I've received a magazine from the college I taught in for three decades, and it contains this paragraph:
"What a wonderful place ... The Downs, the sea, the site, the setting ... and the Chapel, that towering edifice that mixes opulent indulgence with beauty and form. It is the greatest chapel in the land. Strangely, my memories ... are not coated in recollections of hours spent on my knees. ... liberal ... progressive ... Chapel was merely a part of life."
Not exactly a hostile review; so why do I find the 'merely' so grating?
A comment on the Established “ church”… merely , not actually. Happy St Philips day! The net is broken, Father…et sumus erepti.
"Merely" may be a barbed and wounding word, from one who delights in the aesthetic qualities, but has no engagement in religion. You care, and did your best to nurture the values embodied in the chapel and its life in the school.
However, the word "merely" could very well signal a very British (English?) understatement. Chapel was, and is, a natural part of life in a religious school that has the coherent and true worldview of the Church as the basis for education.
All the religious schools which I attended have been closed and destroyed. The pain of their loss is keen, over 60 years since leaving.
Well, Anglican, innit?
I really don't think that s/he meant thing as a depreciating comment. The CofE at its best was just part of the fabric of everyday life - it was simply there, doing what it was intended to do - "everyday", "simply", "merely"....
Part of the problem with the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is that it has always felt itself as a 'correction' or a 'restoration', it has never felt itself as natural, or simply or merely.
There is something rather lovely about being the Vicar of Sommerstown, rather than being the Roam Catholic Parish Priest of Sommerstown.
They seem (on the basis of the words quoted) to have been full of the Spirit of the Council. No rigidity or Phariseeism as our dear Holy Father would say, no rattling off Rosaries as he said too in so many words when sneering at a Rosary bouquet. PF is said to have a fever. Pray for his recovery and spiritual growth.
'Merely' merely reflects the agnostic, indifferentist world view of the writer, as do the key buzz words 'liberal' and 'progressive'. Here I just roll my eyes, being far more horrified by the monstrously patronising word 'indulgence' to describe the magnificent Chapel.
Well CS Lewis wrote a book called "Mere Christianity" in which he was not trying to be indifferentist or agnostic, but presenting those parts of Christianity that Catholics and the various flavors of Protestantism could generally agree on.
Which is not to say that a particular school might not be trending towards indifferentism or agnosticism given the spreading disease of wokeism that is infecting almost everything. My own school originally founded in the 17th Century by a strict Puritan preacher where we attended assemblies every morning with prayer, scripture reading, and hymns seems to have now succumbed and is no doubt as we speak raising the LGBTQIA+ banner to "celebrate" the month formerly given over to the Sacred Heart.
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