Many of us have seen, either live or in the evening, the images of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. It is very clear this was supposed to be something extraordinary. The solemn beauty of the ceremony certainly did not fail to impress the viewers the world over.
Why the ceremony was so beautiful and solemn, it is very easy to say: because of the importance of the person to whom the solemnity was meant to be a tribute.
This is very easy to understand. It is, actually, ingrained in human nature. No commenter had any need to explain to his viewers why the British Government decided to go through such a complicated, expensive, meticulously planned and executed exercise.
Imagine, though, if things had gone differently. The PM steps in front of the journalists and says: “Good morning everyone! Today we celebrate the life and achievements of Margaret Thatcher. Capital gal, you know, what with one thing and the other. We’ll hop in to St. Paul now, where the archbish will say another couple of words; nothing stuffy, you know… we also have a Punch and Judy show for the children, in order for them to be introduced to politics…. it’s important, to know politics…. whatever, thanks for being here and have a nice day!”.
Not good, you would have said. No reverence, no dignity, no respect. For Cameron to have pulled something like that would have meant to show utter disregard for the deceased.
It is indicative of the times we live in that everyone understands the death of an important Prime Minister must be treated with extreme reverence, but even people who go on to become Pope (and countless priests with them; and many of those who attend their masses) treat with utter lack of reverence the Sacrifice of One infinitely more important than every Margaret Thatcher, and insult Him with all sorts of antics – up to and not excluding dancing Pinocchios – with some pretext or other (like the “Holy Ghost”, say. I fear one day the Holy Ghost will get truly, truly angry).
There were no Pinocchios around yesterday; no puppets; no stupid music; no dancing entertainers; and no “children’s funeral”. Solemnity, beauty, and reverence wherever you turned, because they are the most natural tribute to rank and greatness, even merely human one.
Most people understand these truths naturally.
Too often, our clergy – Pope certainly not excluded – don’t.