G. K. Chesterton at work (Creative Commons)

That love which makes youth beautiful, and is the natural spring of so much song and romance, has for its aim and issue a creative act, the founding of a family. […] The passion of a man in his youth has found its right road and reached its right goal, and though love need not be over, the search for love is over.

By the test of this aim and achievement all the things condemned by the Christian ethics fall into their various degrees of error. To prolong the search in a sentimental fashion, long after it has any relation to the real work of a man, is an error in varying degrees; often it is no more than undignified and ridiculous; turpe senilis amor. To allow the search to stray in such a fashion as to destroy other homes healthily established is, by this definition, obviously wrong. To cultivate a perversion in the mind which actually removes the desire for the fruitful act is horribly wrong. To purchase the mere sterile pleasure from a sterile class is wrong. To manoeuver in some scientific fashion, so as to filch the pleasure without taking the responsibilities of the act, is logically and inherently wrong. It is like swaggering about with a medal without going to the war.

Published in the June 15, 2018 issue: View Contents

G. K. Chesterton was a journalist, novelist, and poet. This was the last of many articles he wrote for Commonweal.

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