SOME of a skeptical nature are having a chortle today over the plight of the miracle seekers who damn near got themselves drowned yesterday in the floods that engulfed Lourdes. More than 450 had to be evacuated from the sanctuary.
Me? I can only shake my head in sorrow and disbelief that, in this day and age, there are people out there who still think that this centre of superstition has anything to offer but false hope and overpriced water ($100 per litre from a “miracle” spring).
Given that those who make their way to Lourdes are frequently unwell and unsteady on their pins, the experience must have been pretty terrifying, and I am neither laughing or gloating over the incident – particularly as I, and the two dogs I was out walking with last night, received an unpleasant drenching when the skies over Benidorm opened without warning last night.
Many cures have been attributed to visits to Lourdes since it was designated a place of healing by the Catholic Church, but very few have even been proven. According to the Skeptics’ Dictionary:
Of all the cures alleged to have occurred at Lourdes, however, none have involved dramatic, unambiguous events like the growing back of a severed limb. Belgian philosopher Etienne Vermeersch likened this fact to the lack of clear, unambiguous data in support of the existence of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. He also claimed that there have probably been significantly more fatal accidents suffered by pilgrims on their way to or from Lourdes than there have been cures.
What did make me laugh, however, was this gem from Wikipedia:
During the 1897 Jubilee Pilgrimage to Lourdes, priest François Picard was thirsty after a long day. Rather than drinking fresh water, he asked an assistant to fill his glass from a bathing pool, heavily contaminated from the sick pilgrims who had been immersed in it.
When the father had received the water, he made the sign of the cross and drank slowly, right to the end. Then, he gave back the glass and concluded with a smile: The water of the good Mother of Heaven is always delicious.
Hat tip: Pete H and others to numerous to mention.