Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Tablet argues for the relevance of St Therese

Joanna Moorhead's article in the Tablet has attracted comment here and, less charitably, here (though to be fair to both bloggers there is a link to the Tablet so that you can read the full article: The real Therese).

Now the "house style" for the Tablet does make for very frustrating reading. It seems to be compulsory to write with a sense of superiority, an appearance of sophistication and intellectual stature that, when you get to the end of the last paragraph, leaves you wondering what the writer has actually said of substance. Have they said X (quote from paragraph 2 or 3 says it) or have they said Y (which a quote from paragraph 7 or 8 says they said, but which seems to be at odds with X)? Or have they just done some deliberate playing of one person off against another?

It is a style of writing that lends itself to other commenters headlining one sentence, and giving the impression that that one sentence expresses the whole of the article. Particularly if the Tablet is being seen as a target at which stones must regularly be thrown.

There are some questions of accuracy about Joanna's article. What she says about the attitude of previous Archbishop's of Westminster with regard to a visit of the relics of St Therese might well be largely speculation; as saints go, "long dead" is not the best descriptor to apply to St Therese as she is, relatively speaking for saints, recently dead; and, from what I can see of the preparations for the visit, there is an expectation of a very significant manifestation of Catholic faith during the coming month.

But, to play the game of taking sentences from the article to make a point, let me offer these two:

Behind the myths about her lies an impressive woman who still resonates with the contemporary age.

Strip away the hagiography, and against the odds there’s someone surprisingly real, and surprisingly relevant, lurking underneath.

See my post here to gain some idea of the relevance of Therese today.


Paul said...

"Strip away the hagiography, and against the odds there’s someone surprisingly real, and surprisingly relevant, lurking underneath."

This just shows the Tablet's basic assumption: that the lives of saints are not real or relevant. If you actually pay attention for once and look at one - it turns out this one is real and relevant! Quelle surprise!

Perhaps, in fact, all of the saints are real and relevant? I won't hold my breath until that one sinks in ...

Anonymous said...

zero says
I went to your link to the Tablet article I read Therese was from a "dysfunctual " family- well she didn't do bad for herself did she!?
Also, I was interested to read she went on pilgrimage to Rome and pleaded with the Pope himself to enter Carmel-would it be so easy today to see the Holy Father?