Father Michael Lapsley, maimed by a mail bomb for his protests of apartheid in South Africa, says he is more of a priest with no hands than if he had two hands.

"One of my primary qualities is I've got no hands. It gives me a point of entry to others," Lapsley said in an interview here Monday. "Nobody says to me, ‘You don't know what pain is,' though frequently pain is more invisible than not. In that sense it's an asset — it gives us an avenue of connection. The sharing of pain connects us at the deepest level of common humanity."

Lapsley was living in exile in Zimbabwe in April 1990 when a package to him exploded. It blew his hands off, shattered his eardrums and destroyed the sight in one eye. The Episcopalian priest said he had been targeted by the South African government for his global activism against the racist policy of apartheid, which was abolished by 1993.

Lapsley, who said on his website that he "traveled the journey from being a freedom fighter to being a healer," is in Hawaii listening to the stories of female inmates and talking with students and members of the Judiciary, churches and the Hawaii Forgiveness Project.


SEE POST BELOW — 9 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. So .. does this mean you’re not stopping after all? Just that I’ll take down the post I just write about you, ‘cos it’s going to look pretty stupid otherwise. 🙂

  2. Yes, Charlie. A couple of ladies changed my mind. However, my continuation is tentative. I’m only hanging around not to upset others. And I’m not just talking about my blog.

  3. Thank you, MadPriest.

    On the subject of Michael Lapsley, I knew him when I lived in South Africa and he is a truly wonderful person and a good and faithful priest.

  4. Gee, MP. You move so fast sometimes. I missed the whole thing about quitting. I’m glad you didn’t quit. Whoever convinced you, good on ’em!

    Thanks for this post. It explains a lot. . .

  5. OK. I guess it’s bit like having your obituary published by mistake while you’re still alive. Which, on the whole, is better than the other possibility. Well done on still being here!

  6. “I’m only hanging around not to upset others.”

    Having too many animals depend on you helps with that as well, at least in my experience.

    For the record, I didn’t understand the brief announcement too indicate “quitting” at all, simply a shifting of time and resources.

  7. You are quite right, Renz. And I still intend to spend more time working on St. Laika’s at the expense of OCICBW….

    But, both Ellie and Mrs MP made the same comment to me about the effect closing OCICBW… might have on St. Laika’s. Now, as you know, I rarely argue with one woman, so arguing with two is completely out of my league.

  8. Suppose he’d been holding it below his belt buckle and lost something besides his hands? Isn’t there something in Leviticus about non-intact men holding religious office?