Monday, 27 July 2009

It's a miracle minefield

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In these times of rising unemployment, spare a thought for Father Tomislav Vladic, of Medjugorje in Bosnia, who's just been defrocked by the Pope for being the chief promoter of his town's holy shrine, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared over 40,000 times since 1981 – which by my humble atheistic calculations works out an impressive 3 or 4 times a day.

Of course, normally you'd expect promoting a holy shrine to attract the Holy Father's favour, but unfortunately for Vladic Mary's appearances at Medjugorje have not been verified by the Catholic Church – in the words of the Daily Mail, "three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims".

We all know the Pope loves a good supernatural miracle, but only when it's a real supernatural miracle. With this in mind, the people of Rathkeale in Limerick ought to be careful – as we reported earlier this month, pilgrims have been flocking to a Mary-shaped tree trunk there, but the apparition has not received the approval of the local priest, who told the press:
"The Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism. While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition."
Now it's one thing getting a ticking off from a priest, but if the good folk of Limerick aren't careful they'll have the Pope weighing in as he has by defrocking Father Vladic. Although it has taken him 28 years to do anything about that...

6 comments:

Joe Hayhurst said...

"three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims".

So there is proper evidence to support all the other 'miracles' then? How about a scientifically controlled experiment under lab conditions to see if any of these miracles are actually real. Failing that, just recording it with a video camera would be a start.

I would imagine going to see one of these things is a bit like watching 'Most Haunted' crossed with David Blane.

Paul Sims said...

The New Humanist blog is no place for such cynical views on miraculous appearances by the Virgin Mary, Joe...

Humanzee said...

"The Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism. While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition."

This is one of the funniest quotes I've read in a long time. I bet the guy said it with a straight face. Perhaps he doesn't even see the irony.

"The Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism."
Oh my aching sides!

"...we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition."
Quick, call a surgeon, for I fear they may split.

valdemar said...

So they had no less than three commissions investigating pure fantasy, mass hysteria, or lies told to make money (or some combination of the three). What a pity they didn't adopt quite such a rigorous attitude when the issue was priests raping children. But I suppose you've got to get your priorities right.

Jumpin Jehosaphat said...

Valdemar, the Pope has bigger things to worry about than a few child abuse epidemics in several countries. For example, he strongly warned against yoga a few years ago!

Vince said...

This is one of funniest point i read that after long time...
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Vince
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