Monday, February 11, 2013

Lightning strikes St Peter's in Rome

Just hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to abdicate the Throne of St Peter, lightning struck the dome of the basilica.

Some are taking this as a sign of God's displeasure. After all, this whole 'physical inadequacy' excuse was tried by Moses a few millennia ago,  and the Lord wasn't overly pleased then, either. 

His Grace is loath to disappoint, but lightning is produced quite naturally in thunderstorms when liquid and ice particles collide, causing a build-up of electrical fields within the clouds. Once these fields reach a critical level, a giant 'spark' occurs between them (or between them and the ground) rather like static electricity, reducing the charge separation. The lightning spark can occur between clouds, between the cloud and air, between the cloud and ground, or between the cloud and the dome of St Peter's.

And if God were going to make a point, He probably wouldn't aim for the lightning conductor.


Blogger Chris Rogers said...

O ye of little superstition.

11 February 2013 at 22:44  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

The "end times" are upon us!

11 February 2013 at 22:49  
Blogger Andrei said...

Is the photo even real, or an opportunistic photoshop?

11 February 2013 at 23:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

It's not the first lightening bolt in recent times. A lightning bolt, accompanied by a violent rain occurred on June 29th, 1995. Like today's, it struck St. Peter's Basilica, the very headquarters of world-wide Roman Catholicism.

Here's how one well known *prophet*, Texe Marrs, interpreted it:

"Was it a sign sent by an angry God? Was it the work of the Devil? Or, was the lightning strike simply a coincidental natural phenomenon?

Frankly, I do not know the answer. But I do remember Jesus' breath taking description in the gospel of Luke of Satan being cast down: "I beheld Lucifer like the lightning from heaven."

"Could it be that on June 29, 1995, the Catholic Pope and the Orthodox Patriarch, together representing false Christendom, along with their devoted audience, were on hand at the Vatican, witnesses to that amazing moment when Satan was cast down to earth like lightning from heaven? Did Satan, in the form of a fiery bolt of lightning, come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men?

"Could it also be that at that exact moment, on that same fateful day, June 29, countless devils, locked up for millennia in the abyss, were released, coming forth with fury, prepared for the coming great and final conflict?"

Well, its one way of looking at it I suppose.

Any thoughts len?

11 February 2013 at 23:16  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

I really don't understand these 'end times', despite a lot of people posting on my blog about them. Is that like the end of the world stuff?

11 February 2013 at 23:58  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


I wouldn't bother with it all, frankly. And the people on your blog referring to these "end times" are probably the loons from this blog in disguise.

Some read the bible as predicting various signs of a final confrontation between good and evil taking place in Israel before, during or after the return of Christ.

That time will eventually end, we know from scripture. And Jesus will return too, one day. Just when, how, and under what circumstances is, in my opinion, mere speculation and to be avoided.

Wait for it ....

12 February 2013 at 00:36  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

I guess that you are right, but it is just that some conspiracy theories like to link the Vatican and Judaism together and say that the Vatican controls the world and the Vatican is controlled by us Jews. Complete crap of course ,but who can put a good conspiracy theory to rest?

12 February 2013 at 01:07  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Good material for a novel, maybe, but not for serious discussion.

12 February 2013 at 01:17  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

"good for a novel".

Yeah, but only if the heroin is an attractive brunette, like Audrey Tautou, the only reason why I watched the Da Vinci Code from beginning to end...

12 February 2013 at 01:21  
Blogger John M Ward said...

Actually, if this really did happen, it could be a non-destructive sign from God – a bit like 'firing across the bows'.

As for the End Times: in a sense, we are apparently now able to be so, owing to the fulfillment of the seven prophecies that were pre-conditions.

For example, world-wide communications, and there were others.

Ezekiel 38-39 and Psalm 83 relate to what is happening now in the Middle East. I could continue, but it is a bit off-topic for this specific post...

12 February 2013 at 01:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


You are so shallow! If a man said that he would be called a sexist!

Anyway, the heroine would have to be a lithe, blonde, blue-eyed gal, just like Uma T.

12 February 2013 at 01:56  
Blogger non mouse said...

Ah well, Your Grace. The phenomena may be natural, all the way to their interaction with the well-placed lightning conductor. It's the timing that can manifest God's miracle!**

Nobody outside the Vatican seems to know why it should, though. Maybe no one inside does either?

[That's what someone once told me about the Parting of the Red Sea].

12 February 2013 at 04:44  
Blogger Manfarang said...

If the lightning had struck Benedict then maybe it could have been the wrath of God.
It reminds me of a joke someone heard at a Baptist meeting long ago.
Two men are playing golf. One misses his putt and shouts out,"Oh damn and blast." The other tells him not to use such language otherwise he will encounter the wrath of God.
Later the man misses another putt and shouts out again,"Oh damn and blast"
The sky opens up and a bolt of lightning hits the green but misses the man.
A loud voice from the sky shouts out,"Oh damn and blast".

12 February 2013 at 05:19  
Blogger Mike Stallard said...

It could come out as an act of approval from the Shekinah.......

12 February 2013 at 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

Psalms 77:18

12 February 2013 at 07:45  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Pathetic collection of ignorant, superstitious wankers, arn't you?
Cranmer, for once, has it correct.
It's a natural phnomenon.

12 February 2013 at 08:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psalms 135:7

He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.

12 February 2013 at 08:30  
Blogger Wamala Andrew said...

Seriously.... this should not confuse us. if this so happened at that place at a critical time let us take normal explanations.

12 February 2013 at 08:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And there were voices, and thunders,and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was
not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake,
and so great.

Revelation 16:18

12 February 2013 at 08:34  
Blogger Preacher said...

We would do well to remember the lightning strike that hit York Minster in 1984 after the induction of controversial Bishop David Jenkins in that building.
That one bolt came from a clear sky, missed the lightning conductors & did substantial damage to the building.
Perhaps it is a warning to the Church to wake up & our politicians not to meddle in His affairs.

Note to Cameron, Clegg & Milliband, how about a nice game of golf to celebrate your joint victory in the SSM bill?.

12 February 2013 at 09:51  
Blogger John Henson said...

If you're looking for some nice apocalyptic readings to brighten your day I suggest Daniel 9 verses 20 - 27 (preferably King James' translation) together with Sir Robert Anderson's interpretation of it, "The Coming Prince". This was written at the turn of the 19th Century but I think it's still in print.

12 February 2013 at 09:51  
Blogger Nicodemus said...

This blog is clearly designed to provoke!

For my part, (I have a scientific and theological background,) it seems the prophets of the OT and Jesus believed God used natural phenomena (which we can now explain with scientific explanations)as a way of speaking to the people. I don't think this should amaze us since there is more to life than the scientific explanation.

So it's not a question of either/or, but both/and - but, if this is the case, then what is God saying?

Perhaps we need a prophet to interpret the sign?

12 February 2013 at 10:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not.” Luke 3:15.

This is an interesting analysis on the last days by a computer scientist:

12 February 2013 at 10:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well, the truth of the matter is those two rascals, the Pope’s cats, were up on the roof giving the almighty the opportunity the chance of a couple of head shots.
They are still up there, smouldering away. Serves the blighters right...

12 February 2013 at 10:37  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Singh, prior to reading the report behind the link offered in your post @ 10.09, this communicant had always thought you exceptionally intelligent.

12 February 2013 at 10:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bluedog

Are your objections basecd on Ussher's calculations?

12 February 2013 at 10:43  
Blogger bluedog said...

No, The Mayan calendar.

Seriously, this kind of mechanistic approach never works in anything.

Life is a random walk.

12 February 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger MFH said...

I thought that God had given up on this apostate church.

In mercy and in Judgement maybe.
Turn again unto me.. and be saved

12 February 2013 at 11:02  
Blogger John Henson said...


St. Augustine said that miracles were events that seemed to be contrary to nature.

I too do not believe in supernatural interventions but I do believe in miracles.

12 February 2013 at 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bluedog

Are you sure it’s all random? You must know about the figure ‘666’ in popular culture? The last pope who resigned was 600 years ago; the lightning struck 6 hours after the pope declared his resignation. Is the last ‘6’ yet to appear?


12 February 2013 at 11:40  
Blogger John Chater said...

Hannah (01:21) – likewise. It almost made up for McKellen's throaty 'gay avenger' routine.

G. Tingey (08:13) – didn't know anyone was skyping, you naughty boy.

12 February 2013 at 11:48  
Blogger Nicodemus said...

@ John Henson

If God is God He can do all things, including those things which seem to us to be against to nature, such as missing the lightning conductor to make a point!

But I think this is contrary to God's usual acts, which are rather mediated through His creation (in accordance with processes we understand.)

There is here,lurking beneath the surface, a theology (or competing theologies) of the way in which God relates to His creation (which I would be most appreciative if His Grace could further comment on sometime.)

12 February 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Nick said...

G. Tingey

"Cranmer, for once, has it correct.
It's a natural phnomenon."

Sure it's natural, but do you think God doesn't understand how nature works? After all, He created nature. My view is that everything in nature ultimately happens because of Him. Just because we have a scientific explanation for something does not rule out ultimate divine control of that event.

As to whether it's a sign, that's a matter for the Pope to decide.

12 February 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

There's always the asteroid this Friday. If that were to land on the Vatican ...

12 February 2013 at 18:00  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

Me a sexist ? Never! Anyway, isn't this the kind of banter that Mr Inspector engages in, when he's at the Mouse and Wheel in Gloucestershire?

12 February 2013 at 19:26  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 February 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi John Carter,

So do all Catholic men sport 'tashes like you and Inspector?

Well I never quite got the plot of the da vinci code. Besides which it doesn't take into account that the old churches are Anglican, rather than Catholic, so seems a bit odd really.

Besides which, I am sure that the Da Vinci Code and the conspiracy theory based upon Mary having other children than Jesus isn't really one at all- I am sure the glances at the New Testament refer to Jesus having siblings? I think, wasn't James his bro or something? Well I don't know, but I am sure that's what I read.

12 February 2013 at 19:28  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr DanJO says, 'There's always the asteroid this Friday. If that were to land on the Vatican ...

Yep, it's weight is calculated at 666 kg.


12 February 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Danjo/Blue Dog

The closest that asteroid 2012 DA14 will get to earth is 28,000 km above Indonesia, but whist this is incredibly close, it has no mathematical chance of striking the earth (but in 2109 there is a 1 in 294,000 chance of it doing so).

However if the asteroid were to hypothetically strike the Vatican, depending on the angel of descent and the velocity as it strikes the earth, it could well destroy the city and the city of Rome, similar to the energy blast that was released in Tunguska in 1908.

12 February 2013 at 21:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hannah.Besides which it doesn't take into account that the old churches are Anglican,

Sweet thing, the old churches are actually Roman Catholic but under what we now know is temporary CoE stewardship. When that sect unravels, we will have them back...

12 February 2013 at 21:28  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

As usual you take my post the wrong way.

The issue of whose church buildings they are or not, is not the point, given that we were discussing the Da Vinci Code film, which I think is labelled as anti catholic. I was actually trying to defend your faith against that film, by pointing out an obvious flaw of historical continuity...

12 February 2013 at 21:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "as it strikes the earth, it could well destroy the city and the city of Rome"

Shall I get some paper so we can do a costs/benefits analysis. :)

12 February 2013 at 22:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

OIG @ 21.28 says, 'When that sect unravels, we will have them back...'

Dear old thing, Dave will give them to the ever growing Muzzie population in order to curry favour.

12 February 2013 at 23:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Rosslyn Chapel, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church in the mid-15th century.

I've been several times and its a truly weird place.

12 February 2013 at 23:32  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo

That is irrelevant to the context of the discussion- the Da Vinci Code film mentions England, not Scotland. But anyway, this is the last time I will look with any sympathy towards your faith. I tried to defend it (as spelled out above), but all you are able to do is go on the attack. People here say us Jews have a chip on the shoulder. I think a few Catholics here have 2 chips on each shoulder.

12 February 2013 at 23:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


For goodness sake, who's attacking you?!

I merely commented that Rosslyn Chapel, which featured prominently in the Dan Brown film, is located in Scotland, is an old Catholic Chapel and is weird.

By the way, if we do have two chips on each shoulder then at least we are well balanced.

12 February 2013 at 23:56  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Dodo,

Well perhaps I misunderstood your post.

But not Corrigan's above.


13 February 2013 at 00:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


But I said nothing of the sort and thought we were discussing the Da Vinci Code.

I think Corrigan is pointing out that the majority of abuse was perpetrated on teenage boys by homosexual clergy. This appears to be a factual statement. It does not mean that being gay means you are a paedophile.

There may well be an inclination towards younger men within the male homosexual community. The same may well apply to heterosexual men. And yet it is young men who were abused by Priests.

The issue is really about putting men with such proclivities in situations of power where they may not be able to control their drives and their victims will be silenced by their status. The potential exists in all organisations.

This is why the Pope has effectively closed the Priesthood to those with a deep rooted homosexual inclination.

13 February 2013 at 00:39  
Blogger Jan van Riebeeck said...

Your grace,

You have merely defined the difference between signs and wonders.

Not ruled out divine involvement in this sign.

13 February 2013 at 06:44  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Dodo @ 00.39 said, 'This is why the Pope has effectively closed the Priesthood to those with a deep rooted homosexual inclination.'

Now this communicant recalls that Old Jim's posts around this subject emphasised the importance of celibacy. Thus if a priest was homosexual but remained celibate there could be no objection to his continuing in the priesthood. Perhaps the relevant distinction therefore becomes the difference between 'deep-rooted' and shallow rooted.

All yours!

13 February 2013 at 09:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


The teaching of the Church is that homosexual persons, including priests, "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity", and that "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided". Regarding homosexual sexual activity, however, the Catechism states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered", and that "under no circumstances can they be approved".

These prohibitions apply to priests, as the canon law of the Catholic Church requires that clerics "observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven".

For this reason, priests make vows of celibacy, agreeing to remain unmarried and abstinent throughout their lives.

Here's the 2005 directive concerning homosexuality and the priesthood:

"The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies. Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved.....In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called "gay culture".

The Vatican followed this up in 2008 with a directive to implement psychological screening for candidates for the priesthood. Conditions listed for exclusion from the priesthood include "uncertain sexual identity" and "deep-seated homosexual tendencies".

Pope Benedict XVI in his book "Light of the World" states that homosexuality and the priesthood are incompatible:

"The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being. The selection of candidates to the priesthood must therefore be very careful. The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality.

Some in the Church argue this is unjust discrimination and a homosexual who is "closeted" and celibate for a 3 year period should not be barred from the priesthood. Others argue the Church should encourage homosexual priests to "come out" to break the myth they are all child sexual abusers.

13 February 2013 at 10:00  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

" .... the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being"

Notice too the argument against women priests and bishops.

13 February 2013 at 10:02  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Mr Dodo, for your comprehensive reply.

The point about 'paternity' is well made indeed, and could be usefully emulated by a certain other denomination - Good morning, Brother Ivo!

'Pope Benedict XVI in his book "Light of the World" states that homosexuality and the priesthood are incompatible: '

No wonder the vocations are in total collapse. Wasn't the priesthood always a useful refuge for the gay sons of Catholic families? Hence, one suspects, Old Jim's quiet but determined defence of celibate homosexual priests. The RCC faces a very considerable problem if its priesthood in first-world countries develops a third world identity, as is increasingly the case. The priesthood and congregation will inevitably become detached as a consequence of very different life experiences. A detached congregation is likely to lapse.

Just as the Anglican church worries about the progression of priestesses to bishopettes, the third-world priesthood of the RCC will within a very short time suddenly dominate the bishops conferences of first-world countries. Will these bishops understand the countries to which they have been appointed?

No wonder Benedict tried to hijack the CofE, he could forsee the looming crisis.

13 February 2013 at 10:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


We have to trust in the Providence of God. Who can see the future?

I've never heard that one about Catholic families and homosexuals before.

In my opinion, priests from third world countries have a greater insight and understanding into our secular and hedonistic cultures than many 'home grown' priests. They also speak with greater clarity and passion too.

Homosexual men may or may not be excluded from the priesthood as the private views of Benedict in his book carry no special authority. What is important is that any applicant is honest, frank, self aware and capable of overcoming all sexual desire, deviant or otherwise.

13 February 2013 at 11:21  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

Probably right, after all if he shots - he scores.

16 February 2013 at 14:12  
Blogger Mike0403 said...

I had supported Benedict's decision to quit, seems someone else disagrees. Okay, got the message, stop supporting the Bishop of Rome!

17 February 2013 at 14:00  

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