Downton christening - Fellowes misses an opportunity
Downton Abbey is a regular Sunday night fixture for Mrs P and me. The plotline involving Catholicism and Tom/Branson was probably irresistible for the Old Amplefordian, Julian Fellowes. After a lot of casual anti-Catholicism (entirely believable given the era) including a great line from Rev Travis “I can’t see that bells and incense and the rest of that Pagan folderol is pleasing to God”, baby Sybil was baptised into the Holy Catholic Church in Ripon.
The attention to detail was (almost) inpeccable. The priest when summoned to have his photo taken with the decidedly uncomfortable Dowager Lady Grantham and Lord Grantham wore an English Benedcitine habit. I don't know if the Benedictines ever had a parish in Ripon - I think the nearest would be Easingwold or Knaresborough - but the idea was a good one, given the closeness of Ampleforth as 'Downton' is in the North Riding. So you could see where the OA, Fellowes, was coming from. One teensy, tiny detail was that Fr Dominic's hood had a small clasp more typical of a Downside monk than the button on an Ampleforth habit (I know, I know. Only a Catholic trainspotter would know that).
The trick Fellowes missed would have been to have shown the pre-conciliar Rite of Baptism
"Sybil quid petis ab Ecclésia Dei?""Fidem.""Fides quid tibi præstat?" "Vitam ætérnam."- a chance to demythologise and perhaps evangelise. Certainly a chance to show what we are missing with a hermeneutic of rupture.