Monday, 4 April 2011


It's curious how in a society in which people more and more stridently demand "respect," fewer and fewer seem to feel the need to show it to others.
This report from Wales [here] seems to bear out the recent experience of many clergy:

'FUNERAL corteges are increasingly being disrupted by angry, impatient drivers overtaking aggressively or shouting abuse.
Undertakers called on drivers to be more respectful after a report showed the problem was becoming commonplace across Wales and the rest of the UK.
Funeral director Phillip Davies, whose business operates in Fforestfach, Swansea, said it happened frequently.
“Sad as it is for me to say, but this happens quite a lot. Unfortunately there is no respect any longer and people have lost common courtesy.”
He said angry motorists had shouted abuse using foul language, hooted their horns and used rude hand gestures.
“You name it, we have seen it. Nothing shocks me any more. I think its symptomatic of the modern world. People haven’t got 10 minutes to pay their respects or pull over, if needs be. I think this happens across the country, but you have to wonder how these people would feel if it was a procession for their loved one.....”'
I've not experienced the very worst of this -  rude and impatient motorists on one side -  but it certainly seems to be true that a funeral cortege now elicits in many people a kind of embarrassment and an obviously-too-uncomfortable reminder of their own mortality.
Having said that, in the remotest places in the Forest of Dean it is not that unusual to see men at the side of the road removing headgear of all kinds, including baseball caps, and standing quietly as a cortege passes. I've even noticed the very occasional sign of the cross being made. And.....yes....... in the cities, Muslims showing signs of respect for the dead, too, as a hearse passes.
We should be very wary about making too many assumptions of western cultural superiority. Even to pretend to it, one must have some kind of cultural inheritance to begin with.....

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