Friday, December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Carl Olsen, at the Catholic World Report blog, has a thoughtful post entitled 'Advent and the Apocalypse' in which he quotes Ronald Knox. Go there to read his piece and then return to read the meditation which he quotes.

Rouse Up!

We live in an impenitent age; fearing, in our nervous moments, as the result of human negligence, the same sort of world-catastrophe which our ancestors hoped for as the proof of divine omnipotence. And still, because the enthusiasts have so often cried "Wolf", we think of the Second Coming as a contingency fortunately remote. As we listen to the prayers of the Advent liturgy, we have to force ourselves into an artificial frame of mind; to associate ourselves, by a pious exercise of the imagination, with the hopes of an earlier Christendom. We want Our Lord to come, but not just yet.

I am not suggesting that this is an ideal attitude, only that it is a common one. But, whatever we make of certain incalculable probabilities, it is surely important that we should not miss the drama of the season. It is a drama of divine patience, and of human impatience. On the Sunday before Advent, and on three of the Sundays in Advent, the collect begins with the word Excita, "Rouse up." But with a difference: twice we ask God to rouse up his power and interfere, somehow, in the course of world affairs; why does he behave as if he had gone to sleep? (Remember Our Lord, asleep on the boat; "Master, art thou unconcerned? We are sinking.") Twice we ask God to rouse us up; to awaken us from the heavy sleep which makes us go slack and take things for granted. (Remember St. Peter, asleep in the garden; "Simon, art thou sleeping? Hadst thou not strength enough to watch even for an hour?") The drama of Advent is that when we see everything going wrong with the world, we are tempted to be indifferent about it all. And we ask one of two things; either that God will "wake up" and do something about it; or that he will wake us up, and give us grace to watch in Gethsemane, with heavy eyelids.

To shrug your shoulders and hold no briefs means that you get more comfort, perhaps, out of life; but less excitement.

From 'Lightning Meditations', Sheed & Ward, 1959

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Tim McCormick, S.T.B., is the author of the Catholic Bibles blog and an admirer of Msgr. Knox and his writings. Every Sunday he posts a comparison of one of the Lectionary readings with Msgr. Knox's translation, entitled 'Sunday Knox'. Knox's Bible translation, other writings and all things Knoxian come up for discussion on a regular basis.

Here is a post of particular interest, taken from the archives of The Tablet. It is the transcript of the toast given by Cardinal Griffin, at a banquet held in Knox's honor in 1955, and Msgr.'s reply.


Cardinal Griffin: "The first appearance of his translation of the New Testament was awaited eagerly. It found its critics and it found its admirers, but the only point on which there was universal agreement was that here for the first time were the epistles of St. Paul in understandable form."

Msgr. Knox: "The book which has coalesced today into a single volume has come to be known, not by my wish, as the Knox Bible. Such a phrase dazzles you, for a moment, with a hint of immortality ; but a little reflection will convince you that there is no immortality about lending your name to a product. Become a household Word, and you are speedily forgotten. What housewife ever wastes a thought on the memory of President Hoover ? What traveller even recalls the existence of George Mortimer Pullman ? In what refreshment-room will you find a portrait of the fourth Earl of Sandwich ? The Knox Bible has become a mere name ; already, several years back, a Downside boy, doing a history paper on the sixteenth century, informed the examiner that 'John Knox was a cruel Protestant ; he wrote a book we have today, the Knox Bible.'

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My wonderful husband, Gene, and I were recently privileged to spend a week on land and at sea with Mark Brumley and many of the great folks from Ignatius Press. We traveled on pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Paul. 

We also traveled in the footsteps of Ronald Knox who, in 1930, delivered this lecture, The Greeks At Sea, on board a cruise ship in the Aegean Sea. 

Ignatius Press is the world's largest English-language, Catholic publisher and has several books by Ronald Knox on its extensive list.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Here's a nice short blog post about Ronnie from Br. Charles Shonk, O.P.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Father Milton Walsh reports on the recent colloquium in London:

I would like to give a fairly brief report to the Ronald Knox Society about this wonderful colloquium recently held in London. The colloquium was sponsored by Heythrop College, University of London, in association with Inspire (Centre of Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation) and the support of the Institute of English Studies in the University of London and of the Tablet Trust.  The Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies will be publishing the proceedings (Ronnie Knox: A Man for All Seasons, eds Francesca Bugliani Knox and Francesco Montarese).
The organizer and guiding spirit of this splendid gathering was Dr Francesca Bugliani Knox.  She is married to Dillwyn Knox, the grandson of Ronald Knox’s brother Dillwyn; he was present, and I am happy to report that, like his grandfather, he goes by “Dilly”.  Francesca explained to us the reasons for the title to the colloquium.  As to “Ronnie”, this was the name by which Knox was known not only by family and friends, but even by mere acquaintances. He himself said that strangers called him “Ronnie”, and, if anything, it was the surname that was dispensable.  This familiar form of address captures something of the spirit of a man who wore his remarkable intellectual and spiritual gifts lightly. The “man for all seasons” conjures up, of course, the figure of Thomas More, but the phrase in its original context also captures Knox’s personality.  Robert Whittington, a schoolteacher of More's time, said that More was “a man of angel's wit and singular learning; I know not his fellow.  For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness, and affability? And as time requireth, a man of marvellous mirth and pastimes: and sometimes of sad gravity: a man for all seasons.”

Saturday, June 1, 2013


... on last week's colloquium on Ronald Knox.
Here are excerpts from Fr. Ashley Beck & Claire Asquith's talks.

Monday, May 20, 2013


For all those who can possibly be in London this weekend, there's a terrific conference on Ronald Knox happening at Heythrop College (University of London): Ronnie Knox, A Man for All Seasons.
A huge amount of work has gone into planning this exciting event, the first of its kind.

More information.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


From our archives: a wonderful meditation by Ronald Knox, entitled 'The Holy Spirit' (in PDF), from 'The Layman and His Conscience'.
Happy Pentecost!

If a man should set out to go through the Bible, pausing and making a meditation wherever he found material, his attention would be caught without fail, I think, by the second verse of it. “Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep; but already, over its waters, stirred the breath of God.” Creation still in the melting-pot, so that we have nothing for our composition of place except a formless sea of undifferentiated matter; dark, not by some effect of shadow, but with that primal darkness that reigned before light was made. And over this inert mass, like the mist that steals up from a pool at evening, God’s breath his Spirit, was at work. Already it was his plan to educe from this chaos the cosmos he had resolved to make, passing up through its gradual stages till it culminated in the creation of Man.

Deep in your nature and mine lies just such a chaos of undifferentiated matter, of undeveloped possibilities. Psychology calls it the unconscious. It is a great lumber-room, stocked from our past history. Habits and propensities are there, for good and evil; memories, some easily recaptured, some tucked away in the background; unreasoning fears and antipathies; illogical associations, which link this past experience with that; primitive impulses, which shun the light, and seek to disguise themselves by a smoke-screen of reasoning; inherited aptitudes, sometimes quite unexpected. Out of this welter of conditions and tendencies the life of action is built up, yours and mine. And still, as at the dawn of creation, the Holy Spirit moves over those troubled waters, waiting to educe from them, with the cooperation of our wills, the entire life of the Christian.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Here's an interesting article on Sherlock Holmes and his undying fascination. The author makes some good points about fan fiction in general, tracing its origin back to Homer/Virgil and mythical storytelling.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I was privileged to attend Fr. George Rutler's Mass at Our Saviour in New York City last Sunday, and to hear one of his remarkable sermons. Do not miss this opportunity if you're ever in the city!
He frequently mentions Ronald Knox, usually in passing, but his sermons are all influenced by Knox, which is made evident by their clarity and concision, rock-solid theology (pun intended!), wit and depth of understanding.
Here, again, he hits a home run. Thanks to the folks at Crisis Magazine for publishing his work.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Here is a wonderful opportunity for those who can be in London on May 24/25th. The two day colloquium will be held at Heythrop College and there's an impressive line up of speakers.
I'll post more information as the event draws nearer.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Not to take anything away from the praise being heaped upon Benedict XVI by those who know and love him best, I would like to see something written about Msgr. Guido Marini, papal MC. From the beginning of his tenure he has played an important and understated role in Benedict's papacy. He has calmly, efficiently, lovingly stood behind his master - he has played Sam to Benedict's Frodo. He has been the servant of the servant of the servants of God. Now that their task has been accomplished he will, like Sam, have to continue on with his life without his master. Pray for him!

Vicki McCaffrey

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday Message from Msgr. Knox

In the traditional ceremonies of Ash Wednesday, the priest smears ashes on the foreheads of the congregation, saying as he does so, "Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return." It is not a specially religious sentiment, this. The heathen poets rub it in till we are tired of it, and the people who write angry books against religion are always repeating it to us savagely as if it were a point that had never occurred to us. Whereas if they had read the Book of Genesis they would have found it on the threshold of the Bible.
  True, that is not the whole account of the matter. Alone among the creatures, man can look back upon himself and become the object of his own thought, can distinguish the world he knows from himself as knowing it. In the exercise of that faculty, he transcends the limits of mere matter. Nevertheless he is dust. The liaison between body and soul must not be explained away by talking as if the body were a cage which imprisons, or a garment which clothes, the soul. This body of mine is myself. And we are encouraged at the beginning of Lent, to humiliate ourselves by remembering what, on that side of our nature, we are.
  The Ash Wednesday message is at the same time one of comfort. For, as the Psalm tells us, God "knows our fashioning; he remembers that we are dust." We need to be reminded of it once a year; he remembers it all the time. He knows all the flaws in our make-up which predispose us to this or that bad habit; the force of every temptation. If we are tempted to lose heart because we so often fall short of our own ideals, are false to our own natures, it is important once again to remember that we are dust; there is a natural instability about us which explains, and perhaps extenuates, actions which it cannot excuse.
  It is not plain dust that is used on Ash Wednesday, but ashes - those of the palms which were carried in procession on Palm Sunday the year before. It is the dead remains of something we can remember as a living thing not so very long ago; the embers of glory. The symbolism of that is plain and hackneyed enough.
  The ashes are a foretaste of the dust that will rattle, one day, on our coffin. And, by a kind of grim irony, spring, early or late, is the moment chosen for this importunate reminder. Just when earth is beginning to put out its first shy promise of green, we are plucked by the sleeve and reminded that we are dust. Several of the Saints have owed their conversion to the contemplation of an open tomb. But the experience came to them in youth; only so can it come as a revelation. I suppose that is why Lent happens in spring.

Stimuli   Ronald Knox, 1951 Sheed & Ward

News from Baronius Press

A new edition of the Knox Bible — A fitting celebration of the 125th Birthday of Ronald Knox

London, UK, February 08, 2013

In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birthday of Ronald Knox on the 17th February 2013, Baronius Press announced today that the text of the Knox Bible translation will be published on— one of the largest Catholic websites in the English speaking world.

Baronius Press’ editor in chief Dr. John Newton said: “Since this edition came back into print — after an absence from our shelves of many decades — it has again been lauded as one of the finest 20th century Bible translation by Cardinals, Bishops and biblical experts alike. The clarity and beauty of this translation will help Catholics to deepen their faith and knowledge of scripture, especially during this year of Faith.”

Kevin Knight of New Advent said he was delighted to be able to offer the Knox Bible to his readers. He commented: “We are happy to be able to offer the Knox Bible translation freely to our readers. This is one of the most elegant and readable translations that I have come across and we will be promoting it widely on our website”.

The Knox Bible translation was described as “a masterful translation of the Bible” by Time Magazine and was the first vernacular version to be approved for liturgical use in the 20th century. It has featured on EWTN, received praise from Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Dr. Rowan Williams and Dr. Scott Hahn among others. It has also received many positive reviews from Catholic Biblical scholars and writers.

Monsignor Ronald Knox was commissioned in 1939 by the Bishops of England and Wales to produce a fresh translation of the Holy Scripture and, for the next nine years, he worked alone to achieve this task. He used Pope Clement VIII’s edition of the Latin Vulgate as a base for his translation, diligently comparing it to Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldean manuscripts to determine the meaning of ambiguous passages.

He aimed at a Bible that was understandable to modern audiences and yet rooted in Catholic tradition and “written in timeless English”. He wanted a Bible that did not merely translate the original but made it read as if an Englishman had written it.

Knox’s Bible received great acclaim when it was first published. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury of the time recommended it, and it became the preferred translation of Fulton Sheen. The Bishops were so pleased with the completed version that it was authorized for liturgical use, and the Knox translation of the Bible was used as the official version in the churches of Great Britain, Ireland and Australia for the decade leading up to Vatican II – and the first version sanctioned for liturgical use in England and Wales.

Available from Baronius Press ( in a hardback leather edition with gold gilded edges, two ribbons and a complimentary copy of “On Englishing the Bible” in which Msgr. Knox describes himself how he tackled this mammoth project.

Baronius Press is a Catholic book publisher based in London, England. It was originally founded in 2002 and takes its name from the Venerable Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a Neapolitan ecclesiastical historian from the late 1500's. Its logo is a biretta, which together with a cassock forms the traditional image of a Catholic priest.

Baronius Press as a Roman Catholic company, is completely loyal to the Pope and Magisterium, and is committed to producing good solid Catholic books and resources that reaffirm the faith and the tradition of the Church. Whilst the main office is based in London, thanks to electronic communications, Baronius Press works with individuals and organisations in America, Australia and Europe to produce their titles.

The main objective of Baronius Press is to raise the quality of traditional Catholic books in order to make them more appealing to a wider audience. In an age of mass production and cost cutting overriding aesthetic beauty, Baronius Press is re-typesetting (rather than producing facsimiles) classic Catholic books, to obtain clear text which is easy to read. These are then published in high quality bindings that are beautiful and durable. The time and effort that is invested into each title is enormous, but this is a small gesture of love for the treasures of the Holy Mother Church whose literary treasures Baronius is publishing.

The first title Baronius Press published was the Douay-Rheims Bible – the first re-typeset edition for several decades. Since then, this title is available in three different sizes and three colours and also as a pocket size Psalms & New Testament only.

The company has made history by updating and republishing a number of titles that previously were out of print for many decades. In 2004 the company was the first to publish the 1962 Daily Missal with an Imprimatur since the mid 1960s and in subsequent years continued to expand the range with a series of Christian Classics in both paperback and leather bound editions. These included the only edition of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin to include the Gregorian Chant and the republication of the Carmelite classic Divine Intimacy. In 2012 after five years of preparation, Baronius Press released the first 1963 Roman Breviary in nearly fifty years. Currently, the company has over 50 titles in print.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Catholic Herald Interview

The Catholic Herald has a terrific interview with Archbishop Cordileone, who quotes Knox!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Digital Archiving

Matt Anger has some good tips for finding out-of-print books, including Msgr. Knox's A Spiritual Aeneid, HERE.