Mystery Priest Found

Mystery Priest Found August 12, 2013

Richard Dawkins: “Checkmate, Christians!”; Pope Announces Conversion to Atheism.

Last week, this was a fun little “Twilight Zone” story.  I sorta figured the guy would turn up, but I still enjoyed the weirdness of it.  What cracked me up was the jittery atheist who came to my blog, full of righteous fundamentalist purpose to make sure that everybody was as humorless as he was about this story and to police people’s responses lest they have Unseemly Thoughts about the possibility of a miracle.  Suppose the priest didn’t come forward and just kept quiet in order to encourage belief in a miracle?  Or suppose he comes forward?  How would us Credulous Christians who so easily leap to the conclusion of Miracles cope with this body blow to our silly supernaturalism?

I tried to suggest he unclench his sphincter a bit and just enjoy the story, but he was too intensely invested in making sure that the Supernatural be kept at bay to do that.  Not a lot of fun at a party, I’ll wager.

Anyway, today I’m on the phone with Jeannette DeMelo from the Register and she tells me that the priest showed up in one of the comboxes of the Register.  I wonder how often he watches TV?

What I love is that the guy’s name is Fr. Dowling.  How perfect is that for a Mystery priest?

Final hilarity: my atheist reader, full of Puritan moral dudgeon that is consistently haunted by the fear that someone somewhere is having a good time, demanded to know why nobody thanked the aid workers (cuz, of course, the whole story was concocted to diss aid workers).  First comment Fr. Dowling made: “I thank God and the amazingly competent rescue workers.”

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  • Gail Finke

    Father DOWLING? The story gets more literary as it goes along! I think Chesterton wrote it… Maybe it is his first miracle…

  • Bill Brandon

    This whole incident has made me pretty happy. A hard-working priest does his job, calms the accident victim, prays a rosary, and humbly departs without hanging around for thanks, news reporters, etc. A girl is rescued and is recovering from a horrible injury. The first responders get reported as the heroes they are. The priest ends the wild speculation by coming forward, telling the story without inflating his part in it, makes sure credit goes to the hero first responders and CareFlight crew, and fades away. Average Catholics get reminded that angels don’t administer anointings. The scoffers get to choke on their scoff. Wow. What’s not to like?

  • The fact that it wasn’t an angel or saint doesn’t disappoint me; rather, it makes me all the more grateful for the ministry of faithful priests. Deo gratias.

  • Glad somebody else noticed the name.

  • Deb

    I still think its a miracle that a priest showed up at an accident scene in that part of Missouri! I couldn’t even find one at Mercy St Louis Hospital when one was needed,

  • Eric Holloway

    How would a real angel handle the situation? Maybe like the priest did…

  • I still dont trust the American Media. Please explain to me how come a priest happens to be at the right place and the right time with bottle full of Sacred Oil in his pocket? I still believe this is a sign that the Three Days of Darknes are near…Just saying 😉

    “Viva Cristo Rey!!”

    • jaybird1951

      I believe that many priests make a practice of carrying with them a vial of holy oil for just such emergencies.

  • Pluto Animus

    The rescue personnel should be thanked because they actually exist.

    Unlike your magical, invisible friend in the sky.


    • enness

      Prove to us that you exist.


  • All I can say is don’t look Divine Providence’s timing in the mouth!

  • dabhidh

    I don’t remember who it was but I remember that a prominent priest was asked by the press about this incident several days ago and his statement was that this was certainly an actual human being and he was sure that eventually that person would step forward and reveal himself. No idle speculation at all about it being an angel or anything like that. That in and of itself is remarkable from my perspective as a longtime evangelical. I believe an evangelical pastor would have been only too happy to push the miracle story if people found it inspiring.

    • Rosemarie


      The angel explanation was a long shot at best. I tended to think it was either a priest in the right place at the right time or, if miraculous, a priest present by means of bilocation. Anyway, I’m glad the woman is okay, I’m glad the priest was there and I’m certainly grateful for the work of the first responders, as I said on the last thread.

  • The phrase “enjoy the story” seems to neglect how listeners’ reactions may be part of the wider narrative, and that the attitude bolstering reinforcement a story gives to the person’s concept of how they ought to behave might be considered alarming enough to overwhelm any appreciation of the basic narrative, where such behaviors are considered harmful.

    For a mild example, if you have a spendthrift relative who has difficulty keeping their expenses in scale with their earnings, you might be worried when you find them reading a book series where the protagonist is a profligate spending billionaire. A more alarming and explicitly religious example (and thus, ROT13 due to potential offense) would be gung zbfg Puevfgvnaf jbhyq svaq Znex’f nppbhag bs gur rapbhagre bs Cvyngr jvgu Wrfhf uneqre gb “whfg rawbl gur fgbel” jura orvat ernq ng n “Rkgrezvangr gur Wrjf” enyyl bs gur ybpny XXX puncgre.

    There’s also deeper more general questions — when do people enjoy stories or not, and when should people enjoy stories — for which the casual injunction to “enjoy the story” seems to presume underconsidered implicit answers.

    • chezami

      Unclench your sphincter. Lighten up.

      • In short, as the easiest means to avoid cognitive dissonance, you’re going to ignore considering the basis in favor of frivolous dismissal.

  • enness

    I wasn’t particularly committed to any explanation. It is nice to know who it was, though.