For centuries Catholic reformers have looked with the hairy eyeball at popular religion, which seems to them a mish-mash of sensuality and superstition. The suspicion continues. A responder over at John Allen’s blog claims that Pope Benedict is not consistent in his insistence on the connection of religion and reason:

in Benedict’s case he is not addressing the Catholic Church’s flaws in this area. To illustrate my point; scholars have now come to the conclusion that Juan Diego who saw “Our Lady of Guadalupe” is a fictional person. If he is fiction, what does that say about the entire visitation? How does the church respond? They elevate the visitation to a solemnity. I submit that this is not a “reasonable” thing to do.

By promulgating these events, the church plays with fire. To so completely disregard fact, they leave the faithful to wonder what other teachings are based in reality and what are based on devotional whims. In this case, the end does not justify the means.

Our faith, in its pure simplicity, has a beauty and a truth that gets lost in all this other “STUFF.” We need people who will follow the teachings of Jesus and not just be dazzled by hocus pocus. And lest anyone get the wrong idea, I am not referring to our ritual and our liturgy or our virtue, habit and practice. Our Catholic identity has to be based on truth or we just wind up looking unreasonable.

Attacking the reality of the apparition of Nuestra Señora de Guadeloupe is no way to connect to the Hispanics who will soon be the majority of Catholics in the United States. But it would be dishonest for the Church to proclaim an event that never happened.

I wonder who these skeptical and unnamed “scholars” are. I have always thought that the tilma is hard to explain as a painting, and it suggests strongly that something miraculous occurred.

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