The Crown and God

The Crown season 3.jpegStill at home with virus symptoms, though not at home with them. Progressing through season three of the Crown, those moments with God Liam alluded to a few days ago.

First in episode 2, was the experience of the 1966 coal avalanche in Aberfan as witnessed by members of the royal family, including those members never presented as being touched by religion or human expression. The hymn “Jesu, Lover of the Soul” sung at the children’s funeral, witnessed by Prince Philip on his visit.

The second bit (episode 3) was with the Duke of Edinburgh questioned by his mother about his faith. “Dormant,” he replies.

Apollo 11 crewThe seventh installment of this season, “Moondust,” struck me most for a few reasons. The Prince is fascinated with the Apollo 11 mission. I felt the grip of fascination with space and exploration. The writers frame this longing along with the man’s advance deeper into middle age and the inevitable questions about fitness, self-image, and purpose in life.

The writers’ take on the Duke’s response of disgust to a stumbling Sunday sermon by the Dean of Windsor. The Queen arranges for a retirement and a new Dean, but by then, her husband has given up on church. He’s ambushed by Rev Robin Woods, who wants to start a retreat center on the Windsor Palace grounds. Invited by the new priest to a support group, the Duke blasts personal sharing as indulgent and stalks off in disgust. A man of action, he sees himself in need of doing things, not talking about problems. 

By the end of the episode, the Duke realizes he needs help, and after meeting the astronauts and sorting through his experiences and disappointments, he comes to a realization and asks for help. 

I find the Charles and Diana drama of season 4 more cringe-worthy and of far less interest, however historically close-to-accurate it might be. 

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to The Crown and God

  1. Liam says:

    The musical phrasing of the tune ABERYSTWYTH is somewhat strange yet compelling. It’s ABACDEFA. It’s almost an argument. Begins and ends solemnly, almost evoking a dirge but not quite, but gradually elevates to the penultimate phrase (the right place for that) before returning to end on the initial phrase.

    The text is very Wesleyan Methodist, hence very Welsh. It would benefit from some theological (soteriology) alteration for use in Catholic liturgy, but otherwise would be an interesting addition to the metrical hymn repertoire.

    The use of the hymn in the episode at the mass burial was like a community keening. (And the Welsh of that time and place could be credibly portrayed as keening in four-part harmony.) And then for the last scene of the episode, to be played on an LP for a listening audience of one in a very different setting that was mournful on more than one level, was a good piece of dramaturgy.

    • Liam says:

      PS: The rhetorical momentum of the text also matches the musical phrasing. That’s the traditional art of metrical hymn writing, one that is often less present in contemporary song writing.

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