In my pursuit of fraternal charity, I may now have a new prayer in my arsenal.

A priest friend, Fr. GR, sent my the link to this story in The Guardian, which I had to share.

Tuscan friars ask God to deliver diarrhoea for basilica bible thief

Franciscans of San Salvatore al Monte pin up prayer hoping unknown villain succumbs to ‘a bout of the shits’

Tom Kington in Rome

A group of Franciscan friars furious at the theft of bibles from their church in Florence have taken the unusual step of praying for the thief to be struck down by diarrhoea.

Friars at the 15th century church of San Salvatore al Monte, which was a favourite of Michelangelo, were irritated when a rare and expensive bible disappeared from the lectern, and they flew off the handle when a replacement bible donated by a worshipper also went missing and within a few hours.

In a note, pinned up in full view of worshippers, the friars say they hope the thief sees the error of his ways. But in case he does not, they add: “We pray to God that the thief is struck by a strong bout of the shits.”

This turn of events will, they hope, “encourage him to carry out no further thefts”.

Described by La Stampa newspaper as “the product of the Tuscan ability to be ironic about anything”, the note and its unorthodox request will be forgiven, claim one of the friars. “It is not exactly clean language,” the friar said, “but we couldn’t put up with it any longer. The Lord and the faithful will understand.”

Here is the story in La Repubblica of Florence.

”Preghiamo il Signore che a questo ladro faccia venire una forte cacarella” e che ”questa sia di stimolo per aiutarlo a non compiere nuovi furti”.

In my pursuit of more perfect fraternal charity, I may now have a new prayer in my arsenal.


A priest friend just dropped me a line saying, in part….

“The thief is lucky these aren’t Sicilian monks. They would have prayed for….” well… I’ll let you guess on your own.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I was going to respond with a simple, “LMAO.”

    However, I reconsidered.

  2. Cathy says:

    Most definitely a prayer requiring intestinal fortitude — guts!

  3. sawdustmick says:

    Brilliant, I’m glad I didn’t have a mouthful of Mystic Monk coffee when I read this or I would have been cleaning my computer screen !

  4. I believe that this is, Father, about the funniest thing I have ever seen.

  5. Jayna says:

    They actually posted this on Gawker, of all places, a few days ago.

  6. r.j.sciurus says:

    A new take on “turn the other cheek”?

  7. AvantiBev says:

    Proud to be Italian American. I daily thank God for my Catholic faith and the beautiful ROMAN mind and body into which He poured it!

  8. jbpolhamus says:

    From their mouths to God’s ears…hopefully avoiding our nostrils!

  9. Mundabor says:

    It is from words like “cacarella” that one understands the inherent superior beauty of the Italian language…..


  10. Supertradmum says:

    Yet another sign that the Catholic Faith is the one, true religion–a sense of humor. I just hope the thief isn’t struck with this malady in another heist in a Church.

  11. amenamen says:

    I do not want to take this “prayer” more seriously than it was intended, as it seems to be meant humorously. But if they actually prayed for a physical malady, wouldn’t this constitute a “curse,” the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing?

  12. Supertradmum says:


    How about an aid to conversion, rather than a curse….

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    James and John: Why, the wicked nerve of them! Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to consume them?

    Jesus: No.

  14. Konichiwa says:

    LOL. Maybe the “bout” would act as an aid to conversion :) I recently heard the story of a how one my relatives had a conversion after getting beat up by some policemen. At first I outraged, but then I realized that maybe it was a gift from God. Without such a beating, the boy may have continued down a horrible path to path. The injustice done by the police is nothing to be bothered with compared to the good that resulted from it.

  15. JimmyA says:

    Arsenal is the “mot juste” for sure…

  16. TC says:

    See Fr Seraphim Beshoer TOR’s podcast Catholic Under the Hood. In a recent episode medieval manuscripts copied by monks he touched on on the subject of special curses written in these books to punish those who would steal them.
    I wonder if these Franciscans made up their own or dug out the old books?
    Also, it the curse intended as deterrence or retribution?

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