by John Herreid | IPNovels.com
I object to a quarrel because it always interrupts an argument.”
—G. K. Chesterton
As I write, a lot of Catholics are worried about the ongoing tussling about pastoral issues in the Church. Others are worried about what seems to be a growing partisan divide in America between those with differing political views.
I’m worried about this as well—mostly because many people have decided that differences of opinion are so great that they must avoid the contamination of being friends with those who disagree with them, only engaging their opponents in angry online quarrels.
So it’s an opportune time to revisit G. K. Chesterton’s rollicking, rousing fantasy, The Ball and the Cross. Now in a new edition by Chesterton Press, The Ball and the Cross is the story of a Jacobite Catholic from Scotland, MacIan, and a brawny atheist named Turnbull. Their argument begins with the memorable words “Stand up and fight, you crapulous coward!”, uttered by MacIan as he smashes through the window of Turnbull’s bookshop, The Atheist. They’re both convinced of the rightness of their causes and want to back up their arguments not merely with words—but with swords.
The trouble is that society at large has ceased to care about these sorts of debates and would rather they both be silenced. Or at least have their swords taken from them. So begins an adventure that ranges across landscapes and through ideas. As MacIan and Turnbull try to escape from police pursuit so that they may engage in a duel to the death with one another, they begin to find another obstacle arising: friendship.
The two begin, gruffly, to acknowledge admiration for one another. But they also both feel strongly enough about their respective causes that they would die defending it. Can there be any compromise? Can there be friendship?
We can only look to Chesterton himself for the answer. ...