Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

No Regrets

Talking about melancholy and talking about Simon Knott....

...his East Anglian church sites are streaked with it because the churches he (mostly) celebrates were built and ordered to house spiritual practices that are either dead or dying- most notably those of medieval Catholicism and high Victorian Anglicanism- and as a practising but broad-minded Roman Catholic he regrets them both. He's a good writer so his mood rubs off on the reader.

Which, to be frank, I rather resent. Melancholy is absolutely not what I feel when I'm visiting churches. The spiritual practices of our ancestors served them (or they thought they did) but I'm more than happy not to be feeling pressurised to fund a college of priests to pray for my soul or buy an indulgence or sit on a hard seat to hear a long sermon then rise to sing a missionary hymn. They left a great deal of beauty behind, which I thank them for, but our ancestors were in the grip of an oppressive system; I got a taste of the sort of thing that it was when I was younger and am glad to have kicked it off.

I like visiting the ancestors; I find them a lively bunch. The stuff they've left behind in churches is the casing of past selves- much of it quite amusing and jolly. I don't hold with their beliefs, but then neither do they any longer because they've moved on.

Death? Bah, there's really no such thing.

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