Fr Doyle wrote the following in his diary on 21 December 1913, 105 years ago today. It relates to a recent trip to the cinema – it’s not clear what date he went to the cinema, but presumably it was the same day or at most a few days beforehand.
At the end of the performance of “Quo Vadis?” the words of our Lord seemed to go through my soul. ‘I am going to Rome to be crucified for thee.’ Jesus must have given me a big grace, for I walked home stunned, with these words ringing in my ears: ‘crucified for thee.’ Oh, Jesus, Jesus, why cannot I be crucified for You? I long for it with all my heart, and yet I remain a coward. Thank you at least for the dear light You have given me about the life You ask from me, namely, ‘to give up every comfort and gratification, to embrace lovingly every possible pain and suffering.’
As O’Rahilly wryly comments on this passage of Fr Doyle’s diary, this was ‘a devout conclusion not always deducible from cinema shows!’
Quo Vadis? is an excellent and gripping novel written in the late 19th century – I highly highly recommend it. It tells the story of the early Christians and the persecutions they had to endure. Fr Doyle was always attracted by the lives of the early martyrs, and it is this no surprise that the story in Quo Vadis? would really appeal to him.
So, here we have the “modern” Fr Doyle, enjoying a trip to the cinema!
Incidentally, this is the 1912 version of Quo Vadis?, which is presumably the one Fr Doyle went to see.