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Why the World Needs More Ghost Stories: The Dialogues of Gregory the Great
April 21, 2022 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
The influence of Pope Saint Gregory the Great on the liturgy, organization, and dogma of the Church cannot be overstated. His Dialogues, however, are a stumbling block for his present-day admirers. A man of such profound intellect and extraordinary talents could not possibly have written, in the words of one skeptic, “a bizarre and astonishing grab bag of stories about the next world in which ghosts abound.” Even Butler’s Lives of Saints wonders how “the Dialogues could have been written by anyone so well balanced as Saint Gregory.”
This lecture argues that the Dialogues—Gregory’s deliberate and highly popular effort to create a new martyrology for a Christian Italy in which there were few martyrs, strictly speaking—are altogether worthy of their author. Further, Christians today would derive much benefit from meditating on them. As narrative alone, they are a wonderful work. As spiritual direction, they are a masterful work, stressing humility as central to holiness, and exposing the consequences of seeking human respect.
Christopher Check is president of Catholic Answers. A graduate of Rice University, for nearly two decades he served as vice president of The Rockford Institute. Before that he served for seven years as a field artillery officer in the Marine Corps, attaining the grade of captain. He lectures on Church and military history. He and his wife, Jacqueline, have four sons. The Checks show and breed Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, famed companions of the Stuart kings, under the kennel name Top Meadow Cavaliers, named for G.K. Chesterton’s Beaconsfield estate.