Only in Amer­ica

The Church of England - - ENGLAND -

In Bri­tain God’s ab­sence from Downton Abbey has not been a big is­sue but in ‘God’s own coun­try’ this is a ques­tion of some in­ter­est. “Why, when the scriptwriter Ju­lian Fel­lowes is a Catholic, is there so lit­tle in Downton about God?” Amer­i­cans want to know. Writ­ing in Chris­tian­ity To­day, Todd Dor­man de­scribed God as a ‘pe­riph­eral pres­ence at best’. Ian Markham, an English­man who is Pres­i­dent of Vir­ginia The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, has gone na­tive to ex­tent of worr ying that ‘faith is rel­a­tively in­vis­i­ble’. It has been left to a Bri­tish com­men­ta­tor, Michael Walsh, to point out that high church Angli­cans like the Craw­leys don’t do re­li­gion in pub­lic. He ar­gues that if peo­ple in Eng­land in the years af­ter the Great War be­came de­vout they tended to turn to Catholi­cism.

His­to­rian Cal­lum Brown re­minded Amer­i­cans that Downton Abbey cov­ers a pe­riod when it be­came fash­ion­able for peo­ple to lose their faith. But jour­nal­ist David Gib­son gets it right when he says that in a drama about tra­di­tion and change, fam­ily re­li­gion is a marker of class and sta­tus and is con­cerned more with do­ing what is right and proper than with hold­ing cor­rect be­liefs. Up­per class anti-Catholi­cism may have been an eye-opener to Amer­i­can view­ers. Lord Gran­tham was not pleased that his first grand­child was to be bap­tised a Catholic. But, as Gib­son points out, a fourth se­ries is planned so there is still time for Fel­lowes to chan­nel Eve­lyn Waugh.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.