Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why do people make up these sappy Catholic stories?

Why do people make up sappy Catholic-related emails and send them around the Internet?

One of the annoying forwards that keeps showing up in my Inbox claims that it contains a prayer by Mother Theresa or St. Theresa. The purported prayer is always the same, a new agey blurb that affirms that we are all just where we are supposed to be... The manipulation used by the writer of this prayer email is well described in this blog and this.

Now today I got involved in trying to answer a question posed to me by a friend about a photo that supposedly shows a lady who mysteriously appeared from the crowd to hold Pope John II after he was shot in 1981. As if the guards would let some woman jump the barrier and grab the pope at such a time! Even if she was kind of blurry looking and wearing a gold-edged veil. But maybe the halo gave her away? :-)

The accompanying email claims that the photo was taken by one of the people at the audience where he was shot, and that the woman is Our Lady. The email also has fabricates quotes from Vatican officials and scientific analysis that purportedly proved the photo wasn't a PhotoShop fake.

One infuriating problem with lies, it seems to me, is that they waste your brain space. No matter how stupid the lie, I still feel I have to waste time figuring out how to communicate why I know it isn't true.

My friend asked me if I could tell if the image was PhotoShop enhanced. I did open it up in PhotoShop and enlarged it, but I don't have the expertise to tell what type of manipulation was done. But I can say for sure, my dear friend, of course it isn't real.

I told her I have seen photos and videos of the event and that there was no lady who appeared from the crowd. I sent her the following actual photo showing Pope John Paul II slumped in the arms of his aide after the shooting.

The email also shows a stained glass window that it refers to as evidence that Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski also believes the story, since the stained glass window is in the bishop's residence.

What is true, I told my friend, is that Pope John Paul II was deeply devoted to Mary. He believed that she guided the bullets so that his life was spared, and he gave the bullet that passed through his body to the bishop of Fatima, where it was in the crown of the statue of Our Lady.

The stained glass window is an artist's rendering of Mary protecting and comforting the pope. The image of Mary is Our Lady of Częstochowa, who is especially venerated by Poles.

It baffles me that a person would take the time to use PhotoShop to create a fake photo and then use email to send a fake story about it around the Internet. I'm working on a conspiracy theory, along the lines of how the perpetrators of such hoaxes are trying to make us Catholics look superstitious and gullible. Any alternative suggestions would be gladly received.

Following is the text of the offending email. See also this link, where the photo is declared a fake.

We don't know why John Paul II wanted to hide this picture for years. The Vatican published this picture recently, for first time. This picture was taken by one of his security guards just when the Pope was attacked and was falling down in his Papamobil. You can see the pain in his face.

Take a look at the above picture. You can see Mother Mary holding John Paul II in Her arms when he was shot in 1981.

This happened on May 13, 1981. Pope John Paul II was shot as he arrived in St. Peter's Square to speak to the people who had gathered there. When he was shot, he was holding the rosary, which he always carried. When he fell to the ground, out of nowhere, a woman rushed to his side! and embraced him. That pic is shown above. The picture is said to have been taken by one of the gathered people who was busy taking Pope's pics with his camera. The woman vanished as quickly as she appeared.
The gunman was apprehended in the square and sentenced to life in prison. The pope was critically wounded but survived after surgery and a long recovery. The surprising fact is that all the bullets passed just past his vital internal organs. When he recovered finally, the first thing Pope asked for was his rosary. When he got it in his hands, he said that he felt Mother Mary directing the bullets' path through him. Sure, John Paul II was always in the habit of praying the rosary regularly. He had once said "The best prayer I like is the Rosary".

Joaquin Navarro Valls, who is the one spokesman from The Vatican, said that they made a lot of studies for years of this incredible picture and of course about the quality of the developing of the picture because when it was developed nobody could see very well because the image was not clear. Finally, and after so many controls and being looking and checking by all the experts in photography (around the world), they decided that there were no tricks in it and today they give us this beautiful gift from our Mother of God. You can see the Mother of God holding John Paul II in her arms. Beautiful right?

I dont know whether You will believe me or not. But many do.. And among those who believed, Bishop Thomas Wenski recreated the picture on a glass window at his Florida residence. You can see that below.

This is an awesome prayer.
Believe it and you shall be blessed.
The problem with many of us is that we don't believe that God will open a window and pour out blessings that we won't have room to receive them. I dare anyone to try God. He is true to His word. God cannot lie and His promises are sure.

Three things will happen to you this coming week:
(1) You will find favor with someone you don't expect;
(2) You will be too relevant to be ignored;
(3) You will encounter God and you will never remain the same again..
My prayer for you today:
The eyes beholding this message shall not behold evil, the hands that will send this message to others shall not labor in vain, the mouth saying Amen to this prayer shall laugh forever. Remain in God's love as you send this prayer to everybody on your list. Have a lovely journey of life! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will never fail you because He is AWESOME !
If you truly need a blessing, continue reading t! his emai l:

Heavenly Father, most Gracious and Loving God, I pray to you that you abundantly bless my family and me. I know that you recognize, that a family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, husband and wife, but all who believe and trust in you. Father, I send up a prayer request for blessings for not only the person who sent this to me, but for me and all that I have forwarded this message on to.. And that the power of joined prayer by those who believe and trust in you is more powerful than anything. I thank you in advance for your blessings.
Father God, deliver the person reading this right now from debt and debt's burdens. Release Your Godly wisdom that I may be a good steward over all that You have given me Father, for I know how wonderful and mighty You are and how if we just obey You and walk In Your word and have the faith of a mustard seed that You will pour out blessings. I thank You now Lord for the recent blessings I have received and for the blessings yet to come because I know You are not done with me yet. In Jesus' name, I pray.
Amen .
TAKE 60 SECONDS and send this on quickly and within hours, you will have caused a multitude of people to pray to God for each other.
Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you know He loves. Remain Blessed!!!


Anonymous said...

It is clearly a painting, so the whole "it isn't photoshopped" thing is irrelevant.

Roseanne Therese Sullivan said...

Dear Anonymous,
I was addressing the emailer's misapprehension that it was a photo. And I couldn't prove it was photoshopped. I knew it wasn't real, so I was trying the best I could to address the misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...

To me it's baffling as to why the Fleur de Lys is all over Mother Mary's cape and hood? Mother Mary doesn't have a French connection, but Mary of Magdala does. Either the Bishop or the Catholics have been had, and maybe both.

Anonymous said...

"The stained glass window is an artist's rendering of Mary protecting and comforting the pope. The image of Mary is Our Lady of Częstochowa, who is especially venerated by Poles."

Umm... which Mary? The Virgin Mary is typically wearing blue and white. The red is shows the leadership of the Mary wearing it. In Jesus' time, a Mary was a leader and woman of status. Mary of Magdala is the lady who has a connection to the Fleur de Lys. I'm not sure why the Poles would be wearing it on their Mary. Looks like the artist had everybody. And if it was true, that would be a good reason that Pope JP2 wouldn't want anyone to see it! Interestingly enough, the good Archbishop Wenski has recently added the Cross of Lorraine to his new heraldry. That cross comes out of the same time frame and place and has a much darker and hidden history.

Roseanne Therese Sullivan said...

Anonymous: The part about Pope JP2 not wanting anybody to see the fake image of Our Lady embracing him is as fake as the image. Blue is not always used for Our Lady. The color red is often used in iconography of Our Lady, and it represents the Passion of Jesus. Another name for her is "She who shows the way," because she points us to Christ. One explanation for the use of the Fleu de Lys on the painting is on on wikipedia: "The golden fleur-de-lis painted on the Virgin's blue veil parallel the heraldic azure, semee de lis, or of the French royal coat of arms and the most likely explanation for their presence is that the icon had been present in Hungary during the reign of either Charles I of Hungary and/or Louis the Great, the Hungarian kings of the Anjou dynasty, who probably had the fleur-de-lis of their family's coat of arms painted on the icon. This would suggest that the icon was probably originally brought to Jasna Gora by the Pauline monks from their founding monastery in Hungary."-