17 July 2009

Reach for the sky!

Back in February of 2008 I wrote an item in this blog called "The Making of a Saint" about a legendary figure named Jesús Malverde who is becoming quite popular among drug traffickers and has been adopted by them as their patron saint. Today I was reading a blog written by Greg Kandra called "The Deacon's Bench" which is more or less and insider's view of the Catholic Church since Greg is a Deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. He wrote about a society called the "St. Gabriel Possenti Society" that promotes the public recognition of St. Gabriel Possenti as the Patron Saint of Handgunners including a petition for formal Vatican approval. That's just what we need right now... something to justify violence. It must be very difficult to be a radically conservative Catholic card carrying member of the NRA and balance that against Our Lord's admonition to turn the other cheek and forgive those who trespass against us at least seventy times seven and also His reminder that the Meek shall inherit the Earth. To their way of thinking it would be a heck of a lot easier if the Pope would just see things their way and utter a papal decree making it theologically legitimate, acceptable, and even advisable for them to carry a firearm. Hey, after all, if you have a saint then you can have a saint's day (February 27th) and statues and processions and so on and so forth. What fun, eh? Maybe we could even bring back the Inquisition and ask Dick Cheney to lead it.

So who was this Gabriel Possenti anyway? His given name was Francesco Possenti and he was born on March 1, 1838, the eleventh of thirteen children. At the time, his family resided in the town of Assisi where Francesco Possenti was baptized on the day of his birth in the same font in which Saint Francis of Assisi had been baptized. For quite a few years afterward that was about as close as he got to saintliness. Francesco Possenti had been the fanciest dresser in town as well as the best dancer. He was a superb horseman and an excellent marksman. He was even engaged to two girls at the same time and he was well known as a great party goer. No doubt because of his extra curricular activities he had become very sick during his school years and had promised that if he got better, he would dedicate his life to God. He got got better and like many people are wont to do he forgot about the promise. He got sick again and made the same promise, but again he got well and forgot his promise. Once, during a church procession in which a great banner of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was being carried, the eyes of Our Lady looked straight at him and he heard the words: "Keep your promise." This really shook him up. He suddenly remembered his promise, changed his life completely, entered the Passionist Order in 1856, and was given the name "Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows". He died at Gran Sasso, in the Kingdom of Italy on February 27, 1862 at the age of 24 from tuberculosis. He was beatified by Pope Pius X on May 31st, 1908 and canonized a saint by Pope Benedict XV on May 13th 1920. Note that our present Pope Benedict the XVI is the next "Benedict" in succession. Is this an omen?

Okay, so now I already hear you saying, "Yeah but what the heck does that have to do with "packing a rod", or "packing heat" as they say in the trade?". Well there is an unsubstantiated legend in Italy that one day some rowdies who were mercenaries in Giuseppe Garibaldi's army came to town and were roughing up the home folks. Francesco Possenti (a.k.a. Gabriel) intervened and wrestled a pistol away from one of the evil doers. Another bad guy confronted him and Possenti noticed a lizard scurrying in between them and shot the lizard in the head with one quick shot. This gave his opponent pause and he subsequently surrendered his pistol also and the gang bangers decided to leave town. If you look at the present logo of the St. Gabriel Possenti Society below you will notice the figure of Francesco Possenti flanked by a lizard and a pistol. For a split second when I saw this I thought perhaps that fortune had smiled upon me and that I might ride out my golden years on a pile of gold that I would make selling St. Gabriel Possenti statues in Mexico. Imagine that, a saint who carries a "pistola". Wouldn't that make a nice companion for "Saint" Jesús Malverde and come to think of it, Santa Muerte" as well. Alas, I couldn't do it. As in "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Nikos Kazantzakis I felt the Holy Spirit sinking His talons into my cranium with a message that I should forget about it. Oh well, too bad. I think the story of Saint Gabriel Possenti would make a great Italian Spaghetti Western in the manner of the Clint Eastwood movies but I better just leave that one alone. Besides, I don't want to fan the flames and move the radical conservatives any further to the right.


1st Mate said...

Did you notice on the Posseti Society's web page the line: "Last month's historic Supreme Court gun rights decision is a blockbuster development for the right of individual self-defense in religious as well as secular spheres of interest." Are religious wars on the streets next?

GlorV1 said...

I'm glad Spirulina is also working for you. Really? Yay for Spirulina
We're having Spirulina
It's a weeeena
It's a make me happy
I think I'll take a nappy

Enbrethiliel said...


Hi, Mexico Bob. I found your blog through Happy Catholic today. I've hesitated to leave a comment to this post because I might forget that I have and not come back to read your reply--and I'd rather not be one of those commenters.

I just wanted to say that I wouldn't mind St. Gabriel Ponsetti processions with firearms all over the place. The route on the day of the procession would probably be the safest place in the world to be! Nobody would dare attack a bunch of gun owners. =)

Bob Mrotek said...

Hi Enbrethiliel,

Thanks for your interest and your comment. Fortunately as far as I know no one where I live has ever been attacked during a procession so with all due respect to St. Gabriel Ponsetti I don't think we are quite ready yet for the guns and lizards thing :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.