writer C.S. Lewis from an atheist to  a devout Christian,” Fr. McElwee said. “He and George Bernard Shaw did not agree about one thing, but never once quarreled, and Shaw gave the eulogy when Chesterton died in 1936.”

Chesterton became interested in politics, and cast aspersions on both progressivism and conservatism. He said that the business of progressives is to go on making mistakes, while the conservatives have the business of preventing the mistakes from being corrected.

The Chesterton Society has proposed that he be beatified, while the Episcopal Church (USA) remembers him liturgically on June 13 with a provisional feast day as adopted at the 2009 General Convention.
Fr. McElwee said that anybody interested in learning more about Chesterton, regardless of religion or political views, is welcome to attend the monthly  discussion group meetings at his  home.

“He really is somebody the world needs to know about now,” he said. “We’d be a lot kinder to each other.”