What cathedral installations reveal
At Father Ed’s Blog, Fr Ed Tomlinson asked why Anglican cathedrals are putting tourist attractions in their naves: a helter-skelter at Norwich, a golf course at Rochester. Why not put them outside, Fr Tomlinson suggested. “There is open space in front of Norwich Cathedral which would make a brilliant home for a slide. Similarly, the grounds of Rochester Cathedral would make a good venue for crazy golf.”
Fr Tomlinson linked this “tomfoolery” to the modern crisis of faith. The clergy are “everywhere embroiled in earthly not heavenly matters; speaking out passionately on immigration and plastic straws but utterly silent on divine judgment and the salvation of souls”. They no longer act in church as though “the veil between heaven and earth is thin here”. Nor do they expect that people will be “drawn to church by true faith and authentic holiness.
When the awareness of the divine is lost, and “when you no longer trust that God himself calls people to him, you can only turn to your own efforts and ideas to bring the people in and fill up the coffers. Labyrinths, golf courses, slides and gimmicks are the inevitable end
The long memories of Catholics (and Greeks)
At the Catholic Thing, David Warren was moved to a different kind of reflection on Anglican cathedrals. He had heard “a delightful anecdote from a correspondent the other day. It was of a certain Catholic priest, touring St Alban’s. He breezed his way past the ticket sellers, saying, ‘I don’t pay to enter stolen
Warren reflected that it wasn’t only Catholics who sometimes felt this way. “Having walked a Greek girlfriend past the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum once, I’m a veteran of such contretemps.
“This one was forty-four years ago. My impassioned friend accused a museum guard of having stolen her national treasure. The guard smiled: ‘No, ma’am, it was Lord Elgin who took ’em. I’m just guarding his loot.’”
Could it be that, one day, “the glorious West Portal of Chartres” will be removed and put in a museum? We might imagine a future Catholic, some time in the 38th century, “berating a museum guard. And the guard makes a joke, in the same way.”
Junk news is a dangerous drug
At Shameless Popery, Joe Heschmeyer warned that a big problem today is “junk news, news that exists only to entertain and which actually makes us worse people when we consume too much of it”.
Anger is an addictive feeling – it “can lead to similar ‘rushes’ as thrill-seeking activities where danger triggers dopamine reward receptors in the brain, or like other forms of addiction such as gambling, extreme sports, even drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines” – and news organisations and social media companies know how to exploit this.
A good question to ask about the news you consume is, “Does it fill me with love and a spirit of kindness?”
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