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Letters: Digging deeper into miracles

July 11, 2013

Re "The trouble with miracles," Opinion, July 8

Noting the dearth of miracles reported at Lourdes, France, Lawrence M. Krauss appears to make several assumptions. In a nutshell, he is saying that the number of miracles reported at Lourdes and recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as legitimate is solid evidence — almost proof — that miracles do not occur.

One thing we do know is that if a single miracle occurred at Lourdes, Krauss would be proved wrong.

Another assumption Krauss appears to be making is that God is some kind of spiritual gum machine: You put something in and something comes out. If true, that would betray an incredible ignorance of the church or its thinking on the subject.

One wonders if Krauss would recognize a miracle if one sat down and bit him on the ankle.

Nathan Post

Santa Barbara

Krauss notes that when scientists have a new idea, they "try to prove it wrong as well as right." Until fairly recently, the same was true of the Catholic Church when it tried to determine the veracity of miracles.

When considering canonization, the church employed a "devil's advocate," whose task it was to try to refute the validity of an alleged miracle.

The devil's advocate was established in 1587 but abolished in 1983 by Pope John Paul II. Whether coincidence or the direct result of this abolition, since 1983 there has been a dramatic increase in the number of saints.

David Macaray

Rowland Heights

How telling that on consecutive days, The Times reports on the Catholic Church's systematic cover-ups of its clergy's sexual abuses and then runs an Op-Ed piece criticizing the church's implausible findings of miracles.

Maybe such claims of miracles performed by former popes or in Lourdes' waters would be deemed more credible if the church first managed to work a universally indisputable miracle. It would be truly miraculous for the church to rectify oversight of its clergy, so that all future sex-abuse cases are promptly reported to the police for investigation and prosecution. Offenders found guilty would be defrocked.

Gene Martinez

Orcutt, Calif.

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