In case you hadn't noticed, I am a fan of the late Monsignor Ronald Knox (there's a man who deserved an honorary title!).
His books of sermons (whether for adults or children) are all excellent, his introduction to the Faith likewise. I haven't read his detective stories, but want to do so. He was, I think the last individual to do a complete translation of the Bible, and he had a fantastic sense of humour.
He it was who posted this advertisement in a religious periodical: Evangelical vicar, in want of a portable, second-hand font, would dispose, for the same, of a portrait, in frame, of the Bishop, elect, of Vermont.
Which should, perhaps, be better presented thus (though not for the sake of the joke in the paper):
Evangelical vicar, in want
Of a portable, second-hand font,
Would dispose, for the same,
Of a portrait, in frame,
Of the Bishop, elect, of Vermont.
He also wrote an excellent satire, Absolute and Abitofhell 'in the manner of John Dryden' on the new approach to religious belief that was leaking into the Anglican Church around the turn of the century. It is worth reading in full (not least to remind us that there is little new under the sun - this was published in 1915) but some of my favourite lines include:
First, Adam fell; then Noah's Ark was drowned,
And Samson under close inspection bound;
For Daniel's Blood the Critick Lions roar'd,
And trembling Hands threw Jonah overboard.
Lux Mundi came, and here we found indeed
A Maximum and Minimum of Creed:
But still the Criticks, bent on Matthew's Fall,
And setting Peter by the Ears with Paul,
Brought unaccustom'd Doctrines oversea
Suggesting rather, Caeli Tenebrae.
You get the idea; and so it goes on, questioning the wisdom of those who:
Eschewing Luke, John, Matthew, and the rest
Read Mark, but could not inwardly digest.
But my absolute favourite couplet is:
When suave Politeness, tempering bigot Zeal,
Corrected, "I believe," to "One does feel."
As I say, a man of genius and wit: we could do with a few like him now.
Requiescat in pace.
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