Thursday, March 22, 2012

Catholics on BBC4: Women

I`m rather late with this (and too late to lift a photo from the BBC iplayer) but just for the sake of completeness I should say something about the last episode in the series. This programme focused on Westminster cathedral and interviewed women who worship or work there. I thought it gave a fair reflection of the opinions found among lay people today. The few young women interviewed seemed happy with being Catholics. The older ones were less so although not entirely: Rose, the sacristan seemed very comfortable with her Catholic life. Some of the older ones complained about the Church`s teaching on marriage and contraception. However particularly sad was the lady who won`t go to Communion because she married again eight years after her husband left her and when her second husband died is now free to go to Communion but won`t as she would need to go to confession and confess her second marriage as a sin which she won`t do. Moving was the lady who had had a stroke and had come back to Mass after sixty years of being a lapsed Catholic during which time she had even managed to live in Rome for four years and never go to Mass. 

Westminster cathedral is hardly a typical Catholic parish. I`ve  heard similar remarks being made about the idyllic rural parish in the second episode too. It`s not even at every Catholic cathedral in the land let alone a parish church where putting out the reliquaries on the altar for a major feast would be regarded as normal! We also saw a priest setting off to say Mass alone in the crypt which again is not a normal sight in most churches. However while this was the most challenging of the series as it was the only programme where signs of discontent within the Church came to the surface it wasn`t done in a sensationalist way.

Overall I thought this was a good series which looked at the Catholic Church in a sympathetic light and, apart from the unusual locations for the last two programmes, gave a fair insight into Catholic life in England today and some of the challenges the Church faces.


Rubricarius said...

It was a well-produced series and, by the standards of modern broadcasting, quite fair. It would have been interesting to have interpolated snapshots of similar footage from 50 and 25 years ago to compare them with now.

Sixupman said...

Late Evening Prayers, followed by the Salve Regina before the ancient plaque of Our Lady of Westminster, then closure of the Cathedral.

I wonder if that is still the routine, but I am going back forty years or more.