Catholic Church | News | Photography | Pope Benedict

Flaming Pope Photo Seen as Blessing from Beyond the Grave


An image captured in a bonfire in Poland has the Catholic world transfixed. Many believe it's Pope John Paul II offering a blessing from beyond the grave.

Pope_2The Telegraph reports: "Dressed in robes, slightly hunched and his right hand raised in blessing, the image appeared during a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the pontiff's death. The photograph has since been shown repeatedly on Italian television, and a religious website displaying the image crashed as thousands logged on to see it for themselves. The bonfire was lit during a service on April 2, at Beskid Zywiecki - near the Holy Father's birthplace in Wadowice, southern Poland."

Said the photographer: "It was only afterwards when I got home and looked at the pictures that I realised I had something. I showed them to my brother and sister and they, like me, were convinced the flames had formed the image of Pope John Paul II. There is a tongue of flame to one side which resembles his right arm raised as if giving a blessing. I was so happy with the picture that I showed it to our local bishop who said that Pope John Paul had made many pilgrimages during his life and he was still making them in death."

Of course, (and I'm sure I'll be flamed for this, so to speak) what nobody's really discussing is why the Pope chose the hellfires of Satan as his medium.

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  1. Well, it was the participants that chose to use fire. However, this could be Photoshop'ed a bit to make it more valuable as a picture. Overall, though, it's a good example of the varying ways people can be wrong, from way-wrong as in this case, to almost right but not quite, largely as a result of wanting a particular outcome to be true even when it is not. Even as we type they are doing yet another inquest in the death of Princess Diana because Fayed wants to believe in a vast conspiracy to have her and Dodi killed--despite the clear problems of making such a theory work with the available evidence.

    Posted by: anon ( | Oct 16, 2007 9:28:14 AM

  2. Bonfires, grilled cheese sandwiches, stains on concrete walls, mildew stains in shower stalls...... is there nothing that doesn't attract gullible people into seeing something that isn't there?

    Who wants to bet that Photoshop had a hand in creating this "image" of the late pope?

    Posted by: Jonathon | Oct 16, 2007 9:30:54 AM

  3. I will never cease to be amazed at the capacity for idiocy among the conservative religious faithful.

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 16, 2007 9:41:38 AM

  4. Superstitious people who see spirits of the dead in fire. How are they different from ancient pagans?

    Posted by: sam | Oct 16, 2007 9:44:57 AM

  5. LOL

    I recomend watching The ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILIDELPHIA episode titled "The gang exploits a miracle"


    Mary appears as a water stain on the wall from the pipes from the toilets in the bathroom.


    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Oct 16, 2007 9:47:10 AM

  6. The Catholic Church is loaded with flaming queens.

    Posted by: homer | Oct 16, 2007 9:49:10 AM

  7. And here I thought he was hailing a cab or running to pick up his purse (note small ring of fire in front of him) he had dropped. We all need something to believe in.

    Posted by: noteasilyoffened | Oct 16, 2007 9:53:40 AM

  8. I once saw Delta Burke in a banana nut pancake at a waffle house in Babcock, Georgia. It was an experience of pure transcendence.

    Posted by: Joe | Oct 16, 2007 10:16:09 AM

  9. I could go on and on about how pathetic humans can be when they want to believe something so badly, but I'll just stick to hoping yet again that, one day, people will just open their eyes and not allow themselves to be fooled by outdated beliefs such as this.

    Posted by: Shabaka | Oct 16, 2007 10:17:32 AM

  10. "I once saw Delta Burke in a banana nut pancake at a waffle house in Babcock, Georgia. It was an experience of pure transcendence."

    LOL... I just spat coffee all over my computer screen.

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 16, 2007 10:21:34 AM

  11. I don't believe it is PJPII waving from beyond, but I do think it is a remarkable resemblance.

    Posted by: Dan B | Oct 16, 2007 10:21:37 AM

  12. Om, My god. It looks like this fire was built on Endor and "La Papa" is waiting for Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Yoda to come join him in celebrating the defeat of the Empire.

    But that wouldn't make sense. I always envisioned Pope-a John to be more of a Palpatine sort.

    Posted by: Rey | Oct 16, 2007 10:22:29 AM

  13. Oscar Wilde wisely said, “Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable”.

    That is so true.

    The same people who readily believe that Jesus/Mary/the Pope appear in fires, potato chips, Bank windows, grilled cheese sandwiches and driveway oil stains can't believe scientifically proven facts.

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 16, 2007 10:31:08 AM

  14. JOE, that is the BEST and FUNNIEST comment I have seen on any blog this year!

    I too had to clean up the keyboard after shooting hot coffee through my nose!


    I think that one deserves a T-shirt!

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 16, 2007 10:36:25 AM

  15. Gives "Burning Man" a (whole)y new meaning.

    Posted by: noteasilyoffended | Oct 16, 2007 10:36:50 AM

  16. This is stretching, even for the religious... let me know when we can actually see a face or something.

    Posted by: Wes | Oct 16, 2007 10:50:42 AM

  17. Of course I don't think this is a sign from JP, but people will always see what they want to see. I can recall plenty of times where supposedly rational homos have obsessed over a fold of clothing or a shadow in a photograph, thinking that someone was putting his bits on public display.

    Posted by: Scott | Oct 16, 2007 10:50:58 AM

  18. I know I'm going to get in trouble for this one, but I have to play devil's advocate of a sort.

    When it comes to wanting to believe this so badly gay men are not immune. How many people have we said 'oh, he's definitely gay but he won't come out of the closet' solely in the basis that we want him to be?

    We're all the same on some level, guys.

    P.S. Joe's comment definitely needs to go in the comment hall of fame!

    Posted by: MT | Oct 16, 2007 10:55:19 AM

  19. Yeah MT, the chances that a person claiming to be straight (R. Hudson, G. Michael, Liberace, and the vast majority of all of us at one point in our lives) might actually be gay and closeted are almost exactly the same as a dead Pope making an appearance to give a blessing in a (likely photoshopped) picture of a bonfire.

    One is like 0% and the other is like...oh, maybe they aren't similar at all.

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 16, 2007 11:08:05 AM

  20. All I'm saying, Zeke, is wishing won't make the pope come out of a bonfire and it won't turn Jake G into a homo.

    Posted by: MT | Oct 16, 2007 11:16:12 AM

  21. ROFLMAO @ Joe, gooood one dude :O)

    Posted by: DaK | Oct 16, 2007 11:20:35 AM

  22. Looks like the head of Tom the cat from Tom and Jerry to me.

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Oct 16, 2007 11:28:43 AM

  23. Looks like the head of Tom the cat from Tom and Jerry to me.

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Oct 16, 2007 11:28:50 AM

  24. I see Audrey Hepburn.

    Posted by: kitchenbeard | Oct 16, 2007 12:06:03 PM

  25. MT, I have no opinion whatsoever on Jake's sexual orientation and couldn't care less if he's straight, gay, bi, trans or a combination of any of the two but, at the same time, I see no reason to believe that he is any less likely to be a closeted gay person as any of the closeted actors who came before. I can't imagine why anyone else should either.

    I see nothing strange about looking at this picture and thinking that it looks like the picture of the Pope, just like one sees clouds that look like animals. What I do find strange is people acting as if this is really a manifestation of the Pope sending a message to the masses. I would be equally concerned with the mental stability of a person who actually thought that animal shaped clouds were real animals traveling across the sky delivering a message from PETA.

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 16, 2007 12:19:58 PM

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