Speak out – or say goodbye to Christianity
By MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT
PUBLISHED: 00:09, 22 December 2013 | UPDATED: 00:09, 22 December 2013
Once sacrosanct, Christmas is becoming an excuse for more shopping
The most successful and enduring religions offer their flocks a way of life, as well as weekly worship. They have rules, customs and calendars which bind believers together.
Until surprisingly recently, Christianity in this country was such a religion. The year was punctuated by the great Christian feast days. Church towers and spires dominated most towns and cities, and their bells were the background music of life.
Now this has almost completely vanished. New towers of mammon overtop churches and even cathedrals, and the bells are drowned out by commercial hubbub.
Remembrance Sunday is probably the only solemn event on the calendar that most people notice. Good Friday, once a rather severe day of shuttered silence, is now just another shopping opportunity. Sunday has been de-Christianised.
All that is left is Christmas, a festival whose very name is inescapably Christian, which always captivates children, gathers scattered families round unaccustomed dining tables and can still fill churches.
But for how much longer, if it, too, is to be turned into an excuse for more shopping?
You might expect the senior Bishops of the established Church, men paid to defend its worship and doctrine, to speak against the accelerating commercialisation of Christmas Day, which this newspaper reports today. It seems likely that the last laws preventing a full opening of supermarkets on the day itself will be gone in ten years. And then what will be left of Christian Britain?
Yet the three most senior prelates, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London (who employs an expensive PR firm), cannot even bring themselves to criticise these changes.
This is feeble. Worse, it is a mistake. Despite our sparkling prosperity, there is a hunger in our country for something more than electronic goods and payday loans. If the Church of England does not want to satisfy that desire, someone else will