Hilaire Belloc and the Popes


I was reading Joseph Pearce’s ‘Old Thunder,’ which is a biography of Belloc, when I noticed something that struck me as odd.

During his adult life, Hilaire Belloc had many seemingly private audiences with various pontiffs. In the letters cited, he describes talking to them in person and receiving blessings for himself and loved ones.

Now, I realise that this was up until the second world war, and perhaps the Nazi threat effected some change upon Vatican policy that outlived the war, but it seems odd that even Belloc, who was a well known English author, would be able to regularly be worked into the different popes’ appointment books at such leisure. Short of becoming a head of state, you or I would be hard pressed to have face-to-face meetings with Pontiff.

Do any of you have any information on this?


I do not have any information on this. And there might not be much on ‘private audiences.’

Perhaps you could identify the gatekeeper - the one that schedules audiences with the Pope. Was the gatekeeper the same person for each Pope?

Belloc was a well known Catholic writer and once he established his ability to keep private audiences private, it seems reasonable he could be trusted and allowed, asked, to visit with the Popes. I presume the Pope seeks private input from a number of informed persons, Belloc being just one.

All this just seems a reasonable way to understand how it may have come to be, if it is true.


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