Reuters blog archive
The Roman Catholic shrine at Lourdes has announced the "remarkable healing" of a French invalid, avoiding the traditional term "miracle" because its doctors increasingly shy away from calling an illness or condition incurable. The case of Serge François, 56, whose left leg was mostly paralysed for years, was the first healing announced since the Church eased some rules in 2006 for declaring that a person was healed thanks to visiting the site.
The Catholic Church teaches that God sometimes performs miracles, including cures that doctors can't explain. Sceptics reject this as unscientific and explain sudden recoveries as psychological phenomena or the delayed result of treatment.
Here's the announcement on the official site in French, with information about Serge François. Click on "English" at the upper right for the translation (not available at the time of this posting).
(Photo: Orthodox Christians at Sumela Monastery, 15 August 2010/Umit Bektas)
Europe Papadopolous's grandparents were children when they fled their village in northeast Turkey and settled in Greece almost 90 years ago, yet she still felt she was in exile.
Papadopolous, 45, was one of thousands of Orthodox faithful who journeyed to Sumela Monastery, built into a sheer cliff above the Black Sea forest, on Sunday to attend the first mass here since ethnic Greeks were expelled in 1923.
The Vatican has opened an investigation into reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the small town of Medjugorje in southern Bosnia which have drawn more than 30 million pilgrims and divided the Catholic Church.
Since six children first reported visions of the Virgin Mary on a hillside near Medjugorje in 1981 -- reminiscent of famous apparitions in the French town of Lourdes and Fatima in Portugal -- Catholics have debated whether the visions were a modern-day miracle, wishful thinking or an elaborate fraud.
A highly-publicised visit by Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn to the disputed Roman Catholic shrine of Medjugorje seems to have deepened the divide between Catholics who fervently believe the Virgin Mary appears to visionaries there and those who suspect the Bosnian pilgrimage site may be a hoax.
The visit over the New Year's holiday provoked a surprisingly undiplomatic public complaint from the bishop of Mostar, the Bosnian region that includes Medjugorje, and that has set the Catholic blogosphere buzzing (for example here ... here ... here... here... here... here... here... here...). It also prompted a little-noticed theological comment from Schönborn that might point to where the debate over Medjugorje may be going. More on that later...