Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Chalice & The Sewer, or a Miracle in South St. Paul

A Catholic church in St. Paul, Minnesota, may have a bleeding eurcharist on their hands. This quote from the Star Tribune caught our interest as the chalice & the sewer are both subjects of LoSian concern: [the dropped eurcharist] was placed in a chalice-like container with water so it would dissolve. Then it was to be poured into a special sink not connected to the sewer system.

The miracle was reported by a former soldier priest who took the pics at the top of this post--two callings that require incredible personal sacrifice, but immediately reminds us of the Knights Templar and sets our lizard brains to conspiracy-minded reflexive defensive posturings ("Duck! Xe's got us lined up in their Trijicon!").* An encounter with an army chaplain supposedly kick-started Heller's "Catch-22". I can imagine why.

At any rate, the supposed miracle is being investigated by biologists. I have no idea why biologists would investigate this. What possible good outcome can they envision? If they report it as natural phenomena, well, they just crushed the spirits of the hopeful. And if they report it as a miracle, won't their biologist badges be revoked? And who pays for the lab time?

The "miracle" will almost certainly wind up to be another case of serratia marcescens, a bacteria that looks red and keeps popping in these cases, apparently altering the course of human history.

It seems to be relevant to this story that 21 churches are slated to close in twin cities--including St. Augustine which has reported the possible miracle. When I asked Daurade for his take on this story, he said that "I'd like to see you talk about the merging of churches and how a miracle could boost one church's claim against another. then relate the numerous examples where this was happening, dueling claims to have a certain saint's relics, the traffic of relics etc....something like that?" Well, yeah, I'd like to see something like that, too, but I lack the historical knowledge, so I'll let you share your own stories in the comments.

Meanwhile, the Virgin's appeared in Green Bay, WI!

And boy-oh-boy don't them there pics that the chaplain took look like an eye-nipple?

* An interesting game (that I suspect David Foster Wallace of playing) is to see how many characters (i.e., not letters) you can type in a row without breaking standard grammatical conventions. I have to take this moment to brag on the !").* 5-character combo that led to this footnote. I confess that the asterisk is pushing it (conventions-wise), but 5 in a row is pretty damn good.


  1. "I have no idea why biologists would investigate this. What possible good outcome can they envision? If they report it as natural phenomena, well, they just crushed the spirits of the hopeful. And if they report it as a miracle, won't their biologist badges be revoked?"

    Love it. On the other hand, it's another frightening temporal marker of American's descent into a theofascist plutocracy.

  2. Anon, no doubt the Catholic church has had a pretty cozy relationship with a lot of fascist and authoritarian regimes; the list would be extensive....anything claiming to be anti-Communist would do.....but I don't see this as a marker as you describe, primarily because this has been going on for just about the entire history of Christianity and in the US as well. More like a surprising marker of the ongoing belief in the supernatural, in relics and miracles.

    I find this more interesting in the context that 21 churches are slated to close and/or merge, St. Augustine's among them. A miracle would certainly prevent that from happening.

    The economic advantages of relics/miracles has motivated parishes and towns for centuries.

    The acquisition of relics in the Middle Ages, for example. Apparently if relics were bought, they didn't have much pulling power....if a relic were effective, why would anyone sell it? Better was to steal it! Towns actually did relic deals in secret and would publicly proclaim to have stolen them in order to maintain the luster of their spoils and attract pilgrims.

    In more recent times, Lourdes. Maybe St. Bernadette was earnest, but local merchants were not so long in cashing in. As one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the Catholic world, it generates millions of euros in hotel rooms, rentals, sales of religious objects....

    Also interesting is the idea of the soldier-priest, which reminded The Gid of Templars.

    Now this article was posted on the 26th, but written before the Oslo attacks, perpetrated by self-proclaimed "Templar". An order created to protect pilgrims and in the process, managed to make a lot of money....

    Finally, it's weird to me that people still believe a wafer can bleed spontaneously, that an incantation over it turns it into the body of Christ, that people think eating Christ is way to enter into Communion with Him, etc.

    My brief take on this.

  3. So the official word is ... Not a miracle. Just fungus.

    Maybe net time?

  4. Why not a miracle fungus? Actually, the Church seems to have a fairly rigorous and rational process for this kind of think. Like 99 times ourt of a 100, cases of "demonic possession" are referred to psychiatrist. Of course, one could point out that this one percent trumps all but the church doesn't want to drive itself out of business entirely, no?


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