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.”