These days, it appears, Miracle Max resides in the largest city in Kansas: the airplane-lovin’ burg of Wichita. You see, the Vatican — taking a rare break from condemning every movie in which it plays even a bit part — is investigating the kindamaybesorta miracle involved with a young man hurt in a pole-vaulting accident. Fact? Fantasy? Really, really obvious fantasy? You make the call.
Kear survived a catastrophic head injury in October 2008 during pole vaulting practice at Hutchinson Community College. His family said they believe his life was saved by his neurosurgeon and other doctors, but also by thousands of prayers to Kapaun.
The “Kapaun” in question is Father Emil Kapaun, who, judging by his apparent miracle-inducing skills, you might assume was, you know, alive. Um, no. He died in 1951, actually, as a prisoner in North Korea. And now the devout are claiming that the litany of prayers offered to this deceased gentleman were actually the cause of Kear’s recovery — instead of that pesky, life-saving neurosurgery that might also have had something to do with it. And with the possibility of an honest to goodness miracle, there also emerges the possibility that Emil Kapaun will be canonized by the Church. Pretty high honors for something we can’t actually prove.
What do we know about Emil? The usual assorted facts, I guess, but also this little gem from the story:
American soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun’s heroism and faith. They said that in the fierce winter of 1950 and 1951, when 1,200 out of 3,000 American prisoners starved to death or died of illness in Camp 5 along the Yalu River, Kapaun kept hundreds of survivors alive by stealing food and by force of will.
Ahem: stealing food? So, no shame in violating that commandment, eh?