Friday, July 20, 2012

It's a Miracle!

I don’t know if the news has spread to your neck of the woods, but we have a miraculous bleeding statue here in River City. The statue is of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as we Methodists are most likely to call her, known to Catholics of course as the Virgin Mary or the Most Blessed Mother. In the neighborhood around St. Thomas More co-cathedral, life-sized and near life-sized statues of Mary abound, and the owners of one of them noticed what they consider to be blood on the statue’s head about a week or so back. 

Skeptical souls consider the substance to be droppings from a bird who had either been eating berries or had blood in its stool due to illness*. Cynics suspect the homeowners of perpetrating a hoax. Selecting the most parsimonious explanation first is actually what the Catholic church recommends in such cases, as expressed in the saying, “God does not multiply miracles.” It is a human failing to reach for the most exotic explanation over the most prosaic. I remember riding on a bus one night next to a woman who insisted that a bright light visible in the sky must be a UFO. I could not convince her that it was actually the planet Jupiter, a very well known object and one that is not flying.

I suggested John come with me to see the statue, out of idle curiosity. The homeowners have put up a tent and chairs for people who wish to come and pray. The statue itself is covered with a large umbrella and surrounded by pots of flowers and some candles. There were two women sitting and praying when we arrived, and three more on foot who walked around, read the posters on the garage wall and left apparently unconvinced.

I could see from comparing a picture of the statue taken when the “blood” was first discovered to the statue as I was looking at it that the “blood” is wearing off, not surprising given that we have had two weeks of afternoon showers. Apparently whatever caused the deposit to appear is not an ongoing event, more indication that this event has a prosaic explanation.

I have my own hypothesis. It is, after all, summer. Kids are out of school, curfews are later, and they have no homework.

“No religion, either”, my husband chimes in. I’m not so sure about that. If this is a prank, I suspect it would be most likely to occur to a Catholic. Be that as it may, today’s internet savvy youth can easily Google “how to make fake blood”. It’s more logical than “Mary has a head wound”.

On the other hand, as I said, there are a lot of these statues in that neighborhood. Would someone young enough to think that this is a cool prank also recognize that stopping at just one makes it more convincing? Or would that person want to decorate every statue in the neighborhood? I don’t know.

Here is the picture I took. See what you think.

Maybe the baby hit her with a rattle?
Click to see full size.

*If you follow that link, be warned. Gendered and ablist insults, NSFW pictures and off-color language are the norm on that board.

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