In today’s big story, the Limerick peasantry flock to a miraculous tree:
NEARLY 2,000 people have signed a petition seeking to prevent the removal of a tree stump on the grounds of a Co Limerick church, which they believe depicts an image of the Blessed Virgin.
Scores of people from across the country gathered to say prayers at Holy Mary Parish Church in Rathkeale yesterday where workmen made the discovery while cutting down trees earlier this week.
People from the town organised the petition in an effort to have the stump, which was due to be dug out of the ground yesterday, made into a permanent fixture at the church. “We have almost 2,000 signatures on the petition already and we are going to continue getting more,” said shopkeeper Séamus Hogan.
“People have been coming from Kerry and Clare to see this tree, which we believe shows a clear outline of Our Lady,” he continued. Mr Hogan said the discovery was bringing people from all walks of life to Rathkeale to pray.
I suppose Limerick has been a bit short of moving statues for the last few years, so Our Lady appearing in a tree stump is a bit of a turn up for the books. And look at who the defenders of rationalism are:
Local parish priest Fr Willie Russell said on radio station Limerick Live 95FM yesterday that people should not worship the tree. “There’s nothing there . . . it’s just a tree . . . you can’t worship a tree.”
A spokesman for the Limerick diocesan office said the “church’s response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism”.
“While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition,” he said.
Yes, here’s Pope Benny trying to give a considered response to the world’s ills in his latest, impressively crunchy encyclical, only to see his impressive intellectualism being undermined by Irish culchies praying to a tree stump. Wherever Dermot Morgan is, he must be having a chuckle to himself. See also.