Editorial: Probing ‘miracles’

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SO THE kids who found an image of the Sto. Niño in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City lied when they claimed that the religious icon talked?

That is the conclusion of Fr. Benjie Balsamo of the Sto. Niño de Cebu parish in Mactan after he investigated the claim. And that is a blow to people who rushed to believe what the children said.

It wouldn’t be a surprise, though, if people will still flock to Barangay Mactan where a makeshift chapel has been set up to house the Sto. Niño image. There are always those whose faith transcends the bounds of the rational.

Probing miracles - Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon
Sun.Star Cebu editorial cartoon


These are the same people who wouldn’t listen to Msgr. Esteban Binghay. He advised the faithful not to immediately believe in claims of a miracle occurring.

“Not all unusual things are considered miracles. It has to be subjected to rigorous investigation because is a matter of faith,” he said.

The church has always been skeptical to claims about miracles, more so in this age of science. Every claim is subjected to rigorous examination that may take days, weeks, months, even years to complete.

A miracle can only be considered authentic if it is not naturally possible.

In the case of the “talking” Sto. Niño, the investigation wasn’t complicated. It was as simple as subjecting the children to questioning and eventually of them telling the truth about what happened.

But there are those that are difficult to authenticate, like medical miracles, which reportedly constitute 99 percent of miraculous claims. Proof has to be unearthed to show that there is no natural explanation to what happened.

The problem with the process, however, is that its completion is too slow or church officials no longer bother to publicize the result. If the “miracle” is a fake, chances are those duped won’t know about it for years. The claim lingers in people’s minds for long.

Last year, two miraculous claims involving religious icons were made, including one in Alcantara town where the image of the Virgin Mary supposedly turned its head to face Bohol, where the epicenter of last year’s earthquake was located.

Yet there has been no official announcement on whether these were authentic miracles or not. Because of this, the faithful won’t be educated on the church practice of authenticating claims about miracles occurring.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 04, 2014.


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