Friday, 3 January 2014

Something missing ....

Reliquary of St Thomas of Canterbury - Burgos Cathedral

This Christmastide, as 29th December fell on a Sunday and was kept as the Feast of the Holy Family, the commemoration of St Thomas of Canterbury was omitted. Strangely, Christmas always seems to me to lack an indefinable something whenever this occurs. 

St Thomas, of course, has long been a favourite of rebellious (and not so rebellious) Anglo-Catholics since the Catholic Revival in Anglicanism in the nineteenth century. Perhaps it's not that difficult to understand why, given the complete suppression of his cultus by Henry VIII at the very beginning of the tragic process of the English reformation and the transformation of the ecclesia anglicana into a 'national church,' something which made little sense then, except to those who wished, while feathering their own nests, to neuter it as a force in the land, and which makes even less sense now as the values of the secular west and those of the Christian faith diverge.

So maybe we should take Becket  even more to our hearts as the British State becomes ever less Christian and, arguably, in all kinds of ways even anti-Christian, as  contemporary secularism  - our society's new 'faith' of equality  - is enforced with a ruthless logic which condemns and denies so much of our past. 
Historic parallels are never exact, but St Thomas' example - he was undeniably before his death a highly divisive figure - reminds us, too, that there will always be those within the Church who will side, in any conflict, with the prevailing ethos of the State and with its influence, authority and power .... no doubt convincing themselves they do so in complete accord with the trajectory of the Gospels and with the highest possible motives ... 

Here is an excellent modern documentary, telling Thomas Becket's story and the consequences of his martyrdom, particularly for Canterbury and its Cathedral....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will not be published