Christopher Haigh, 15 October 1998
For most of us, rites of passage are chaotic family events, with crying babies, cranky children, bored teenagers, tipsy fathers and complaining grandmothers – an excuse for a party, a reception or a wake. For the clergy, however, ritual is a serious business. They want their ceremonies to be tidy, dignified and meaningful – no photographs in church, no confetti in the churchyard. They prefer not to christen the babies of non-churchgoers, nor to heap hypocrisies on the coffins of people they have never known.