OPE FRANCIS RECOMMENDS THE novel, Lord of the World by Mgr. Robert Hugh Benson. This has been mentioned a few times in the news, but I only stumbled across it today.
I found this particularly reassuring as I have loved many of Mgr. Benson’s novels, starting with Come Rack, Come Rope, borrowed from the church library where I went to primary school. His novels probably sound a little melodramatic to modern ears, but once you acclimatize there are many wonderful stories to enjoy as he did write quite a few novels and short stories. Many are available for free at Project Gutenberg.
Lord of the World shows something of a pessimistic view of the future, extrapolating from trains of thought current around 1900. The similarities to propaganda and events in the world wars is sobering. Monsignor Benson died in 1914, so never saw these ideas play out. It is rather spooky to see the evils foreseen way back over a hundred years ago. There is much, much food for thought in there.
I loved the book so much that it was one of the first that I formatted to make a paperback which is still available at Lulu. Today I spent way too long making an ebook version to go with the paperback.
The main thing which stayed with me from this book was the ending. Now, I don’t want to give too much away, but just let me say that some familiarity with Pange Lingua comes in handy. I remember having to look up quite a few things when I read the book for the first time. When I put together my edition of the book I added in footnotes to save readers some trouble. The author could take for granted that the reader would understand a reference to Adeste Fideles or the odd fragment from the better known psalms – all in Latin. That was the common canon which brought a wealth of associations from just a few words. I wish we could still rely on that today.
I hope you find some treasures in Mgr Benson’s books. His background as a high profile convert to the Catholic faith is worth a read too. It is rather awesome to be part of this Church.