Religion: Life & Death of a Monsignor

Monsignor Ronald Knox was skittish about moths, mice and telephones. He was at his ease among pogo sticks (once he navigated a flight of stairs on one), the pipe smoke and verbal parry of Oxford common rooms, Latin verse and the English language. Temperamentally an esthete, he nonetheless made sense and clarity the chief goals of his monumental translation of the Bible. Intellectually the most ornamental English convert to Roman Catholicism since John Henry Newman, he was too diffident and self-effacing to aspire to a cardinal's red hat. His was the subtler role of a kind of religious Mr. Chips to...

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