19 September 2019, The Tablet

All too often modern science undermines traditional expressions of our faith


All too often modern science undermines traditional expressions of our faith
 

We have had a butterfly summer. I do not know how they have dealt with the gruelling heat in other parts of the country – but by and large it has been pretty wet and cool here. We have not just had extra numbers of our standard species, we have had butterflies that I have not seen here before – including the painted ladies who had a mass migration across the Channel this spring. (Don’t tell sensitive Catholics but some painted ladies are male – and gender-specific language does not seem to have hurt them.)

 

I love butterflies. I find them beautiful, silent and extraordinary – heart cheering.  I am not alone in this delight; butterflies have very positive symbolic roles in almost every culture. They are often seen as representing the soul – or its theological and social equivalent. For Christians for centuries they were symbols, or representations, of the Resurrection. And this, I think, is where things start getting interesting – because a butterfly is a far better, fuller image of the Resurrection than medieval scholars and artists can possibly have known. 

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading


Register for free to read this article in full


Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £21.50 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login