When the Holy See gave general permission for Catholics to study again at Oxford and Cambridge, the stipulation was made that lectures be offered to provide support for their faith, as Catholics would be a minority in a rather hostile atmosphere. In the days when C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien trod the greens of Oxford, those lectures were provided by the wise and witty Msgr. Ronald Knox, himself a convert to the Catholic Church.
Erudite and profound, Monsignor Knox not only helped keep the Catholic students aflame with faith, but also led many lapsed Catholics and non-Catholics into the Church. His writings continue to provide inspiration and instruction to all those confronting questions of life and faith.
Some of the best talks by Knox are gathered in this volume. "If God Exists", "The Unholiness of the Church" and "Unselfishness in Marriage" are but a few of the topics he deftly discussed in a manner as entertaining and pertinent now as when they were first given at Oxford in the 1920s and 30s.
"In what Msgr. Knox calls the ‘4 a.m.’ mood, a sense of futility creeps in, a suspicion that the Christian system does not really hang together, that there are flaws in the logic . . . that there are too many unresolved contradictions. To this mood with its temptation to despair, Msgr. Knox talks with unfailing kindness . . . Those who have left their formal education far behind them will find huge solace in reading and re-reading this book. It should be at every bedside, ready to be opened at 4 a.m." – Evelyn Waugh, Author, Brideshead Revisited
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, both as an Anglican and as a Roman Catholic, Ronald Knox was a well-known part of the English literary landscape. He was a favored preacher for occasions great and small; his articles on a host of topics found a place in the newspapers and monthly literary magazines; his voice was heard often on the BBC. He wrote numerous popular spiritual and literary works including The Belief of Catholics, Captive Flames, The Hidden Stream and Pastoral and Occasional Sermons.