Sunday, 24 August 2008

What the Papers say

Bank holiday weekends are for reading the newspapers while thinking that you should be doing something exciting and worthwhile because it's a bank holiday. That hasn't happened yet but I have found two stories: one which made me cheerful and one which made me cross. There are no prizes for guessing which is which.

From The Times: Beauty Contest for Nuns

At first glance, I wasn't sure about this -after all beauty contests don't have a brilliant reputation and nuns are supposed to be, well, above that kind of thing. But, underneath the frivolity, this may well have the effect of drawing attention to the religious life as a possibility for women and perhaps destroying a few stereotypes at the same time. As the organiser said "Nuns deserve much more attention than they get". However, as this is supposed to be about spiritual as well as physical beauty, why is the age limit set at 40? Surely, Fr Rungi doesn't wish to imply that female religious over 40 are "wizened, funereal old ladies"? I think they might well have something to say to him about that... I shall be watching this with interest.

From The Daily Telegraph: Buffy v Church for women

So here are the results of an academic study of falling church attendance sensationalised for public consumption by throwing in Women Bishops and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As you will see, this article ends up making little sense. I won't deconstruct it at length as that rather spoils the fun of reading and doing it for yourselves. However, I will draw your attention to one of the more sensible comments which points out that this article doesn't seem to rate female intelligence very highly at all in suggesting that women base their religious beliefs on a fictional television series which hasn't been shown since 2003*.

But they seem to have, incidentally, touched on an important point, that, "while looking at women in the pulpit we have taken our eyes off the pews". Don't laywomen, who believe that they should remain so, have some justification, at the moment, in feeling completely ignored?

*Watching Buffy teaches the useful lesson that one should treat all librarians with great respect. It deserves admiration, if only for this.

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