Looks like Lourdes is running out of magic despite relaxed rules on what is and is not magic.
When Bishop Jacques Perrier said the Roman Catholic Church would ease some criteria for miracles, skeptics foresaw a wave of pious believers claiming they had been healed at the famous shrine in his diocese of Lourdes.
New categories were needed, Perrier argued, because medical progress in recent decades had made it all but impossible to meet the strict scientific criteria for certifying miracles at the pilgrimage site in southwestern France.
It’s been two years now and guess how many magical cures there have been? If you guessed ‘none’, here’s your cookie.
Of course, changing the rules in hopes of, at the least, stopping the decline of miraculous recoveries connected to Lourdes has nothing to do with trying to stop the decline of miraculous recoveries connected to Lourdes.
Apparently that’s not selling down there too well, because the bishop appears to have a new spin. It’s no longer the trueness of the magic that matters, it’s the experience of seeing the magic or some such poppycock that really matters.
Perrier has just published a book in which he recounts how the shrine developed in a polemical climate as science was aggressively challenging the Church and its teachings.
“In the 19th century, the healings at Lourdes were able — and maybe that was their mission — to show medical science it still had a long way to go, and that human reality was much more complex than some simplistic explanations,” he wrote.
The new criteria shift the focus from scientific inquiry — can doctors explain it or not? — to a religious appreciation of the spiritual experience linked to an improbable healing.
“The legitimacy of Lourdes doesn’t need miracles,” he wrote. “Certified miracles are now very rare, but the number of pilgrims visiting Lourdes keeps on rising.”
A wise man once said a sucker is born every minute. Apparenly Lourdes is on every suckers list of places to be fleeced at.