I received an email from a reader whose identity I’ll withhold for obvious reasons. It links to a video (embedding is prohibited) showing a woman with apparent stigmata, followed by an obviously bogus claim that a wafer turned into blood and a heart in the 8th century. But the stigmata require an explanation, and I know that there are skeptics, doctors, and magicians among our readers. So please help this reader with your expertise after watching the video. I myself have written to my doctor for an explanation.
The email is reproduced with permission of the writer.
I am almost finished with your book and have watched many of your videos on evolution which have been extremely helpful in my overall understanding of the topic.
I was born and raised Roman Catholic and am clinging to my faith but just barely. I have been deeply influenced by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, et al. and their writing on atheism. This latest papal/Vatican scandal has just about caused me to slam the door behind me as I leave the Church…very embarrassing.
Then I go to my parish mission last night and watch this video called “Science Tests Faith” about a bleeding statue, bleeding host and a woman in Bolivia with the stigmata – the wounds of Christ. Apparently these “miracles” have been independently tested and authenticated by various experts. There are two people featured in the film – one is a lawyer and one is a reporter, both Aussies. Both were atheists and have converted to Catholicism because of their experience.
I know you are a busy man…but I am wondering if you could watch this short video about this woman and give me your thoughts. Obviously if it is true, it is pretty amazing, if not then a huge fraud that these two individuals have bought hook, line and sinker and are trying to get others to. Both seem sincere and seem intelligent and articulate which makes the whole thing very strange.
This is the kind of thing that Catholics cling to and keeps them hoping and praying for an afterlife. It makes absolutely no sense but these odd occurrences are difficult to explain.
Any thoughts you could share would be greatly appreciated.
The heart and blood at the video’s end refer to the “Miracle of Lanciano”, which you can read about here. It’s supposedly the remains of communion bread that was transformed into actual flesh and blood before the eyes of an an Italian monk around 700 A.D.
The ancient flesh and blood were examined by an Italian doctor who concluded this:
- The flesh is real flesh and the blood is real blood
- The flesh and the blood belong to the human species
- The flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart
- In the flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium. The flesh is a heart complete in its essential structure.
- The flesh and the blood have the same blood type, AB
- In the blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood
- In the blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium
- Both the flesh and the blood showed no evidence of preservatives(or other added chemical agents of any kind) being used.
To me this says nothing, except that the AB blood type militates it being Jesus’s, for that requires two human alleles for different Landsteiner blood groups. (Of course, God can do anything.)
Reactions to the video, especially the stigmata? And remember, we have an honest request here from someone whose faith is tottering.