In Maisie Ward’s biography of G.K. Chesterton on G.K.’s conversion his friend Maurice Baring wrote him:
…Did I ever quote you a sentence of Bernard Holland on the subject of Kenelm Henry Digby when the latter was received?
"Father Scott . . . who, at last, guided him through the narrow door where one must bend one’s head, into the internal space and freedom of the eternal and universal Catholic Church." Space and freedom: that was what I experienced on being received; that is what I have been most conscious of ever since. It is the exact opposite of what the ordinary Protestant conceives to be the case. To him and not only to him but to the ordinary English agnostic the convert to Catholicism is abandoning his will and his independence, sometimes they think even his nationality; at the best they think he
is sheltering himself in a walled garden; at the worst they think he has closed on himself an iron door: and shackled himself with foolish chains and sold his birthright for a crown of tinsel.
And yet their own experience, the testimony of their eyes if they would only use them, ought to suggest to them that they might perhaps be mistaken.
It would be difficult for anyone to make out a case for the UnEnglishness of Manning or indeed of any prominent English Catholic whether a born Catholic or a convert.
It would be difficult for them to prove that Belloc was a writer wanting in independence. It would be difficult for them to convince any one that Father Vaughan and Lord Fitzalan were wearing foolscaps.
And anybody who has thought about history or looked on at politics must have reflected that freedom resides where there is order and not where there is license: or no-order.
I remember before of having that exact feeling of Christianity. That is was a cramped thing, an imposition of severe restrictions, that a life of virtue was a life of severely bound manacles. Or as the Pope recently said in his German TV interview "So I think we should correct that image that sees the Church as spreading severe "no’s"." This old error has only grown more pernicious. The word freedom has been replaced with the definition of license and the word license now has no definition. Looking back to my conversion I am amazed at how many restrictions have been lifted from me and looking forward I hope to see more of those chains fall from me. Not that I don’t sometimes commit the sin of Lot’s wife by looking back. But fortunately instead of being turned into a table condiment the temptation passes. Peter’s power to bind and loose gives the aura to confirm societies belief until we realize is that Christ through his Church binds us to him and looses us from our sins.