While the the famed author was praised for his evangelical and Catholic writings, there were several factors that did not meet the standards for canonization.
After months of investigation and deliberation, Bishop Peter Doyle, of Northhampton, has announced that the cause for Chesterton’s possible sainthood will not be pursued.
Catholic Herald reports that the prelate cited several factors that contributed to the decision, including the lack of a local cult following, the lack of a clear and defined “pattern of personal spirituality,” and the presence of anti-Semitic sentiment in Chesterton’s writings.
The decision was announced at the opening session of the American G.K. Chesterton Society conference, where Bishop Doyle praised the prolific author for the evangelical value of his work. Unfortunately, Chersterton’s inspirational writings were not enough to warrant sainthood. Bishop Doyle said:
“I am very conscious of the devotion to GK Chesterton in many parts of the world and of his inspiring influence on so many people, and this makes it difficult to communicate the conclusion to which I have come,” the bishop said. “That conclusion is that I am unable to promote the cause of GK Chesterton for three reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, there is no local cult. Secondly, I have been unable to tease out a pattern of personal spirituality. And, thirdly, even allowing for the context of G K Chesterton’s time, the issue of anti-Semitism is a real obstacle particularly at this time in the United Kingdom.”
Fr. John Udris, investigator for Chesterton’s cause, confirmed the decision, calling it a disappointment. However, he did call the investigation “an enormous privilege” and noted that his intense examination of Chesterton’s life “has certainly changed [him] for good.”