Fine Art of Flippancy: (As It Was Reported in the Canadian Churchman)

Anglican Journal, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Fine Art of Flippancy: (As It Was Reported in the Canadian Churchman)


100 years ago: November 1900

Canadian Churchman reported that France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries went through a stage of profound irreverence. Courtiers, ecclesiastics, writers, all agreed to make a jest of life.

They reduced flippancy to a fine art; they used irreverence to point their wit. Their epigrams, sparkling but profane, took on as time passed a tone ever more and more cynical, the sure sign of the lost power of loving God and man. And we know what followed; how the deluge came, and all the levity and wit was quenched in a sea of blood. It is very noticeable among ourselves that, as the idea of worship loses its hold upon the mind, society has become less and less serious, more and more irreverent, and its mental and moral state is reflected in its literature, its drama, and the flippant talk of men, women and even children. If we think of it we cannot fail to perceive that the levity all about us, which affects to be mere lightness of heart, is atheism in the germ.

50 years ago: November 1950

Canadian Churchman asked, can it be possible that the ancient, moss covered idea still prevails among church people that a Rector knows, without being told, that a certain parishioner is ill and should be called on? Just a few days ago an old lady gave a young curate a terrific blast because none of the clergy had called on her. …

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