Sunday, August 24, 2008

From Our Northern Neighbors

According to the Toronto Sun, “An uncanny likeness of the Virgin Mary formed into the bark of a Scarborough tree has left dumbfounded residents wondering if their neighbourhood has been divinely blessed.” Neighbor Christopher Moreau, a condo superintendent who had just cracked an after-work beer in his yard, was the first to spot the “uncanny likeness.” He assured the reporter that he is “not a wacko” and was indeed “stone-cold sober.”

The image has inspired people to cry and shake, though the owners of the property where the tree stands have refused to be identified or make a statement. While they may not be thrilled about the manifestation and the potential hordes of the faithful queuing to look and pray, Moreau’s mother-in-law just received news “that her lymph node cancer appears to have been cleared.”

Miraculous as that sounds, Neil McCarthy, a representative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, towed the church’s standard line about such occurrences: applauding any event that causes people to consider their faith, but refusing to “authenticate” it.

Probably no surprise to Moreau, who was raised Catholic but is not particularly devout because he “disagrees with the Catholic church's emphasis on collecting money from churchgoers – and [questions] why the Vatican is so rich when poverty is rampant.”

Good question. But, Moreau has an even better one: "Why do I need to go to church? . . . I feel that God has come to me."

That seems to be the sentiment in the just released film Henry Poole Is Here, which I'm aiming to see this week, even though it has been panned by just about everyone. No matter, I'm sure my Madonna of the Toast perspective will give me something to say about it different from the views of traditional film critics.

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