Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Dragon's Mailbag



Mail that makes you ask, what the heck?

I recently got an e-mail message that I have been unable to decipher. I suspect it wasn't originally written in English, and I'm unsure of what it's trying to say. It contains a website address that appears not to be a real website. I reproduce the message here, complete with my MSTing, in brackets.

Pilgrimage to Assisi Info

Why a Pilgrimage … in Italy?

[Why indeed? I can't think of a single reason a Catholic would make a pilgrimage to Italy.]

Saint Francis and Saint Anthony, the Seraphic Founder and the Learned Apostle (meo episcopus) of the Franciscan Order, are two great "figures" [not real figures, mind you, but the fake kind that need to go in quotation marks] who have stirred the perpetual engine [the what?] of humble and simple spirituality, a perpetual source for all people who are suffering from an existential aridity.

[If that engine is perpetual, why didn't they just let it run by itself instead of tweaking it?]

Thanks to these suppositions [Supposition: noun, a guess or assumption. Are Sts. Francis and Anthony suppositions?], the wish to offer a Pilgrimage was born [by and from whom?] aimed at fulfilling the new spiritual requirement. [I was unaware that pilgrimage was a spiritual requirement.] Differently from the past, it is a research of "movement" [a what?] where the pilgrim wants to explore in primis original experiences just to open himself to the compassion of that Love "that moves the sun and the other stars".

[If anyone can interpret that last sentence, please do; "the compassion of that Love" is driving me bonkers. And let's see if we can tuck that period inside the quotation mark where it belongs.]

Apparently the purpose of the pilgrim is to walk to Assisi, but in reality "he advances towards himself" to join the Divine within. [Apparently, apparently no longer needs to be set off by a comma when it opens a sentence.] The Pilgrimage to Assisi is not a recognised pilgrimage as you might suppose, but it is the fusion of many other short traditional pilgrimages, that already existed in the local sphere (See: Assisi, La Verna, Casella, Cerbaiolo, Montecasale, Montepaolo). [Oh, the local sphere. Suddenly, everything is clear.] These ways are linked to peculiar devotions and, lived in this spiritual dimension again, will give a new surge to the interior research, renewing the essence of Francisco’s doctrine. So it should be, not only the stones to testify to the stranger His Teaching [the Teaching in this e-mail is not only stranger, but strangest], but also the renewal of the original Franciscan fraternity along the pilgrimage and in the community of Assisi itself.

The town of Assisi will be raised as a "Landmark of Universal Reference" for all men of goodwill [that's great, but can we call it something less lame than "Landmark of Universal Reference"?], overcoming in this way any distinction of Culture and Belief in syntony with the Fundamental Principles of every True Religion.

[NAME REMOVED] for the www.caamminodiassisi.it

[Since both St. Francis and St. Anthony are Catholic saints with distinctly Catholic teaching, I fail to see how they can help overcome any distinction of culture or belief (why are those capitalized?). I've got news for whoever wrote this: you don't overcome distinctions of culture and belief. They exist whether you like it or not because people have now, and always will have, multiple cultures and opinions. You can ignore differences of culture and belief, but that only makes you ignorant; it can never make you more spiritual or more enlightened. And as for syntony, what is a fifty-cent word like that doing in a message like this?]
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