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When The Pope Hates You PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

John Paul II hates Jeremy Pechanec. On February 22nd, right around 2:30 a.m., the 28-year-old Pechanec was shot in the back of the head in what some have speculated was a drug deal gone awry. He was left brain-dead, lying on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown Cleveland, just a few steps from the bar where he’d been drinking. (The bar is called “Scorchers,” and makes a tidy profit off its “Wicked” wings — evocative word choices that may explain the late Pontiff’s antipathy.) Over the next several days, Pechanec’s organs were harvested and his unusuable remains interred. The deceased Pope, despite his plain interest in securing a swift beatification and canonization, did nothing.

But there was a man kneeling next to Jeremy Pechanec when he was executed, gang-land style, on that ugly winter’s morn. Pechanec’s friend, Jory Aebly, was shot as well. The bullet shattered his skull and whizzed through two hemispheres of gray matter before coming to rest against the interior of his forehead. According to EWTN — “The Global Catholic Network”— Aebly’s injuries were “non-survivable.” (Though according to a local news channel’s dispatch from the day of the shooting, Aebly was doing “better than expected” from the moment he arrived at the hospital.)

Aebly’s doctors at Cleveland’s MetroHealth medical complex, including neurosurgeon Robert Geertman, could not operate. Too much brain in the way. Too many bits of bullet floating around the noggin. Of course, these concerns meant little to MetroHealth’s Catholic chaplain, Fr. Art Nedeker. Nedeker administered The Sacrament of The Sick, and beseeched the dead Pontiff to pray on the young man’s behalf. And — and this is the salient bit — as Aebly lay unconscious in his hospital bed, Nedeker gave him a rosary that had previously been blessed by Pope John Paul II, back when John Paul II was still corporeal. According to EWTN, Aebly’s condition “consistently improved” thereafter. By Thursday the 26th, Aebly was speaking and interacting with his medical staff and family.

“I stand before you today and can say, to my mind, that Jory is a miracle,” said Fr. Nedeker, in a press conference announcing Aebly’s release from the hospital on March 31st. Said Dr. Geertman, “It’s one in a million.” The Catholic press, which has been falling all over itself in an orgy of smug self-congratulation ever since Aebly’s discharge, consistently fails to report Geertman’s next sentence: “If [the bullet’s] off another centimeter, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” This is a curious omission, one by which we may gauge Catholic publishers’ understanding of their readers’ credulity. To wit: dead Popes may, on occasion, magically heal brain injuries, but Papal manipulation of bullets via postmortem telekinesis is ridiculous.

Due to the obvious supernatural overtones of Aebly’s swift recovery, the Holy See has sworn to investigate. Even now, professional servants of God may be hard at work in Cleveland, attempting to ascertain whether Aebly’s recovery was a genuine miracle or just dumb, blind luck. This is of some concern to John Paul II. Depending on their type, two, three, or four miracles must be ascribed to a believer before s/he may be beatified, and John Paul II is still two miracles away.

Which brings us back to the original question. Why does the dead Pontiff hate Jeremy Pechanec? Why would the erstwhile Pope postpone his own inevitable beatification and canonization by electing to help only one of the wounded boys, when he could just as easily have expedited things with a twofer? Nedeker’s explanation — that there was only one blessed rosary available* — feels somehow inadequate.

When Swift came calling, Dr. Geertman was unavailable for comment. (Stay tuned.) But one spunky hospital worker, who asked to remain nameless, was quite forthcoming. Asked whether she believed Aebly’s recovery was the work of the dead Pontiff, she laughed. “Hell no!” she said. I hope the Catholic investigators will log her reply and give it due consideration. She is a professional, after all.

Recent news on Aebly’s status has been hard to come by, but we may assume that the extent of his recovery will be unknown for some time. Whether he fares well or poorly — and I certainly hope for the former, though I’ll stop short of praying for it — the headlines he attracted will have done their work. This grim episode of his life will be gleefully remembered by the faithful as a supreme vindication of their faith. They will not remember Jeremy Pechanec at all.

Brandon K. Thorp is a theater critic with Village Voice Media, and a frequent contributor to South Florida’s NPR affiliate station, WLRN.

* Actually, Fr. Nedeker didn’t say that, nor would he. He’d dodge the question. Because any honest accounting of God’s usual laissez faire approach to the world’s random violence and cruelty inevitably opens up a whole army of uncomfortable questions re: the nature of divine will and intervention, none of which have ever been adequately answered by the pious. One thing’s for sure: If this thing is confirmed as a miracle, it means that the God of the Vatican is so capricious that he would allow the life or death of a young man to hang in the balance of a chaplain’s decision to give away a particular rosary, and that he interceded on Aebly’s behalf, as opposed to Pechanec’s, primarily to bring glory to a dead Pole in a funny hat. There is an element of vanity here — an impulse against which the Bible contains countless prohibitions, and to which the Vatican long ago acquiesced. - BKT

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written by Ignition Key, May 12, 2009
Asked whether she believed Aebly’s recovery was the work of the dead Pontiff, she laughed. “Hell no!” she said.

Well, that settles it then.

No, wait a minute, this isn't any more convincing than a "Hell yes"!
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written by Michael K Gray, May 12, 2009
A very good article that pulls few punches.
It reveals the fraud that calls itself 'faith' for what it really is:
a pernicious con-game perpetrated by the puffed-up power-parasites upon those who suffer from abject ignorance,
(willfully acquired or not), rather succinctly.
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written by kaivulagi, May 12, 2009
"Asked whether she believed Aebly’s recovery was the work of the dead Pontiff, she laughed. “Hell no!” she said."


..that one caused milk to squirt out of my nose!
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written by vidiviciveni, May 12, 2009
Milk just flowed from your nose! Out of nowhere! It's a miracle!

It was of course full cream milk I take it..... well since it came from your nose it wasn't pastyoureyes! smilies/grin.gif
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written by Mark P, May 12, 2009
To be fair, this is only one sort of religion.

Many Catholics are profoundly embarrassed by this sort of thing -- rightly recognising it as medieval. The current and previous pontiffs are/were swimming against the stream really, desperately trying to take the Roman Church back to the good old days of magic (and the index, inquisition and mortification of the flesh too, I would suspect). That doesn't mean all Catholics think they are right.
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written by MadScientist, May 12, 2009
It's a lie! Goddidit! It had nothing to do with a team of highly skilled and hard-working surgeons. Now where did I place my sacred gourd?
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written by Brookston John, May 13, 2009
Why would some Catholics "be embarrassed" by it?
They already believe some guy rose from the dead after a long weekend in a tomb, that the crackers and cheap wine they have every week magically turn into this dead guy's flesh and blood (cannibals!)
Why not go for the full tickle and believe that your dead church leaders work magic from beyond the grave, too.
Why not believe AL of it, since one part is just as fantastic as the next?
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Unintended joke..., Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by bosshog, May 13, 2009
@ Mark P:
"Many Catholics are profoundly embarrassed by this sort of thing -- rightly recognising it as medieval."
So why don't they recognize their entire belief system as medieval?
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written by bosshog, May 13, 2009
"Kill one man and you are a murderer.
"Kill one million men and you are a conqueror.
"Kill all men and you are a god."
-Jean Rostand

Why is it such a wondrous and gratifying thing that one lone man's inevitable death was put off for a few miserable years?
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written by Alan3354, May 13, 2009
God's an asshole. The biggest asshole in the universe.
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written by Alan3354, May 13, 2009
Out of all the "miracles" performed by god, usually with some human taking part of the credit and all of the money, not ONE (1) amputee has been cured. That can't be faked so easily.
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written by Alan3354, May 13, 2009
Here's a link to the best church.

http://Landoverbaptist.org
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written by jasonhenle, May 13, 2009
The Lutheran's realized how worthless the Catholic Church is, I think it's time that the Catholics did so as well.
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written by Alan3354, May 13, 2009
The Lutheran's realized how worthless the Catholic Church is, I think it's time that the Catholics did so as well.

But did the lutherans realize how worthless luthernism (and all religions/superstitions) are?
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written by Kuroyume, May 13, 2009
God's an asshole. The biggest asshole in the universe.


Not just the universe but extra-universally as well!

My hypothesis is that god is indeed a giant asshole and the universe required six days to create due to constipation. smilies/wink.gif
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written by kenhamer, May 13, 2009
God's an asshole.

Actually, Adam was an asshole.

And Jesus was a woman.

See [u]Woman With A "Y" (Womyn)[/u]
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written by bosshog, May 13, 2009
Can some religious person tell me:
If this life is only an agonizing gauntlet that we all must run in order to receive our heavenly reward in the next life, why should we be so goddam relieved and grateful when a normally fatal illness or injury fails to send us on our way?
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The Poop (Pope) Speaks for God the Asshole
written by Human Person Jr, May 13, 2009
Of all Roman Catholic clergy, you could say the Pope is really the shit. Henceforth, I think we should call his majesty The Poop. Furthermore, since there are so few Poops, they should go on the endangered feces list.

Even though it's a big, hairy lie, Catholicism still has an advantage over the Protestant isms. The unfortunate Protestants just have to places you can wind up after you wind down. As we say in the southern US, thankyoujesus, all one word.
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Damn! Satan took over my fingers...
written by Human Person Jr, May 13, 2009
I meant to say, "...Protestants have just two places they can wind up after they wind down."

Another thing, Mr. Poop, God's voice on earth: Please stop calling her the Virgin Mary. If you do that, I'll stop calling her the Lying Slut Mary. Let's compromise, let's meet in the broad middle, howzabouddit, with something like maybe Extremely Tight Mary.

I know, I know, it's disrespectful. Looks as if Satan took over more of me than just my fingers...
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written by MadScientist, May 13, 2009
The question of miracles does bring up something interesting. Why are there not *more* claims of miracles? Many many more. Every year millions of catlicks get very sick or are badly injured; many die but some are lucky to survive really nasty injuries or diseases. Don't they pray to survive? If they do, who are they praying to and why don't we hear more about miracles attributed to any person in particular? Is the rate of reporting miracles due to X lower than the expected rate by chance?
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written by Mark P, May 13, 2009
Why would some Catholics "be embarrassed" by it?

and
"Many Catholics are profoundly embarrassed by this sort of thing -- rightly recognising it as medieval."
So why don't they recognize their entire belief system as medieval?


I'm not religious at all, but there is a difference between religious and magical thinking IMO.

Religious people accept some things based largely on faith. But most prefer their God to be logical and consistent within that set of beliefs. They also believe, but doubt. (There's a LOT about doubt in Christian teaching.) The capriciousness of saints and miracles as pointed out by Brandon makes a mockery of all sense and so embarrasses them. That's why virtually all churches have moved away from that -- as the Catholics did for a while.

Magical reasoners are different. They don't care about anything making much sense in the real world. They believe totally contradictory material and don't ever (truly) doubt. Some of them are religious, but some are atheist woo-nutters too.

You'll note that the world's great religions do actually spend a great deal of time discussing the apparent contradictions in their world. They actually care to try and make it work. The woo-meisters would never openly discuss their flaws that way.

Pointing the bone and laughing at the silly magical religious people is a poor strategy. Because they can play that game too -- the non-magical religious can find some stupid atheist who believes something truly idiotic and ascribe it to atheism.
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written by deavman, May 14, 2009
@Alan3354 & Alan335
So, even as a giant asshole,you do believe that god exists.Hummm.....
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Why Bother?
written by Jefoid, May 14, 2009
Why bother on this particular story? I see no sign that anyone was hurt by this "miracle". No one was denied medical care, nor given special treatment. There is a point to skepticism that should go beyond "we're right and your wrong, nya, nya." This story simply doesn't meet that criteria. When we waste our time on pointless sniping, we loose credibility when we bring up beliefs that do harm people. Save your ammo for when it matters people, this is just being mean with no potential benefit.
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Bothering
written by Lil Mattachino, May 14, 2009
Jefoid:

Your argument may be defensible, but it's worth noting your underlying assumption -- that "truth," as an ideal, is worth pursuing or acknowledging only when there are immediate and tangible benefits to be gained from doing so.

I disagree. The vain superstitions in the uppter echelons of the Catholic hierarchy -- and in the hierarchies of all major world religions -- shape our world in so many powerful ways that a comprehensive listing would be impossible. From your pious old neighbor (who's nice enough, but who bases her political, personal, and financial decisions on a warped and discredited worldview) to those Bishops who claim that condoms cause AIDS, the pious dramatically effect us all. Hopefully, by pointing out their leaders' silliness, we may lessen their influence. It's worked before. The 21st Century is so much pleasanter than the 16th, at least in part, because Enlightenment thinkers were willing to decry superstitions, many of which must have appeared harmless enough.

But I'm not convinced the story of Jory Aebly is harmless, even removed from any larger context. This is a human tragedy that the Catholic church has glommed onto for its own purposes. This behavior is repugnant on its face, and it's only because we're so used to sick episodes like this one that our instant reaction isn't disgust, but bemusement.

- lilmattachine
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"Research"
written by GusGus, May 14, 2009

This reminds me of the typical workplace situation where the boss asks an underling to do some research and write up the results. The first question the underling must ask (either explicitly or implicitly) is "What results do you want?"

The Roman Catholic church must verify "X" number of miracles in order to declare someone a saint. Obviously, from this discussion, they already know who is to be sainted, they just need the miracles to justify it!
.
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written by Mark P, May 14, 2009
I see no sign that anyone was hurt by this "miracle".


Perhaps not this one, directly. But when "miracles" are claimed at Lourdes, Fatima etc, then harm is done.

Some people go to those places and are distressed when they are not "cured". They blame themselves, as not believing with sufficient fervour.

If they understood that no-one is actually cured by miracles, they could get on with their lives better. Seeking proper treatment, or learning to live (or die) with what they have if no treatment exists.

The whole set-up -- saints, pilgrimages, miracles -- wastes enormous amounts of people's time and energy. And often doesn't even make them feel better.
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written by markbellis, May 14, 2009
Think it was Anatole France who recorded that when visiting Lourdes with a friend and looking at all the canes and braces that had been left behind by those who thought they were cured, one of them said "Wouldn't a wooden leg be more to the point?"
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written by bosshog, May 15, 2009
Jefoid:
" There is a point to skepticism that should go beyond "we're right and your wrong, nya, nya." This story simply doesn't meet that criteria. When we waste our time on pointless sniping, we loose credibility when we bring up beliefs that do harm people. Save your ammo for when it matters people, this is just being mean with no potential benefit. "

Well...
If we ARE right and they ARE wrong it's worthwhile to point that fact out, perhaps more worthwhile that anything else we can do. And I waste my time on pointless sniping because it is fun and after all I have to waste my time on something. As far as credibility goes, skeptics have none with the religious. And I'm not trying to defeat my enemies, just say mean things about them. The vindictive pleasure brings a great benefit to me because it relieves me of the stress that comes from living in a world that is of them, by them and for them.
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That is...
written by bosshog, May 15, 2009
"Of a piece with the absurd pedagogical demand for so-called constructive criticism is the doctrine that an iconoclast is a hollow and evil fellow unless he can prove his case. Why, indeed, should he prove it? Is he judge, jury, prosecuting officer, hangman? He proves enough, indeed, when he proves by his blasphemy that this or that idol is defectively convincing—that at least one visitor to the shrine is left full of doubts. The fact is enormously significant; it indicates that instinct has somehow risen superior to the shallowness of logic, the refuge of fools. The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians—and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse. The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by such learned dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe—that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power, and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent." -H.L. Mencken
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written by Trez, May 15, 2009
Not just the Catholics.

I was looking into the whole Lakeland Revival / Todd Bentley movement (who incidentally has now left the ministry after being found to be an adulterer). I was particularly interested in the claims that not only had Mr Bentley healed people, but that his intercession had "brought people back from the dead".

Turns out that the people he'd raised to life were actually in hospital receiving treatment and that at some point had no heartbeat.

One case was actually being ressucitated at the time that he was being prayed for. And lo' and behold, he survived
Course Todd Bentley and God took the credit for it with no mention at all to the team of skilled doctors and nurses who were working their damndest to save this guys life.
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Actions not Thoughts.
written by Jefoid, May 15, 2009
Bosshog: Your basic defense is that you receive vindictive pleasure from hurting people? OK. Well, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you on that.

lilmattachine: I understand your point, but I will continue to hold people accountable for their bad actions, and not attempt to address their what is in their minds. If a person give money to a charity, which then spends 100% of that money for a good cause, why would I care whether that original gift was inspired by a false religious belief? If a person cheats money from another, that is a act to be condemned whether it is done by a "psychic" or a more tradition con man.

There is plenty of work for skeptics to do in fighting bad acts, one need not venture in to mind reading to do it.

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written by Lil Mattachino, May 15, 2009
Jefoid:

I agree with what you're saying to a point -- certainly, it's far easier to assign a moral value to an action than to a thought -- but I don't think you're addressing my particular beef.

You say: judge actions, not thoughts. I say: a lie is an action, and the Catholic church, like all religious bodies, tells too many of them. Some are superficially harmless (the Pope healed you!). Some are terrible (condoms give you AIDS!). The only reason ANY of them have traction, however, is that people are kept credible by the constant stream of bullshit gushing from the mouths of the world's pedagogues. In other words, one lie leads to another, and the casual public acceptance of one lie makes the next one easier. The objective media has reported on JPII's latest "miracles" as though they may actually be such. Somebody's got to call "foul." Why not here?

- lilmattachine
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Reuse the Rosary
written by gretemike, May 15, 2009
Only one blessed rosary available? No problem! It doesn't appear that Mr. Pechanec needs it anymore. Just take it back and recycle it. In fact, since it has such miraculous powers, NOT doing so would seem to me to be a sin . . .

Unless of course the whole thing is just a load of you-know-what.
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@ jefoid
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
I will continue to hold people accountable for their bad actions, and not attempt to address their what is in their minds.
Like there is no connection between the two.
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written by iiwo, May 15, 2009
If God is really dependent on a rosary to heal someone...?

I can imagine victim 1: "Dude, you said your prayer, pass it over!"

Victim 2: "Here, hold here...oh shoot, you just died"

God: "Sucks to be that guy!"

Umm...? At the least, that view of a petty sort of God must be addressed, even if faith itself is not done away with.
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written by Stanfr, May 16, 2009
I think worse than the attributing the miraculous revovery of Aebly to the prayers of his family, is the insinuation in this article that it was "a drug deal gone awry". The only source of that speculation is a supporter of one of the suspects, claiming the men were buying marijuana from the suspects. Even if true (and every other source says they were purely the victims of a robbery) I think out of respect for the victims that line should have been left out of this article, implies a degree of blame on the victims that does not in the least bit belong.
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written by Steel Rat, May 16, 2009
Why are there not *more* claims of miracles?


There are, constantly. Haven't you ever watched the news?
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written by Steel Rat, May 16, 2009
we loose credibility


Well, we've been trying to loose credibility on people for some time, but there's too much credulity to let the credibility through.

What?

Oh, you mean "lose"

Never mind.
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written by Steel Rat, May 16, 2009
Your basic defense is that you receive vindictive pleasure from hurting people? OK. Well, I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you on that.


Umm, unless you know what's in his mind, how can you disagree with that?
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