Vatican Miracle Examiner (Vatican Kiseki Chousakan) is an anime series based on a series of light novels of the same name. The series centers on a pair of Roman Catholic priests who are sent across the globe to examine and determine the validity of potential miracles. They are scientists and investigators at heart, so when they come to a supposed miracle, they investigate it all with huge grains of salt. They believe, but they also want to be 100% certain of the facts before them before calling anything a miracle.
The two priests at the core of the story are Roberto Nicholas and Hiraga Josef Kō. In the second story arc of the series, the two travel to Central Africa to investigate a miracle involving a deceased priest who’s prophecies kept coming true. His body appears to stop decaying, making it a potential miracle. As the two dig deeper into the mystery around the body of this supposed prophet, they discover a number of truths including how his body was kept intact (not divine intervention) and the true name of the deceased (Bruno Puccini). The deceased was, in actuality, Roberto’s father. Puccini was a murderer who killed Roberto’s mother and fled to Central Africa, living out the rest of his life there in secret and leaving Roberto orphaned.
Discovering the truth surrounding his life and his father, Roberto begins to question who he is and whether he is worthy of being even a priest. His father being a murderer makes him question everything and doubt himself as he is filled with shame. He expects Hiraga to hate him as the evil blood of his father runs through his veins. Hiraga’s response, though, seems to blow him away.
Hiraga says, “Your father may be Bruno, but the father of your eternal soul is our Lord in Heaven. You are one of God’s children. What do you have to be ashamed of?” Roberto is shocked to hear this and does not understand how Hiraga could accept him exactly as he was. Why Roberto was shocked is beyond me as this very simple truth Hiraga shared is a fundamental truth that shows up throughout the Bible—you are not your parents.
As shown in various passages of scripture, the sins of your parents are not your sins and you can choose to live differently (Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20, Jeremiah 31:29-30). Of course they have an impact on you—parenting crafts you into the person you have become, for better or worse, but your parents’ mistakes are not your own and you are able to chose a different path. Where you came from and who your parents are are all irrelevant to Christ (Romans 3:29, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11). You and your decisions are what matter. I wrote about this previously on my personal site when relating to a Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. In that piece, I wrote:
You make the decision to obey the Lord or to disobey the Lord. You make the decision to accept the free gift of salvation from Christ or not. You make the decision to abide in the Lord’s will or to rebel against it. You decide whether to live in the world and apart from it or to be of the world. These are not your parents decisions to make, but your own. Of course they will have an impact on you – but you can change direction, you can choose different, you can reject their sinfulness. Merely because your parents were horrible human beings, does not mean you have to be.
This same fact is true of the characters in Descendants and also true of Roberto. He chose to follow the Lord. He chose to devote his entire life to understanding the world better and rejecting the evils of his father. He continues to make that same decision every day, supporting the church.
In addition to that, though, Hiraga reminds Roberto that his earthly father is irrelevant as he has a greater, Heavenly Father who has accepted him into His family. We are adopted in as sons and daughters of the living God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our earthly parentage is no longer relevant to the Lord and we are not defined by their sins or actions. This beautiful adoption has been discussed by our own Frank (stardf29) in his two-part series on adoption as displayed in Bunny Drop on and in PapaKiki. Roberto is still of the mindset that he is unworthy of the Lord because of his background, but Hiraga reminds him that he is not. As Frank wrote in his piece on Bunny Drop,
[B]efore being adopted, we were captive to the law, meaning that it is our ability to follow the law perfectly that determines what our worth is. One way to imagine this is to consider a person with much wealth but no heir born to him. He plans to leave his wealth to someone before he dies, but of course, it would be preposterous for any random stranger to just walk up to him, ask for that inheritance, and expect to just get it immediately. There must be some basis on which he is deemed worthy of that inheritance. One such way is to do something that proves his worth according to a written standard. Likewise, the law is God’s standard by which He can decide someone to be worthy by his works. The problem here is, that standard is nothing but perfection, and all of us have sinned and are therefore incapable of attaining that standard, hence we are “captive” to the law and therefore unworthy of partaking in God’s goodness—in fact, captivity to the law brings nothing but death.
This is quite similar to the situation Rin was in before adoption. While she herself is not to blame for the situation that causes the other family members to not adopt her, they are judging her based on a “law” in their minds that an illegitimate daughter is not worthy of becoming part of their family. Unfortunately for Rin, there is nothing she can do to change that, so she is stuck captive to her dubious history…Daikichi, who out of gracious love, accepted Rin and adopted her out of her captivity to her history, and into his care, where Rin could gain a spirit that could call him… well, not really “Father”, as things turn out, but… something really nice…All in all, this picture of adoption is a beautiful one, because it reflects how we Christians are adopted out of a life of captivity and death into a life of love and eternal life…
Roberto is trapped mentally in the past thinking he is bound to the laws of man which judge us by our family history and our parentage. Hiraga, however, reminds him of the truth—he is not bound by that law any longer. He is a child of the one true God, adopted into the line of Abraham through the blood of Jesus Christ. While the actions of Bruno are horrific and have had long lasting consequences, they are not what define Roberto any longer. He is defined by Christ and that is a beautiful thing.