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 Post subject: Religious Fakery?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:12 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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The following article got me wondering about the many religious artifacts, like the Shroud of Túrin, which have fallen under the shadow of doubt. I wonder, what do people believe about earthly evidence of God? Is it the hand of God in the world, or the work of charlatans looking for notoriety or money?


Source: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article3093806.ece

Quote:
Padre Pio 'faked his stigmata with acid'
By Peter Popham in Rome
Published: 25 October 2007

Padre Pio, the friar with fingerless gloves whose image is found on a million Catholic key chains; who was canonised before 200,000 ecstatic pilgrims five years ago, was a charlatan who deliberately mutilated himself with acid to give the appearance of bearing the stigmata of Christ, according to evidence to be published next week.

The Italian historian Sergio Luzzatto will release Padre Pio, Miracles and politics in 20th century Italy – a book producing new evidence from Vatican archives, which he says proves that the charismatic friar secretly procured carbolic acid with which to burn his hands, feet and sides.

The allegations are not new: two successive popes regarded Padre Pio as a fraud. By 1920, when Pio was 33 and was already exhibiting his scars before masses of pilgrims, the church was worried that his cult was spinning out of control. Reports commissioned by the church claimed Pio regularly scourged himself with a metal-tipped whip, and had sex with women twice a week. For many years Pio was banned from celebrating mass in public.

Of particular concern to the church were the ugly, weeping wounds which Pio concealed under those fingerless gloves. The friar claimed that he had received the stigmata of Christ – wounds to his hands, feet and side like those suffered by Christ during his crucifixion – at the culmination of a mystical seizure.

A doctor sent by the Vatican to examine them concluded that the wounds were probably caused and maintained artificially. To test the hypothesis he bound the wounds and sealed the bandage to prevent it being tampered with. But on examination a month later the doctor was nonplussed to find that the wounds had failed to heal.

Yet now Mr Luzzatto claims to have unearthed documents that prove beyond reasonable doubt that the friar was a trickster.

In the summer of 1919, the 28-year-old cousin of a pharmacist in the southern city of Foggia, a deeply religious young woman called Maria de Vito, made the pilgrimage to Pio's church, San Giovanni. The pharmacist told his local bishop, Mgr Salvatore Bella, "When she returned to Foggia she brought the greetings of Padre Pio and asked me in his name, and in strict secrecy, for carbolic acid, telling me that Padre Pio had need of it, and giving me the little bottle he had given her, capacity 100g, and with a skull and crossbones."

The pharmacist jumped to what Mr Luzzatto believes is the right conclusion. "My thought was that the carbolic acid could be used by Padre Pio to procure or further irritate wounds on his hands."

Mr Luzzatto cites the note written by Pio to the young woman, Maria de Vito, "though much more neatly than his normal hand".

Invoking the blessings of Jesus, Pio writes baldly: "I am in need of 200g or 300g of carbolic acid for sterilising. I pray you to send it to me on Sunday." This, claims Mr Luzzatto, is the smoking gun. If he had really needed the acid for sterilising purposes, he demands, "why did he proceed in such an oblique manner?"

Mr Luzzatto's claims, splashed across a full page of Corriere della Sera, Italy's best-selling daily, were furiously denounced by Pietro Siffi, president of the Catholic Anti-defamation League. The "presumed proofs are absolutely false," he said. "According to Catholic doctrine, canonisation involves the infallibility of the pope."

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:22 pm 
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Charlatans, a lot of the time. Mistaken, a lot of the time, and longing for it to be true. I don't quite know what to say about, for instance, a picture of Jesus on a piece of toast, or something of that nature.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:56 pm 
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:scratch: I must see things wrong, everytime I see a face in toast it's Eric Clapton.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:13 pm 
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I look at it this way. Assuming, as I do, that God exists and that God gave us free will and intelligence so that we could use it, then I don't believe God would put miraculous artifacts into the world, things that can be seen as proofs of God's existence.

If someone believes in God because of such evidence (assuming there were any that could be proved to be real), is that free will? Is that even "faith"? To me it's only one step away from implanting humans with innate belief in God. There's no free will there, either.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:42 pm 
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There are artifacts in this world that many would call proofs of evolution, but not everyone believes in evolution.

So I don't think the existence of a miraculous artifact would mean we don't have the free will to believe or not believe in God.

What would you say about a miraculous event, Prim?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:32 pm 
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Well, Faramond, obviously as a Christian I believe that miraculous events are possible. I don't expect to see them myself, nor do I feel comfortable with the idea of "expecting" miracles.

If somebody "miraculously" escapes an accident or an illness, I'm very uncomfortable with attributing that to God's direct action because (a) I think God acts through people, by inspiring them to act rightly, and (b) to say "this person's survival is a sign that God loves him" is to say that all the people who haven't survived somehow didn't deserve quite as much of God's love. Which is a repellent thought.

In terms of "proof of existence," I meant it as something of a thought experiment, supposing a proof so compelling that no rational person could deny it. Someone willing to be irrational (as I sometimes am) could reject such a proof, certainly.

But anyone who wants to be rational and exercise free will about affirming or denying God's existence would be stuck if confronted with proof that could not be refuted or denied.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:01 pm 
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I guess I think there is no proof that can't be denied by someone!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 8:35 pm 
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Yes, outside of thought experiments. Undeniable proof is right in there with our old friends the frictionless surface, the massless spring, and the book-to-film adaptation that satisfies everyone.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Personally, I think our very existence is miracle enough.

But Prim has a point. Why would God (in whom I believe) need to give us shrouds etc, if as Christians we believe that he created the world? It's pointless!

I do not believe the Pope is infallible either. I mean, do they get infallability when made Pope, or are they born with it, and if Popes are infallible, how come there were so many awful popes in the middle ages?

Also, if Peter (the first pope) had been infallible, would he have denied Christ three times? Would he?

This papal infallability business was the main reason for my conversion to anglicanism.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:17 pm 
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From wikipedia:

In Catholic theology, papal infallibility is the dogma that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error[1] when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. For all such infallible teachings, the Holy Spirit also works through the body of the Church to ensure that the teaching will be received by all Catholics.

....

According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism: "In reality, the pope seldom uses his power of infallibility......rather than being some mystical power of the pope, infallibility means the church allows the office of the pope to be the ruling agent in deciding what will be accepted as formal beliefs in the church."[2] Since the 1870 solemn declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I, this power has been used only once: in 1950 when Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as being an article of faith for Roman Catholics.


In other words, the doctrine of papal infallibility isn't that every man to ever have been pope was infallible during his entire life.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:24 pm 
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Living in hope
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Minor footnote for Crucifer: I don't believe God created the world, at least not in the sense described in Genesis.

Thanks for looking that up, Faramond. Interesting.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:30 pm 
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I knew the Roman Catholic dogma of papal infallibility wasn't as broad as sometimes thought, but I had no idea just how narrow it was until I read that!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:52 pm 
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I'm completely agnostic on this one; after all, the Church has two skulls of John the Baptist! (one of them apparently Johnny's as a little boy :scratch: ). Bogus relics and frauds have abounded. I reckon you could build a fair-sized boat from all the pieces of the True Cross. Henry VIII's agents uncoverd a plethora of gimmicked 'miraculous' statues and so on when the monasteries were suppressed.

Still, I'm not convinced there's much smoke to this gun. The fellow asked a girl to run get him a common household antiseptic at the druggist's. That doesn't on its own prove a lot.


Having said that, stigmata on the palms have an inherent problem in that that's not where Jesus or any other crucifixion victim would have wounds- the Romans drove the nails through the wrists. In the palms, the nails would tear loose.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:55 pm 
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Quote:
I don't believe God created the world, at least not in the sense described in Genesis.


Me neither. It's all metaphorical in the old testament. I actually believe in the theory of evolution, (after all, it's proved every day in viruses and so on) but why could evolution not be manipulated from above?

Don't answer that... It's off topic... And rhetorical...

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:23 am 
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But Crucifer, I will answer even though it's rhetorical.


Yes, it's mostly metaphorical in the O. T., as it is in all mythology, which is not to its detriment.


I too believe in the theory of evolution. I have seen the person known as Crucifer evolve before my eyes. He tends not to flame or drift (any more than I) and he tends to the conventions of the language.





Amuses self with pun on "tend."

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:55 am 
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So have we all evolved, bt, in our time. :D

I think Crucifer has always been a great poster, in part because he's so open to learning. He sets an excellent example for those of us (like me) who may be a tad set in their ways. :D

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 6:49 am 
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Crucifer wrote:
Personally, I think our very existence is miracle enough.


This is how I feel, too. Whatever the source of that miracle, it is so unbelievably over-the-top amazing -- we are alive in this complicated and wonderful world! and even chatting! -- that no shroud or corroded palm or expressive piece of toast could possibly compete.

:)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:58 am 
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Aww shucks...

You guys're makin' my head swell...

More...

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 12:57 pm 
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I do believe in miracles but I have doubts about religious artifacts.

Whenever Princess and I are in Quebec City we always go to this church called St. Anne de Beupre (sp?) which is 30 mins outside of the city. On the back wall of the chuch they have all the crutches, wheelchairs, canes etc... of people who were healed (inside the church), they attested to the fact they were able to walk again. In fact, we also prayed for a miracle there and we were blessed by not one but two miracles when we got back to Toronto a few months later.

Anyways, at that church they have the bones of St. Anne (the mother of the Virgin Mary) which people go look and see. I'm a believer, but I asked Princess if she thinks it really is the "bones" of St. Anne. She goes, I don't know. I go, cause during that time people didn't even think of preserving her bones because nobody knew that Christianity will spread like wildfire. She goes, "Well, sometimes some people need assurance that what they believe in is real."

If I'm not mistaken Padre Pio was a member of the Opus Dei. ;)

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Last edited by Lurker on Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 4:09 pm 
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Lurker, you mean crUtches, don't you?

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