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« Rome Really Needs To Get Involved on This One | Main | Point Made? »

October 17, 2007

Comments

Father Martin Fox

Okay, now I understand what's been happening at my site!

Yesterday, my hits soared -- curious, I looked at my site meter: had someone kindly linked a homily or something? No, it was a series of google and other searches, something about "bonfire" and "pope." For awhile, I thought it was a Guy Fawkes' Day thing.

Tim J.

Looked at as a coincidence, the image is kind of humorous. It's an amusing juxtaposition, and a good, light-hearted picture of JPII.

Viewed as a kind of "sign" or miracle, though, it's a real eye-roller... like Our Lady of the Underpass.

Yipe. Well, it will give James White and Jack Chick something to do.

Nihil

Sigh. It seems all news coming from Poland these days is about superstition, or corruption, or generic backwardness (see: the twins' government, Radio Maryja, etc.). I've met and befriended a few excellent Polish people in the past - apparently their country had to balance their existence with at least an equal amount of block-heads.

David B.

If the pope really were to appear, he wouldn't do so in the form of flames, as it kinda sends the wrong impression :-)

AmericanPapist

Aw, come on, don't we all remember what a "flare" for the dramatic JP2 had? :P

Joe

I am sure there are some anti-catholic fundamentalists out there propping this up as a divine revelation and warning from JPII (sigh).

Superstition is one of the worst enemies of genuine religion.

Ed Peters

Say it aint's so, Jimmy! Did Vatican TV really air this kind of stupidity? I hadn't realized that, I thought it was just a dumb picture making its way around the i-net.

Oh brother.

Kevin

"Sigh. It seems all news coming from Poland these days is about superstition, or corruption, or generic backwardness (see: the twins' government, Radio Maryja, etc.). I've met and befriended a few excellent Polish people in the past - apparently their country had to balance their existence with at least an equal amount of block-heads."

--You may not have intended it but--This my sir is still an offensive statement! Even with your meeting a few excellent Polish people....

My wife from Krakow would certainly admit that there can be some off center Poles (as anywhere!)--but your statement was rather too far a field and too general. Poland is full of excellent and well balanced Catholics and excellent theologians and philosphers (some of whom are my friends). It is a rich culture with a fine people.

Kevin

"Sigh. It seems all news coming from Poland these days is about superstition, or corruption, or generic backwardness (see: the twins' government, Radio Maryja, etc.). I've met and befriended a few excellent Polish people in the past - apparently their country had to balance their existence with at least an equal amount of block-heads."

--You may not have intended it but--This sir is still an offensive statement! Even with your meeting a few excellent Polish people....

My wife from Krakow would certainly admit that there can be some off center Poles (as anywhere!)--but your statement was rather too far a field and too general. Poland is full of excellent and well balanced Catholics and excellent theologians and philosphers (some of whom are my friends). It is a rich culture with a fine people.

Monica

"Sigh. It seems all news coming from Poland these days is about superstition, or corruption, or generic backwardness (see: the twins' government, Radio Maryja, etc.). I've met and befriended a few excellent Polish people in the past - apparently their country had to balance their existence with at least an equal amount of block-heads."

It probably just looks that way because the reporters were there (or looking there) at some wacko thing, and thought to themselves "while we're here, let's see what other nutty things we can report on." Pretty soon they'll move on to Bolivia or somewhere, and it will seem like a disproportionate level of wackos live there.

Fr. Andrew

This was mainstreamed yesterday on Drudge Report. I thought about emailing him but decided against it. You can see it in his archive here. It is the item time stamped at 23:25:55 from Monday night.

Esau

Say it aint's so, Jimmy! Did Vatican TV really air this kind of stupidity? I hadn't realized that, I thought it was just a dumb picture making its way around the i-net.

Oh brother.

This is SO SAD!

This is just as bad as folks saying they saw the image of the Virgin Mary on their bagel or an image of Jesus on a splattering of paint on the wall of a subway!

This is one of the reasons why Catholics are frequently dismissed as superstitious nuts.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

As I said on another blog, this is like one of those Rorschach tests where you look at blots of ink or paint and say, "I see a butterfly!" when there's really no butterfly there, just smooshed ink. Or maybe it's like seeing images in the clouds which really aren't there either.

Our brains tend to look for meaningful patterns like that; they're hard-wired to do so. But IMO this is no miracle, just a raging bonfire photographed at just the "right" moment. I believe in God and miracles and all, but this isn't one, IMHO.

In Jesu et Maria,

Ed Peters

Note to file: Forward all of Rosemarie's e-mails to the fiery pits of hell. She obviously has no faith. Probably a pagan witch. Jimmy, please ban Rosemarie, and everybody else who hates JP2.

(I really shouldn't use sarcasm in comboxes, but I can imagine how some nut cases would read R's perfectly sensible post, and tried to head them off.)


Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

:-)

In Jesu et Maria,

Father Martin Fox

Rosemarie:

I essentially agree with you, but I might put it this way...

This is one of those things that happens, and it seems a moment of grace, and I'd say . . . it is! If you look up and see something in the clouds, and it inspires faith, then who is to say there isn't something a little miraculous in it -- a little instant miracle, just for you? A second later, it's gone. But God did something wonderful for you, aren't you happy? Let that be enough.

There was a point, sometime after my mother died, that I had a dream about her. It seemed especially powerful; and it was consoling. I wondered at the time if it was "just a dream," or if there really was something more there. And I decided it didn't matter, because it all came out to the same thing: it was good.

One time I asked my spiritual director about things like that, and he said this: when it is important that the inspiration, or dream, or what-have-you, is "from God," then you are really turning your attention on yourself. Just be happy!

Joachim

And then there is the fact that fire isn't exactly the most . . . er . . . traditional symbol of what it's like in heaven. I mean, if you want a message that JP2 is in heaven rather than . . . one of the hotter regions . . . is a bonfire the best place for such a message?

The only place hotter than Hell is Heaven. For, "Our God is a consuming fire."

But, yes, the media-catechized aren't likely to see it that way.

LJ

Personally, I much prefer being stretched out on my back on a fine summer day looking for Popes in the clouds. But that's just me.

james mittelstadt

What a bunch of "rationalist" idiots in the above blogs. So God cannot work miracles anymore because we are too sophisticated?

Allena Jackson

James,
If we see something holy, or inspiring, we shouldn't blow it up into the state of miracle, just enjoy it and go on. Otherwise we endanger ourselves to influences that are not God. The only private revelations and apparitions we are supposed to accept, are those that have been deemed not false by the local Bishop. So in this instance we should neither refute or accept this as some sort of divine occurrence.

Many people who are possessed started out by receiving private revalations, a sobering thought. I'm not saying THIS is that sort of thing, but you never know, only the Bishop is given the insight to decide.

I think the picture is neat, and I don't think there is any reason to not say "Oh look, it does look like this picture of John Paul II" But it doesn't LOOK like JPII, just that particular picture of him.

Also,if God is going to do a miracle, why would it be so low as an image of His Blessed Mother on a pancake? Not that He COULDN'T, but I think He probably holds her in a higher esteem. It is a neat picture though.

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

No one said that God "cannot work miracles anymore." God can work miracles, but I have no real reason to believe that this was one, and some reasons to believe that it wasn't.

I've seen reports of lots of these alleged "miracles" over the years: People have claimed to see the face of Jesus in the woodgrain on a door, on the side of a rusty abandoned refrigerator and in a tortilla. There's also a tree somewhere with a Good Shepherd-like figure on it. Others claim to have seen the face or form of Mary in water condensation on a window, a dirt pattern on an old screen door, on glass windows of an office building in Florida, a stain underneath an overpass in Chicago, a lump of chocolate drippings, and of course a grilled cheese sandwich. Then there's the cinnamon bun that supposedly resembled Mother Teresa and the eggplant in which the seeds spelled out the word "GOD".

When you hear about enough of these things, after a while you just kinda shake your head. Some of them might be miraculous, who knows; but some of them are just hard to believe. It just comes to the point where you hear about another alleged "sighting" and you say, "Oh no, not again."

In Jesu et Maria,

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

FYI, I just found a long list of alleged citings of Jesus and Mary, along with some of the name "Allah" in Arabic and some other claimed Muslim citings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perceptions_of_religious_imagery_in_natural_phenomena

So this isn't just a Christian thing.

In Jesu et Maria,

JV

I'd be willing to go along with this if it even remotely looked like JPII. But it doesn't!

J.R. Stoodley

I think it looks like him. Or any Pope or a friar or lots of other possiblilities.

If JPII wanted to appear in a fire though (highly dubious) I'm sure it would have been more miraculous than a split-second in the wisping of the flames when someone was happening to take a picture.

Now if it had retained that shape for a few seconds and waved and JPII's voice came out of it saying "be not afraid" then I would believe it.

Esau

James,

What a bunch of "rationalist" idiots in the above blogs. So God cannot work miracles anymore because we are too sophisticated?

If you believe that the fire that in split-second timing was indeed JP II --

I have a doughnut with the Virgin Mary's image on it that I'm selling on EBAY -- NO RESERVE, too!

james mittelstadt

My comment seems to be true. From the comments I see a bunch of "red herring" fallacies and the same old nonsense that God "wouldn't stoop so low" as to work a miracle in such and such a way. Thank God that God is God!

Rosemarie

+J.M.J+

>>>My comment seems to be true. From the comments I see a bunch of "red herring" fallacies and the same old nonsense that God "wouldn't stoop so low" as to work a miracle in such and such a way.

Actually, your comment was that we were saying that "God cannot work miracles anymore," not that he "wouldn't stoop so low." Now you're changing the argument (hey, I even said that some such sightings might be miraculous, even if others seem farfetched).

As I pointed out above, Muslims also claim to see miraculous appearances of things pertaining to their religion. Do you believe that those are valid "miracles" of God, too? Perhaps these are all just cases of people seeing what they want to see in natural phenomena. As I said above, God can and does perform miracles, but that doesn't necessarily mean that these particular sightings are valid miracles.

In Jesu et Maria,

james mittelstadt

Rosemarie,

My last and final comment. I was speaking in general up above. Are miracles occurring in the midst of other faiths? I have lived in Southeast Asia for decades and will probably die here. I have experienced many miracles in this Buddhist society. I do have theological reasons to explain how this is possible and consonant with Catholic teaching (I rely upon Thomas Aquinas and the early fathers of the Church for much of my thinking.)Anyway I am an old man and an old style catholic so it is probably best you don't pay any attention to me. Oremus pro invicem.

James STD

Esau

James STD,

Such things as these are NOT miracles!

Now, I'm not saying that miracles themselves cannot occur; only that if one were to be so foolish as to believe in such nonsense as:

- the Virgin Mary appearing in a doughnut

- the face of Jesus appearing in my cereal bowl

- hearing the voice of God when you flush the toilet

these things are NOT miracles!

If you are going to accept such things as such -- you are not making an act of FAITH but an act of MOCKERY against Our Lord!

My Cat's Name Is Lily

It looks like an ancient dowager.
It looks like a Baked Alaska.
It looks like one of the Homeless Gerbils who invaded my home last year....after he made contact with a tiger cat, followed by a hammer.
It looks like darn near anything, including an incendiary Ex-Parrot, who, having Ceased to Exist, has Joined the Choir Invisible.

The one thing that it doesn't look like is Pope John Paul 2.

marcy

Where was the bonfire? What was the cause or the reason for the bonfire? Was the gathering and occassion based on/in love?

Where love is God can manifest anything he wants.

Never say Never.

God bles,

Marcy M

Tim J.

"Where love is God can manifest anything he wants."

Ummm... He can do that anyway, under any conditions, whether there is "love" around or not.

Actually, I think it would be hilarious to get to heaven and find out that it really WAS JPII just having a bit of fun.

But it is not anything in which one should reasonably expect others to place their faith.

If people feel inspired and touched by it, fine. Just don't treat it like some kind of bona-fide approved apparition. It ain't, and it shouldn't be.

JustMe

My Ouija board says, "T h i s i s t h e r e a l d e a l" --but the Magic 8-ball was oddly non-committal, so I'm afraid we're back at Square One..

marcy

Tim,

God is God. God is love. The Poles were gathered in loving rememerance of a great man of God, so his pesence was there in that event regardless of the photo, but the photo (one of many many many taken) excites some toward the awe, union, and love of God.

It simply is touching to think that:

The picture was taken in JPII's hometown, at a gathering of the 2nd anniversary of his death, at the exact time of his death.
There is just a simple loving beauty to it.

God bless,

Marcy M

JustMe

Well, certainly JP II was on fire with love for the Lord, so, if we must wonder about it, let's wonder if it's a way of asking those of us who loved him so much to labor to bring out his writings where all may see the light in them, lest these still remain 20 years from flowering, for it does seem his "Be not afraid" was prophetic.

marcy

Could this instance, by chance be a reflection of how we have become, battle weary? The daily battle against the cultural trends is so constant for Catholics, we stand up against the onslaught of athiesism, relativism, agenadas, tolerance before conscience, and all that we find so incompatable with truth and faith, and now have some have become hardened and cold?

Maybe a good and holy retreat is in order? The photo doesn't require anywhere near the same tone or severity as does the fight against our culture's contraceptive mentality.

The photo gave some people a reflection and a joyful reprieve from
from a very serious world condition.

There is a saying that would apply "Don't sweat the small stuff".

God bless,

Marcy M

Tim J.

marcy, did you just hint that my doubt about the miraculous nature of this photo is a result of having grown hard and cold and I need to go on a retreat and get right with God so that I can see this thing the right way?

For one thing, I haven't said it isn't a miracle. I have said that people should not get excited over this kind of thing, and Jimmy said it shouldn't be all over Vatican TV.

Nor should "images" of the Blessed Virgin on pieces of toast or highway underpasses. Believe what you want about it, but remember that it is precisely this kind of thing that assures many non-Catholics and anti-Catholics that they need not even *begin* to really investigate the claims of the Church, because we are obviously a bunch of kooks. It is no different to an outside observer than a claim of having seen Elvis at the 7-11.

There have been numerous times I felt that the Holy Spirit had spoken to me through this or that little event... but I don't write articles about it and then judge others by how they respond to it.

Jay E. Adrian

Appearance in a fire is actually one of the most noble saintly manifestation stories I have heard. On another level, it's certainly no lower than Adonai Elohim becoming a baby in a cave or reappearing in the likeness of bread and wine.

Glory to God the Lowest

https://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/Gloria_in_Profundis.html

marcy

Tim,

Sorry for the comment. Tim, those you mentioned will think we are kooks no matter what and we will persevere no matter what.

Retreats just give us a restful new perspective most of the time, so I thought the suggestion would be welcomed, even though I did not put it very well.

Sorry again.

Marcy M

Tim J.

"Tim, those you mentioned will think we are kooks no matter what..."

Well, I don't know about that. If the world thinks me a benighted pagan and a superstitious fool because of my belief that the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ, then that is a hill I am privileged to die on. I don't see dying on the hill of Our Lady of the Tortilla.

marcy

Tim,

My point was more like: The reaction to the photo is simple, you can either see it as simple or not. The reactions to it kind of reflect how or where we are spiritually, in the small things.

We are asked to die to self and with Christ in every Mass and within every Mass we are strengthened by the Eucharist to live that out. The Anti Catholic/ the Anti Christian doesn't care if you see the Virgin Mary in a tortilla, or the Pope in a picture of fire. Just in the last few years they, (and it is a big fierceful THEY) are assaulting each Sacrament: Marriage, Holy Orders, the Eucharist, the Confessional,,,,,,,,,,the fight has been fierce.

It (the fight) will never be over a tortilla, so if we find ourselves using overt criticism or sarcasm over a tortilla or a photograph we are out of balance and may need a good retreat.

God bless,

Marcy M

Esau

Marcy,

My point was more like: The reaction to the photo is simple, you can either see it as simple or not. The reactions to it kind of reflect how or where we are spiritually, in the small things.


Perhaps you should read about 'PERCEPTUAL SET'?

Why do you think psychologists show people of certain mental defect flash cards with ink blobs on them?

marcy

Oh I forgot to write Bptism is assulted by Abortion and it gravely effects each sacrament thereafter.

and the Annointing which is assaulted by Euthanasia.

Esau,

The perceptual set is contrived for a purpose where as the image in the photo was just there.

God bless,

Marcy M

Esau

The perceptual set is contrived for a purpose where as the image in the photo was just there.

Excuse me --

But do you actually know what 'perceptual set' means?

marcy

Perceptual set theory stresses the idea of perception as an active process involving selection, inference and interpretation. Perceptual set is a bias or readiness to perceive certain aspects of available sensory data and to ignore others.

Set can be influenced by Expectation and Context

Minturn and Bruner(1951) showed the middle figure would be more likely to be perceived as a letter if presented amongst other letters and a number if presented amongst other numbers

12

A 3 C

14

Esau

Marcy,

Good job ---

Now, let's move to step 2.

Given the notion of 'PERCEPTUAL SET' as featured above; how can you, then, declare that any such rendering of an image (e.g., the Virgin Mary appearing in a tortilla) is actually a miraculous event?

Thus, I find your very suggestion:

"...so if we find ourselves using overt criticism or sarcasm over a tortilla or a photograph we are out of balance and may need a good retreat."

...that those of the faithful who look down on such events with such skepticism; that these folks actually are in some need of a good retreat due to perhaps some spiritual defect hilarious.

marcy

Esau,

I made you laugh? You are welcome.

I never said the virgin in the torilla was a miracle. For one I never saw the virgin in a tortilla. But I did say that the photo taken on the Popes memorial gathering (of love) was in a sense of who JPII was and where the photo was taken and the timing of that particular photo was beautiful and simple.

retreats are refreshing.

God bless,

Marcy M

Esau

Marcy,

You have a beautiful faith in that you actually believe in the miraculous --

That, in itself, is refreshing.

However, because we are humans subject to human weaknesses, we cannot wholly rely on our perceptions on a mere perception.

This is the reason why there is such a thing as the devil's advocate in the Cause for Saints.

There is plenty of reasons why something claiming to be miraculous occurs.

This does not exclude the mental defect of the human person as well; which is part of the examination for the Cause of Saints.


God bless you, too.

Tony Dippolito

you are a redneck!

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