Stenciled street graffiti that reads, “Your existence gives me diarrhea.” Disembodied hands clasped in prayer are visible in the right foreground.
Franciscan friars prayed for diarrhea to strike down a Bible thief. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Salim Virji/Flickr)

A handful of Franciscans from the 15th century San Salvatore al Monte basilica in Florence, Italy, do not take kindly to Bible thieves, reports the Huffington Post. A collection of furious friars prayed that a particularly persistent purloiner of Biblical books would succumb to “a bout of the sh—s” – aka diarrhea – as penance for his crime. It is unclear at this time whether the Lord has granted deliverance in response to the Franciscans’ fervent prayers.

Praying to God for deliverance

Reports indicate that friars at San Salvatore al Monte, a favorite location of the artist Michelangelo, noticed that a very rare and expensive Bible had disappeared from the lectern. The book had been donated to the monastery. This was disconcerting in and of itself, but just a few hours after a replacement Bible was found, it too went missing.

This lit a fire in the bellies of the normally serene friars of Basilica San Salvatore near Piazzale Michelangelo and the River Arno. A very pointed note was posted on the wall, in full view of worshipers. The friars hoped the thief saw the error of his ways. Just in case he didn’t, however, the Franciscan monks penned a controversial prayer:

“We pray to God that the thief is struck by a strong bout of the sh—s… (that will) encourage him to carry out no further thefts.”

The stolen Bibles have since been replaced by two more, one written in Italian and the other in English.

That Tuscan irony

The Italian newspaper La Stampa chalked the bellicose Franciscan prayer as “the product of the Tuscan ability to be ironic about anything,” according to the Telegraph. The friars responsible for the diarrheal prayer were reportedly embarrassed over the indiscretion of language, but not entirely repentant.

“It is not exactly clean language,” one friar said, “but we couldn’t put up with it any longer. The Lord and the faithful will understand.”

Wash that potty mouth in the River Arno

In addition to attempts to catch the perpetrator in-house, the friars who prayed for diarrhea also notified local authorities. It is the hope of the Franciscans that the Bible thief will not make a clean getaway with the expensive religious texts.

How to treat diarrhea



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