The Eight Priests, Survivors of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb, were “LIVING THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA”!

70 years ago today, eight Jesuit priests living just over 1 kilometre away from ground zero miraculously survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima on 6th August, 1945. Everyone else within a radius of roughly 1.5 Kilometres was reportedly killed instantly, and those outside the range died of radiation within days. However, the only physical harm to Fr. Shiffer was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck!

The priests have been examined over 200 times by scientists. Each time the priests repeated the same explanation for their survival, “WE BELIEVE THAT WE SURVIVED BECAUSE WE WERE LIVING THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA. WE LIVED AND PRAYED THE ROSARY DAILY IN THAT HOME”.

Below is an adaption of an article by Donal Anthony Foley marking this anniversary, and printed in the Catholic Herald in 2010.

The remarkable survival of the Jesuit Fathers in Hiroshima has echoes in the Bible and in the story of Fatima

Transfiguration, 1594-95 (oil on canvas) by Carracci, Lodovico (1555-1619)

Transfiguration, 1594-95 (oil on canvas) by Carracci, Lodovico (1555-1619)

Today, 6th August is the Feast of the Transfiguration celebrated in the Church. It commemorates the occasion when Christ, accompanied by Peter, James, and John, went up a high mountain – traditionally identified with Mount Tabor in Galilee – and was there “transfigured” before them, so that “his face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as light” (Mt 17:2).

The Greek word for transfiguration is metemorphothe, from which we get the word “metamorphosis”. So the Transfiguration was a complete and stunning change in the appearance of Jesus, as his divinity shone through his humanity, in a way which completely overwhelmed the awestricken disciples. Its purpose was to prepare them for the reality of the crucifixion, so that having once seen – in some sense – his divinity, they would be strengthened in their faith.

August 6 is also an important date in world history: the fateful day on which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan. On that day, a Monday, at 8.15 a.m., an American B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, dropped its bomb “Little Boy”, which fell to a predetermined detonation height of about 1,900 feet above the city. It exploded with a blinding flash, creating a giant fireball, which vaporised practically everything and everyone within a radius of about a mile of the point of impact. It is estimated that up to 80,000 people were directly killed by the blast, and by the end of the year, that figure had climbed considerably higher, due to injuries and the effects of radiation. Over two thirds of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed.

But in the midst of this terrible carnage, something quite remarkable happened: there was a small community of Jesuit Fathers living in a presbytery near the parish church, which was situated less than a mile away from detonation point, well within the radius of total devastation. And all eight members of this community escaped virtually unscathed from the effects of the bomb. Their presbytery remained standing, while the buildings all around, virtually as far as the eye could see, were flattened.

Fr Hubert Schiffer, a German Jesuit, was one of these survivors, aged 30 at the time of the explosion, and who lived to the age of 63 in good health. In later years he travelled to speak of his experience, and this is his testimony as recorded in 1976, when all eight of the Jesuits were still alive. On August 6 1945, after saying Mass, he had just sat down to breakfast when there was a bright flash of light.

Hiroshima 70 years ago, after the atomic bomb was dropped

Hiroshima 70 years ago, after the atomic bomb was dropped

Since Hiroshima had military facilities, he assumed there must have been some sort of explosion at the harbour, but almost immediately he recounted: “A terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me [and] whirled me round and round…” He raised himself from the ground and looked around, but could see nothing in any direction. Everything had been devastated.

He had a few quite minor injuries, but nothing serious, and indeed later examinations at the hands of American army doctors and scientists showed that neither he nor his companions had suffered ill-effects from radiation damage or the bomb. Along with his fellow Jesuits, Fr Schiffer believed “that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.”

According to Dr. Stephen Rinehart, a nuclear physicist with the U.S. Department of Defense who had studied this phenomenon intently, they should have been dead in a flash. In his commentary on the Hiroshima blast he states:

“Their residence should still have been utterly destroyed (temp; 2000 F and air blast pressures; 100 psi). In contrast, unreinforced masonry or brick walls (representative of commercial construction) are destroyed at 3 psi, which will also cause car damage and burst windows. At 10 psi, a human will experience severe lung and heart damage, burst eardrums and at 20 psi your limbs can be blown off. Your head will be blown off by 40 psi and no residential or unreinforced commercial construction would be left standing. At 80 psi even reinforced concrete is heavily damaged and no human would be alive because your skull would be crushed. All the cotton clothes would be on fire at 350 F (probably at 275 F) and your lungs would be inoperative within a minute breathing air (even for a few seconds) at these temperatures.

“There are no physical laws to explain why the Jesuits were untouched in the Hiroshima air blast. There is no other actual or test data where a structure such as this was not totally destroyed at this standoff distance by an atomic weapon. All who were at this range from the epicenter should have received enough radiation to be dead within at most a matter of minutes if nothing else happened to them. There is no known way to design a uranium-235 atomic bomb, which could leave such a large discrete area intact while destroying everything around it immediately outside the fireball . . .

“From a scientific viewpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all human logic from the laws of physics as understood today (or at any time in the future). It must be concluded that some other (external) force was present whose power and/or capability to transform energy and matter as it relates to humans is beyond current comprehension.”

There is actually a biblical precedent for what happened to the eight Jesuits, in the book of Daniel. In Chapter 3, we read of the three young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace at the orders of Nebuchadnezzar, but who survived their ordeal and even walked around in the midst of the flames, accompanied by an angel who looked like “a son of the gods”.

After this first bombing, the Japanese government refused to surrender unconditionally, and so a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later on August 9. Nagasaki had actually been the secondary target, but cloud cover over the primary target, Kokura, saved it from obliteration on the day. The supreme irony is that Nagasaki was the city where two-thirds of the Catholics in Japan were concentrated, and so after centuries of persecution they suffered this terrible blow right at the end of the war.

But in a strange parallel to what happened at Hiroshima, the Franciscan Friary established by St Maximilian Kolbe in Nagasaki before the war was likewise unaffected by the bomb which fell there. St Maximilian, who was well-known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, had decided to go against the advice he had been given to build his friary in a certain location. When the bomb was dropped, the friary was protected from the force of the bomb by an intervening mountain. So both at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can see Mary’s protective hand at work.

The apparitions at Fatima in Portugal took place in 1917, when from May to October three young children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, saw the Blessed Virgin six times, culminating in the “miracle of the sun” on October 13, when 70,000 people saw the sun spin in the sky and change colour successively, before falling to the earth in a terrifying manner. Many of those present thought it was the end of the world, but the sun reassumed its place in the sky to great cries of relief.

fatima12c-seersThe essence of the Fatima message concerns conversion from sin and a return to God, and involves reparation for one’s own sins and the sins of others, as well as the offering up of one’s daily sufferings and trials. There was also a focus on prayer and the Eucharist at Fatima, and particularly the rosary, as well as the Five First Saturdays devotion, which involves Confession, Holy Communion, the rosary and meditation, for five consecutive months with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady (for more details visit

It’s interesting to reflect, then, on the theme of “transfiguration” which links these various events. Christ’s face shone like the sun on Mount Tabor, and at Fatima, Our Lady worked the great miracle of the sun to convince the huge crowd which had gathered there that the message she was giving to mankind was authentic. Consider, too, that the poor people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered as man-made “suns” exploded in their midst causing horrific devastation. But at Hiroshima the eight Jesuits, who were living the message of Fatima, and particularly the daily rosary, were somehow “transfigured,” protected by God’s divine power, from the terrible effects of the bomb.

Surely there is a message here for all of us, that living the message of Fatima, in a world which grows ever more dangerous and secular, is as profound a necessity for us as it was for Fr Schiffer and his companions.


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57 Responses to The Eight Priests, Survivors of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb, were “LIVING THE MESSAGE OF FATIMA”!

  1. Robert says:

    Yes and Akita.
    The fiery furnace in Bablyon.
    WW II was fortold by Our Lady and that extrodinary Aurora Bolis seen by Hitler.
    Fire from Heaven is associated with Elias and the priests of Baal. Ahab and Jezebel.
    WW II ended with fire from Heaven.
    But this also leads Us to Pentecost and Our Lady with the Apostles and the Holy Ghost her spouse.
    Fatima is of course directly linked to Christ the Son of which the Sun is a pale comparison.
    That Sun that threatened to crash down to earth 13 Oct 1917. Atomic bomb of course is a direct comparison with the Sun and its nuclear Fusion.
    Hell and Purgatory are also Fire of Punishment and Purgation (both mentioned at Fatima).
    To live Fatima is to stay with the Apostles Faith and the Apostles Creed. Faith is superior to the science of man. Aquinas points out that man’s reasoning is impaired without Faith. Human reasoning without Faith errs.


  2. toadspittle says:

    Are we surprised that atom bombs only kill non-Catholics? Or do they only kill non-Jesuits? Do we know if any Catholics at all were killed in Hiroshima?
    It makes God seem a bit “picky,” doesn’t it? But no doubt He has His mysterious reasons.
    What can The Message be? Become a Jesuit and you will survive atomic blasts?
    Maybe Robert’s dreaded “scientists” might “experiment” by dropping one on Fatima.

    “Human reasoning without Faith errs.”
    Human reasoning continually errs, with or without faith.
    Muslims and Mormons, to name but a couple, would doubtless agree with Rogebert.

    “WW II ended with fire from Heaven.”
    Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
    Nuclear devastation and mass slaughter as a gift from God.
    Nice and biblical, though.


  3. Robert says:

    To continue with these themes of the Sun and Japan (Nippon) which means of the rising Sun. The land of the rising Sun.
    Fatima points to 1960 and 60’s and then extends into 70’s with ‘De Medietate Lunae’ which is immediately followed by ‘De Labore Solis’.
    The Fathers of the Church likened the Sun to Christ (the Light of the world) and the moon to the Church (waxes and wanes) . John Paul II Birth and Death associated with Solar Eclipse.
    A Church without the Light of Faith exhibits human reasoning. The disobedience to Heaven of Rome in 1960 has been followed by a Apostacy of global proportions.
    Our Lord spoke of harvest and the wheat and the chuff. The chuff is burned.
    Catholics always have in mind the last things. That this world is temporary and a place of choice. St Bernadette was reminded of this and Juncita had a short life of suffering followed by an Eternity of Bliss.
    Fire is Directly linked to God. sic Pentecost, Hell and Purgation.
    Living the Fatima message and protection is starkly revealed here with the 8 priests of Hiroshima. I would remind also of Petrus Romanus. Peter’s Rome of the hidden church of the catacombs. Hidden and much persecuted which is de facto where we are now.
    Fatima is an immediate imperative.


  4. GC says:

    Are we surprised that atom bombs only kill non-Catholics? Or do they only kill non-Jesuits? Do we know if any Catholics at all were killed in Hiroshima?
    It makes God seem a bit “picky,” doesn’t it? But no doubt He has His mysterious reasons.
    What can The Message be? Become a Jesuit and you will survive atomic blasts?

    Mmmmm . . . let me think about that, Toad.

    Could you tell me if there is an official toad position on any of this?


  5. toadspittle says:

    “Could you tell me if there is an official toad position on any of this?”

    Yes indeed – GC – there is not. Nor on anything else much. “Official Positions” are best left to religious dogma and political rhetoric, Toad suspects. He largely goes in for guesswork and silly questions. Like above.


  6. toadspittle says:

    “Fire is Directly linked to God. sic Pentecost, Hell and Purgation.”

    Quite right, Roberge. And Fire is also directly linked to lighting, fighting, storms, breaks, and balls.
    (The last especially.)


  7. Michael says:

    What can The Message be?

    As far as I know, it is one of the worst translations of the Bible known to man:


  8. Tony Maloney says:

    I think that this article is rather tasteless, all considered.


  9. Shane says:

    Thanks for the lovely post Kathleen. I wasn´t aware of this miraculous survival of those 8 Jesuit priests in Hiroshima and it is very interesting the link that you make to the message of Fatima. I can only hope that when my time finishes here on Earth (and for a long time before then), I can be in a state of grace and living and praying the rosary daily.


  10. GC says:

    You don’t yourself have any thoughts about how this might have happened, Toad? Eight Jesuits can’t all be wrong all at the same time and all about the same thing.


  11. GC says:

    Nippon/Nihon actually means “the source of the sun”, Robert, and probably refers to Japan’s eastern position with respect to China.


  12. toadspittle says:

    Three thoughts, involving “might” – GC.
    1: Miracle.
    2: Bit of good luck.
    3: Both.


  13. toadspittle says:

    “What can The Message be?”
    The Medium, maybe, Michael?
    (Let’s not get all McLuhan-ish, here, Toad.)

    “Eight Jesuits can’t all be wrong all at the same time and all about the same thing.”
    “Depends on the “thing,” in question, I suppose, GC.
    Muslims, Atheists and Mormons might agree. Transubstantiation, for example? .


  14. toadspittle says:

    Right, Tony. That’s why we are all enjoying it so much.


  15. Robert says:

    It is a lovely Post and most welcome. Thank you GC re Japan it is known popularly in the West “..The Chinese Imperial name for Japan from the Sui Dynasty. … This can be loosely translated into English as “land of the rising sun”. “From China it appears that the sun rises from the direction of Japan”
    So the point is Akita third October 13, 1973 note Oct 13 1917 (Fatima). “”As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their Confreres. The Church and altars will be vandalized. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
    The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.”
    Note 1973 thats 13 years after 1960 Akita is approved.


  16. toadspittle says:

    …the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.

    Is it reasonable – or indeed even Christian – to believe in a God who punishes the innocent?


  17. toadspittle says:

    We might ask: “What is the point of being good, then?”


  18. GC says:

    Well, if there were 8 survivors (the Jesuits) while a total of 140,000 (inclusive of Catholic fatalities) in the neighbourhood perished, Toad, is just luck, then that has a probability of 0.00006, practically zero. I am not convinced that Toad would chance Toad’s betting skills at Toad’s favourite online lucky shop with luck of that kind. Toad would prefer more realistic odds than that, I sense.

    I think we need to rule out luck, Toad, doesn’t Toad? Unless Toad is feeling extremely extraordinarily unbelievably lucky? Which leaves us where, exactly? Now what other possibilities are there according to Toad’s impressive list?


  19. toadspittle says:

    “Unless Toad is feeling extremely extraordinarily unbelievably lucky?”
    Toad actually has been extremely, extraordinarily, unbelievably lucky in his life, so far, GC.
    …And no, it won’t last.
    But you are surely right – Hiroshima’s “Fire from Heaven” (a la Rogeber) can only be put down to a miracle. No other explanation for it. God singled out eight Jesuits and spared them, and allowed 140,000 non-Catholic sinners to be atomized. Bit of favouritism, but why not? Got to look after our own people first, don’t we? What’s the point of being a Catholic if you don’t get to jump the queue when the atom bombs Start falling?
    Become a Jesuit, and live forever, I suppose. Either that, or stop sinning. Of the two, put me down for the Jesuits. But maybe God was making a subtle point.
    …Yes, that must be it.


  20. GC says:

    I thought we were going to look at the remaining item on Toad’s list.


  21. Robert says:

    God is Love! He so loved the world he sent his only begotten Son!
    To see Gods Love look at the Passion. The Passion replicates the punishment of Adam and Eve, sic taken from a garden and dying the death in one day (Adam lived just under 1000 years). Adam was known by Enoch (who did not die) and like Elias (Elijah) was taken to Heaven.
    The Jesuit Fathers off course Tridentine Rites with the Eucharist at the centre of their lives with the Rosary and the Scapular which off course is the message of Fatima.
    Interesting how Akita was confirmed by the Church and references the Deluge.
    “..Nagasaki was first evangelized in 1549 by Jesuit missionaries from Portugal, led by the Spanish Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, who arrived in Nagasaki on August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.2 Providentially, perhaps, exactly four hundred years later in Nagasaki on August 15, 1949—and exactly four years after Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945—there would be a great celebration of Japan’s evangelization by this great preacher, with high Church officials and a delegate from Pope Pius XII in attendance.,,”
    Catholic Nagasaki


  22. toadspittle says:

    “(Adam lived just under 1000 years).”
    Really? Didn’t know that. How about Eve? Do we know?

    Did Adam attribute his longevity to Original Sin? Or what?


  23. toadspittle says:

    “Eizō Nomura was the closest known survivor, who was in the basement of a reinforced concrete building (it remained as the Rest House after the war) only 170 metres (560 ft) from ground zero (the hypocenter) at the time of the attack. He lived into his 80s. Akiko Takakura was among the closest survivors to the hypocenter of the blast. She had been in the solidly built Bank of Hiroshima only 300 meters (980 ft) from ground-zero at the time of the attack.”
    …More miracles. Probably both Catholics.


  24. Michael says:

    Yes, let’s leave Marshall out of this for the time being. In all seriousness though, I don’t think the message here is simply ‘be Catholic/be good and you’ll escape atomic blasts’ – the eight priests, and their miraculous survival, are effectively a living sign of the Fatima message, in the sense that their sparing was effected to draw attention to the directives of that message being lived out.

    The living out of these directives (to do penance, make reparation, etc) is not something that we ordinarily see day to day, but in the midst of a horrific event such as Hiroshima, the presence of people doing such things, and their being preserved from the disaster, draws our attention to the message in a way that cannot be ignored. The fact that these eight priests were spared from such a huge disaster further highlights the essence of the Fatima message, which is that without penance, prayer and reparation, our world will not be able to avoid the destruction we bring upon ourselves*.

    *I’m sure this point has been made many times before, but when God warns of His punishment upon mankind, such punishment almost always takes the form of His allowing us to do the worst to ourselves – i.e.; it is His permissive will, not His direct will. This is still a punishment nonetheless, but it is not simply inflicted arbitrarily – rather it is a consequence of our sin, allowed to run its course.


  25. toadspittle says:

    “..when God warns of His punishment upon mankind, such punishment almost always takes the form of His allowing us to do the worst to ourselves…”
    I appreciate your “almost always” here, Michael. Not always, always – but almost always always.
    We are weasling well up to snuff, this morning, aren’t we! But the passage (taken from a Rogebert rant, I think) says bluntly and unequivocally, “God will inflict..”etc., not, “God won’t stop,” etc.
    And, as far as I can see, no amount of creative weaseling will get round that.
    Of course, I don’t see things quite the same way you do.

    (Dear Moderators: am I right in thinking you have totally censored a comment I made to Roge about 4 hours ago? I might be wrong about this.)

    [Moderator writes: Yes, Toad, that comment of yours was removed. It was unacceptable.]


  26. Adrian Meades says:

    “He so loved the world he sent his only begotten Son!”
    but in what sense was Jesus his ‘son’ – this never makes sense to me.
    And why was that such a sacrifice? After all, they were in constant contact.


  27. Robert says:

    Toad why not relook at your Catechism! The Apostles Creed, the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Then throw in the Glory Be.

    Aquinas Benefits of belief in God as Creator.
    1. It leads us to a knowledge of the divine majesty.
    2. It leads us to give thanks to God.
    3. It encourages us to be patient in adversity.
    4. It persuades us to use creatures well.
    5. It leads us to acknowledge man’s dignity

    Eve well who was at the foot of the Cross? Whose heart was pierced by a sword (as prophecised)? Our Lord proved the Resurrection of the Body and conquered Death. Man will live for Eternity but in his free will chooses between Heaven and Hell. Heaven is Life and Hell Death.
    So why are you calling Adam’s life longevity? Heaven was closed to Man before Our Lord’s Passion. St Peter Papal Authority could only be after Our Lords Resurrection.
    Our Lady? the Dogma of the Assumption (declared by Pius XII).
    The lives of the Patriachs are in the Torah attributed to Moses. Moses appeared with Elias At Our Lords Transfiguration of course.

    Fatima and the evidence of the Angels (Angel of Portugal) the vision of Hell and told of Purgatory. The clouds and rain which obscured the Sun for three days. As fortold the miracle of the Sun on 13tn October 1917.We have the Eucharistic Christ and we pray the Rosary isn’t this what these Jesuits were doing? living the Fatima message?


  28. Michael says:

    I appreciate your “almost always” here, Michael. Not always, always – but almost always

    Not weaseling Toad, honest! I wrote ‘almost always’ because I do believe in some few cases divine punishment is more, shall we say, direct, as opposed to just allowing the consequences of our own sin to unfold naturally. I cannot take any responsibility for any excerpts from Roger’s musings on this topic, but yes I do think occasionally things have been and can be results of God’s direct punishment. The ordinary state of affairs is, I believe, His permission of our bringing disaster upon our own heads though.


  29. Adrian Meades says:

    Why was my comment removed?

    [GC: Adrian, as far as I can see your comment was not removed. For some mysterious reason it went directly into the spam bin, from which it has been rescued.]


  30. johnhenrycn says:

    Possibly lost when your stagecoach hit a rock on your way from your town house to your country house?
    …as for Tony Baloney (09:58) what is “tasteless” about this article? Do you wish to expand or was yours merely a drive-by shooting whilst waiting for your Grand Theft Auto video game to load?


  31. toadspittle says:

    “5. It leads us to acknowledge man’s dignity”
    What "dignity"? Do you really think a man is more "dignified" than an elephant, or a walrus, or a python, Rogerbert? I don't. Just take a careful look at yourself (or at me, for that matter.)

    Michael: You say, “The ordinary state of affairs is, I believe, His permission of our bringing disaster upon our own heads though.”
    I would never give my children permission to bring disaster “…upon their own heads,” if I could do anything whatsoever in my power to prevent it – including totally over-ruling them, if I could. I take it you would allow your loved ones to bring disaster on their own heads. Don’t want to interfere with their Free Will, and all that – do we? (And don’t tell me God “can’t” prevent damnation if He wants to, please – and that He sits around in Heaven, feeling sad and helplessly watching us all sinning. What kind of loving God is that?)

    No – there’s no point in you (or anyone on CP&S) answering this, really. We are on different planets. I’m on planet Earth, myself. It’s rotten, but here I am. Trying to make the best of it.


  32. GC says:

    I suspect that God wants actively to rescue His children from disasters of their own making too, Toad. We have whole scriptures and things on that.

    But even human parents, while they do their best to admonish their children about the dangers of their behaviour, often leave their darlings to find out what’s what the hard way for themselves. And in the past they might also give them a few preliminary whacks or clips on the ear plus the rounds of the kitchen. But that is frowned on nowadays.


  33. toadspittle says:

    “Tony Baloney”. – Gosh, that's awfully good, JH! How do you think them up?
    Done poor “Tony” bang to rights, that has. That’ll teach him to stick his fat nose in here.
    We warm-hearted Christian souls on CP&S will hear no more Maloney from him – thank God.


  34. Adrian Meades says:

    Phew! Thanks GC


  35. johnhenrycn says:

    “How do you think them up?”

    Well, unlike Maloney, I’m not a one-trick pony.


  36. toadspittle says:

    “But even human parents, while they do their best to admonish their children about the dangers of their behaviour, often leave their darlings to find out what’s what the hard way by themselves.”
    Is that what you “often” actually do yourself, GC? Or is it what bad, lazy, parents do? If it’s the latter – as I suspect, – why are you bringing it up here? Are you recommending us to act like mindless imbeciles?
    Would you say to your daughter, “I admonish(!) you against taking up prostitution as a career, but since you won’t listen to me, you’ll have to find out the hard way for yourself?” I doubt it. Aren’t you far more likely to say:
    “No – I don’t care what you want, you young idiot. As long as I’m alive, you will never do such an insane thing as long as I can physically prevent you.”?
    And wasn’t Christ supposed to have asked his father to forgive all of us because we are all stupid and ignorant?
    …In which case, as Unamuno would (and did) put it – “Then – wherefore Hell?”


  37. GC says:

    I would have thought that that prayer of Jesus to His Father referred specifically to those who were in the midst, well, of killing Him.

    You’re right about the forgiveness, though. That seems to be a very large part of what Jesus was about, but probably more about all those things that we require forgiveness for. All those minuses when there should be the pluses that He told us about.


  38. toadspittle says:

    Can you see what I’m getting at, though, GC? A little “parable” about me and my dogs comes to mind, re “free will.”
    I let the furry fools run as free as possible in open fields, where they are in no danger. But when we are near roads and traffic, or whatever, they have to stay on their leads. They’re allowed freedom – but only when it can’t destroy them. If they want to run in the road – they simply can’t. No chance.
    Does that make any sense in relation to humans – and what we are told God does, or doesn’t, do – regarding us and eternal damnation?
    Probably not.
    Does to me, though.
    It would seem to make me kinder, and more protecting, than God.
    …Which I strongly doubt is the way things are – in reality.


  39. Michael says:

    I would never give my children permission to bring disaster “…upon their own heads,” if I could do anything whatsoever in my power to prevent it – including totally over-ruling them, if I could.

    The comparison of God’s fatherhood with our own is an analogy, dealing with two situations which, whilst similar in many important respects, are not exact equivalents – the most important point of dissimilarity is that while you are discussing human parents’ concern for their children’s material welfare, God is primarily concerned with the state of our souls. Bearing this in mind then, it seems (to me at least) a lot clearer that in many cases, experiencing the effects of our choices will be for our benefit, as it will cause us to reassess the path we have taken.

    Furthermore, there is a marked difference between the case of a human parent caring for the welfare of their child, in which rectifying mistakes, etc necessarily involves taking an active role in the latter’s behaviour, and that of God and His creation – in this second case, the entire logic of creation (making something that is not God) depends upon its being allowed to exist freely, and not constantly redirected*. In other words, there would be little point in a world being created, with all the qualities necessary for it to exist as something wholly independent of God, if He were to keep ‘over-ruling’ every wrong decision made – such overruling would defeat the point of having created in the first place.

    *Obviously interventions do take place, such as the one being discussed in this thread, but these are a.) exceptions to a general rule, and b.) not done primarily to correct the course of things, but to act as a sign-post to some particular message the world is in need of hearing – they are, quite literally, significant events, first and foremost.


  40. toadspittle says:

    We just don’t see things the same way, Michael.
    Oh, well.
    Takes all sorts.


  41. toadspittle says:

    By Jove, he’s done it again! scintillating stuff.


  42. geoffkiernan says:

    Would it be unkind to suggest that now you would be hard pressed to find 8 Jesuits who can even say the word ‘rosary’ let alone ‘pray’ the Rosary


  43. johnhenrycn says:

    Geoff, point taken, on my part, but somewhat mis-taken on yours. Firstly, you will not find any major historical missionary order – Jesuit, Franciscan, Dominican – that hasn’t “pushed the envelope”, as they say. Am I wrong? If so, I will be a very, very happy man to be corrected. But secondly, there are still Jesuit provinces that haven’t bought into the silliness that you speak of. That has to be true, statistically speaking. I used to be the lawyer for one such, although they are now defunct (not my doing;)…my involvement having to do with a slippery floor in their communal shower which they refused to pay for. Won the case, yay!!)…but speaking of individual Jesuits, you’re definitely exaggerating, and you must know you are. Need I go googling for examples of orthodox Jesuits?


  44. geoffkiernan says:

    JH: My tongue was distorting my cheek somewhat when making that comment. I am sure there are ‘good’ Jesuits about the place. By the same token there are many not so good….


  45. johnhenrycn says:

    Sigh. Sorry, Geoff:


  46. geoffkiernan says:

    My Point JH ? Before most bought into the ‘silliness’ you mentioned, almost all, nay all, believed in the efficacy of the traditional devotions ( and practised) such as the Rosary. Now the more ‘enlightened’ frown on such things as being too Catholic. I concede not all have abandoned them but sadly very many have.


  47. GC says:

    Isn’t that funny, Geoff, completely coincidentally I was just reading this:

    (Avery Cardinal) Dulles (SJ) continues: “Armed with their ‘progressive’ reading of Vatican II, American Jesuits of this transitional generation became more committed to the struggle for social reform than to the propagation of Christian faith. They saw little but evil in pre-conciliar Catholicism. Drifting from historical consciousness into historical relativism, some of this generation questioned the current validity of the accepted creeds and dogmas of the Church. At the present moment members of this intermediate age group hold positions of greatest power and influence in the Society, but they no longer represent the cutting edge. A younger group is arising, much more committed to the Church and its traditions…”

    The original article is here:

    Back to JH?

    Here’s a statistic for you:

    Number of Jesuit priests:
    1966 – 20,301
    2014 – 12,107



  48. johnhenrycn says:

    I have to agree with you, GC (and also with Geoff) that the Jesuits’ street cred amongst orthodox Catholics is pretty low. I don’t know enough about them to defend them except to say that the Spiritual Exercises are a pearl of great price. Malachi Martin, a former Jesuit himself, wrote an exposé of the order 25 years ago: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, and here’s a lengthy excerpt that makes one wish to read more.


  49. geoffkiernan says:

    JH…… A new found relevance for my initial comment perhaps?… A sporting maxim. ‘You are only as good as your last game’. Also JH your comment about their street cred among ‘orthodox Catholics’ is curious given, I think you will agree, does any other type of catholic really matter ?


  50. geoffkiernan says:

    GC: Two points made by the Cardinal, resonate (I) their change of commitment from propagation of the Faith to social reform and (2) A younger group is rising much more committed to the Church and its traditions. Pertinent points that spell out the state of things clearly and made over ten years ago.


  51. kathleen says:

    I read it JH, 17 years ago now! It is indeed a very well-written book, giving plenty of background to the build up to that “…Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church”. The errors of Modernism had started to worm their way into the Jesuit Order (through many famous and notorious Jesuit figures) long before Vatican II, finally revealing themselves in all their ugliness in its immediate aftermath.
    Malachi Martin, a brilliant man, really knew his subject, having been a Jesuit himself (and a priest for life). It broke his heart to witness so much destruction and havoc wrought to this outstanding Order that had given so much to the Church in former centuries.

    It is nevertheless undeniable, that even during the times of the greatest Modernist rebellion within the Jesuits, certain very holy and important Jesuits were still leaving their indelible mark of faithfulness to Christ and the Church – Fr Hugh Thwaites, Fr Walter Ciszek and Fr John Hardon are just a few that come to mind – true sons of their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.


  52. johnhenrycn says:

    True Story from British Columbia, Canada:
    My daughter recounts an event reminding me of this story of the priests surviving Hiroshima:

    A couple of months ago, she was invited to a bridal shower in a town located on the other side of the mountain from where she lives. Off she went, but while driving there, she had this feeling that something was going to happen. Not a feeling of dread exactly, but of something momentous:
    The bridal party went well. Back into her truck for the drive home, which meant going up and down the mountain again…At the base of the mountain, she saw a sign: NO CELL PHONE COVERAGE. NO HELP. NO GAS FOR 80 KM. CHECK YOUR FUEL TANK.
    “Check fuel tank? Hmm. Not full, but definitely enough to reach the next station. Off we go…”
    “That’s funny, the fuel alarm is ringing and I’m only just near the top of the mountain”.
    (uh oh, she forgot that going up a mountain uses more gas than driving on a level road.)
    Oh, look! There’s a road repair truck.
    “Excuse me, I’m just about out of gas. Have you got any in a jerry can that you can spare?”
    “No, sorry; but if you drive on and run out, I’ll give you a lift on my way down.”
    DING, DING DING!! Your fuel tank is one litre away from empty.
    Daughter stops on the road. What to do?
    Now, road is not the mot juste for a goat path ten feet wide with no guardrail and next to a sheer drop of 1000 feet…
    Thankfully, there was a wee lay-by just at the spot where her fuel alarm started ringing, and she pulled into it.
    Tick, tick, tick…
    “…Oh good, here comes that road repair truck.”
    “Hi! Didn’t make, eh?” Well, hop in.”
    At that very moment they hear a car racing up the mountain at high speed. They see it missing the bend and careening over the cliff.
    The car that went over the cliff gets caught on an outcropping, but it’s finely balanced – just on the brink of plunging into the abyss below.
    (Does anyone here remember the 1969 Michael Caine caper movie, ’The Italian Job’, and the final scene where his getaway truck is balanced on the edge of a cliff in the Italian Alps? I’ll link it here later if I remember…)
    The driver manages to climb out of his car. An artery in his forehead spurting blood everywhere. He latches onto – now get this – an iron bar that just happens to be sticking out of the side of the mountain. He looks up and sees daughter and the road crew driver and yells:
    Now daughter is a bit squeamish, and the first thing she thought was: ”What if he’s got AIDS?” besides which, she’s not very strong and was afraid that he would pull her down if she threw him a rope, which she didn’t have anyway.

    But the road repair truck driver, a heavy set muscular woman in her 40s, took charge. She found some plastic straps in her truck, knotted them together and threw them over the cliff to the car driver. She, with daughter helping as best she could, managed to pull the driver up to ground level, where he passed out from loss of blood.
    Just then, another car comes around the bend and daughter frantically waves it down. A passenger in the car happens to be a nurse. The nurse says: ”He’s going to die if the bleeding doesn’t stop. Here, elevate his head. I’ve got some bandages to apply pressure to the wound.”
    Daughter and the road repair truck driver then drove down the mountain, called an ambulance, bought a jerry can full of gas and drove back up the mountain, by which time the ambulance had arrived and left.

    Happy ending…Daughter called the hospital in Trail BC and was told that the car driver survived.

    I asked her, a couple of days ago, why haven’t I seen that story in the papers? She says that cars going over the edge of that mountain happen all the time and it’s not all that newsworthy.
    But, returning to the priests who survived the Hiroshima event and connecting that to my daughter’s experience: isn’t it an amazing instance of serendipity – or a miracle, if you will – that she happened to be where she was, that she ran out of gas, that a road crew driver found her, that a man drove over the cliff, that there was an iron bar sticking out of the side of the mountain, that a nurse drove by, etc. etc.? If daughter had not run out of gas, the road crew driver would have had no reason to stop, and the car driver would never have been missed. Daughter says that the sound of his car eventually falling to the bottom of the mountain was like a huge bomb.


  53. kathleen says:

    JH, your True Story from British Colombia, Canada was a great read, and written in such a delightful and captivating way!
    It was also totally pertinent to the above article about the miraculous survival from the atom bomb of the Jesuit priests, for it demonstrates so vividly how we see the “Hand of God” in our lives all the time. (Or that of Our Blessed Lady or God’s angels sent to guard us.) In your daughter’s tale here were too many unlikely chances or coincidences for the happy outcome to be anything other than truly amazing and miraculous.

    That is not to say that in this natural world where dangers abound and men have Free Will we are never victims of accidents or the sins of others (i.e., as in the case of the thousands of martyrs and destitute refugees, thanks to the barbaric actions of the islamic militants), for often we are of course, or we are the sad witnesses of these tragedies in others. However, even in desperate situations of terrible suffering, cruelty and death, we are presented with opportunities to grow in love and humble acceptance of the cross, and thus closer to God.

    When one has survived a scrape with death, one’s whole outlook on life changes drastically. I wonder how the driver of the crashed car will face the rest of his life from now on.


  54. johnhenrycn says:

    “I wonder how the driver of the crashed car will face the rest of his life from now on.”

    Kathleen, it was with that very question that I meant to finish my narrative. If he believes in God, he must be thinking about why it was not his day to die and what life (i.e. God) has in store for him.

    By chance, today’s CP&S post, Near Death, Nearer to God – Joseph Pearce’s account of being swarmed by wasps, enters the same territory, and Professor Pearce, a devout Catholic, speaks of the deep(er) connection he was blessed to make with God on the threshold of death.

    Coincidentally, when daughter told me the above ‘cliffhanger’ (a true story, I stress), she also told me this other one about a man in her town who was almost killed by a grizzly bear last year, but was saved when his son-in-law shot him – meaning the man and the bear (ha!).
    This news report doesn’t speak of the man’s religious experience. He has since told his friends that he was never a churchgoer, but waiting for the ambulance he prayed to God not to die – as most of us, believers and otherwise, would – and that he received a clear unmistakable message that he would not.


  55. Pingback: URL

  56. Vince says:

    Thank God Almighty for this miraculous proof. God established one Church, the Catholic Church and is the only God. God gave us His Mother, ever Virgin, to be our advocate and Mother in our times of need, and to protect us and lead us to her Holy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly many refuse to believe this, mock this, or brush this irrefutably real event to their own peril. May God have mercy on us, and forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and bring all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of His Mercy. I pray protestants see this and turn from their heresy, that atheists see this and turn from their pridefull arrogance, and that the pagans of all other man made religions turn to the One and only Triune God and Father of all Creation.

    In Nomine Patris, et Fillii, et Spiritus Sancti


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