In a rather un-Godly call for vengeance, the Franciscan priests at the church in Florence are praying that a dose of “the runs” will convince the unidentified pilferer of the error of his ways.
“We pray that the Good Lord will visit a strong bout of the trots on this thief and that this will help to convince him not to commit any more thefts,” reads a sign put up by clergy at the Basilica of San Salvatore al Monte, a hilltop church which commands views of the Renaissance city.
The notice said that in addition to praying for a sudden loosening of the bowels, the priests were also hoping that the thief will repent of his crime and return the stolen holy books.
Well this is not without Biblical precedence:
When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they carried it from Ebene’zer to Ashdod; then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. The hand of the LORD was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy upon us and upon Dagon our god.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” So they brought the ark of the God of Israel there. But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out upon them. — Samuel 1 5:1-7:2
The word tumor is what the RSV translates the Hebrew word טחוריםd (tĕchor). The KJV translates it as “emerods” which means hemorrhoids which seems to be the more precise meaning. Now there is also a question of relative punishment. Hemorrhoids for offenses against the Ark of the Covenant is the Biblical example. So is diarrhea for stealing a Bible appropriate?
Personally I think asking for St. Dismas intercession to be more appropriate.
[Via Acts of the Apostasy]