Chesterton on the Present
05 Feb 2017
Chesterton on Mercy as a ‘Machinery of Pardon’
‘The real difference between the Church and the State is huge and plain. The State, in all lands and ages, has created a machinery of punishment, more bloody and brutal everywhere. The Church is the only institution that ever attempted to create a machinery of pardon.
‘The Church is the only thing that ever attempted by system to pursue and discover crimes, not in order to avenge, but in order to forgive them. The stake and rack were merely the weaknesses of the religion; its snobberies, its surrenders to the world.
‘Its speciality – or, if you like, its oddity – was this merciless mercy; the unrelenting sleuth-hound who seeks to save and not slay.’
(Daily News, February 20, 1909)