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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

In which Mr Grumpy blows his chances of canonisation

Light posting of late, so how about a sideswipe at a really easy target to get back into the swing of it? Oh, look, Cristina Odone's at it again. Today's pearl of wisdom:-

'I’m afraid Cardinal Newman was just too bitchy to be made a saint.

'The Catholic Church’s great intellectual convert was a magnificent writer, a bold thinker, a rigorous Church historian. But his Apologia Pro Vita Sua leaves no doubt that he was also supremely catty and precious, guilty of the self-absorption of a latter-day celeb.'

So no hint of bitchiness there, then. Pretty much a case of "takes one to know one", might one say (miaow)?

I've read the Apologia twice and it changed my life. Self-absorbed? Well, he was after all defending himself against a savage assault on his integrity. What he was he supposed to write about if not himself? If you really don't like the autobiographical slant, there is an abundance of other works to choose from. No doubt Cristina will be giving us her reactions to the Grammar of Assent in due course (miaow no. 2).

And what makes the Apologia unexpectedly unputdownable is, quite simply, the fact that Newman had a mind worth being absorbed in. Unlike some people (miaow no. 3).

Oh, and one other thing. Few Victorian English gentlemen would have doubted that the Italians were dirtier and more superstitious than the English. Certainly not Charles Kingsley. Might this view not, at the time, have contained a grain of truth? I'm not aware, though, that Newman ventured any predictions about comparative hygiene standards in the early 21st century - as Cristina's aggrieved present tense implies. Oh well, I suppose 1 September still counts as the silly season (miaow no. 4).

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