LONDON, ONTARIO – December is the month when even people who do not read and ordinarily display no love for the classics, are apt to bump into one of the dozens of film adaptations (or variations thereupon) of Charles Dickens’ (1812–70) single best-known story; his short novella from 1843, A Christmas Carol. And if they’re particularly lucky, the version of this preternaturally powerful parable which they’ll latch onto, is the 1951 production directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. This version is the truest to the original story, quoting great slabs of glorious Dickensian dialogue verbatim, and also spares its viewers the squirm-inducing misery of having to navigate or ignore any extraneous musical interludes of larded-on piety and sentiment. While it would be a shame if the only Dickens story one knew was A Christmas Carol (there’s so much more to explore!) even that limited reading or viewing would be sufficient to establish a fair idea of the author’s gifts and strengths.
LONDON, ONTARIO – At this month’s meeting of the Wrinklings, the membership was asked to bring along and talk about those treasured religious texts – be they prayer books, missals, sermons, catechisms, encyclicals, biographies, memoirs, spiritual reflections, theological compendiums or anthologies – which have provided them with the most nourishment and direction over the years. Of the eight members who turned out on that last Wednesday night in November, I was astonished and heartened to see that three of us (yes, I was one) cited the sermons of Ronald Knox. The foremost English Catholic spokesman from the 1920s until his death, the scholar/priest Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (1888–1957) is not exactly a household name today.
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THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :