If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
Lourdes - the entity was not the real Virgin Mary
God is alleged to made Mary the mother of his son. He supposedly does miracles through her by sending her to earth in apparitions such as Lourdes and by healing people who ask her to pray for them. A Mary miracle is not obviously God revealing himself. It is too indirect. Revelation from God is hard for there are so many deluded believers and religions about and the Bible says man is not the fan of God he may pretend to be. If an being called Mary is appearing and doing miracles then it is not the real Mary.
THE LADY WAS NOT MARY
Bernadette did not know who the girl in the cave that only she could see and hear was. She called her aquero which means that thing or that person. This was in spite of the fact that Virgin looked like one of the statues in the parish Church (page 14, Bernadette of Lourdes - Laurentin). Once, Bernadette offered her pen and paper to write her name on. She never believed that the lady was Mary or called her Mary until the lady called herself the Immaculate Conception at the sixteenth vision. All this is hard to take in for surely Bernadette who heard of other apparitions would have supposed that this person who carried rosary beads and who chatted about God had to have been no one other than the Virgin Mary. But it isn’t hard to believe if Bernadette was lying about what or who she saw.
The vision wouldn't say who she was. She was inviting Bernadette to see a vision that refused to admit she was the Virgin Mary or from Heaven. It is true that the vision could lie but it looks bad when a vision invites a child to attend to apparitions that may be caused by forbidden powers or by Satan and doesn't indicate that it is from God. St John of the Cross, an experienced mystic, said that seeing apparitions should be avoided for if they are from God he will make sure you see them and that you should only believe in an apparition as a last resort for they are so dangerous and so many have been misled by them. How much more should one avoid a vision of a beautiful lady that doesn't claim to be the Blessed Virgin.
When the girl appearing to Bernadette saw the pen and paper she said that they were not necessary. They are if you are to have a reasonable belief in an apparition. If the apparition is not identified as Mary from the start then how can one expect the Church to keep a close eye on the happenings in case there will be a commission? Also, why could the lady not write and give a harmless proof?
At that time the vision came down a bit from the grotto because Bernadette had pen and paper with her. And Bernadette asked her if she was from God to tell her what she wanted. At this, the lady smiled with pleasure. But then she grew sad and shook her head when Bernadette told her to go away if she was not from God – a demon pretending to be the Virgin would be annoyed at the thought that God might stop him appearing. Then the lady made a sign that seemed to tell Bernadette to go away but it turned out it was the two holy women who had crept up behind her she meant. This is ridiculous for Mary was invisible and intangible to the women and Bernadette had nothing to secretive to tell her. It suggests some kind of hallucination and Mary would not have confused Bernadette for her visit would have been planned down to the finest detail before she left Heaven. Could it be that the vision was afraid of the women for God was with them? That would explain everything including why the vision was shocked at Bernadette for telling her to go if she was not from God. Read it in Bernadette of Lourdes - Laurentin, pages 10-20.
In the first apparition, the vision thought before she asked Bernadette to come for fifteen days (page 47, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). The real Virgin would have had it planned better than that and she wouldn’t have need to think. And she could not come without God telling her exactly what he wanted first. This lady was not Mary or from God.
At the second appearance, Bernadette had holy water with her but the entity had vanished before she had the chance to throw it at her and ask her if God or the devil had sent her (page 48, Encountering Mary). That looks very suspicious. Surely she would have been prepared to cast it at the vision as soon as it appeared? And did the vision want to avoid being splashed with holy water? Was she a devil after all and afraid it would burn her?
The lady never showed up one day despite having told the child to come to the grotto for fifteen days for her implying she was to appear those days (page 69, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). The lady broke her promise.
Bernadette said the lady moved the rosary beads she had through her fingers in tune with Bernadette’s recital of the rosary but the lady said nothing apart from the Gloria (page 35, ibid). The lady should have said the Our Father with her and left the bit about trespasses out if she was the sinless Virgin. The real Virgin would not turn away from a chance to pray. The Devil would be more likely to say the Gloria than to ask for the things in the Lord’s Prayer for encouraging us to praise God is not as bad for him as encouraging us to pray for the destruction of Satan’s influence. Or was the lady praying silently and just saying the glorias out loud? This is improbable when she said the glorias. She only told her beads to keep track of Bernadette’s prayers.
The apparition once told Bernadette that she did not promise to make her happy on earth but in Heaven. So she told her she would go to Heaven. Catholic theology forbids a person to believe that they will go to Heaven. It is the sin of presumption. Nobody knows if they will be deserving of salvation or alive tomorrow.
One time, the vision had Bernadette pushing handfuls of earth into her mouth and eating a wild plant and eating grass (page 84, ibid). Bernadette was actually told by the vision to eat the plant (page 45, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary). This command proves that the vision was not real or was not the Virgin Mary, the command makes no sense. That was a dangerous command for the grotto was an infectious dump. The real Mary would not have put Bernadette and pilgrims at risk by drawing them to such a place. And especially by enticing them with an allegedly miraculous spring of water and the lady even had them kissing the filthy disease-ridden ground (page 103, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). The Church says we cannot trust a vision too much or take risks over it until she says it is real which takes a long time and Mary understood that and still asked for that unreasonable amount of trust that she was Mary. Yet the same water is used for a time in the baths at Lourdes into which pilgrims are immersed and it has been known for pieces of flesh and pus to be floating around and the Church boasts that nobody get sick from this filthy water (page 49, The Crowds of Lourdes). But with the millions of visitors at Lourdes many of whom get sick later how does she know? It is only rarely that a person can know where they got their ailment from. This fanaticism is disturbing. The grotto was devoted to black magic and a stone was found there on which blood sacrifices were made to demonic deities long before Mary appeared (page 136, The Crowds of Lourdes). When you see what the shrine has led to, you might think that psychic forces were triggered to use Bernadette as the focus of a satanic hoax. The Church has argued that some people at Lourdes were cured without expecting it so the cures cannot be all down to autosuggestion and it says that many people with nervous ailments do not recover despite visiting Lourdes which also undermines the autosuggestion explanation (page 172,224, The Crowds of Lourdes). But lots of people make strange recoveries despite not expecting them. And the fact that some people who imagine they are sick because of some nervous ailment get better does not mean that all will. The Church sneered at the sceptic Zola’s complaint that no photos were taken of the wounds that were allegedly suddenly healed before the cure saying that photos don’t show any colours or prove that the wound is deep or real (page 218, The Crowds of Lourdes). But they would be better than nothing. The Church prefers to take their word for the cure and that is credulity.
One time the apparition chided Bernadette for using a friend’s rosary and not her own. The Virgin Mary did not appear much to Bernadette and would have had more important things to complain about than that.
A newspaper account of the March 4 1858 vision said that Bernadette saw the lady as before but the lady did not speak to her as she was angry at the disbelief of the people in the apparitions (page 52, Encountering Mary). Now as a vision is meant in Catholic theology not to draw attention to itself but to the teaching of the Church no vision has the right to demand belief or be angry if she doesn't get it. The Church is clear that apparitions since Bible times are optional for belief.
The Church commands obedience to parents. Yet the lady made Bernadette disobey her parents when they forbade her to go to the grotto (page 71, ibid). The Church claims that a private revelation cannot change the law for anybody. If the pope commands one thing and Jesus or Mary another the pope is to be obeyed for the visions are not as certain as the dogmatic authority of the Church – which raises the question of how they know that the visions of Jesus risen from the dead to the apostles which are the foundation of Christianity are real. Yet it recognised Lourdes as the work of God!
One man who was not insane said he saw Mary in the grotto but it was really a sinister male figure that he saw (page 60, Evidence for Satan in the Modern World). Some saw a scary shadow in a ball of light and were known for their honesty (ibid 58). The conclusion was that these were the Devil. The Devil would appear as the Virgin if he wanted to deceive. The devil would not manifest to make it look like he was mocking the apparitions for he would only mock visions that he made himself to get them taken for the real holy thing.
The Church uses holy water to frighten demons away. If the grotto had been blessed by the presence of God’s mother how could Satan appear there?
The Bible says that a testimony should only be taken seriously when there are at least two witnesses. At Lourdes, there was only one witness meaning that if it was supernatural then the Devil was behind it.
Bernadette got three secrets pertaining to herself from the lady which she never disclosed (page 77, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). The lady did not want the apparitions welcomed by the Church when she had to have evidence withheld. Perhaps she was not Mary at all but the beloved Elisa Latapie. This devout girl from Lourdes died before the apparitions and dressed in white with blue girdle like the vision did. Many thought that the lady was her ghost. The Bible, in the Law, says a true prophet makes true prophecies meaning that anybody that makes no true or false prophecies is suspect (Deuteronomy 18). The Lourdes lady made none so she cannot be the Virgin Mary who would have been devoted to the principles in the Law of Moses.
LOURDES AND THE BIBLE
The lady of Lourdes said she was conceived immaculately which contradicts the Bible which says that Jesus alone was sinless. There Paul wrote that there is nobody without sin at all and Jews and Gentiles are all sinners (Romans 3). Jesus was asked in the Gospel of Matthew, "Good teacher what must I do to have eternal life?" Jesus asked him why he was asking him about what was good for there was nobody good but God. In other words, Jesus was rejecting the suggestion that he knew what good was.
The lady of Lourdes advocated prayer to Mary when she encouraged the rosary which implies that God is imperfect and needs a saint who is better than him to influence him. The Rosary with its saying prayers that are not concentrated on conflicts with Christ who said that we must concentrate on all our prayers.
And there is one witness which contradicts Christ who said that at least two were necessary (John 8:17,18. Compare Deuteronomy 19:15 with Matthew 5:17). Even the Devil would not authorise such a flawed and obviously false apparition.
Believing in God, PJ McGrath, Millington Books and Wolfhound, Wolfhound, Dublin, 1995
Bernadette of Lourdes, Rev CC Martindale, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1970
Bernadette of Lourdes, Fr Rene Laurentin, Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1980
Counterfeit Miracles, BB Warfield, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1995
Eleven Lourdes Miracles, Dr D J West, Duckworth, London, 1957
Encountering Mary, Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz, Princeton University Press, Princetown NJ, 1991 or Encountering Mary, Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Avon, New York, 1991
Evidence for Satan in the Modern World, Leon Cristiani, TAN, Illinois, 1974
Looking For A Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Lourdes, Antonio Bernardo, A. Doucet Publications, Lourdes, 1987
Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988
Powers of Darkness Powers of Light, John Cornwell, Penguin, London, 1992
Spiritual Healing, Martin Daulby and Caroline Mathison, Geddes & Grosset, New Lanark, Scotland 1998
The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes, JB Estrade, Art & Book Company Westminster, 1912
The Crowds of Lourdes, Joris Karl Huysmans, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1925
The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, Kevin McClure, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 1985
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008