Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Agatha's having nun of this!

Well, it's more nuns from me, today! Perhaps my ramblings in the last post were prosaically prophetic as I read today the news story of a Planning Application made to Tenby Town Council from someone who is opening a hotel converted from a convent. In addition to the change of use of the building he wants to erect a large sign of a topless nun outside. Well, she's not totally topless, just menacingly lifting her bodice to show a bit of flesh. Is it a joke? A little wickedness? A harmless piece of fun or irony? Who knows what is going through the mind of the applicant - but councillors aren't happy!

When I first read the story my mind went straight to St Agatha, a 3rd century saint from Sicily who was cruelly tortured and killed under the persecution of Decius. Part of her torturous ending included being sent to a brothel and then having her breasts removed, and in Christian iconography she is often shown holding a tray on which stands her breasts. A far cry from the post modern, post Christian iconography of a Pembroke business man!

But then clergy, religious, the church, Christians are all, for one reason or another, great targets for humour and why not? We're only human and are good material for caricature and satire and if we can't laugh at ourselves then we need to do some soul searching. Meanwhile, a topless nun outside a former convent? What can I say?! As Agatha was being maimed she is reputed to have said to her torturer, 'Cruel tyrant, do you not blush to torture this part of my body, you that sucked the breasts of a woman yourself?' Let's leave her have the last word, eh?


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