The Miracle of the Sun that occurred on October 13, 1917 was the One and Triune God's gift to a doubting and skeptical World. Why the miracle occurred at a certain place and a certain time, predicted to the exact moment at the exact location, at least several times months in advance may somewhat be a mystery, though, the three visionary children at Fatima asked the Blessed Virgin Mary for a "sign" and she granted their request. While extension documentation exists about the miracle in books by Father John De Marchi and John Haffert with Dr. Almeida Garrett's first-hand testimony being available online, an excellent argument for the miracle's authenticity comes from skeptics. Professor Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion (pages 91-92), states the following about the Miracle of the Sun:
“On the face of it mass visions, such as the report that seventy thousand pilgrims at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 saw the sun ‘tear itself from the heavens and come crashing down upon the multitude’, are harder to write off. It is not easy to explain how seventy thousand people could share the same hallucination. But it is even harder to accept that it really happened without the rest of the word, outside Fatima, seeing it too — and not just seeing it, but feeling it as the catastrophic destruction of the solar system, including acceleration forces sufficient to hurl everybody into space. David Hume’s pith test for a miracle comes irresistibly to mine: ‘No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish.’
It may seem improbable that seventy thousand people could simultaneously be deluded, or could simultaneously collude in a mass lie. Or that history is mistaken in recording that seventy thousand people claimed to see the sun dance. Or that they all simultaneously saw a mirage (they had been persuaded to stare at the sun, which can’t have done much for the eyesight.) But any of those apparent improbabilities is far more probable than the alternative: that the Earth was suddenly yanked sideways in its orbit, and the solar system destroyed, with nobody outside Fatima noticing. I mean, Portugal is not that isolated.”
In his analysis, Professor Dawkins, the world’s leading “village atheist,” makes a number of errors:
1) The witnesses were not staring at the sun. It had been raining heavily that morning, so much that some people had taken shelter in their cars or under horse carriages. Most, however, had no choice but to stand in the mud and standing water. One witness was seated in his car and only came out after the miracle had begun. In addition, Portugal, being in the Northern Hemisphere and it being mid-October, the sun was behind the crowd, who were facing the opposite direction.
2) The miracle was witnessed over 20 miles away by numerous groups of people scattered across six hundred square miles of terrain. Most of these individuals were simply going about their daily activities when the miracle occurred. Here are a sample of the available testimonies:
Albano Barros — 8 miles from Fatima:
“I was watching sheep, as was my daily task, and suddenly there, in the direction of Fatima, I saw the sun fall from the sky. I thought that it was the end of the world.”
Joaquim Lourenco — 9 miles away from Fatima:
“I feel incapable of describing what I saw. I looked fixedly at the sun which seemed pale and did not hurt my eyes. Looking like a ball of snow, revolving on itself, it suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth. Terrified, I ran and hid myself among the people…”
Mrs. Guilhermina Lopes da Silva — 16 miles away from Fatima:
“I was looking toward the mountain at noon when suddenly I saw a great red flash in the sky. I called two men who were working for us. They, of course, saw it, too.”
3) Not everyone in the crowd was a believer and not everyone was expecting the miracle to occur. Some individuals were atheist and converted to Catholicism after witnessing the miracle.
4) In addition to seeing the Sun turn into a dancing, fiery pinwheel over the course of 10 minutes, many testified to the fact that the soaked ground and their drenched clothes became instantaneously dry.
5) The miracle was predicted to the exact moment at noon on 13 October 1917 in the exact location, which is why 100,000 people (Dr. Joseph Garrett’s estimate) were present.
6) Scientists were also present that day and have provided firsthand accounts of the event. None of them has ever offered a natural explanation of the event.
7) No witnesses 40 or more miles away from the epicenter of the event reported seeing anything unusual, a distance that, due to the curvature of the earth, would have placed the miracle below their horizon. No social/psychological theory postulating mass hallucinations or mass escasty can account for this.
8) It was never claimed by anyone, either before or after the miracle, that the physical sun would undergo any type of physical transformation; rather, it was prophesied on at least three separate occasions that a miracle on 13 October 1917 would occur “so that all may believe.” No believer in the Miracle of the Sun has ever claimed that the physical sun at the center of our solar system underwent any type of physical transformation and/or disturbance of any kind. The miracle that occurred that day was prophesied to be a local one, which was the motivation behind people traveling to the Cova da Iria fields in the first place. They wanted to see the miracle for themselves.
The movie The 13th Day (available on DVD and from Netflix) is a wonderful depiction of the actual events of Fatima. You can also buy the movie from Amazon:
The 13th Day
The late John Haffert's book Meet the Witnesses is also a must read:
Meet the Witnesses
As is Father John de Marchi's book:
The Immaculate Heart: The true story of Our Lady of Fatima
Dr. Almeida Garrett's testimony is available here:
The Miracle of the Sun
Other evidences for the Catholic Faith.
Just so no one can accuse me of being biased, I'll reference Wikipedia!
The Miracle of Calanda. This is one for the "Why won't God heal amputees" folks. Man has leg amputated, and a few years later, his leg is miraculously restored to him:
This one had me going for awhile, a few years, in fact, but, then, I asked myself the obvious question, "Where's the body?" It seems like this one was a "forgery gone bad," but once the Church had embraced it (via, the local vicar), it was just too embarrassing for them to let go. Just as some religious superior had likely burned Galileo's letters (whose body is still around!), so, too, the body of Pellicer was quietly disposed of in an unknown and unmarked grave.
The Miracle of Lanciano. Priest doubts the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist and prays for belief:
The Church refuses any subsequent scientific examination! What are they hiding?
Our Lady of Zeitoun. Some claimed to have seen it, others did not. In any case, even the skeptics claimed to see something. Judge for yourself:
I think that there was some forgeries with this one, but it is probably just a natural phenomenon coupled with some religious hysteria.
The 500 hundred witnesses. Few, if any, modern Biblical scholars doubt that the Apostle Paul wrote 1st Corinthians or that he wrote it in the early to mid 50s.
Most scholars, except for radicals such as Robert Price, accept the authenticity and antiquity of the Pauline Creed which is contained in 1st Corinthians 15. Read it for yourself.
I think that Price is right ("pardon the pun!"). Saint Paul was a narcissistic epileptic with delusions of grandeur who cherry-picked events from his own life. And, as with alien abductions in our own day, large groups of people can claim to see things that are not there! Even President Jimmy Carter claimed to have seen a UFO!
The Blood of St. Januarius. If it's truly real blood, then skeptics have a problem! "The science" seems to suggest that, at least so far:
Once again, the Catholic Church refuses any direct examination of the supposed "blood"; more likely, we are dealing with a medieval forgery here.
Evidences for Theism, in general.
One again, all references come from Wikipedia.
Pam Reynolds Near-death experience. Be sure to also check-out her BBC interview on YouTube. She's dead now, but I don't think that she was lying. For starters, she never set out to sell her story:
She may have been lying. Difficult to say. Fact is that these so-called "near death" experiences are far and few between. I am not sure why folks have a problem with the hypothesis that Ms. Reynolds' was a liar; people can and do lie all the time! In any case, "time will tell" on this one!
The Kalam Cosmological Argument. Can anything "infinite" really exist in nature? And, yet, that is what physicists have to "appeal" to in order to make their theories "fit" an atheistic, materialistic universe:
Craig is just an idiot who is milking his "flock" for as much money as he can get. See his debates with Professors Lawrence Krauss and Sean Carroll for two prime examples of Craig's dishonest scholarship.
Fine-tuned Universe. Quantum Mechanics was supposed to be on "its way out" decades ago, only to be replaced by more exotic, yet "simpler", theories (sometimes called "TOEs") which "explain" how the Universe created itself by nothing from nothing. And, yet, the "fudge factors" which give us our reality still remain:
ET, phone home! Republican conservatives, wisely, cut funding for this decades ago, as it has been the biggest "non-result" in the history of Science. If materialistic evolutionary theory were true (as Dawkins believes), where are the "millions" of alien civilizations in the Cosmos:
When this happens, Francis and/or his "successors" will adapt, because they want the money to keep flowing! But, if there is one other intelligent civilization elsewhere in the Cosmos, then there could be trillions upon trillions upon trillions, perhaps an infinite number of such civilizations. Jesus of Nazareth starts to look rather insignificant in that regard, doesn't he? But, in the event of First Contact, the Catholic Church will continue to want your money! Guaranteed!!
What about the 'Wow' signal?
Read about it yourself:
And, I have read about it, and it seems just as plausible as any so-called Catholic miracle. Why not just "have faith" that it was a genuine, albeit, one-time, extraterrestrial transmission? No doubt that ET has his/her own "Messiahs".
Some say that traditional Catholicism is not falsifiable, but as Pope Pius XII observed in Humani generis:
When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.which you can also read about here:
While the modernists are happy to accommodate and acclimate ET into their theology, true Catholics (and, even atheists) know that if there was no "first Adam", then Christ could not have been the "second Adam." It's "game over," if ET exists, which means that this entire blog of mine and all of its essays and contents have been a colossal waste of time.
There was no "first Adam"; again, if you're going to believe in that, why not just become a geocentrist and reject all scientific findings.
Where did the Canon of Scripture come from? And, if you think that the Holy Spirit guided the Councils of Carthage in deciding which books of the Bible were sacred and which were not, why do you believe that the One and Triune God would abandon His Church after that point or not have guided her before the Canon of Scripture was defined? It just does not make sense:
As the great author James Joyce once said, "I have lost my faith, not my mind." Protestantism, whatever its "flavor", is just dumb.
For the Orthodox.
Your idea of Christ's Church is that of a Body without a Head. Sure, you're not in communion with Rome, as you deny dogmas of the Christian faith which the One and Triune God revealed through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Truths which Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, was entrusted to care and guard until the end of time; but you're also not in communion with "each other." Why should anyone believe that one Orthodox faith is superior to another? Indifferentism? Makes no sense, as the Law of Non-contradiction proves -- you "both" can't be right, but you both can be wrong. Either that or Truth does not matter, which means that God is not Perfect, which means that He is not God. While arguments for and against the Papacy can be made, which is more consist with the Nature of a Perfect and Infinite Being? A visible Church with a visible head? Or, one with no head: