Sunday, November 27, 2005

From New Directions
What’s with all the candles?
People of little faith or no faith at all light them at the sites of motorcar accidents and other fatalities, much as they pile up flowers and multiply teddy bears. Candles – like it or not – are a derivation from the Diana Effect, flickering emblems of a post-religious sentimentality.
Or natural religion from people who were never really taught the faith — not a bad instinct, just one that needs to be churched.
Which is probably why the mainstream Church of England (where, let’s face it, candles were, in most of our lifetimes, a suspect feature associated with Romanism) has taken them to its heart.
And that Broad Churchpeople believe in nothing therefore everything.
The candles in the churches of our television whodunits are paying religion an elegant backhanded compliment.

My girlfriend has rightly long observed that secular TV shows, from people with a good eye for production values, depict RC churches aglow with votive lights before statues and decent altars and with habited nuns (being so dependent on the visual) that are better than ‘the real thing’ in many cases.

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