Ronald Knox was hailed as one of the brightest minds of the Edwardian era, and his decision to become a Catholic shocked many of his contemporaries. He was to be one of the most outstanding recruits to the Church of his generation, and for thirty years he was one of the best known personalities of English Catholicism. A gifted writer and broadcaster, Knox raised the self-confidence of the Catholic Church and showed how Catholicism was now once more at home in England. Knox's writing, broadcasting and preaching made a profound impact on his fellow Catholics and his lucid expositions of Christian teaching found a wide audience. Educated at Eton and Balliol, he demonstrated, as Newman had before him, that an Englishman of his background could be at ease in the Catholic Church. The Church was able to make full use of his talents, as teacher and priest, and as Catholic chaplain to Oxford University in the inter-war years. Renowned for his Bible translations, Knox also wrote detective stories and sparkling satire. His cultivated background and capacity for friendship made him a welcome figure in society, he was famous for his wit - yet sometimes he wrestled with his own melancholy. His close friendships included Harold Macmillan and Evelyn Waugh, who wrote a biography of Knox two years after his death. Waugh's biography is, of course, a literary tour de force, but fifty years on the life of this brilliant and complex priest can now be set in the context of his own times, and of ours. Terry Tastard is a priest of Westminster Diocese and a Research Associate of the Von Hgel Institute, St Edmund's College, Cambridge.
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