August 25, 2007

Jesus in Laredo Has "Reached the Depths of the Laredo Diocese"

The face of Jesus; Manifestations reported at LMC

Prayers and songs of worship resonated through the walls of the Laredo Medical Center chapel on Tuesday.Hundreds of faithful Catholics flooded in to witness what many say is the manifestation of Jesus Christ.

Police officers, teachers, city of Laredo employees, nurses, dietitians, doctors, and members of the Texas State Guard were among those standing in line to see the "miracle." ...

While some people say they saw the face of Christ, others claimed to have seen other images such as Jesus wearing the crown of thorns, the open hands of Jesus, the red heart of Christ, baby Jesus, the silhouette of Jesus wearing a robe with his arms spread out in prayer, Jesus facing up, Jesus facing down and looking sad, and so on.

While the image manifests itself differently for different people, allegations of manifestations, and so many people who claim to have seen them, have reached the depths of the Laredo diocese.
The depths of the Laredo diocese? Scraping along the bottom of the barrel? Let's see...
Bennett McBride, communications director for the Diocese of Laredo, confirmed Tuesday that Bishop James A. Tamayo has ordered an investigation into the authenticity of the manifestation.

"It is such an unusual occurrence and so infrequent," McBride said, of why an investigation was prompted...
Seems like a classic case of ignorance here. There's nothing unusual about this occurrence at all. In this blog alone, I've recorded about a half dozen of them in just the past three months. Nothing that happens twice a month could be deemed "unusual." That's more usual than a full moon or receiving an electricity bill. This is, in fact, a very common phenomenon that one wonders how McBride could have missed hearing about it many times over. It does indeed seem that he and Tamayo represent the "depths" of the diocese, and altogether the depths of superstition. After all, even the people who report seeing this image at all can't agree on the details.
Many are convinced that, although unexplainable, the manifestations have, nonetheless, brought forth positive results.

Father Jose Maria Weyne, who led Monday morning's Mass, said that he did not see the image himself. He is convinced, though, that something otherworldly is going on.

"It seems like the Lord is giving different signs to different people," he said. "I think they see what they need to see."
Yes, because some people need to see the image looking up and others need to see it looking down. That's an important message about... well, it must be something, because it's clearly "otherworldly." We know this because a true-believer who can't even make the image out on his own says so. Not that a priest would have any stake in helping to perpetuate notions of the divinity of some smudge on a wall, of course. What's so "unexplainable" about this? Pareidolia explains the whole thing quite easily, particularly among people who want to see the alleged icon in the first place.
Asked whether he thought the manifestations were real, Weyne replied: "It is a very special thing when the Lord manifests himself in a chapel in the hospital which is filled with people in so much need of prayer."

Priscilla Salinas, Director of Communications at LMC, agreed.

"Something amazing is happening here," she said. More people have visited the small chapel since the first manifestation Sunday morning.

The Blessed Sacrament, also known as the Eucharist or the Consecrated Host, is displayed from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

"One conclusion, the only thing that is certain, is that the Lord wants more people to go to church and meet him," Weyne said. He was pleasantly surprised that the news has brought hundreds back to God.

"These are signs for all the people to seek him and find him at all the churches," he said.
So, the smudge that some people think looks like Jesus (because everyone knows what Jesus looks like, of course), but about the particulars of which they do not agree, wants people to go to church in a hospital chapel in Laredo, Texas. That's "certain" and "amazing." I'll say this much — it's definitely incredible. It's also a very good example of people manipulating the credulous to achieve his own ends and exercise control over others. See, if the priest can demonstrate that Jesus is real and that he is capable of interpreting said 2,000 year old Nazarene's wants, he gains power.

Priests are sworn to chastity, but I suppose they can still have an ego-wank now and again. It surely can't hurt ol' Mama Church to keep the flock duped, either.

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