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Did Lightning Really Strike Vatican After Pope's Resignation?
AccuWeather.Com ^ | February 12, 2013 | Jesse Ferrell

Posted on 02/12/2013 5:22:27 PM PST by PJ-Comix

News hit the Net yesterday afternoon that lightning had struck The Vatican twice, just hours after Pope after Pope Benedict XVI's sudden resignation. As a lightning photographer and weather photo hoax buster, I investigated to see if the photo was real.

#PHOTO: Lightning strikes St Peter's dome at #Vatican on day the #Pope announced resignation, by Filippo Monteforte— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) February 11, 2013

When the picture first started circulating on Facebook, Meteonetwork Puglia e Basilicata ONLUS (a division of Associazione MeteoNetwork Onlus) and commenting members of the Facebook page thought that the photo might be faked (loose internet translation here), because the strike didn't seem to reflect on the dome, because it didn't seem to make close contact with it, and because there was no reflection on the wet street below (see annotated image). Since many photos you see on Social Media are faked, or at least re-purposed, I was immediately suspicious as well.

However, when it was announced later in the day that the photographer was an Italian professional photographer Filippo Monteforte, the photo was transmitted by AFP, and BBC ran a video of the lightning strike, this quelled most of the controversy. If you look closely in the video (embedded above), you can see something I've noticed dozens of times when filming lightning -- the initial stroke of lightning is often too bright and overexposes the photo. But lightning strikes through its channel rapidly, dozens of times, and the last few strokes (what we see as "fading") provide the opportunity to get a clear shot of the bolt, with minimal reflection on nearby surfaces. For this reason, I believe the photo is plausible, and since it was taken by a professional, with potential video to back it up, I'd say that the photo is legitimate.


Archived lightning strike data is not easy to come by in foreign countries, but certainly multiple Facebook users viewing the photo confirmed that a thunderstorm was present in Rome Monday afternoon, on the edge of a powerful storm system that brought snow to much of the country. A request to the Worldwide Lightning Network didn't turn up any lightning data, but they don't measure 100% of lightning. CORRECTION 5 PM: An amended request did confirm lightning in the area. Most importantly, official weather observations from CIAMPINO Ciampino, Rome, do indicate that there was a thunderstorm for approximately 3 hours in Rome yesterday:

It also may just be coincidence that lightning struck. The Empire State Building in New York City is hit by lightning 100 times per year. If the Basilica is properly grounded and an attractive source for lightning strikes, it's possible that it gets hit every time a thunderstorm moves through Rome. The only thing working against that is that it doesn't appear from a Google Image Search that a similar image has ever been captured before.

TOPICS: Unclassified
KEYWORDS: lightning; popebenedict; vatican
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To: Mach9

“I have more faith in the Pope’s infallibility ex cathedra than I have in any signs.”

Where in Scripture does it intimate that anyone besides the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is infallible? Just wondering. Because I have never read anything even closely resembling what you have stated above as pertaining to mere us mere mortals, of which the one to which you assign infallibility is one.

21 posted on 02/12/2013 6:12:38 PM PST by DennisR (Look around - God gives countless, indisputable clues that He does, indeed, exist.)
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To: livius

So to me, that means that the Pope is doing the right thing by resigning....

I am sure he has done much praying about his decision. It occurred to me this evening that perhaps he learned that he is in the early stages of dementia. Whatever the reason for his decision, I am sure he has taken the right path for the Church.

Prayers up for him, for his successor, and for the Church. May the Holy Spirit send His Wisdom upon all of us.

22 posted on 02/12/2013 6:13:49 PM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: colinhester

What I do is find a distant focal point and get my focus first. I use a narrow aperture, low ISO setting. Then put the camera on bulb setting and hold the shutter open till I get a lightning flash.

If its a good dark night you can keep the shutter open and capture several lightning flashes.

23 posted on 02/12/2013 6:18:30 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: DennisR

If you’re not a Catholic, I can’t hope that you’d understand. Matt. 16:19 for the biblical source. The Pope speaks infallibly on faith and morals (and ONLY faith and morals) when he speaks ex cathedra, literally, from the chair (of Peter). If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t/couldn’t be a Catholic. If you want to know more, I’d be happy to expand, but there are plenty of internet sources to check.

24 posted on 02/12/2013 8:09:01 PM PST by Mach9
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