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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

Mock Priests

November 13th, 2012

Mock priests at the recent Lewes Bonfire celebrations. Photo by Andy Letcher. More photos and commentary on his provocative blog here.


From Andy’s blogpost:
Then, in a truly carnivalesque moment, mock priests delivered mock prayers and mock sermons from a raised platform, replete with burning crosses, to the bonfire boys gathered below. The congregation responded with a hail of bangers and squibs. The priests shrugged off this barrage with a nonchalant sang-froid, an extraordinary image. And then the fireworks went off all around them.
The display was fantastic, perhaps the best I’ve seen, and was remarkable for its proximity. At times we were right underneath the rockets. Shock waves pummeled me in the chest. Burning debris fell all around.

In the end, I think that what makes Lewes so wonderful is that for just one night, the ordinary quotidian is shattered. Businesses board up their windows. People down tools, take to the streets and, work-be-buggered, have a party. Most municipal firework displays no longer happen on November 5th but on the nearest Saturday, as if a ‘holy day’ can simply be shunted out the way in the name of profit. Lewes reminds us that we have our priorities wrong. The agelasts want safety and order and things in their place. But we need somewhere to express our unruly selves lest they erupt unbidden. We forget this at our peril.

3 Responses to “Mock Priests”

  1. The agelasts want safety and order and things in their place. But we need somewhere to express our unruly selves lest they erupt unbidden. We forget this at our peril.

    I like that. In the US we have Ben Franklin’s old maxim that the cost of safety is liberty, but perhaps there is yet another cost just as pernicious: sanity.

  2. The mock priests don’t surprise me: you will see from their headgear that they are unquestionably Catholic priests.

    I lived in Lewes for some time, and attended the Bonfire Night twice. On both occasions, certain bonfire ‘boys’ were out distributing virulently anti-Catholic leaflets: the couple I had thrust into my hand were along the lines of the ‘Vatican is a Communist/Jewish conspiracy’, kind of thing, together with Unionist propaganda of the most extreme and violent kind. The leaflets gave an unpleasant edge to the knock-about drunkeness that began once the parade had gone home and the children were abed.

    I hold no brief for the Catholic Church, but I hope the Bonfire Societies no longer propagate this kind of hate. It seems very small beer indeed compared to the fire hazard of a few fireworks.

  3. Sono stato molto contento di aver trovato questo sito. Voglio dire grazie per il vostro tempo per questa lettura meravigliosa! Io sicuramente mi sto godendo ogni post e ho già salvato il sito tra i segnalibri per non perdermi nulla!

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