Saturday, 5 September 2009

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Fr T.E. Jones reflected on secularisation in a post yesterday on the admirable S. Peter's London Docks (Peterite) blog:

[...] the last decade has seen a growth in secularisation that has put Christianity on the margins of national life. In spite of excellent (heroic?) efforts of many laity and clergy at local levels, in ecclesial bodies of every sort, the impact overall has been negated by the dominance of an elite of power-brokers who wish no good to the Church. [...] "Life", said John Lennon, 'Is what happens while you are planning your future'. Just so, as the Church planned (a decade of Evangelism!) a national mood changed and we (bless) hardly noticed.

Ironically, the very same afternoon Ruth Gledhill on her Articles of Faith blog at the Times reported Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society bemoaning the desecularisation of society:

But this creep of religion into the workplace has been coming for several years. I spent most of my working life toiling in hospitals and social services. I didn't go to work in the expectation that I would be required to observe someone else's "faith", for most of those years. I was happy for them to have it if it was useful to them, but I was also happy for them to keep it to themselves, as I was happy to keep my lack of faith private.

Of course there are ways in which both complaints can be true, but it's striking how the cries of secularisation and desecularisation mirror each other (neither Fr Jones nor Mr Sanderson are untypical). In modern Britain both believers and non-believers feel under threat.

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