Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 13 June |
Saint of the Day: St. Anthony of Padua
home iconNews
line break icon

The Apocalyptic Vision of “Lord of the World”

CC0-Public-Domain-via-Pixabay

Rev. C. John McCloskey - published on 05/31/15 - updated on 06/07/17

I finish this Introduction by mentioning passing you on to the Introduction Preface written by my good friend, the late renowned Catholic philosopher and novelist Ralph McInerny, who was professor at the University of Notre Dame for many decades and an outstanding intellectual figure in American society.

If you would like to hear a free conversation between the two of us on the Lord of the World, you can find it online at www.EWTN.com. Search by my last name, McCloskey, for a MP3 from Program Five on my Catholic Authors 2 series. If you are more ambitious or can afford it, you might consider purchasing the DVD itself and its companion that provide 26 half-hour shows on Catholic Literature.

Biography

Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) is another member of a group of important Catholic writers from the first half of the twentieth century. In his case, though, his premature death in his early forties meant that he has never become as well known as some of his more famous contemporaries, such as Msgr. Ronald Knox, Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton.
He is best known for his novels but in his time he was also a sought-after preacher.

Like Ronald Knox he was the son of an Anglican bishop, but in his case he managed to go one better in that his father was actually the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward Benson. His autobiography, Confessions of a Convert, which was originally published as a series of articles between 1906 and 1907 in the American Catholic magazine, "Ave Maria," details his gradual progress into the Catholic Church.

Again, like Ronald Knox he went to Eton, but here too the conventional tenets and practices of the Established Church made little real impression on him. It was only after leaving Eton, and before going to Cambridge University, that he had what he describes as his first touch of "personal religion." This came about through his fascination with the music and worship at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

But once he went to Cambridge he slipped back into indecision about spiritual matters. Despite this he decided to follow the "family profession" and become an Anglican clergyman; at this time, like many Protestants, he still harbored a deep suspicion of the Catholic Church. Thus his father ordained him in 1895.

Following his father’s death shortly after, though, he began to look at Catholicism more closely, especially after some time spent abroad in the Middle East; he came to realize just how small the Anglican communion was in relation to Christendom as a whole. Nevertheless, he joined an Anglican religious community, hoping this would calm his troubled mind, which for a time was the case, being professed in July 1901.

However, his worries and doubts resurfaced in 1902, as he weighed up the conflicting claims of Anglicanism and Catholicism. He discovered that this was an impossible task for him on an intellectual level, since he felt incompetent to decide which set of theological "experts" he should believe.

This led him on to the extremely important point that the true Church should be discoverable by everyone, even the not-so-clever, and that humility and singleness of motive were the most important elements in this search, an idea Benson was to stress in his book The Religion of the Plain Man. Catholic writers, and particularly Cardinal Newman, also influenced him in his famous Development of Doctrine.

It was principally by a study of Catholic claims in the light of the New Testament, though, that he came into the Church, being received by Fr. Reginald Buckler, OPo.p., in September 1903, the first son of an Anglican archbishop to become a Catholic in three hundred years, an event which was, naturally enough, something of a sensation. Shortly after this he went to study in Rome for the priesthood, being ordained there in June 1904.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Tags:
Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
3
SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Philip Kosloski
Miracle prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
4
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Offer your heart to Jesus with this prayer
5
BIEDNY CZŁOWIEK
Daniel Esparza
Were Jesus and Joseph really carpenters?
6
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
7
RAIN
Kathleen N. Hattrup
3 three-word prayers to turn your day around
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.