G.K. Chesterton: Bishop of Northampton probes sainthood claims

The Bishop of Northampton is to appoint a priest to look at whether author G.K. Chesterton should be made a saint after a campaign was launched by the American Chesterton Society (ACS).

Mr Chesterton, who found fame through his Father Brown novels, converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1920s.

Dale Ahlquist, president of the ACS, said Mr Chesterton's writings had brought people to the Catholic faith.

He said Mr Chesterton, who died in 1936, is a "saint for our time".

Mr Chesterton lived in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, which is part of the Northampton diocese.

'Pope's support'

Bishop Peter Doyle said he had spoken to the ACS and would appoint a priest to make "tentative inquiries".

This is the first official step towards the possible canonization of Mr Chesterton.

"I'm grateful for all of the work done by Chesterton devotees around the world that has prompted the bishop to make this very important decision," said Mr Ahlquist.

"One of the reasons that especially motivated him is the fact that His Holiness, Pope Francis, expressed support for Chesterton's Cause when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

"I think he is very much a saint for our time and could draw many people into the Catholic Church."

Mr Chesterton's novels include The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man Who Was Thursday.

He also wrote the religious works Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man and books on St Francis of Assisi and St Thomas Aquinas.

The Orthodoxy looked at the meaning of life and Chesterton's spiritual journey to Christianity

The Everlasting Man is a spiritual history of western civilization which has been credited with helping to convert the author CS Lewis from atheism to Christianity.