Thursday, December 29, 2011

We modern pilgrims see no journey's end

The opening and closing of the great modern rendering of the Canterbury Tales by Powell and Pressburger.

There is no journey's end in Canterbury since Henry VIII destroyed the tomb of Becket- the whole history of Henry II and Becket ending in Henry II's public penance must have much troubled his conscience. The empty space where the shrine once stood is the hole at the very heart of England.

An artist's impression of the original

And now the Anglicans organise clog dancing in front of the High Altar behind which the shrine once stood.

At the Altar of the Martydom itself, there used to me a realistic depiction of the murder. Now there is an abstract piece of modern art. Reality is clearly too much for the Anglicans, as it was for King Henry VIII when he tried to destroy the cult of that most glorious of English saints.

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