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Superheroes unite in support of writer with prostate cancer

Actors send their messages of support

A leading Catholic writer who has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer has had support from an unlikely source – the cast of the Avengers.

Stratford Caldecott, a fan of Marvel comics as well as a distinguished author, first received support from the Hulk star Mark Ruffalo, who tweeted a picture of himself with the sign #CapforStrat.

Mr Ruffalo was responding to a request from Stratford’s daughter Sophie, who wanted some superhero help in urging Marvel Studios to send an advanced DVD copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier so her father could watch the film at home – hence the #CapforStrat.

His tweet was then followed by similar messages from Chris Evans (Captain America), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki) as well as stars of Agents of Shield, the television series based on the Marvel comics, such as Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) and Ming-Na Wen (Agent May).

On her blog Sophie Caldecott wrote: “The reason dad has always loved comic heroes and why they are particularly relevant now in this situation is because they inspire hope, and encourage people to fight for the greater good. I think we’ve witnessed a bit of that child-like purity of spirit and good intentions over the past few days.”

She said the campaign was being taken up by Prostate Cancer UK, adding: “The biggest lesson we’ve learnt is that prostate cancer doesn’t always show up in blood tests, so men over a certain age should get checked out properly if they have any symptoms at all – check out the information here.”

Stratford Caldecott is editor of the Humanum Review, co-editor of Second Spring and of the UK/Ireland edition of Magnificat and author of books including Beauty for Truth’s Sake, Beauty in the Word, All Things Made New, The Power of the Ring, The Seven Sacraments, and The Radiance of Being. His ideas on superheroes in a Christian context can be read here and here.

In an article for The Catholic Herald he wrote that real superpowers came about by being holy.

“There are plenty of reports of saints who can levitate or even fly, read minds, radiate light, heal illness and injury, and appear in several places at the same time,” he wrote.

“Almost like a character in Heroes, St Teresa of Avila was embarrassed when she started to float off the ground, and asked her sisters to hold her down whenever it happened so no one would notice.”

The surest way of gaining superpowers, Mr Caldecott wrote, was to die in a state of grace. “The Gospels tell us that after his Crucifixion Jesus appeared among his disciples in a locked room, that he was invulnerable, and that eventually he ascended to heaven. Scripture tells us that in the Resurrection those who are united with Christ will become like him.”