Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The funeral of Lady Thatcher

I was not able to watch the funeral of Lady Thatcher on television, so I have been dependent on pictures and reports in the papers and on the internet. Talking today to a friend who is an Anglican clergyman, and indeed a former Royal Navy chaplain, who had watched the service, we agreed that it displayed the best of British state ceremonial, carried out impeccably, with a dignified Anglican liturgy.

As a former Anglican, who can certainly still appreciate the dignity of such occasions and their appeal to a disciplined sense of tradition rooted in shared, if not always expressed, beliefs I would have expected nothing other. It is the type of liturgy St Paul's does well on such occasions. The pity is the disjunction between politicians at prayer in church and politicians in action in Parliament.

I was interested to see posts from Fr Tim Finigan, with Thoughts on the Funeral Service for Baroness Thatcher , and from Fr Ray Blake with Mrs T and the Fannon , which, with the comments upon them, drew attention to these points from the viewpoint of Catholic priests with a genuine concern for liturgical excellence and its importance in the life of the faithful. They made me realise how my Anglican background makes me expect such things in away that many Catholics in this country would not.

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