Monday, 8 February 2010
Ronneee . . !
I learn from Fr Mildew that a new Biography of Mgr Ronald Knox has just been published by Gracewing.
Titled 'Ronald Knox and English Catholicism', it is written by Fr Terry Tastard of the Archdiocese of Westminster, published by Gracewing, and priced at £12.99.
If you want a copy without broken bones, you would be wise not to get in front of me in the queue !
I admit to a great penchant for Knoxiana; and I am quite clear that he is one of the three people - the other two of whom remain alive - to whom, under God, I owe my conversion. Somewhat surprisngly, even the time it took me actually helped me, because it allowed me to recognize within myself some of the truths which he found and discussed in 'A Spritual Aeneid', but which don't come to everyone at the same stage of life . . . but once they do, they are (in my experience, at least) irresistible.
I make an annual Pilgrimage to Mells, to visit his grave, usually as close to his Anniversary as possible; and it is amazing what a wide variety of people I have, over the years, met there. The fascinating thing, though, is that although many of them have heard of him, few of them seem to know much about him beyond his having been a good and holy man and scholar . . . strange, but at the same time rather touching.
A former Parish Priest of mine was present at Ronnie's farewell 'performance' at Oxford : the Romanes Lecture, given in the Sheldonian, 'On English Translation'. He said that when Ronnie - who was already dying - read what he said was one of the greatest of all English translations - Cory's 'They told me, Heraclitus . . .' - there wasn't a dry eye in the Theatre.
I can well believe it : for fifty years, almost exactly, he had entertained, instructed, and above all entranced Oxford; and now he was going away, leaving it with nothing but memories : 'for Death he taketh all away; but them he cannot take.'
I doubt that he will ever have a Cause opened; but I am very far from certain that he does not deserve one. Requiescat in Pace.