Pope Francis Wins Papal Miracle Olympics; Predecessors Hit Hardest

On Saturday, Pope Francis was in the Italian city of Naples. Observing tradition, he also stopped by the Cathedral to visit the 1700 year old relics of St. Januarius (Gennaro in Italian), the patron saint of the city.

The relics are the subject of a world-famous recurring miracle that has been happening more or less every year since 1389 when it was noticed that a glass ampule containing the dried blood of the martyr saint had become liquid during a procession, so that it could be clearly seen sloshing around in the container. Since then, the people of the city have considered it a miraculous event showing favor on the city and on visitors when it occurs. It appears to occur with some frequency, though not entirely predictably, for the last 600 years, usually on feast days associated with the saint. It has happened in the presence of many notable people and common folk alike, including Americans.

It has never – or nearly ever – occurred in the presence of a visiting pope. The previous two pontiffs, Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both visited the relics, but each time the blood stayed stubbornly solid, dry and motionless.
That all changed on Saturday, according to a number of news sources, including Breitbart. When the ampule was taken out of the vault by the Archbishop of Naples, he proclaimed that it was already halfway liquified. Soon after, when reverenced by the pope, it appeared to have fully liquified, drawing astonishment from the priests and congregation. As you can see from the two images above and below, the level of the red liquid maintained a horizontal aspect regardless of how the case was oriented by either the archbishop or the pope.
Some scientific analyses have been performed on the blood relic over the years, mainly spectroscopy through the glass indicating results consistent with human hemoglobin. Skeptics have theorized that the occurrence is an elaborate ruse perpetrated in the middle ages using a self-liquifying substance sensitive to heat or motion, but no explanation has satisfactorily explained the variability of it. In any case, Pope Franko has received a dramatic boost in his status, at least among Napolitanos, who now talk about him cracking jokes during miracles and quite possibly being the first pope to return to the Vatican where a pope-emeritus is now obligated to buy him a victory beer at the Vatican Pub.


Filed under Catholic Church, Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II

13 responses to “Pope Francis Wins Papal Miracle Olympics; Predecessors Hit Hardest

  1. chrissythehyphenated

    ROFLLL …. Oh, Grunt! I wanna LIKE this MANY times! My post at Facebook about this was so boooooooooooring! “Oh look! St. Januarius likes Pope Francis!” This is fantastic. I’m sending this to my bloggy listers. ROFLLLLLL


  2. chrissythehyphenated

    CNS: March 23, 2015 – Pope Francis stood with several sheets of paper and told the congregation, “I prepared a speech, but speeches are boring.” So, he put the papers aside, sat down and began talking about how Jesus must be at the center of a consecrated person’s life, about life in community, about poverty and mercy.”

    “The center of your life must be Jesus,” he said. Too often, people — including priests and religious — have a difficulty with a superior or a confrere and that problem becomes the real center of their lives, robbing them and their witness of joy.”
    Addressing seminarians, he said, “If you do not have Jesus at the center, delay your ordination. If you are not sure Jesus is the center of your life, wait a while in order to be sure.”


  3. I’m glad you covered this, Grunt. Fun approach.

    Funny thing… at first glance I didn’t realize the three pictures were of three popes, and it looked like a sequence. I wondered what the bird had done to him.


    • Good point, Mindful! That first montage was confusing. Sorry. I need to stop writing at one in the morning. 😉


      • The montage: Perhaps confusing, but certainly amusing.

        Writing at 1am: When your muse comes calling, entertain her, lest she abandon you. Exceptions, perhaps, depending on state of inebriation. Posting while enraged is also a bad idea. But otherwise…

        St Januarius: Per the Breitbart article, he was “beheaded sometime during the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.” Wikipedia (yeah, I know), regarding his and his fellow beheadees’ demise, says, “Other legends state either that the wild beasts refused to eat them, or that he was thrown into a furnace but came out unscathed.” Oh! That guy! (Or should that be “one of those guys”?) 🙂


  4. Speaking of relics… I’ve been looking for a hook to hang this on:

    I can’t find the link offhand, but I recently read that CNN has decided it’s not just for news anymore. Apparently, at least in part, this means becoming like the History Channel. Not the old, original History Channel that actually had history shows; the later, all-Hitler-and-UFOs, all-the-time History Channel. At least, that’s the sense I got from having watched the first episode of CNN’s Finding Jesus series, starting with a report on the Shroud of Turin. It’s not so much what they report, as the packaging that seems so cheesy.

    I’ve been a student of the Shroud for decades. Hard to separate the facts from the legends and lore — one can probably find all they reported and much more in many YouTube vids about the Shroud (there’s probably one such from the History Channel!) — but CNN’s report mostly matches what I’ve learned and reckoned as likely valid.

    I don’t have a lot of interest in the rest of the Finding Jesus series. Might get around to watching them, might not. Piece of the Cross. The Baptist’s bones. James’s burial casket. Yada yada. Their format turned me off, as noted, and anyway, there’s nothing like the Shroud.

    Shows like this, all about Jesus except, you know, who he was and what he taught and what he meant, remind me of this Robert Frost bit.

    We dance around the circle and suppose.
    The Secret sits in the middle and Knows.

    My “report” on the show’s content in next message.


  5. CNN’s Finding Jesus, 1st part on the Shroud of Turin.

    Most of the initial reporting about the Shroud as it relates to the crucifixion was pretty straightforward. Just watching the Lord’s torment was hard to take, as always, and they didn’t spare the blood and gruesomeness of it all. They built up the various points of concurrence of Shroud image and Gospel records.

    They mentioned how the Shroud has real blood, and exhibits genuine indications of flogging, the crown of thorns, and the torturous consequences of crucifixion. I was glad to see this included the fact that, to support the weight of the body, the Roman pounded the spikes, not through the palms and feet, but through the wrists and ankles (or maybe I should say calves). Which makes one wonder what ol’ doubting Thomas reputedly poked, but anyway…

    CNN veered toward the “medieval fake” conclusion at one point, briefly citing carbon dating that was done, and going into the techniques that someone of that period might use to create the image. Then they seemed to back off. (Possibly so they could end on a note of “oo, mysterious, huh, kids!” instead of “It’s a FAAAKE! You gullible believers!”) They did not explain that the medieval dating may have involved fabric added to the Shroud by nuns after the fire that scorched it. Or so I read somewhere. Aside from that one test, I’ve always read the weave and material were easily 1st Century.

    The show looked at how the Shroud might be created, and faked, but even if one could paint with such exquisite, excruciating detail, there is some three-dimensionality to the Shroud image — not mentioned in the show. The image wasn’t flat-on like a photograph, because the cloth was draped around the head, right? So, to see it as the face would really be, one must un-3D it, slightly squeeze the image back to photographic flatness, something only possible in the modern computer age. So I’ve seen; bet that’s on YouTube. As ingenious as humans artists can be, it’s hard to imagine figuring out how anyone could paint that, five or twenty centuries ago. Oh, yeah. In b/w reversal (photo-negative).

    More likely, therefore, than hand-painting, and as the CNN show mentioned, such an image can be created by laying a shroud over an actual face shape (thus getting the 3D-ish image). Decades ago, I read about that being done. Everything chemically was duplicated just right, it worked, except, and this was not mentioned in the CNN report, the final lifting of a shroud off of a form inevitably, always blurred the image significantly more than the crisp, amazing Turin image. The only way to really duplicate the image would be… to have the form instantaneously vanish from under the shroud. So I read.



    • Oh, yeah… I said there’s nothing like the Shroud, except…

      One thing I did learn in this show that was brand new to me was about the facecloth relic. Regardless of whether it’s really that cloth, I had no idea there was another relic with a face image. How did I miss that one?

      I knew there had been a facecloth, mysteriously folded off to the side (John 20:7). But if there were a facecloth, I’ve wondered, how could the Shroud have a face image? (And why in heaven would neatnik angels, or whoever, neatly fold up the facecloth but leave the linens rumpled in the burial niche?) The CNN report says Joe and Nick had probably wrapped the head at the Cross, and then removed that cloth before the body was finally covered with the Shroud. Oh. Did you know that? Forehead-smacking d’oh! No mystery about its being folded up and set off to the side, then; much less about its not blocking the Shroud image.

      Its image seemed to me to be more blurry than the Shroud’s; predictably, if it was removed before— whatever happened to the body at the resurrection. Still, intriguing.


      • Very intriguing, yes. I have a book by a woman who lives here in Denver who researched the Sudarium (facecloth) very closely and spent a lot of time in Spain, where it resides the cathedral in Oviedo. Cool thing about that is that it’s location and (Holy Land source) is well-documented since the first few centuries AD. It doesn’t have an image, but it has blood stains that actually match (over a hundred) the Shroud of Turin. So, if legit, it helps to confirm that the Shroud, itself, is older than the first Carbon 14 dating indicated. They’re saying now that they are finally getting some answers about why that first measurement was skewed, but I haven’t kept up. Pretty cool!


        • Grunt: “…has blood stains that actually match (over a hundred) the Shroud of Turin.”

          Right. Thanks. I forgot to mention that, but CNN did. I think. (Must re-watch it now, I guess. Memory of one perusal is not to be trusted.)


  6. Ting

    Very cool – all of it. And your comments, too, Mindful.