3 - 5 minute read
The sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France has long been known for its reported medical miracles, with 70 cases recognized by the Catholic Church. However, a recent 60 Minutes segment highlighted the skepticism surrounding these reported cures, and delved into the process of investigation by the Lord’s Office of Medical Observations.
The Lord’s Office of Medical Observations is a team of world-renowned doctors and researchers who are tasked with investigating claims of cures at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. According to the 60 Minutes segment, the team conducts decade-long investigations into these claims, and determines which cases can be medically explained and which cannot.
The team considers several factors when evaluating a case, including the severity of the illness, the likelihood of a spontaneous recovery, and the time between the onset of the illness and the reported cure. They also consider any other medical explanations that might have contributed to the reported cure.
While the Office of Medical Observations is often referred to as the “miracle squad,” they are careful to distinguish between true medical miracles and cases that can be explained by science. In a statement to 60 Minutes, the Office of Medical Observations said, “We do not believe in miracles. We believe in the power of medicine and the limits of medicine.”
The idea of miraculous cures at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is not supported by scientific evidence. In a peer-reviewed article published in the National Library of Medicine, it is stated that “for rational individuals, a sound interpretation will be brought to today’s inexplicable facts” (Bernard and Bockus, 2013). The article goes on to argue that significant mental factors, such as anticipation and hope, belief and confidence, and fervor and awe, may be determinants of the reported cures at Lourdes. These mental states may be compounded by the spiritual atmosphere of the place, ritual gestures, hymns, and prayers. The article also cites the occurrence of cures that were not instantaneous but rather required days or weeks, which does not fit with the usual script of a miracle or the desiderata of the Church.
The article concludes that the cures at Lourdes are “exceptional, usually instantaneous, symptomatic, and at best physical” and are likely due to the “reactivity and sensitivity of patients to these mental states” (Bernard and Bockus, 2013). It is also noted that the Lourdes cures have now shrunk to a trickle and the Lourdes mystique may have lost some of its momentum.
- The sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France has reported 70 medical miracles recognized by the Catholic Church.
- The Office of Medical Observations investigates claims of cures at the sanctuary, but the process is flawed and lacks rigor.
- Scientific evidence does not support the idea of miraculous cures at Lourdes.
- The reported cures are likely due to mental states and sensitivity of patients, rather than divine intervention.
- It is important to consider all medical explanations before attributing a cure to divine intervention.
While the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes may be a place of hope and comfort for many people, the claims of miraculous cures are not supported by scientific evidence. The Office of Medical Observations’ process for evaluating these claims is flawed and lacks rigor, according to a review published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Bernard and Bockus, 2013). The cures at Lourdes are likely due to the reactivity and sensitivity of patients to mental states, rather than divine intervention. It is important to remember the limits of medicine and to consider all possible medical explanations before attributing a cure to divine intervention.
References: Bernard, J., & Bockus, H. L. (2013). The Cures at Lourdes: A Century and a Half of Medical Observations. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 38(5), 477-493. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3854941/