Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A glorious Mass...

...for Candlemas at Westminster Cathedral. Things are depressing in any British city as 2011 opens. The Christian presence seems - at best - muted, the increasing presence of Islam is the most notable religious feature. Lurid magazines shriek pointless headlines about the sexual antics of nonentity TV "celebs". Young people seem angry and cross and sulky and frightened - you don't often hear laughter or giggles and the predominant noise from groups of people is often sullen sexual expletives or very loud crude obscenities as an argument breaks out.

Then the Cathedral and people are drawn to its presence as it is illuminated at night and looks warm and glowing across the piazza. Inside, people hold candles, and faces are lit up, and music soars. A great rumble of voices responds as the back-and-forth of the Mass begins. There is appropriately glorious music at the Gloria. Christ is our light!


Manny said...

Between atheism and Islam and general non-religiosity, is Britain even a Christian nation any more?

Malcolm said...

British people rarely reject Christianity, in the sense of deciding that it's something in which they can no longer believe. They just drift way, reducing their commitment to Christmas, then to baptisms, weddings and funerals, and finally to just funerals.

The process has reached a sort of limit. In the past there was usually a grandmother or great aunt who was a practising Christian. Now that's no longer the case. Also, the physical infrastructure of churches and religious is beginning to melt away.

Young people are offered an alternative to Christianity, left-wing rights-based morality or (more rarely) right-wing economic libertarianism. However the first they don't really believe in, the second fails to acknowledge that most people aren't very successful. It's not surprising that they are depressed.