Cheese, A Recognized Spiritual Hazard


Bernard Basset, a relatively famous Jesuit in the 1950's/60's, set out to educate the common man in all things God-related. However, there were hiccups. Stan Carey highlights one of the best of them (the foul effects of cheese on the soul!):

I was home in suburban London in 1946 and back in the world of extramural studies when this weird, nocturnal visitation shattered my calm. I had no possible reason to expect so violent a disturbance; by my own subjective standards I was more than normal when I retired to bed that night. Perhaps I was overworked and a little worried, for I had a wisdom tooth that might prove impacted, but no wisdom tooth in history has toppled a man’s faith overnight.

To show how unexpected it was, Margery, when told about it, immediately ran through the items of the previous supper and attributed my atheism to the cheese. She herself, so she said, had sniffed the cheese secretly that evening and had judged it very mature. She smelt it once, replaced it in its carton and then took it out for a second sniff. Knowing how much I liked cheese, she had quietened her scruples, thus unwittingly contributing to my sudden distress. Had I roused her in the night as I should have done, she was sure that her first, semi-conscious explanation would have been “Cheese”.

Margery informed me that cheese was a recognised spiritual hazard and that St Margaret Mary kept a piece down for just ten minutes and this when commanded under Holy Obedience.

Bernard Basset, We Agnostics: On the Tightrope to Eternity

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