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Riding the 'white train' in search of a miracle
The journey gives disabled pilgrims a rare opportunity to take a religious vacation.
August 14th, 2013
09:12 AM ET

Riding the 'white train' in search of a miracle

Photographers Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni rode with 600 pilgrims and volunteers as they took the “white train” from Reggio Calabria in southern Italy to the French town of Lourdes. Disabled believers make the journey annually in hopes of a miracle.

Read the story and see their images at CNN Photos

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith & Health • Health care • Italy

soundoff (944 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Lourdes et al as per Professor JD Crossan prove faith heals but Mary plays no part. "Miracles" are equally probable anywhere on earth but all miracles are limited in scope and limited to very few of any faith. ntgateway.com/xtalk/crossan3.txt

    ""Miracles do not happen except through a mental desire or faith to be cured since miracles violate natural law. If God were involved in our daily lives, cures would not be needed. You cannot have it both ways."

    August 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

    what a crock your religion is!!!

    August 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    If I could heal ALL of these people I would ... that's the difference between me and your god!

    what a nasty piece of work he must be if he could not only cause these people and all around them so much pain in their lives, but he would let them come in hope to this place and then still not heal them.

    all it would take to heal them all is a click of his fingers, a wish, a will ... it would be effortless for him if he is what Christians claim ...

    a nasty, sadistic, narcissistic, sociopath!

    and you worship THAT?!?!

    August 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Sired D. doggie...

      Why would God and His treed generations really want to forever keep any of His buildings (which are our bodies) being a forever construction..? Do we not build and then rebuild..? Why not God..? Our bodies are God's buildings be they temples or warehouses and even condominiums and in God's laboring ways does God's maintenance workers keep God's buildings going for as long as God does so will..?

      August 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  4. Her Royal Highness, Princess of Hopesville

    The world needs hope, may God grant the people riding the 'white train' hope and comfort!

    August 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and may santa bring them lots of presents

      August 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      There is no god to "grant" it, but I do hope they get it anyway.

      August 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Follow up: Do you really not see the absurdity of your post? If god wanted to comfort them he would give them a fucking miracle already!!

      August 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        Sire Apple...

        God's realms are of the inwardly dimensions of spatial relativities while mankind's physical dimensions reside upon the celestially woven relatives... God and God's treed generations are of the atomized cosmologies while mankind's physically enabled generations are held within the celestial cosmologies... While mankind's manly built churches are for the people's issues their reality of God's true churches and warehouses and condominiums are of one's physical bodies upon the cellular cosmologies of spatially recognized cosmological orders...

        August 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    santa claus, easter bunny, tooth fairy, peter pan, smurfs, god ...

    August 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  6. lamelionheart

    Manly made constructions called churches are not God's temples... The true temples of God are found within any life formation be it a single celled organism or a complex organism such as an animal or even mankind's embodiments... Any religious organizations are in it for the money and even though some of the money being made goes toward the poor, the greater amount goes into their churches upkeep... I have no reasons to side with any manly made religious organizations... They are crooked and do not uphold scriptures truth that sheds light upon the true churches whereabouts for if they did, there would be no longer any sheep to shear...

    August 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      god is a manly (sic) made construction

      August 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • bostontola

      lionly,
      Well said, and I agree with most of your thoughts.

      August 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    I am only one cry in the long journey to the edge of the beginning of your journey. Many cries may visit and be your friends. Some have had a really hard time of it so just avoid the really bad ones.

    August 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • A reader

      Been reading your book, which chapter is the above snippet taken from?

      August 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        As a reader, I would expect you to know.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
  8. bostontola

    The first Christian virtue, faith, could be defined as the opposite of reason. A softer definition of faith could be belief in things that cannot be determined by facts. Even the soft definition doesn't describe many Christians. They have faith in things that can be determined by and are opposed by facts (e.g. evolution, helio-centric system,etc). Adherence to dogma in opposition to facts should not be called faith, it is schizophrenia. Maybe they uphold these beliefs by appealing to the next Christian virtue, hope. Hope that the facts are wrong. Creating a belief system founded on these virtues leads to people seeking miracles instead of plans and solutions.

    August 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Sired bostontola...

      Reasoning itself is based upon one's faithfulness within generalized rationalism... Without faith one's beliefs cannot be measured...

      August 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I know we will never have the actual numbers, but it would be interesting to see how many people throughout history have died waiting on God for healing. How many have prayed and thought "all I need is faith" and did not seek out every possible medical solution. I bet the numbers would be staggering.

      August 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Athy

        We'll never know how many. They all died.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        Sired Ma'am...

        Have you ever heard that our bodies are merely God's buildings being but temples or warehouses and even condominiums for God's "treed" generations to inhabit and take up residencies within..? Our embodiment buildings are of no consequences to God and within our demise does God's family treed generations move onto other buildings being yet sturdy and of younger constructions...

        August 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The first atheist virtue, reason, could be defined as the opposite of rational. A softer definition of reason could be explanation of things that exclude intuitive knowledge. Even the soft definition doesn't describe many atheists. They reason that things that cannot be determined unless there are sufficient facts (e.g. prayer, sin, salvation, etc). Adherence to dogma in based on a limited type of rationale should not be called reason, it is myopia. Maybe they uphold these thoughts by appealing to the next atheist virtue, condemnation, condemnation that revelation is wrong. Creating a system of reason founded on these virtues leads to people seek temporal answers instead of eternal solutions.

      There see how easy it is when you get to define your opponent in your own terms.

      August 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • bostontola

        Bill,
        How is reason the opposite of rational? Reason does not exclude intuition, it begs an experiment to test it. What is intuitive knowledge (oxymoron). Atheists don't condemn revelation, they ask for evidence and don't believe without it, very different than condemnation.

        You said it yourself, you defined these things on YOUR own terms, and they are in factual error (reason is the opposite of rational?). I don't care if you believe, but you continue to argue points using flawed logic and factual errors. Maybe you would be better to stick to faith.

        August 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • ME II

        @Bill Deacon,
        "The first atheist virtue, reason, could be defined as the opposite of rational."

        Definition of RATIONAL
        1a : having reason or understanding
        b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : reasonable

        ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rational)

        August 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Looks like normal believer circular logic, same as "The Babble is true because The Babble says The Babble is true."

          August 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Athy

          What if the babble said, "everything in this book is false, including this statement."? Hmm.

          August 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Wet COULD be defined as the opposite of damp....oh the word games Bill plays...

        August 15, 2013 at 2:45 am |
    • Apple Bush

      "faith" isn't a rule so much really as it is the lobotomy that makes god possible..

      August 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  9. Alias

    The fact that a Bishop is in charge of investigating these cases is enough for me to question the conclusions.
    With enough bias you can reach any conclusion.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      Sired Alias...

      Biasness is yes a slippery slope yet nevertheless a resonating agenda for and ever against the issues least understood by the many who are and even are not; held in unremarkable restraints conceived via the contentions of relational social discords...

      August 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Your error Alias is that you presuppose the Church has an interest in creating or validating false miracles. To the contrary, the Bishops is charged with ensuring that every measure is taken to eliminate false reports that might diminish the message of Our Lady. Think about it. While any healing is certainly desirable by the afflicted, the Church is fundamentally interested in the advancement of the Gospel. You might doubt the veracity of the claims of faith but you cannot doubt the sincerity of those who would protect the Church from the travesty of a series of hoaxes.

      August 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Yet they continue to trot out objects, such as the shroud of Turin and various bits of bone and bodily fluids, that are most likely, if not proven to be, hoaxes. But the delusional masses must be entertained. . .

        August 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Yes I can question their sincerity, they have plenty of reason to vlidate false miracles. Power, money, control.

        Why hasn't the Church stepped in to stop this man from being charged with the "crime" of debunking this *miracle* if they are so interested in being forthright?

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/23/india-blasphemy-jesus-tears

        August 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • Athy

        They have to frantically search for objective evidence of their beliefs lest the followers become disenchanted. It's been that way for centuries. Advances in science make this harder and harder and will continue to do so until religion is pounded into the dust of time.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Alias

        As usual Bill, WRONG.
        I presuppose no such thing. I simple do not accept conclusions from a biased researcher without independent verification.
        Hoaxes are completely irrelevant to what I was suggesting. A biased researcher will see miracles where none occurred.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      I'd like to see the investigation of how athlete's unwashed socks correlate to their winning games.

      Lots and lots of superst'itions are mightily believed.

      August 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Alias

        That correlation may exist.
        Anything that makes an athlete focus and "feel good' about his preparedness can lead to better performance.
        God not needed.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  10. lamelionheart

    Who among us knows anything that is incomprehensible and ever misunderstood as being the gardening follies of folks dismalness ways..? What exactly is it that keeps alive the vigorous anomalies being it for or even against Life's unanswerable contentions questioning views..? Is one truly better off via one's deniable ramifications or are those undeniably contorted reasoning enough for deniers to lay blame and scoff unendingly against the things least understood..?

    August 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Bob

    Bill, "unexplained" is simply not proof that "god did it". We are still waiting to see those amputated limbs grow back. Not happening.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    August 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  12. Bob

    1421 The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health,3 has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

    August 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Those who have faith will receive the healing.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Nice name theft, Bill.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Sorry, wasn't me. Not my style. Really irks you though that their might be a God who might choose to heal someone in a way you can't explain. How sad for you.

        August 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
        • Bob

          Ok, that was me 🙂

          August 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No, it irks me that people think they are so special they get god's special attention and yet thousands of children suffer and die horribly every day. That level of arrogance is galling.

          My wife's friend thinks god sent a hail storm last week to ruin her roof that needed replacement so that insurance will have to pay for it instead...*facepalm*

          August 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      So you believe in witchcraft, too? After all – witches do things that cannot be explained.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  13. Bob

    Debunking the Lourdes miracles BS that Bill Dumbnuts keeps dumping on us incessantly:

    http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

    August 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Observer

      Bob,

      Why not try to act like a grown-up and skip the juvenile name-calling? That only hurts your argument.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Because he has no argument. He has no facts and he has no case. The research is available and the cases are real. The only thing he has left is skepticism and derision. It's what atheism is always ultimately left with. Even if I couldn't accept the revelation of Christianity, I could never be an atheist because there are just too many "Bobs" in the club.

        August 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Johnny

          Your argument is "we don't know what happened, so god did it." That is not much of an argument either.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Sorry Johnny, that is not my argument at all.

          August 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Johnny

          Sure seems like your argument.

          August 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          So Biily D, perhaps you should more clearly articulate your argument that ends up with "some (unproven) god did it."

          August 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Johnny

          Perhaps that is not Bill's argument, but it is certainly what he presented as being the argument of the church when he posted:

          Unexplained is the exact term the medical bureau uses. Miraculous is the term the Church uses. If a case becomes explainable, it is removed from the list of miracles

          August 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Bill, That is your and the Catholic churches argument. You can't even demonstrate the existence of your god and yet the Church is more than willing to attribute unverifiable circu.mstances to the power of the god they, and you, worship. It is self serving and popmous.

          August 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Bill Deacon

    There have been close to 8000 claims of miracle cures at Lourdes in the nearly 150 years since the first appearance of the Lady of Lourdes. From the very beginning these cases have been under close, medical and press scrutiny. Only 69 have been declared "unexplainable" by science and subsequently declared miraculous by the Church. Although a few cases of remission have occurred nullifying the miracle, the preponderance of cases, once recognized as unexplained by the medical bureau and declared miraculous by the Church have remained so even as modern methods of scrutiny have been applied.

    August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • G to the T

      Faulty logic – "we don't know" does not equal "miracle". If just means "unexplained".

      August 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Bill Deacon

        Unexplained is the exact term the medical bureau uses. Miraculous is the term the Church uses. If a case becomes explainable, it is removed from the list of miracles

        August 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Bob

          In other words, Bill, "miraculous" means "complete and utter bullshit.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Anyone can deride someone else's work from the internet Bob. Why not apply your considerable medical and scientific prowess to debunking one of the 69 cases. Just one, go ahead, we'll wait. The records and doc uments are available at Lourdes and in modern cases witnesses and patients are still available to interview.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Bob

          Already done, Bill Dumbnuts. http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          This thread provides a perfect example. Thanks for playing along Bob.

          The miracles at Lourdes demonstrated for the whole world to see that skepticism toward the supernatural events in the Bible is not based on any sort of scientific evidence. Rather, such skepticism flows from strong negative presuppositions, so much so that a famous skeptic was reduced to lying when confronted with the miraculous cures of people whom he saw and with whom he actually talked. That skeptic was Emile Zola.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Bob

          Again, Bill, "unexplained" is simply not proof that "god did it". We are still waiting to see those amputated limbs grow back. Not happening.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • G to the T

          Exactly Bill – don't you see that?

          Science – we don't know.
          Religion – it's a miracle (i.e. "Goddidit").

          Who's making an assumption in this case? For me, the first will always be the more honest answer of the two.

          August 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Uh huh. More BS from Bill Dumbnuts. So, Bill, we've gotta ask:

      Why doesn't god heal amputees?

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      August 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Because God heals who he wants to in the manner he chooses. Why, you got some missing parts you need restored?

        August 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • Bob

          No, Bill, and stop pushing your tiresome BS at us. There is not one demonstrable case of your god ever having cured anything, ever. Now how's that proof of yours coming along, Bill the coward? Put it out or go away already.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think I'll accept the scientific, peer reviewed and cataloged findings of the independent International Bureau of Medicine and the pronouncements of the various Bishops who have a vested interest in not scandalizing the Church with phony claims over your internet ravings Bob. Unless that is you have evidence of fraud or conspiracy you'd like to post.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Bob

          Again, Bill Dumbnuts, stop trying to push your BS at us. "Unexplained" is simply not proof that "god did it".

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Reality

      69 out of 8000 claims? Hmmm, makes one wonder about those other 7931 Christian cons. Might even conclude that the 69 cures were minor and not easily evaluated for truthfulness. Any limb replacement miracles to date? Didn't think so.

      Any "cures" since the advent of modern forensics?

      August 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        You can visit the website and see each case for yourself and audit the process. It's quite extensive. Miracles for Lourdes are among the least controversial owing to the rigorous scientific standard employed. The latest recognized was in 2012.

        August 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Reality

          Is that the AMA's website? Didn't think so. How about some independent evaluations i.e. those not paid for by the cons of Lourdes and Fatima. And all these years of visits by those missing arms, legs, and eyes and still no miracles for them even though the thousands of crutches lining the grotto walls gives the impression that such miracles are quite common but yet still another con job.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          The Lourdes Medical Bureau (Bureau des Constatations Médicales) is an official medical organization based in Lourdes, France, within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Its function is to transfer medical investigation of apparent cures as sociated with the shrine of Lourdes to the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (Comité Médical International de Lourdes). In 2013 it is presided over by Mgr Nicolas Brouwet, bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, and François-Bernard Michel, also president of the Académie Nationale de Médecine

          But what do the French know about medicine anyway right?

          August 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • Bob

          Again, Bill Dumbnuts, stop trying to push your BS at us. "Unexplained" is simply not proof that "god did it".

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I think the Church would say that even the ones science can explain are animated by God.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Guster

          Funny how god's "animation" can't make limbs grow back. Nor do anything else that can be proven.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Sounds like Billy D wants to give his unproven god credit for 100% of the cures – unexplained and "animated."

          August 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Yes, I give credit to God for the creation of a body that can heal, for a mind that can learn and for the ability to collect and retain knowledge over the centuries, and for the skill of surgeon's and physicians and for the dedication of nurses and caregivers. I give God credit for the hope and prayers of the sick. What some people seem to not understand, whether deliberately or not, is that science and faith are not mutually exclusive. As Pope John Paul II said, "They are like two wings on which human aspiration soars. Faith without reason degenerates into superstiition and reason without faith degenerates into nihilism."

          August 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Sara

          Except they are exclusive, Bill. For instance, the Christian god (as I believe we have discussed before) requires radical free will to justify eternal punishment. This is not supported by modern science. The various Christian churches have to wriggle around absurdly to get past this. (Saraswati)

          August 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Observer

      So, in the very best wishful thinking scenario, a minimum of 99.14% of claimed miracles there are false. Those are pitiful statistics for anyone claiming that Lourdes does a lot of miracles.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Interesting that you view it that way. I see it as evidence of the severe scrutiny placed on the claims. Anyone can go to Lourdes and claim a healing. But through the rigorous investigation of the Bureau and the Church some 98% are determined to be false.

        August 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Observer

          Bill Deacon

          "Interesting that you view it that way."

          View it that way? Those are your own incriminating statistics that show that a MINIMUM of 99.14% of all claims of miracles are false and the rest can't be proved either way.

          If some experimental drug came out and failed at least 99.14% of the time, I suppose you'd praise it. You don't seem to understand mathematics and statistics.

          August 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          You have to remember that religious persons will always view things from the perspective they want. Bill here much prefers to think of it as 2% proof for miracles as opposed to 98% proof against...

          August 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Johnny

          I would be willing to bet quite a bit that more people have been killed on their way to and from Lourdes over the years in accidents than have been cured while they were there.

          August 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Alias

      It seems much more likely that 2% of these cases were not diagnosed completely, or incorrectly, and the believer will forever 'know' that god saved them.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • ME II

      This seems like a case of confirmation bias. I don't know the medicine behind these cases but 69 out of 8000 seems like it might be within random sampling.

      While "unexplained" may allow the RCC to claim a miracle, I would think the question should be how many "unexplained" cures happen in a random sampling of people who haven't visited Lourdes?

      August 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Reality

        Good point.

        August 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Only 69 have been declared "unexplainable" by science and subsequently declared miraculous by the Church."

      Your god has a terrible batting average...

      August 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      Time to tear down a bad argument.

      > There have been close to 8000 claims of miracle cures at Lourdes in the nearly 150 years since the first appearance of the Lady of Lourdes.

      How many people have visited? That's perhaps a better question. And to what degree are these miracles?

      > From the very beginning these cases have been under close, medical and press scrutiny. Only 69 have been declared "unexplainable" by science and subsequently declared miraculous by the Church.

      Unexplainable doesn't mean that it's against science or supernatural. It means that it cannot be accounted for. 300 years ago, the flu would have been unexplainable by science. Getting better wouldn't have been a miracle.

      > Although a few cases of remission have occurred nullifying the miracle, the preponderance of cases, once recognized as unexplained by the medical bureau and declared miraculous by the Church have remained so even as modern methods of scrutiny have been applied.

      How can an event, which has no explanation be used as an explanation for an event? If we don't know what happened, how can we attribue that to a miracle or any other event?

      August 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Reality

        As per the Catholic News Service, six million pilgrims visit Lourdes annually. Let us say that the rate has been constant for the last ten years and that each pilgrim has some type of ailment minor like arthritis or major like blindness. Statistically we have either 8000/ 60,000,000 X 100 = 0.0135 % cure rate or 69/60,000,000 X 100 = 0.00011 % cure rate depending on whom you believe. So much for the power of Lourdes!!! No wonder the RCC does not officially sanction this tourist trap!!!

        August 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    What makes them think they're welcome at a Church if they're disabled?
    Certainly they are God's children –
    "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"
    – Exodus 4:11

    But that doesn't mean He wants them in His house....
    "Whosoever ... hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. ... Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries."
    – Leviticus 21:17

    August 14, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      C'mon Doc, It is common knowledge he changed his mind with the NT. I know it also says he doesn't change his mind, but he changed his mind about that too.

      August 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        That's why I have "Leviticus 19:28" tattooed on my neck.

        August 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Reality

      Might want to review the Torah for Modern Minds:

      For the newbies on this blog:

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      August 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
      • Reality

        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review of the New Torah for Modern Minds.

        August 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  16. tallulah13

    How sad that these people go year after year, expecting a miracle that never comes, and it's terrible that the myth is allowed to perpetuate, giving false hope. How is this different than any other scam?

    August 14, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Scam artists know it's a scam. While there are undoubtedly many who are just in it for the money (special mention to televangelists and 'megachurch' pastors), I believe that most clergy, pastors, imams, rabbis, etc. are genuine believers who truly believe what they preach. That's what I personally believe to be the difference between religion and a scam.

      August 14, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • Thinker...

        "Scam artists know it's a scam"

        Except for L. Ron Hubbard. He always seemed to be able to scam himself.

        August 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah, if they were smart like you, they'd know they should just give up.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      It makes someone money. Ergo – perpetuation.

      August 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I'm sure Billy D will come up with some statistics or religious bullsh!t (with apologies for the redundancy) to prove me wrong, but I strongly suspect a sick person is far more likely to win the lottery with the worst odds than actually being cured at Lourdes or any other RCC franchise operation. Let the delusions continue. . .

      August 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        A quick google search shows that the odds of winning "the lottery" are about 1 in 176 million.

        Officials claim that 80,000 people a year visit Lourdes. Presuming every single on e of them is looking for a miracle (doubtful but makes the math easier), that equals 12 million miracle seekers over the last 150 years. Divided by 69 recognized miracles equals a 1 in not quite 175,000 chance of a miracle healing. Makes you feel kinda stupid for buying that ticket doesn't it?

        August 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Now all you have to do is show that the alleged cures were real AND as a result of visiting Lourdes. You're still not dealing with facts, unlike a lottery winner who has real evidence and a proven result.

          August 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Bill, you idiot, it's pretty hard to fake "winning the lottery," but any moron can CLAIM that his migraines got are slightly less worse after visiting than before. Is there anybody out there that could buy poor Billy a clue?

          August 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • Observer

          Bill Deacon can't keep his own numbers and story straight. The other day the "69 recognized miracles" here were described by him as 69 cases that were "unexplainable by science". That is according to science today, which is always gaining new knowledge. That's a big difference that Bill is IGNORING now.

          His own numbers were that at BEST, 99.14% of all Lourdes "miracles" were false. Terrible failure rate for people who were "certain" they had a miracle.

          August 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "I believe that most clergy, pastors, imams, rabbis, etc. are genuine believers who truly believe what they preach. That's what I personally believe to be the difference between religion and a scam."

      I wonder how many of Bernie Maddoffs brokers knew he was running a scam. After the investigation it was shown that they believed in the financial products they were selling people, did that make it any less of a scam?

      August 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Sounds like Bernie should have declared his operation to be a religion. At least one life might have been saved.

        August 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Thinker...

          And he wouldn't have had to pay any taxes!

          August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  17. ME II

    What a waste.
    Hope is a wonderful thing, but false hope is worse than no hope, in my opinion.

    August 14, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Agreed. False hope is a distraction from the task at hand which is to seek out any and all actual solutions that have been tested and studied to find a remedy for what ails you.

      August 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Honey Badger Don't Care

    And NO ONE has EVER been healed due to these supersti tious beliefs.

    whywontgodhealamputees.com

    August 14, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    If I could heal all these people I would, that's the difference between me and your god!

    August 14, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  20. Angel

    Pain and suffering is real, hope and healing comes from God. Very moving pictures.

    August 14, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Johnny

      How can an imaginary character from a 2000 year old book heal anything?

      August 14, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      If your god created everything then he created pain and suffering too. Dont give me any of that fall carp either. He created the system in which the fall could happen even though he didnt have to. If he is omniscient then he knew that it would happen too. Total B S.

      August 14, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your god makes you suffer so that you can be grateful to him when you feel better? Sounds like an abusive relationship to me.

      August 14, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • Bob

        Well said, tallulah13.

        Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
        Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
        http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

        August 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "If I inflict the pain then, baby, only I can comfort you"
        – Greg Dulli

        August 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.