“If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.”
Like most of the words that escaped from his mouth or his pen, Hilaire Belloc’s famous speech to British voters was fiery, forceful and fueled by his faith.
It’s a great tragedy of history that Belloc has been pushed into the shadow of his friend and collaborator, G.K. Chesterton. Whether in prose or Parliament, Belloc was a force of nature. His life was one extended adventure, from escaping death as an infant to achieving fame as Oxford’s top debater to challenging the anti-Catholic prejudices of the British establishment.
And although he lived from 1870-1953, the alarm bells which he rang against elitist assaults on the Christian foundations of Western civilization are as prophetic and resonant today as they were in his time.
Our guest for this episode is Belloc biographer and internationally acclaimed writer, scholar and speaker, Joseph Pearce. Pearce is the author of over a dozen books. Alongside Old Thunder, his biography of Hilaire Belloc, his works include best-selling volumes on G. K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Shakespeare.
Pearce currently serves as St. John Henry Newman Chair in Catholic Studies at Thomas More College, Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions and the St. Austin Review, and senior contributor at The Imaginative Conservative.
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Websites / resources referenced
Joseph Pearce official website
Joseph Pearce, Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc
Hilaire Belloc (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Hilaire Belloc, The Path to Rome (1902)
Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State (1912)
Joseph Pearce, “What is Distributism?” The Imaginative Conservative (June 12, 2014)
Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891)
Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.