The American Papist is wrong and right at the same time

Posted: December 22, 2009 by datechguy in catholic, oddities, opinion/news
Tags: ,

…concerning this story:

Last July, as you may remember, Christians in the Indian state of Orissa were subjected to severe persecution. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death, an orphanage in Khuntpali village was burnt down by a mob, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, and destroyed the houses of Christians. Fr Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral centre that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. All together, more than 500 Christians were murdered, and thousands of others were injured.

In an extraordinary development, a herd of elephants has travelled some 300Km to attack villages that were the worst persecutors of the Christians, leaving Christian homes untouched. See: Elephants attack in Orissa exactly one year after persecutions

Details are here:

The American Papist asks some interesting questions:

1. Who authorized posting this story as “news”?
2. Is it really a Christian sentiment to hope that our persecutors are being savaged by wild animals?
3. Is there any corroborating evidence to confirm that, as claimed, Elephants are rampaging villages?

These are all legit questions both concerning the event itself and the point about not having schadenfreude over the troubles of our foes, but he also says something that I found odd.

This is a terribly strange story.

Let’s take the idea that this is happening as started as given, why is this a strange story?

Biblically, in both the old and new testament there are precedents for this type of thing.

In more recent times two particular stories come to mind the first involves the order founded by St. Katherine Drexel during the rise of the Klan in the 20’s:

(1922) The Klu Klux Klan in Beaumont, Texas threaten to tar and feather the white pastor at one of Drexel’s schools and bomb his church. The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament began to pray, and days later a tornado destroyed the Klan’s headquarters, killing two members, including the “wizard.” They never bother the nuns or the pastor again.

If you want something with fewer casualties but the same “coincidental” effect we need go no further back then a few months ago…to August 21st. To Wit:

The inverted Cross atop Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis dangled from the steeple on Wednesday following a rare downtown twister as the ELCA Churchwide Assembly was in legislative session across the street at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

let me remind you of the details:

Consideration of the proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality document was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 19, at 2:oo p.m.

According to the website of the Central Lutheran Church located across the street from the conference center, where the assembly was in session, the tornado passed through downtown Minneapolis near CLC at, you guessed it, approximately 2:00 p.m…

One blogger posted this quote:

“We trust that the weather is not a commentary on our work,” said the Rev. Steven Loy, who was helping oversee the convention.

That Blogger? The American Papist.

We are Christians, we believe in Miracles. As I’ve said before concerning Holy Communion:

as for transubstantiation the physics are identical to the physics of parting the Red Sea, Of Jonah and the Whale, the Feeding of the 5,000 and Peter’s healing of the cripple. Miracle of God. There is a long history of that kind of thing.

As a person who has been an eyewitness to at least one Miracle in person I’ve never understood why believing Christians have no problem believing all those other miracles but not Transubstantiation.

A Catholic should not find anything like this strange an an atheist really has to wonder about the odds. I think a firm belief in mathematical theory and probability really can really complement the Holy Spirit when it comes to convincing the doubtful.

As for what should happen assuming this report is correct? The Christians should take advantage of God’s grace offered and aid their now suffering persecutors, thus being living examples of God’s mercy and combined with the Chrism of the Holy Spirit produce conversions of both belief and action.

Something like this is also a source of temptation, first of “Spiritual Pride” and self righteousness, and secondary in terms of celebration. Both are deadly sins and are hard to resist, particularly if you have been the victim of the initial persecutions. Remember these words from Screwtape #6

The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary…

…All sorts of virtues painted in the fantasy or approved by the intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father’s house: indeed they may make him more amusing when he gets there

It’s important to remember this when tempted. The presence of an enemy will not make hell any more bearable.

Update: GirdyorLions links, thanks

  1. TaterSoup says:

    Great Post…

    Food for thought…how did Our Blessed Mother respond in the light of Gabriel telling her she was going to be the mother of God. She pondered what this meant. She experienced fear, yet she found favor with God. Perhaps she feared what this meant for that horde of vipers and not for herself or the People of God. I don’t know. But when a herd of elephants rampages a village of murderous thugs I want to check my conscience and make sure my house is in order. If God is calling in markers for tribesman in Africa, how do we defend ourselves for the slaughter of the innocent. Mea Culpa Mea Culpa

  2. TaterSoup says:

    Luke 1:26 ff

    In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.

    In light of seeing the angel of God, her first response. her reaction…troubled and pondering … before she heard anything about the Savior.

    When you are in a state of grace and engaged in seeing a miracle happen …right then in that moment…there is emotion, excitement, and acknowledgement …an epiphany ….God is present here now. This is the work of the the Almighty and I am blessed to witness it. I am not dreaming. This is for real. and you are likely to respond as Our Lady did infused by the Holy Spirit. It is different when you are not in a state of grace, then you feel alittle bit like Adam and Eve, shame, guilt and remorse and my gut reaction is more nausea then verbal praise. A confrontation is not pursued but avoided…flight is the function.

    When you are in state of grace you have no fear of future you are confident of salvation and all the glory is His. It explodes from your total being. Not in state of grace….it is difficult to acknowledge a miracle in the first place, but when you realize that moment of grace for what it was … I believe you fear the distance between yourself and God, it seems like a tragedy, a cold child in your soul and there is a real desire, hunger or urge to correct your ailing state of grace.

    This is all on a personal level. The rampaging elephants sound personal enough if it was my hut being trashed and my body being stomped, but it also has a communal aspect. The Christian Elephants are avenging the deaths of the past. Prepare like there is no tomorrow and try to atone for all your sins today.

    Great advent exercise, soon we celebrate his birth.