Waugh Quoted in New Westminster Hymnal

A quote from Evelyn Waugh’s 1959 biography of Ronald Knox is printed as a sort of epigram at the beginning of a new edition of the New Westminster Hymnal (originally published in 1939). The hymnal contains Roman Catholic versions of hymns used in worship services. Waugh’s quote explains Ronald Knox’s contribution to the hymnal:

At the Low Week meeting of the hierarchy in 1936, Ronald had been appointed to a committee to revise the WESTMINSTER HYMNAL. Some converts from Protestantism repine at their lost opportunities for congregational singing. Indeed, many adult English Catholics do not hear a hymn from one year’s end to another. Ronald attributed this silence to the low literary quality of many Catholic hymns. He took the work of revision very seriously, and his taste—more than that of any other individual—pervaded the committee, whose deliberations were protracted for two years… 

This is an excerpt from a passage that appears at p. 253 of Waugh’s biography of Knox. The hymnal is reproduced in PDF format on a Roman Catholic website known as Corpus Christi Watershed. It is Part 4 of a blog containing copies and discussions of other musical works written for religious purposes. 

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