How the Vatican Investigated a Modern Miracle at a Leprosy Settlement in Hawaii
#1


I'm not going to include the article here 'cause I want y'all to visit the Atlas Obscura website. It's majorly awesome. And this particular article, written at a secular site, was so fair and decent, had ZERO snark, I was so pleased I had to write to thank the author. I sent him a few tiny clarifications, which I'll include below for newbies reading over our shoulder.  The article is here:



The clarifications I sent, along with my thanks:

You stressed Fr. Damien's desire to go to Confession, with a sort of intimation that he must've had something really big on his conscience. But serious Catholics -- especially priests and religious -- go to Confession very often (once a week is standard operating procedure), and it's one of the six precepts of the Church that a Catholic must go to Confession at least once a year, most especially during Lent. It's also Church teaching that Confession for any mortal sin be made as soon as possible after the sin is committed, but also that venial sins be confessed. In addition, lots of folks suffer from "scruples," the feeling that things should be confessed that don't really need to be confessed at all, that they're not "really" absolved, that they're not worthy of mercy, and all that. Your concluding paragraph leads me to believe that Father might have had a nasty case of that spiritual/psychological disease. Alas. In other words, his deep desire to go to Confession likely had nothing to do with any deep, dark secret or anything; he was just "being Catholic," undoubtedly.

You also wrote, "According to Catholic theology, to die without confessing a mortal sin may jeopardize one’s chances of heaven."  I'm glad you wrote "may" there, but just to clarify, in case you're not hip to this info, Church teaching is that if no priest is available, an "act of perfect contrition" will do the trick. The Church has "work-arounds" for many of Her Sacraments in that way -- e.g., the normal means of Baptism -- by a priest, using water and the proper form, etc. -- is the goal and is expected whenever possible, but if it's impossible for some reason, "Baptism of desire" will work. Or, for ex., if no priest is available to offer the Mass, making reception of the Eucharist impossible, "Spiritual Communion" may be made. In other words, the Church sets out the normative, expected way of doing things, but has "outs" for situations in which those normal means are impossible.

One more tiny detail concerns your having written "Strictly defined, a relic would either be a fragment of a saint’s remains or belongings, or something that had been in direct contact with them."  This isn't quite accurate. The sort of relic referred to in your article is a true relic, but is "only" a "Third Class Relic." Relics are categorized like this:

    1st Class Relic: a part of the Saint (bone, hair, etc.) and the instruments of Christ's passion

    2nd Class Relic:  something owned by the Saint or instruments of torture used against a martyr

    3rd Class Relic: something that has been touched to a 1st or 2nd Class Relic. You can make your own 3rd Class relics by touching an object to a 1st or 2nd Class Relic, including the tomb of a Saint.




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#2
That was a wonderful article! Very interesting to see how it all worked IRL Wink as well as the personal reactions of people to the experience. Bonhoeffer's comments were also something I had only heard allusions to and put very well.


I have to quibble with your quibble:

[indent]normal means of Baptism -- by a priest, using water and the proper form, etc. -- is the goal and is expected whenever possible, but if it's impossible for some reason, "Baptism of desire" will work.[/indent]

The minister if Baptism does not have to be a priest; anyone can baptize. And a person is not baptized by desire in place of regular baptism except at the moment if death.


Thanks for the link Smile
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#3
(09-24-2015, 09:18 PM)newtolatin Wrote: That was a wonderful article! Very interesting to see how it all worked IRL Wink as well as the personal reactions of people to the experience. Bonhoeffer's comments were also something I had only heard allusions to and put very well.


I have to quibble with your quibble:

[indent]normal means of Baptism -- by a priest, using water and the proper form, etc. -- is the goal and is expected whenever possible, but if it's impossible for some reason, "Baptism of desire" will work.[/indent]

The minister if Baptism does not have to be a priest; anyone can baptize. And a person is not baptized by desire in place of regular baptism except at the moment if death.


Thanks for the link Smile

I agree with your quibble of my quibble! But to quibble with your quibble of my original quibbling, I was contrasting the normative way of doing things with the non-normative, but I think you're right in that mentioning non-priestly ministers should've been the first thing listed (I mean, I didn't even mention it at all!)! So I'm glad you pointed that out for folks reading over our shoulders!

Anyway, wasn't it a good article?! I was so pleased to see something dealing with Catholicism that had no SNARK, no nastiness, no -- oh, you know the drill. And the writer responded to my note and came off even cooler. So yay!
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#4
Yes. He really looked into the points he made, and treated the ideas with respect. I sent a paean about this article to a friend recommending it, and want to share it with my children Smile I just wish I knew people in Hawaii to share it with!
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#5
Thanks for sharing. It's nice to see a positive article for once.

In case anyone is interested here is a link to a movie made in 1999 about Damien's life. The production company seems to be a smaller one, but they managed to cast some pretty well known actors. The movie itself is very positive and is probably one of the better ones about a Catholic saint I have ever seen.



P.S. Interestingly Vox the movie touches on Damien's desire for confession with a scene that shows the local Bishop (played by Leo McKern) stubbornly going out in a boat to meet Damien and having him confess in French when the captain of the ship refuses to let Damien board. The movie does not take the opportunity to accuse Damien of an illicit relationship with a women, but simply has Damien confess that he has had "impure thoughts." The Bishop seems to concur with your scruples diagnoses and tells Damien to treat himself with the same charity that he affords others, while encouraging him to continue his work.

The quality isn't that great because it's youtube, but I would encourage anyone to watch it if they have the time. It's certainly better then most christian themed movies you see these days.
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