Take the sting out

MacDusia

Member
Poland
Hello,

I'm working on the Stuart Age and have come across such a sentence in a book: "The result may have been fortuitous, but it took much of the political sting out of the Catholic issue for the time being". I'm not sure I understand the use of "but" here - both clauses convey positive meaning or maybe I simply don't get it.
I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Please tell us where you found this sentence, and provide some context for it. What "result" is the author talking about?
     

    MacDusia

    Member
    Poland
    Please tell us where you found this sentence, and provide some context for it. What "result" is the author talking about?
    I'm sorry I didn't reply then, just thought no one answered my call for "help" and went on with my translation.
    Anyway, to give you the context, it is from Barry Coward's "The Stuart Age", p. 140 (5th edition). The bigger portion of the text goes as follows:

    "Yet it seems that the anti-Catholic measures were not rigorously enforced. Here James’s lack of administrative drive coincided with his own personal inclination and also with the desire not to upset Spain. The result may have been fortuitous, but it took much of the political sting out of the Catholic issue for the time being. While the Catholic minority was allowed to worship in private in peace, and indeed to increase slightly in numbers, the anti-Catholic prejudices of Englishmen were appeased, partially at any rate, by the harsh legislation of 1606".

    I hope it is clearer for you now. When I read it now, I feel I'm lost again, I'm afraid. Does it mean that thanks to James's leniency towards Catholics the religious nonconformity disappeared as a problem from the political agenda for some time?

    So, despite my long silence, would you be so kind and look at it?
    Thanks a lot.
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    The author is saying that the anti-Catholic measures NOT being rigorously enforced was partly because James was lazy about administration, but also, he didn't really want to enforce them (as he was sympathetic to the Catholics) so it was a 'lucky coincidence' that that the measures were not enforced (this was the result). So, while the result was 'lucky' (rather than planned), it did have the good effect of defusing the Catholic issue for a while.
     

    MacDusia

    Member
    Poland
    Yes, yes, thanks for confirming my intuition. This is nearly how I translated the sense of it into Polish after long processing these words in my mind, again and again.
    Thank goodness, there's always one of you watching out there:)!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think fortuitous is a poor word choice. It confused me a lot when I first read the sentence. I understand "fortuitous" as "lucky", having something good happen by chance. This isn't fortuitous in my mind.

    Here James’s lack of administrative drive coincided with his own personal inclination and also with the desire not to upset Spain. The result may have been unplanned/unintentional, but it took much of the political sting out of the Catholic issue for the time being.

    I'm not in love with that wording either but it's closer to the meaning I perceive.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Maybe this wording is better.

    "It might not have been a meticulously planned policy, but it took much of the political sting out of the Catholic issue for the time being"
     
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