Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Holy sainted arm, Batman

Apparently the arm of Saint Francis Xavier is touring near me soon.  His lower right arm, to be precise.  I thought the Stones were the most ancient relics to undertake world tours, but they are mere chicks compared to this body part.

Apparently, and I mean apparently, the roaming Jesuit was buried on a beach on an island off China in 1552, then dug up and moved to Malaysia in 1553.  He was dug up a second time in 1553 and taken to Goa.  Most of him is apparently still in Goa, except his wandering arm which was detached in 1614 and taken to Rome, its primary place of residence.  I think I now know where Alfred Hitchcock got the plot for The Trouble with Harry.

Now the man himself had an interesting life roaming around Asia, mostly, drumming up converts - kind of like the Mormons but bogglingly more successful on a conversion per person ratio.  He was a busy buzzy with India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and lastly, and largely unsuccessfully, China on his tour itinerary.

Even if it was actually the arm of this super-converter (and after all those moves and all this time, who knows whose it is)  I am not sure if lining up to pray to the arm is something I would encourage if I was the Catholic Church*.  I mean, really, it is someone’s arm.  It is right up there with the Shroud of Turin in terms of its relevance to current Christianity.  I realise this may come as a shock to some but the middle ages actually ended (though admittedly nobody seems to have told Congressman Akin).

Mind you, should I take up Christianity, I probably prefer a middle-ages version.  Everyone feel free to pop over, rip your clothes off and paint yourselves with chocolate.  I plan to specialise in lust and gluttony, followed closely by long bouts of sloth.  Then, just before I die I am going to buy a stack of indulgences and Bob's your Aunty Jean.

* But of course I am not, because the CC is not a person, and if it was, I don't have the penis for the job.

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