Avenging elephants in India didn’t forget

The great pastor of Blackfen, His Hermeneuticalness, has an interesting post:

Last July, as you may remember, Christians in the Indian state of Orissa were subjected to severe persecution. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death, an orphanage in Khuntpali village was burnt down by a mob, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, and destroyed the houses of Christians. Fr Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral centre that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. All together, more than 500 Christians were murdered, and thousands of others were injured.

In an extraordinary development, a herd of elephants has travelled some 300Km to attack villages that were the worst persecutors of the Christians, leaving Christian homes untouched. See: Elephants attack in Orissa exactly one year after persecutions [From the website of the Archdiocese of Colombo, where Archbp. Ranjith is now.  Some great detail in that article.]


Elephants never forget.

I wonder if they are available for a gig at Capitol Hill….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Thomas S says:

    President Obama had better send the national guard to the Washington DC Zoo.

  2. Jordanes says:

    God says, “Vengeance is Mine — I will repay.” Leave it in His hands — He’ll always take care of it.

    It’s especially significant that it is elephants who are the instruments of God’s justice, since these pagans worship an elephant-headed idol. It’s just like the plagues in ancient Egypt, where God turns the Egyptians’ “gods” against them, … See Moreshowing His Lordship over all His creatures. These elephants know their Master and all singing His praises. “O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever” (Dan. 3:81).

  3. Theodorus says:

    Praise be to God!

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    According to the reports the younger elephents acted as a sort of ‘scouting party’, I will never have anything bad to say about elepehnts ever again.

  5. gambletrainman says:

    Even throughout the Persecutions of the early Church, there were instances of Christian victims being thrown to wild animals, only to have their feet licked, and otherwise unharmed. These wild animals know who their Master is.

  6. JonathanZ says:

    I read about the Elephant attack after reading on the Archdiocese of Colombo website about a mob of Buddhist extremists (!) attacking a Catholic church in Sri Lanka. Pictures and info about that attack at http://www.archdioceseofcolombo.com/news.php?id=847 and http://www.archdioceseofcolombo.com/CrooswattaChurch.php

  7. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Love the “Vengeance is Mine….” Makes one wonder about the record snowfalls in Denmark and Washington, D.C., doesn’t it? I’m just sayin’……

  8. LarryD says:

    Talk about Wild Kingdom! What would Marlin Perkins say?

    I’ve nicked this for my blog – what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing, Father!

  9. Zosimas says:

    Dies Irae , Dies Irae
    Solvet Saeclum in Favilla.

    They have offended God and they now receive their just punishment.

  10. tewter says:

    This will not be the first time God has used nature to punish evil. What will be more interesting will be if the Hindus involved convert to Christianity as a result of seeing the behavior of the elephants as an omen. Stranger things have happened. I’ve always loved elephants.

  11. Hidden One says:

    New favourite animal, hands down.


  12. Bruce says:

    “What would Marlin Perkins say?”

    That’s not how we staged it! Who’s controlling these elephants?

  13. An American Mother says:

    This is very interesting.

    The elephant is of course associated with Ganesh, a very popular Hindu god, who is especially beloved of merchants, writers and scholars (Rudyard Kipling thought of Ganesh as his patron or good luck token).

    One of his titles is “Remover of Obstacles”, but he also is said to place obstacles in the path of those who do harm and need to be stopped.

    1st Corinthians 9:20-22.

  14. Warren says:

    If God is for us, who can be against. (Romans 8:28-31). Of course, we had best be certain that we are faithful to Jesus. Note to CINOs – get your act together.

  15. Hmmm…what goes around comes around, no?
    We jokingly refer to the dogs here as “vocation sensers”…in other words, they can “sniff” out an authentic vocation from an inauthentic…who knows?
    And elephants being instruments of God’s punishment?
    No so far fetched, in my pea brained estimation.
    And yeah, they better watch out in D.C., especially with the most recent atrocities against human life in proposed legislation…squish, squish.

  16. Melody says:

    I find it very ironic given how sacred elephants are to the Hindus.

  17. LarryD says:

    Time for a new “Babar the Elephant” story to be written.

  18. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I love this extraordinary story. Elephants are awesome. At least THEY still listen to Divine Inspiration.

    Can we send them to the Holy Land too? The Crusades are long-overdue from listless and agnostic nations.

  19. Kimberly says:

    I needed to read this story – thank you Fr. Z.

  20. Father Steve says:

    I pray the voters don’t forget the politicians who gave us abortion on demand at the expense of each and every one of us. Fr. Barron has some good insights on the issue: http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2009/12/fr-barron-comments-on-abortion-and.html
    Let’s pray that God intervenes somehow to stop this “health care” bill from becoming law.

  21. dkluge says:

    To quote Bart Simpson, “Where’s my elephant?”

  22. lofstrr says:

    Elephant crusade?

  23. Harold says:

    Of course, we must pray for these villagers who are being assaulted by the elephants.

  24. irishgirl says:

    Hmmm-‘vengeance is Mine’ indeed!

    God is charge of His creation-not us.

    And I have also read accounts of the beasts in the arena being kind to the martyrs, by either lying at their feet or licking them.

    A beautiful story-thanks, Fr. Z! And to ‘His Hermeneuticalness’ for sending it!

  25. Prof. Basto says:

    Almighty and merciful God,

    You deigned to allow a horde of elephants to crush the villages in which pagans enemies of Your Holy Church inhabit, and in which persecutions took place against Your people, leaving untouched the homes of those who confess the true Christian Faith.

    As we give thanks for your infinite justice and for the miraculous deliverance of your faithful servants, we pray: in Your endless mercy, forgive us and all sinners, and especially spare the pagans that have been now castigated, so that they too, having witnessed Your might, may also become aware of your mercy. Lead them, eternal Father, to conversion, so that they too may acknowledge that Jesus Christ, your Son, is the Lord and Saviour of mankind.

    I ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

  26. lofstrr says:

    I find it very interesting that the locals are calling these Christian elephants. Think of what the elephant means to Hindus.

    The most widely worshiped Hindu god deity is Lord Ganesha: The Elephant God. He is one of five prime Hindu deities. Ganesh, as he is commonly called, is an elephant-headed god who has an extensive legend. He represents “perfect wisdom” and is highly loved and worshiped by his devotees. Ganesh is considered to be the “remover of obstacles” and a “bestower of prosperity (Gentz 382).” Ganesha is also called Ganapati. “Ga means ‘knowledge’, na means ‘salvation’, and pati ‘lord’ (Ganesha 1)”. Ganesha is also “the patron of literature–he combines the natures of the two most intelligent beings–man and the elephant (Alexander 77).”
    As a religious symbol in Asia, the elephant represents royalty, power, wisdom, fertility, longevity and more (Encyclopedia of Religion 82). Ancient belief systems of Asia tend to twist and bend upon one another within the many varieties of Hinduism and Buddhism. In both, man and the elephant make their first appearance in the cosmos together and in both elephants are associated with water and rainfall, the primordial givers of life to dust (Alexander 73). The main use of the elephant in eastern religious art is in the representation of Ganesha, the great Hindu God (Carrington 223). As a Hindu religious symbol, the elephant is highly favored.
    In modern day India, festivals honoring the elephant-god are celebrated yearly.
    As with most religious and cultural traditions, some myths, legends and tales are more popular than others. For the Hindu, a special relationship has been formed with the elephant. The practice of worshiping the elephant has made it a religious symbol that continues to be shared by most Hindus today.

    God is not simply avenging his wronged children in Sri Lanka. He is displaying his Lordship in an unmistakable way within that culture. He is working mighty wonders and thousands will be converted though this. We should pray not only for our brothers and sisters over there but also for those who might become our bothers and sisters.

  27. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Exodus 12:12-14

    “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

    “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance.

  28. JPG says:

    One is initially enthralled by such stories but let us hope that the ultimate story is the conversion of these villages to the faith. I remember reading or hearing that “God will annhilate His enemies by converting them” being a hope of one of the early Church fathers. In like fashion let us hope that the perpetrators of the persecution will see the error of their ways and convert. Likewise that their own children will take the places of those priests and religious murdered by the mobs.

  29. pablo says:

    Muslims would have burned Orissa, India to the ground, and would have gone Jihad all across India.

    We Catholic men have too much to lose; our income, our homes, ‘they’ would arrest us.

  30. Rob Cartusciello says:


    Hindu/Muslim violence has been intertwined with the history of India, especially since 1945. This is nothing new, only the names have changed.

    We live in a Vale of Tears.

  31. Penguins Fan says:

    I am bookmarking the website page about the rampage of the elephants.

    Please note that it is only a coincidence that the Republican Party’s logo is an elephant. Their logo should be a lemming – or roadkill, since that is often how they act.

    God’s mercy is tempered only by His justice.

  32. Desertfalcon says:

    When an elephant wrecks your living room and poops in your shoes, it’s time to get right with the Lord. That’s my take on it anyway…

  33. KAS says:

    I find this story amazing and wonderful. It would be so marvelous if these elephants led to mass conversions to the Faith.

    I find elephants fascinating.

  34. Tom Ryan says:

    pics in Fr. Z’s link look like African elephants

  35. They could be Angels in disguise.

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