This Week in Christian History: GK Chesterton, a Jesuit Death, Beatles Controversy

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REUTERSTourists pose for photographs next to a statue of John Lennon in Liverpool northern England, Britain, August 16, 2015.

Christianity is a faith with a long and detailed history, with numerous events of lasting significance occurring throughout the ages.

Each week bring the anniversaries of great milestones, horrid tragedies, amazing triumphs, and everything in between.

Here are just a few things that happened this week, July 30-August 5, in Church history. They include a prolific writer's conversion, the death of the founder of the Jesuit Order, and a controversial remark by a Beatle.

G.K. Chesterton Converts to Catholicism - July 30, 1922

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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874—1936), notable prolific writer and lay theologian.

This week marks the anniversary of when prolific British writer G. K. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism at age 48.

"Chesterton's wife, Frances, was a devout adherent of the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism, and their marriage in 1901 drew him into the fold," noted the Catholic publication Our Sunday Visitor in a 2011 piece.

"But not, at least not quickly, into the Catholic Church. Although Chesterton was a resolutely orthodox Christian, he journeyed to Rome slowly — apparently for fear of upsetting his wife — and did not become a Catholic until July 30, 1922. Frances Chesterton soon converted, too."

The American Chesterton Society estimates that in his life, G. K. wrote hundreds of poems, approximately 200 short stories, over 4,000 news articles, and about 100 books, one of which, titled The Everlasting Man, is credited with influencing a young C.S. Lewis to become a Christian.

"Chesterton argued eloquently against all the trends that eventually took over the 20th century: materialism, scientific determinism, moral relativism, and spineless agnosticism," noted the Society.

"He defended 'the common man' and common sense. He defended the poor. He defended the family. He defended beauty. And he defended Christianity and the Catholic Faith."

Ignatius of Loyola Dies – July 31, 1556

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(Photo: Wikipedia)Saint Ignatius of Loyola, (1491-1556), founder of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits.

This week marks the anniversary of when St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus order, died in Rome a few months shy of his 65th birthday.

A native of Spain and a former soldier, Ignatius' missionary order was granted official recognition in 1540 by Pope Paul III.

"Under Ignatius' charismatic leadership, the Society of Jesus grew quickly. Jesuit missionaries played a leading role in the Counter-Reformation and won back many of the European faithful who had been lost to Protestantism," noted History.com.

"The Jesuits also ran several charitable organizations, such as one for former prostitutes and one for converted Jews. When Ignatius de Loyola died on July 31, 1556, there were more than 1,000 Jesuit priests."

While sometimes on the wrong side of Church and secular politics, at present a member of Ignatius' order currently heads the one-billion member Roman Catholic Church.

John Lennon Gets Backlash Over 'More Popular Than Jesus' Remark - July 31, 1966

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(Photo: Screengrab/YouTube/Charles Hawtrey)Beatles member John Lennon in a 1975 interview.

This week marks the anniversary of the backlash that hit the famous British rock band the Beatles due to comments singer John Lennon made regarding his band being "more popular than Jesus."

Lennon's comments about their band being more beloved than Jesus Christ originally appeared in March of 1966 in a story published by the London Evening Standard, reportedly garnering little outrage in Europe.

However, when Lennon's remarks made it to American media that July, a radio station in Alabama banned the Beatles' music and called on Americans to destroy the band's memorabilia.

"Hundreds of Beatles records are to be pulverized in a giant municipal tree-grinding machine here because of what Beatle John Lennon said about Christ," reported one Birmingham paper.

"A box full of the dust will be presented to the British pop stars when they arrive in Memphis, Tennessee, not far from here, for a concert August 19, said local disc jockey Rex Roach."

The overall public outrage became intense enough that at an August press conference Lennon offered an apology, of sorts.

"I was pointing out ... that we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion, at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down, I was just saying it as a fact," said Lennon.

"I'm not saying that we're better, or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is ... If you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry."

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