Where is the Church in Downton Abbey?

I asked this very question in a brief blogpost last year. There were several moments of pious devotion and an obligatory teatime visit of the Vicar to the Dowager Countess, but in last night’s episode, the careful omission of anything overtly religious was especially apparent. There was a scene of the wedding rehearsal, with the Archbishop (unidentified) berating the vicar’s handling of the rehearsal. And we saw the walk down the aisle at the wedding, the couple approach the altar, and then a cut. Not one word of the marriage service was uttered, not a single prayer.

On this side of the pond, at least judging by my twitter feed, Downton Abbey is a big hit with Episcopalians (although there is also considerable snark from many of the usual suspects). It appeals to our anglophilia which may be why some of us became Episcopalian in the first place but I think we ought to recognize how marginalized the institutional church and personal faith are in the overall series, and how that reflects twenty-first century sensibilities and probably distorts historical reality. The absence of religion is especially curious considering its creator Julian Fellowes’ own Catholicism, explored in a podcast featuring James Martin, SJ and Tim Reidy of America Magazine.

From Christianity Today: Why is God still absent from Downton Abbey?

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