Drinking urine can’t heal you, Kenyan bishop says

Plus a passenger sleeps through a layover in Paris while an old woman destroys a 19th century painting

Jack Rodolico By Jack Rodolico

A Kenyan Roman Catholic priest wears a hat with a picture of the late Pope John Paul II outside the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi, Kenya, April 7, 2005. (Reuters)

Each Saturday, Latitude News reflects on the week’s oddest stories from the international press. We call it the Mishmash: Three completely unrelated, yet equally bizarre stories that have no bearing on your life—other than conversation fodder for your weekend’s many social gatherings. Let us know if you uncover a story you’d like to see in next week’s Mishmash.

Drinking urine can’t heal you, Kenyan bishop says

Well, that clears that up!

Some start their days with coffee, some with juice and toast. Apparently, at least two Kenyan priests peel the sleep from their eyes by imbibing a steaming glass of their own urine.

Truly, to each his own—but problems arise when you preach the Gospel of Urine to a rapt congregation.

“Last week,” reports The Star, “two priests…initiated the urine campaign and urged faithful to drink their morning urine to cure diseases. They made their appeals during a weekday service attended by more than 300 faithfuls.”

No word on whether any of the faithfuls were faithful enough to give the ritual a shot.

Now the Meru Catholic Diocese, delightfully, is taking a stance on “urine therapy.” Bishop Salesius Mugambi says a priest has no authority to advise Kenyans to consume their own excretions.

“Our work,” says Bishop Mugambi, “is to teach morals and preach faith and not medical issues. We leave medical issues to the experts. The so-called urine therapy is neither our project, nor did we create it.”

The comments from readers at the bottom of the story are particularly charming.

“This business of drinking urine,” says Vincent O. Ouma,” is hogwash.”

Meanwhile, MohanMathew advises skeptics to Google “urine therapy.” “It’s foolhardy to reject it,” he says, “without giving it a hearing….There is a wealth of information on the subject in the net.”

“NOT SO SURE ABOUT THAT,” retorts Frederick Mburu.

Woman sleeps from Lahore to Paris, back to Lahore

Patrice Christine Ahmed needed a solid nap. She got it—in a really weird place.

You’ve got to be dog-tired to sleep through a two-hour flight layover—the bustle of passengers removing luggage from over your head, the cellphones demanding attention after being stowed for hours, the cranky children itching to get off the plane.

Amazingly, Ahmed flew from Lahore, Pakistan to Paris, France, slept on the plane for two hours as staff prepped it for the return trip, then woke up en route back to Lahore.

As Pakistan’s Dawn reports, the fallout leaves an unanswered question: Who should pay for her free ride back to Lahore? The passenger, the airline or the subcontractor monitoring flights in Paris?

“We have put questions to this French firm also about the incident,” said an airline spokesman, “but it is also the responsibility of the passenger to disembark at the destination.”

More importantly, what does the incident say about security at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport? When the flight crew is chiseling gum off the seats between flights, do they check the pulses of people laying prostrate about the plane?

The mistake, if you can even call it that, only became known when the woman was stopped by security back in Lahore.

From piece of art to piece of junk

It is a tragedy to witness priceless artwork weather with time and exposure. But it’s a good thing the custodian in the Sistine Chapel hasn’t taken a paint roller to the ceiling yet—you know, to touch things up a bit.

Worshipers, art historians and just about everyone else in Zaragoza, Spain were shocked when an octogenarian took it upon herself to touch up a 19th century fresco.

Jesus. The fresco depicted Jesus.

(Centro de Estudios Borjanos/Handout)

As the UK’s DailyMail reports, the woman finished off her masterpiece before anyone knew what she was doing.

“The church is always open because many people visit,” says a church spokesman, “and although there is a guard no one realised what the old woman was doing until she had finished.”

And did she ever finish. The original work depicted Jesus, eyes tilted to Heaven, wearing a crown of thorns. Its new incarnation appears to depict a grandmother with lifeless doll eyes, wearing a babushka. It’s a total mess.

Over the past 18 months, worshipers at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church were saddened to see the painting rapidly deteriorate. So saddened, in fact, the painter’s granddaughter had recently agreed to fund the painting’s restoration.

The painting has more sentimental value than monetary. A team of specialists will assess the woman’s handiwork to see if the fresco can be restored to its previous state of deterioration.