If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
The Eucharistic "Miracle" of Lanciano
Atheist Missionary on Lanciano: http://www.atheistmissionary.com/2009/03/lucky-lanciano-proof-of.html
The Catholic Church teaches that when the priest says the words of Jesus, "This is my body," and "This is my blood" over bread and wine at Mass that they become the body and blood of Jesus despite there being no detectable change. This is called transubstantiation - one substance changing into another.
The Catholic Church takes advantage of the fact that we know there is more to something than what we sense about it. The flower is more than just the colour we see. The Church uses this perception to trick us into failing to see how absurd transubstantiation is. The fact that there is more to the flower than the things we can sense about it does not mean we have to consider the possibility that it is actually a human being and not a flower.
If the alchemists had presented lead to us for sale saying it was really gold though every test said it was lead what would we think? The doctrine of transubstantiation opens the door to such bizarre claims. If you claim the right to say bread is really a living breathing man then you can't complain if somebody starts saying that his multivitamin is an antibiotic.
The Church rejects the notion that the substance of the bread and wine vanish and are replaced with the substance of the body and blood of Jesus. It says the substance of the bread and wine are turned into the substance of the body and blood of Jesus. This really means that Jesus's substance is made from that of the bread and wine.
The doctrine of the transformation is so odd that most Catholics if not all struggle with it. There are reports of Jesus miraculously changing the bread into his bleeding flesh. These reports are doubtful considering that no Catholic miracles such as apparitions of Mary are credible. The evidence says that the Church is not to be taken seriously.
Some of the stories of bread becoming flesh or bleeding or whatever, the stories of the Eucharistic Miracles, are regarded as true. Most are not. And yet their veneration is permitted.
The Church claims that the stories are true when there is no reasonable explanation apart from the supernatural. There must be verification that the flesh or blood is of human origin. Predictably, there is little concern for proving all the flesh and blood out there came from one man - from Jesus!
The supernatural is not an explanation at all. If you have tried all the natural explanations and none fits that does not mean that none of them really fits. Maybe you made a mistake or have been told something wrong. And what if there is a natural explanation you know nothing about? The absence of a natural explanation does not prove that the only explanation is supernatural.
The supernatural is not enough. Religion imagines that the magical and the supernatural are not the same thing. Sensible people believe they are for both claim to be able to raise the dead,. Religion says the supernatural ultimately comes from God. But suppose magic and the supernatural though alike are not the same. Then most people in history have believed that magic can make the impossible happen. Even if there is a God, an all-powerful God, what if magic really exists? You may say it is impossible for it to exist for it is the impossible happening. But somebody could say that they have seen the impossible happening. The point is that you cannot know if the supernatural is magic or not and if magic exists then it is able to contradict even God!
The errors and lies in the reasoning of those involved in "authenticating" Eucharistic Miracles warns us off believing in them!
The Lanciano Legend
In the eighth century, a priest-monk of the Basilian order began to suspect that the doctrine of bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Jesus was absurd.
He said Mass in the Church of St Legontian in the town of Lanciano, Italy.
He said the words, "This is my body," and the communion bread changed into literal flesh. He then said the words, "This is my blood", and the wine in the chalice turned into real blood.
Later these items were put into a shrine. They still exist today.
The miracle did not involve actual cannibalism. Unlike the miracle of 1374 in St Peter's Church, Middleburg, there was no blood or flesh in anybody's mouth. In the case of the Middleburg miracle, a dissolute man had taken the communion wafer on his tongue the wafer turned into human flesh and oozed blood. He took the disgusting mess out of his mouth and blood spurted out and plastered the communion rail and the floor. The Church accepted this miracle as real. The remains of the flesh are in the care of the Augustinian Fathers in Louvain. In the Eucharistic Miracle of Fiecht, Austria, of 1310, the wine turned into boiling blood and the priest drank some of the repulsive aperitif and the rest was preserved in a monstrance created in 1719. If the miracles are supernatural then they clearly endorse cannibalism. The Lanciano one didn't do that directly but in the context of similar miracles it implicitly did.
The Catholic Church talks about the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano. As with the Turin Shroud, there are a lot of lies told and assumptions made to make this seem to have been a true miracle. And biased science is employed for good measure. The Catholic Church like the cosmetic companies seeks and gets scientific backing that is a travesty of science and commonsense.
Is the legend true? Is it a real miracle?
The Provenance of the Alleged Miracle
Who is the monk? Does he have a name?
There is no direct testimony.
There is no testimony that the monk's story was backed up by worshippers.
When we go back, the earliest account we have of the miracle is an inscription that dates from 1631 that tells us the story. It cannot be proved that the miracle happened in the 8th century. There is no half-decent evidence never mind proof!
It would be strange if God wanted us to believe in the resurrection of Jesus because of eyewitness accounts and then does a miracle to impress us such as the reported miracle of Lanciano and makes no effort to keep some accounts for us.
The best the Catholics can say to this is, "Who are you to say what God should or shouldn't do?" That could be said then to a person who claims to have had a vision that the Virgin Mary has fallen from Heaven and become the new Devil!
What the Pictures say
The blood looks like lumps of something. It has not stayed fresh.
The pictures above depict the transformed Eucharist bread.
You can see that the flesh has rotted away in the middle. What we have left is something that is clearly mummified. It might be down to a process of natural mummification.
There is nothing impressive about these pictures. Yet the Church claims that the preservation of the flesh and blood must be a miracle!
It has been argued that science wasn't developed enough back then to make such a good fake relic. You only have to look at the miracle to see that there is nothing odd about it.
The Miracles Implications for Catholics
The Catholics say that the miracle proves that transubstantiation has happened. In this case, the bread and wine became the body and blood of Jesus as usually happens at Mass but this time there was a visible change. The piece of heart is substantially the whole Jesus. It only appears to be a piece of him.
Catholics genuflect to and worship the Eucharistic miracle. This is undoubtedly idolatry.
If the Eucharist is the living resurrected body and blood of Jesus why does the Lanciano miracle show him to be a cadaver? It is Catholic teaching that Jesus in the condition of a man suffering on the cross is not present in the Eucharist. It teaches that the Eucharist is the changed and risen Jesus. Or do you want to take the miracle as evidence from God that Jesus did not rise from the dead!
The miracle seemingly defends the extremist and heretical doctrine of some in the eighth century that the physical elements change in the Eucharist. Catholicism says they do not physically change but there is still a change. For Catholics, transubstantiation is only a change in the "substance", not the physical form.
The monk saying the mass would have said over the bread, "Take eat this is my body." Then it turns into human flesh. Are we to take this as meaning he was called on to eat what appeared? Was he called to be a cannibal? There have been reports of Eucharistic miracles where Jesus' blood appeared in a person's mouth.
The Church says the miracle is part of private revelation so nobody is obligated to believe in it.
If it were a real miracle, the flesh would still be raw and the blood still liquid.
The Implications of Science
Science can only tell us things about the flesh and blood. It cannot tell us that they really were once bread and wine. There is no proof of transubstantiation.
In 1970, a scientific examination came up with the following.
• The Flesh is real Flesh. 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 the fresh normal blood.
• In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
• The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
Study by Dr. Edoardo Linoli, Professor of Anatomy and Pathological Histology, Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was once head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo. His assistant was Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, retired professor of human anatomy at the University of Siena.
The study was never accepted for inclusion in peer reviews.
There is only a little tissue yet the study claimed: 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.
This was blatant lying.
Another lie is how we are told that the flesh and blood were exposed to the air for centuries. There is no evidence for that and they are kept in airtight jars.
The doctor, Linoli, claimed in 2005 that the preservation was inexplicable and the flesh and blood were not taken from a corpse as they would have decayed fast. This is a lie as well as parts of the body can be mummified and preserved.
Let us forget about the lies and look at the bias shown by Linoli.
Also, though bias does not always prove a person is wrong, the bias shown by Linoli makes his conclusions suspect.
In his report he talked about "the Miraculous tissue" and "the Miraculous heart fragment". It has not been proven that the flesh is miraculous in origin. Even if its preservation is strange (and going by the photos the preservation was extremely poor)
He made no effort to test the age of the flesh and blood. That didn't stop him saying they were 12 hundred years old!
The alleged report by WHO which backed up his findings cannot be found anywhere. Does it exist?
Though Linoli said the tissue was not alive the WHO report allegedly said it was! He said it was dried out. He said it was shrunken. He found that it was infested with microorganisms/fungi.
The Church evidently chose an expert who had no intention of being open minded and who would authenticate the alleged miracle.
The blood was AB same as the Shroud of Turin but all old blood tests as AB due to chemical changes caused by ageing.
APPENDIX FROM CATHOLIC ANSWERS FORUM
Re: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
So what follows will be my look into the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano (hereinafter the "EMOL")....and an explanation as to why I believe that what has been "what is presented as substantiating the miracle is pitiful"
Problem One - disclosure regardng the historical record
The EMOL has been put forward on the internet's court of public opinion as proof of the legitimacy of Catholic claims about its Eucharist. I have described what has been offered by Catholics as "pitiful". My reasons for doing so are varied, but begin with how terribly incomplete the Catholic sites are about what they report. For a blood sample to be admitted in a real Court as evidence for the prosecution (so as to place the accused at the scene), the prosecution would have to show that the sample was obtained from the crime scene and then the integrity of the sample would have to be established from when it was obtained at the crime scene up to and including the testing. With the EMOL, the miracle is said to have happened in the 8th century, but what is typically missing from Catholics presentations about the EMOL is information as to when the EMOL is first mentioned in the historical record. Can we say with any certainty that the samples have been around 1200-1300 years? I have seen claims that the first mention of the EMOL (in the historical record) is from the 17th century. Is that true? Are we dealing with a 800-900 year gap....if so, that is rather problematic. I haven't found a site (in English) that properly described the history of the samples ....let alone one that provided sources for the alleged history. I did find an Italian site that provides the type of detail that one should expect....though I must rely on Google to translate (and I suspect it could be considerably more scholarly in its presentation...but it is way, way better than any English language site that I found).
Now, given the EMOL is supposed to have happened in the 8th century we simply cannot expect that the Catholics would be able to properly prove that a) the Eucharistic samples were in fact obtained from the Church at Lanciano in the 8th Century (as opposed to fabricated in the 13th century) and b) that it is those exact same 8th century samples that were delivered to Dr. Linoli in 1970 for testing. For those of us who are skeptical, we must acknowledge that it would be entirely unreasonable for us to expect compliance with modern evidential standards. Conversely, for those who are Catholic enthusiasts, they must acknowledge that no matter what modern tests reveal, those modern tests can't trace the samples back to the 8th century and then down through the years to the laboratory....and so there will always be a question of: Where did these samples really come from? (I should point out that I believe accurate dating of the samples would be impossible due to contamination of the samples). What bothers me about all of this is that, if the EMOL is being presented (to the English speaking internet audience) as a reason to believe or as a validation of Catholic claims, then the presenter should try to be as scholarly and open as possible and should disclose whatever problems exist in the historical record in tracing the samples all the way back to the 8th Century. Sources (complete with dates for the sources) should be provided for each event in the alleged history of the samples for the EMOL. Instead, all I found were sites that related some anecdotal history wrt the samples with the expectation that these stories should be accepted without question. Now perhaps some Catholic site (in English) does do a good job of disclosing these issues, but if so, then that site wasn't one of the many that I looked at. For such a highly regarded Eucharistic miracle, the English language Catholic internet sites have done a extremely poor job providing a good history of the samples....a history that would track them, as well as sources allow, from the alleged event to Linoli's laboratory
Re: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Problem Two - credentials and safeguards and feedback
As Lyrikal reports, in 1970/71 a study was performed by "Dr. Edoardo(sic) Linoli, a professor of anatomy and pathological histology, and of chemistry and clinical microscopy, and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, retired professor of human anatomy at the University of Siena." In a real court, the defence is given the opportunity to check the credentials of the witness that the prosecution hopes to have qualified as an expert. So again, it is MHO that the Catholics sites touting the EMOL should do a proper job of presenting Linoli's curriculum vitae so that his capabilities can be properly assessed. Further, as with the testing of the Shroud of Turin, it shouldn't just be one laboratory that runs the tests, but independent tests should be done (ideally with the public informed that these are underway so that results will be published notwithstanding what results are obtained). I managed to find one site that provided translations of part of Linoli's paper. Sadly, b/c I couldn't find a Catholic site that made the paper available (let alone translated it), I am left relying on David Simmons (who I am sure is an Atheist and appears to be a graduate student in Molecular Biology) to do the job. Now again, perhaps there is a Catholic site that provides a copy of the paper (original in Italian) and perhaps there is even one out there somewhere that provides a translation of the paper, but in the dozens of Catholics sites that I looked at and that cited the report, none provided the report, let alone a translation of it. It might be paraphrased (largely of partially) on the Italian site that I linked above. (hereinafter the "good Italian site")
In the paper we find Linoli referring to the samples as "the Miraculous tissue" and "the Miraculous heart fragment". Although he performed no test validating the age of the samples, he described them as 1200 years old. Such fawning terminology and unquestioning acceptance of the age of the samples is less than professional and leaves Linoli's work suspect. In any event, IMHO if Catholics want to tout the EMOL as proof, then they should arrange for proper testing to be conducted. As with the Shroud of Turin, publicize the event, get the best laboratories involved and make the findings available for critical review. With that being done various experts could weigh in on the matter to review methodology, ensure the validity of results and evaluate conclusions. Some Catholic sites report that in 1973 the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted 500 tests on the samples and verified Linoli's findings.....but again, the report from the WHO is hard, if not impossible, to locate. I haven't found it and the good Italian site, doesn't even mention the WHO tests. . It strikes me as odd that 500 tests were run. That is a lot of tests to verify Linoli's findings.....suspiciously high. It would sure be nice if the WHO report was made readily available. Again, the Catholic internet sites (in English) have done a extremely poor job of providing information (the scientific papers) in particular), but want their readers to swallow their presentations on the EMOL hook, line and sinker. One Italian site (not the good one) summarized the WHO report as stating (regarding the samples): Their preservation after almost twelve centuries, relics of glass and in the absence of preservatives, antiseptics, and antifermentatives mummificanti, not scientifically explainable: for the vessels that contain these relics do not prevent access of air and light or the 'Order of entry of plant or animal parasites, ordinary atmospheric air vehicles. As the nature of the piece of meat, the commission declares without hesitation that it is a living tissue that responds quickly to all clinical reactions of living beings. If that accurately summarized what the WHO report stated, then the WHO report was also an unprofessional effort. It appears that the age of the samples was accepted at 12 centuries w/o question. There is no way for them to have verified that the samples were preserved for 12 centuries. The "living tissue" comment is also odd in that Linoli described the heart sample as deteriorated - dried out, shrunken, marred with nail holes, infested with microorganisms/fungi. (see Simmons' translation for the details). It appears that neither Linoli nor the WHO performed a proper unbiased investigation. Proper, unbiased testing needs to be performed. It does appear as if a biased expert (Linoli) was sought out and employed to make the case for the miracle look as good as possible...and the (missing in action) WHO report just smells fishy.
Re: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Problem Three - overstating the findings in Linoli's paper
As indicated, I could only gain access to Linoli's paper through D Simmons' blog b/c I didn't find a Catholic site that made the paper available. If you go to the summary page of the paper (the one page in English) you will note that of all the stuff that Lyrikal claimed, only the stuff that I have highlighted in green above is actually advanced in the summary of the paper. Simmons provides a translation of portions of Linoli's paper at his blog . Here again are the "findings" that Lyrikal listed (and that are often repeated on Catholic sites) including the ones that weren't in the paper... with my remarks in bold:
• The Flesh is real Flesh. 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. This I don't challenge. Linoli's work, however, does not and could not possibly determine whether the samples were the result of a miracle or whether they were the produced by a fraudster acquiring and planting human heart tissue and blood centuries earlier.
• 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. this may or may not be in the report. Is there enough of the heart left to justify such an observation?
• The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure. This is just nonsense....the paper described a mummified slice of a bit of a human heart....anything but complete....where are the valves, the atriums, the right ventricle?
• The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin). In tracking this matter down I came across the claim that as samples deteriorate they all start to produce AB type readings: Al Adler, a blood specialist from Western Connecticut State University, and another Shroud scientist, pointed out that all old blood tended to test AB because the compounds that generated the test response were also in the cell walls and if the walls degraded the blood started to test AB. But it was possible, he felt, to discern false AB positive readings from real AB type readings. Source ...and I saw that claim often enough that I believe it to be valid. Further, it is no longer certain that the Shroud contains AB blood. This is where peer review would be very useful. As it stands, this finding IMHO is suspect in regard to the blood type of the heart tissue, of the blood pellets and as to matching the Shroud's blood type.
• In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood. and?...the paper makes it clear that the blood isn't fresh blood...it has deteriorated substantially
• In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium yes, they varied from what would be found in fresh blood because of deterioration. The calcium was much higher and everything else was lower
• The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon. Linoli stated that the proteins that he found in the samples agreed with what is found in Egyptian mummies...in other words, it is not unique at all.
As such, this paper that is referenced over and over again by Catholic sites, does little more than establish that the samples consist of deteriorated human blood and deteriorated human heart tissue...nothing at all that would require (or even suggest) the miraculous. Regarding aged blood all tending to test positive for AB type, it is likely that that tendency was not known in 1971 when Linoli did his tests. The tests should be redone and done properly.
Re: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
Problem Four - exaggerated claims such as scientists being baffled etc.
After looking at this, I expect that Catholic enthusiasts think that one or more of the following five matters (some from the red highlighted stuff above) must be baffling:
A. The blood, as we have it today, is now dry blood and it is now blood clot. There are actually 5 balls of blood clots. They are all different sizes and yet they all weigh the same. Not only that, but if you weigh one blood clot, it weighs the same as if you put all 5 blood clots on a scale.
Response: This would be baffling if it were true, but it is false. In 1574 Archbishop Rodriguez made this claim, but in 1886, the weight of the five clots was found to be: 8, 2.45, 2.85, 2.05 and 1.15 grams respectively. The five clots continue to each have a different weight and in all likelihood Archbishop Ridriguez lied or was grossly incompetent. Source
B. In regard to the blood, the scientist emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions."
"The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.
Response: This isn't remarkable until the consensus in the scientific community is that: a) the Shroud of Turin has AB type blood on it and that any positive result for AB type blood was not the result of the degradation of the cell walls; and b) that the samples from the EMOL are actually type AB blood and that any positive result for AB type blood was not the result of the degradation of the cell walls (Please note that the cell walls in the Lanciano samples had, in fact broken down). It should also be noted that the percentages provided for regional inhabitants are the modern percentages and not the percentages of the first century, or the 8th century. I have even found claims that the AB blood type did not exist in the first century....originating sometime around 700 AD or later. I have no idea as to whether there is any substance to that claim of late origin for the AB type.
C. I have seen where some sites have expressed amazement at the preservation of the samples....suggesting that was something stated in the WHO report
Response: The preservation of these sorts of samples for 12 centuries is remarkable, but far from miraculous. Now, if this is a forgery from 1300, then the preservation of these sorts of samples for 7 centuries is considerably less remarkable. In any event, I sure didn't notice a gathering of baffled scientists wrt the matter of preservation....it is simply not that amazing.
D. Somes site claim that Linoli concluded that the heart sample of the EMOL heart sample was not a medieval forgery, b/c "even if the heart was taken from a corpse, it must be concluded that only an expert hand of anatomical dissection could have, and not without serious difficulties, get a hollow viscous, a "slice" uniform and continuous, taking into account that the first human dissections were had back in 1300." It is hard to tell, what exactly Linoli said w/o having access to good translations...
Response: This doesn't seem baffling and if Linoli made that conclusion, then it was a pile of subjective speculation! Linoli's area of expertise does not extend to medieval butchering skills. Please note, it isn't that the sample doesn't nicely match a piece of the heart produced by slicing it, but it is claimed that the slice is too good to be produced by the average Joe.. What, they didn't have sharp knives back then? It seems more than reasonable to me that if a Medieval forger was going to plant some heart tissue for the devoted, he would take a fresh heart, slice it a number of times and then pick the best piece...not one that was poorly sliced. It seems that the sample is consistent with that expectation..
E. It seems that Linoli concluded that the heart sample of the EMOL must have been living flesh when it appeared. This is how the good Italian site puts it with the help of Google's translation: "Brownish in colour, has a large irregular opening in the centre, for feedback to the outside, and marginally thicker, circular folds for lifting devices . In this area you can see 14 small holes left by the nails used to take the Host expanse - some meat on the tablet in order to counteract the curling due to rigor mortis, or stiffness following a succession shortly after the death from physical and chemical changes . This suggests that, at the time of the miracle, the Host appeared meat and had been living in the Heart." Simmons' translation agrees.
Response: The idea that nail holes on the edge of a sample suggest that the heart sample was alive is ridiculous. If one followed that logic, the beef sate that I get from the Thai restaurant must have been living flesh when it went on the skewers, b/c there are skewer holes in the beef....all it suggests is that someone tried to keep the sample from curling up while it was still somewhat fresh.
To repeat, if Catholics want to use this "miracle" as proof of the legitimacy of Catholic claims about their Eucharist, then:
a) they should report the matter thoroughly and accurately and in a scholarly manner;
b) test the samples properly (independently, with safeguards) to see if there is indeed anything baffling about them.
c) subject any claims of a miraculous finding or of a baffling phenomenon to expert critical evaluation.
...in other words, do the job right.