The thing about rabbit holes is they sometimes lead to a place where it seems nothing is true anymore. Friedrich Nietzsche said that—“nothing is true”—more than a century ago, arguing that the only way we might begin to get at a capital-T truth would be to first doubt everything.
From “We Fact-Checked Snapple’s ‘Real Facts’”, The Atlantic, Oct. 11, 2013.
Nietzsche wasn’t the guy who came up with the idea of skepticism, nor even the most famous skeptic. Rene Descartes posited the concept that you had to start by doubting everything more than 200 years before Nietzsche did, in Part IV of his Discourse on the Method (1637). He started with the fact of his self-awareness (the famous “I think, therefore, I am”), and worked up from there. Interestingly, his entire project was an attempt to scientifically prove the existence of God.
Laying aside any merits and demerits of distributism, when we canonize a saint we are not therefore saying that every idea or cause they undertook was necessarily holy. Canonizing Chesterton does not turn his various doctrines into Church dogma any more than canonizing Francis meant the institution of a new dress code.
Intimacy with the Word of God, cultivated in his years at the hermitage, had developed in him an irresistible urge to preach the Gospel, to give to others what he himself had received in his years of meditation. The missionary ideal thus launched him into pastoral care, his heart on fire… All his discourses aimed to develop in the faithful the use of intelligence, of true reason, in order to understand and to put into practice the moral and spiritual requirements of faith.
Gregory never sought to delineate “his own” doctrine, his own originality. Rather, he intended to echo the traditional teaching of the Church, he simply wanted to be the mouthpiece of Christ and of the Church on the way that must be taken to reach God. He was a passionate reader of the Bible, which he approached not simply with a speculative purpose: from Sacred Scripture, he thought, the Christian must draw not theoretical understanding so much as the daily nourishment for his soul, for his life as man in this world.
Notwithstanding the very difficult conditions in which he had to work, he gained the faithful’s trust, thanks to his holiness of life and rich humanity, achieving truly magnificent results for his time and for the future. He was a man immersed in God: his desire for God was always alive in the depths of his soul and precisely because of this he was always close to his neighbour, to the needy people of his time. Indeed, during a desperate period of havoc, he was able to create peace and give hope. This man of God shows us the true sources of peace, from which true hope comes. Thus, he becomes a guide also for us today.