From the current NYRB (Dec 6) p.34
Although Auden told Eliot in 1940 that he had come to something close to
Eliot's religious position, he soon realized that this was true only in
the sense that they both attended Christian churches and practiced
Anglican rituals. With the greatest possible courtesy, he went out of
his way to point out "a discordant snobbish note" in Eliot's writings on
religion. Eliot was mistaken, Auden also wrote, to suggest that culture
was transmitted by the higher social classes, when in fact it had been
transmitted by the Church for most of the past two thousand years.
As for the religious allegory in Eliot's late plays, Auden politely
insisted he was "absolutely certain" Eliot never meant to suggest that
the characters who were called to a religious vocation had been called
because they were more intelligent and from a higher social class than
those who were not called, "but that is exactly what the comedy
convention he is using is bound to suggest."
"Nothing can be essentially serious for man," Auden wrote, "except that
which is given to all men alike, and that which is commanded to all men
alike." (He elsewhere wrote: "One thing, and one thing only, is serious:
loving one's neighbor as one's self." ) What he did not quite say
publicly about Eliot's religion was that he regarded it as frivolous,
not serious, because it was given and commanded to some people and not
Auden saw in Eliot a tendency he was sharply conscious of in himself:
the wish to believe in a god who was "an image of his image of himself"
(the phrase is from his poem "Terce"). Auden's favorite illustration of
this flattering fantasy was the female impersonator Bert Savoy, who was
projecting his own image when he remarked during a thunderstorm,
"There's Miss God at it again." (The remark became famous because Savoy
was struck dead by lightning a few moments later.) Among friends, Auden
used "Miss God" to refer to his own fantasy of a deity with providential
intentions for himself, as in: "Miss God has decided to keep me celibate
this summer." The joke made a serious point about everyone's wish for a
universe whose purposes were adjusted to their own.