Putting Putting Ahead of Prayer


Convivium, 2 August 2019

Convivium Editor-in-Chief Father Raymond de Souza reminds us that cathedrals are built not for mini-golf but for the greatness of God.

The front page headline of the National Post on Tuesday: “Golf in the House of God,” complete with picture of the mini-golf course set up in the nave of the venerable Rochester cathedral – followed several days in which the same image went viral. A lot of news-making for a 1400-year-old cathedral, but it was for all the wrong reasons.

The photo reminded me of a cartoon from, if I recall correctly, the British satirical magazine Private Eye, in which two Church of England clergyman, cassocked in the traditional style, are passing by an Anglican church. The door is open and upon the altar is a golden calf, the attending vicar leading the ululations of the congregation.

“One day, they will go too far,” says one to the other. 

At Rochester they did not opt for the golden calf. But is mini-golf better or worse? Idolatry is a grave sin, but it takes some gumption to pull it off. The pure silliness and crushing banality of mini-golf somehow seems somehow incapable of that. 

Now, let us insist that it is not nice to laugh at our fellow Christians. In fairness, it must be conceded that it was very not nice for the Rochester Cathedral to make itself a laughingstock, but still, no further laughing please.

We laugh because the only other suitable response is to weep, but still, it is not nice.

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