Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mary's Story

This is a subversive book which would have had its author burned at the stake in those times when the Church exercised serious temporal power.

It consists of some reflections by Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she approaches death in a foreign land.

She touches on Jesus's happy boyhood, how he then matured and eventually turned into a bit of a cold fish with delusions of divinity. She reports on some of his miracles third hand. The only one at which she was present was the water to wine at Cana, and she seems to harbour some doubts about this. The raising of Lazarus, assuming it happened, turned out to be a bad joke. She didn't hang around for the end of the crucifixion saga as she was in fear of her life. So no pietà. And the guys, who are now harassing her for stories from the past, seem to be writing major works of fiction to which they expect her to add her name.

All in all a serious debunking job.

But it is refreshing in its sadness and depression as it makes you think. You begin to wonder what was it really like, particularly when you start to think of people as real people rather than the sanitised and unreflective versions which have been handed down to us.

This Mary is at the other end of the spectrum from the Italian breastless plaster-cast statues that were found in most of the churches of my youth. Des Fennell would be most pleased.

She is a poor tortured soul, looking forward to relief from this mortal coil. But she is still a loving mother and has a serious backbone made of steel which is not paraded unnecessarily.

A short, well written, provocative book. I'm currently on my second read.


  1. Do you know anything about the origins, names, or *any* information on the breastless statues you mentioned? I am trying to research their origins; I can't find anything and this post was the closest thing that came up. Thanks :)

    1. Afraid I don't. I am only aware of what I saw in church and in the holy pictures when I was growing up.