Religion: The Vicar's Cross

The English country parson, with his kindly stoop, his dear old ladies and his teatime calls, was one of the comforting and comfortable pillars of the Empire. But no longer, according to Britain's sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued minor poet, John Betjeman.

"Let us imagine a parson, young or old," he writes in Time & Tide, "coming . . . to an English village . . . On that first Sunday, his church, for the first and last time of his incumbency, will be nearly full. After the service, the village will be agreed on one point only—that...

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