Support the Café

Search our Site

Why are Episcopalians so fond of Downton Abbey?

Why are Episcopalians so fond of Downton Abbey?

Anecdotal evidence, and my twitter stream, suggests that Episcopalians are disproportionately fond of Downton Abbey, which ended its third season last night. Why is that?

Does the show appeal to Episcopalians in a particular way? Or does it appeal not so much to Episcopalians, but to the social classes to which most Episcopalians belong?


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’ll tell you what could be more Anglican-esque: A black, 18-year-old peasant girl somewhere in the Sudan, perhaps owning one or two simple outfits, living in a shack, having little education, attending church in a prefabricated pavilion, fearing slaughter by the Muslims, yet all the while confessing Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior to the exclusion of all others, acknowledging his power to transform lives, and thirsting to snatch souls from the jaws of Hell by converting them to Christ. When Episcopalinas see this as “Anglican-esque”

Sorry, No.

Whether Sudanese or anywhere else, “Turn or BURN!” is *not* authentically Anglican (“Scripture, Tradition and REASON”/”No windows into souls”/Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral), in the best sense of Anglican tradition.

The passing off of this Christianist fakery as “Anglican” is the reason for so much conflict [not to mention VIOLENCE, towards the putative Hellbound (LGBTs)] in the Anglican Communion.

JohnC, I rather resent the dressing-up of Christianist Fundamentalism as that of a “18-year-old peasant girl somewhere in the Sudan, perhaps owning one or two simple outfits, living in a shack, having little education, attending church in a prefabricated pavilion, fearing slaughter by the Muslims” as a manipulative means to get others of us to believe that narrow-minded judgmentalism is “Anglican-esque” WITH “theological substance”. It’s perfectly possible to be an indigenous Two-Thirds World Anglican w/o the “Turn or Burn (in this life or The Next!)” heresy: when they speak (see re +Desmond Tutu, as only the best known), I listen.

If you’re just offering Fundy Christianism, however, I’d rather watch Downton Abbey.

JC Fisher

Cynthia Katsarelis

It’s the theology of Mrs. Hughes!!!!

(OK, and Maggie Smith’s pithy quotes).

Bill Dilworth

I’m not so sure that it’s an Episcopalian thing. I was surprised to find that a buddy of mine from the Navy with whom I’m FB friends has been watching the show. He’s working class, definitely not Episcopalian, and didn’t go to college – I would not have pegged him as being entranced by goings-on at an Edwardian manor house. Maybe the Episcopalians who watch it aren’t so different from other viewers: they like a good story.

And by the way, I refuse to apologize for or cede to guilt trips about my Anglophilia, with or without the “bloody shirt” of anonymous Sudanese girls being waved in my face.

C. Wingate

I’ve only seen season 3 episodes, so perhaps my picture of what is going on is going to be quite a bit different from others. I suspect, though, that most American viewers, and perhaps even younger Brits, simply do not understand the class structure issues; the constant concern in the third season about good references, for example, is foreign to the US vision that anyone can reinvent themselves as needed.

What’s most striking to me, and most germane to this forum, is the very frequent appearances in the this season to mercy and redemption. Even O’Brien, who is to my mind the most readily despised character, shows hints of repentance in the last episode of the season.

But surely the high point for any Anglican viewer must be the cameo by Cosmo Lang!

Ann Fontaine

John: I think many us are very aware of Sudan and the Anglicans in Sudan – many who watch Downton Abbey even go there to serve. Downton Abbey is fantasy – doubt too many of us are planning to become the “upstairs” crew. More we have that sense that is portrayed by Tom Branson – torn between knowing another life and the trials of that life and living in the midst of abundance and complicity and participation in what makes others in the world poor. DA is escapism with an edge of our dilemma. But you don’t watch it so you would not know this.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café