May 7, 2005

Mary, graffiti, brown paint, and "Engine Shampoo."

I see a lot has happened recently to the underpass salt stain some people believed to be a miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary.


Bruce Hayden said...

This is illustrative of why we aren't headed for a religious theocracy in this country. I, as well as most Protestants, find this Marian worship rather silly (and, theologically verging on polytheism). But then, Catholics probably think the same of some Protestant worshipers rolling on the floor of their church speaking gibberish (sorry, in tongues), or of falling over when their minister touches them and they receive the Holy Spirit (where did they ever get that?)

kimsch said...

A letter to the editor in today's Chicago Tribune from Walter Brzeski of Chicago says, "People recently were claiming the Virgin Mary's image appeared on the wall there [at the underpass]. The image has been there for 35 years and has and always will be a water stain."

Ann Althouse said...

Kimsch: What does the fact that the image has been there for 35 years have to do with whether or not it's the Virgin Mary?

Joan said...

Bruce, Catholics do not worship Mary, we revere her as the mother of Christ.

For Christ to exist, there had to be Mary -- it's that simple. If you believe that Jesus really is both God and Man, then you must recognize that Mary, who bore Jesus and nursed him as an infant, is a uniquely blessed woman.

FWIW, I can't see Mary in the image, and have never been able to! I don't understand the motives behind the people who "defaced" the stain, though. If they don't believe it's important, why don't they just ignore it? No one is making them pay any attention or money towards its upkeep, or anything of the sort. Why do some people reach out to destroy things they care nothing about, but that other people cherish?

lindsey said...

I don't particularly care for Marian worship either. Especially since I'm not sure she's a figure in Christianity. ;)

Yeah, clearly we're not headed toward a theocracy, not with bigots running around defacing things that clearly mean a lot to people from other religions.

I've always wondered who you tell if you find the Virgin Mary in order to get the word out. Do you go to the local Catholic Church? Do the priests have a special set of guidelines they implement if someone finds the Virgin Mary on a piece of bread? Contact your local news channel? What?

purple_kangaroo said...

If you find the Virgin Mary on your grilled cheese sandwich, you sell it on eBay for big bucks.

Or you could just carve a picture of Jennifer Albanks (the runaway bride) on a piece of bread and do almost as well.

leeontheroad said...

"don't particularly care for Marian worship either. Especially since I'm not sure she's a figure in Christianity."

? Not sure I follow. The 4th century Nicene Creed specifically includes the phrase "born of the Virgin Mary," and Mary, mother of Jesus, is in both the familiar Gospel nativiry stories and, prominently, in one synoptic Gospel resurrection narrative.

Mary is important not just in Roman Catholism but in Orthodox Christianity as well, where she is the theotokos "God bearer."

The curious thing to me about "Marian worship" is that that's a peculiar Protestant perspective on appealing to the intercessor(s).

There are cases in which goddess worship was transformed to "Marian worship" (to which I think you may be alluding Lindsey), e.g., in Latin America-- Costa Rica, notably. But the anti-Marian strain in the Protestant Reformation arguably ignored the role of women in the early Christian church, as well.

As for miraculous appearances of Mary and other saints, yes, there is actually a verification procedure in the Roman Catholic Church. And it begins at the local level and works its way through the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Tired of It said...

People wonder how wide-spread panic or rumors my get started and the Virgin Mary image? is a true example. I grew up playing under those underpasses and not once did anyone see the image. Everyone in the neighborhood satyed awy from the walls because that's where local bums would releave themselves. And, now, some goof-ball starts seeing something and all of the other wackos come out of the woodwork. Here's a couple of questions, why didn't the local priests, until recently, come to the image and use this as a platform to raise spiritual awareness. And, why did the Pastor of St. Hedwig's Church, Fr. Gary Hogan refuse to pick up the candles, signs, etc. and take them to his nearby church for a more safe area to view or recognize the image. Fr. Hogan would only accept the memorials to the image if someone else brought them to his church.

Tired of It said...
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