Nick Benson

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Downton Abbey writer is after more faith

The creator and writer of Downton Abbey has opened up about his Catholic faith, admitting that he envies those with an “unfettered, unbounded, child-like faith” and would like to believe more firmly than he does.

Speaking to Aled Jones in Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London, during a recent episode of Songs of Praise, Lord Julian Fellowes recalled how The Oratory, where he often worships, has been a part of his life since his childhood.

“I used to be brought to Mass at The Oratory by my parents when I was a little boy and played trains with my rosary in order to keep me quiet and so I do feel that it’s fabric is kind of embedded in me,” he explained.

Lord Fellowes revealed that he still goes to church and that his son has been bought up in the Catholic faith.

“I would like to believe more firmly than I do,” he added. “I always envy people like my wife or my stepmother who have that absolutely unfettered, unbounded child-like faith, I love that in people, I never argue with it because I envy it.”

Asked if his faith informs his writing, Lord Fellowes said: “My belief that we are part of something larger than we are does at times inform my writing. In Downton I hope we will see all our favourite characters tussling with their own future and you know they have doubts but I think a lot of them are essentially good people trying to do their best.”

Speaking further on the Downton Abbey film, which is released in cinemas today, (13th September), Lord Fellowes said it had been exciting to make and explained that it had differed to writing the series, as the film required a central event that would include all of the characters – the film features a royal visit to Downton Abbey by King George V and Queen Mary.

The peer also spoke about one of his favourite hymns and why it means so much to him.

I Vow To Thee My Country – it was written by a man called Cecil Spring Rice who was the British Ambassador to Washington during the First World War. He was overcome by the horror of the First World War and the terrible sacrifice and loss of life but, at the same time, he sort of addressed it by facing it and saying all we can do is our best,” he said.

“I think that remains a very potent instruction really, all we can do is our best,” added a visibly moved Lord Fellowes.

To read more on Downton Abbey and Lord Julian Fellowes pick up this week’s issue of The Catholic Universe, available today. It includes a full feature on Downton Abbey, titled ‘The magic of Downton is back’.

Picture: Lord Julian Fellowes and the cast and crew of Downton Abbey accept the award for Most Popular Drama during the 2015 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London. (Yui Mok/PA).

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OTHER NEWS

JOIN US FOR THE RE-DEDICATION EVENT -WATCH OUR LIVESTREAM BELOW AT NOON

THE REDEDICATION In 1381, England was dedicated to Mary by King Richard II and was 'set apart for her among the nations. This year, the Christians of England are called to make a personal dedication to Mary, taking up her example as Christ’s first disciple. History...

Prayers to say for the rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry

At noon today (Sunday, 29 March), England will be rededicated as the Dowry of Mary. While celebrations have been scaled back for obvious reasons, Catholics can still make join in at home by saying the prayers below. You can say the prayers at any time of day, although...

Online Mass and CAFOD are helping fill the holes left in our Sundays

With the coronavirus pandemic causing Masses across the country to be cancelled, there is now a large demand for virtual worship – and Catholic charity CAFOD hopes its weekly ‘Children’s Liturgy Live!’ will inspire families across the UK after the first session saw...

Catholic Churches in Europe opened to fight COVID-19

Catholic dioceses and religious orders across Europe are offering to turn church facilities into spaces needed for health care or housing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Church leaders throughout Europe have been struggling to maintain Catholic religious devotions...

CAFOD takes its activities online as world stays home

With the onset of the coronavirus leaving many spending more time inside, organisations have swung into action moving their activities online, including UK charity CAFOD, which hopes its digital events and resources will unite international communities. The Covid-19...