Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eucharist Miracles: Miracle of Lanciano, The Story So Far

Alright I have been in a big debate on youtube concerning the alleged miracle of Lanciano, in Italy. As I can not find any good write up on the web about this particular miracle from a non catholic based perspective, I will do my best and show why I feel that this miracle is a fraud.

The miracle goes as follows, taken from the wiki:

In the city of Lanciano, Italy, around A.D. 700, a Basilian monk and priest was assigned to celebrate the Eucharistic sacrifice in the Latin Rite in the small Church of St.Legontian. Usually celebrating in the Greek Rite and using leavened bread and having been taught that unleavened bread was invalid matter for the Holy Sacrifice he was disturbed to be constrained to use unleavened bread and had trouble believing that the miracle of transubtantiation would take place with unleavened bread. During the Mass, when he said the words of consecration (This is my Body...This is my Blood), he saw the bread change into live flesh and the wine change into live blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size (this number corresponds to the number of wounds Christ suffered on the cross: one in each hand and foot from the nails, and the wound from the centurion's spear). He was frightened and confused by the miracle, and stood a while as if in divine ecstasy, but eventually he turned his face to the congregation, and said "Behold the Flesh and the Blood of our Most Beloved Christ." At those words, the congregation members ran to the altar and began to cry for mercy. This miracle proved to him that unleavened bread was acceptable matter for the Holy Sacrifice. Years later other Basilian monks stole the documentation that was in the archives of the parish church. The Byzantine rejection of unleavened bread eventuated in the schism of 1054 that started out as a disagreement concerning the "azymes" between Patriarch Michael Keroularios and Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida acting for the already deceased Pope Leo IX.

Various ecclesiastical investigations have been conducted upon the miracle since 1574, and the evidence of the miracle remains in Lanciano to this day. In 1970-71, Professor Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy, and Professor Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena, conducted a scientific investigation into the miracle. The report was published in Quaderni Sclavo di Diagnostica Clinica e di Laboratori in 1971, and reaffirmed by a scientific commission appointed by the Higher Council of the World Health Organization in 1973.[1] The following conclusions were drawn:[2]

  • The Flesh of the miracle is real Flesh and the Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart, which would be highly unlikely to "fake", given that only an expert hand could have done it, and not without serious difficulties.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium. The Flesh is a heart complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood type, AB, which is also the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin and all other Eucharistic Miracles.
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • There is no trace whatsoever of any materials or agents used to preserve the Flesh or Blood.

The Flesh and Blood of the miracle can still be seen today. The Host-Flesh, which is the same size as the large Host used today in the Latin Church, is fibrous and light brown in colour, and becomes rose-coloured when lighted from the back. The Blood consists of five coagulated globules and has an earthly colour resembling the yellow of ochre.

Let me start with the main claim that a cracker and wine turned into the actual flesh and blood of GOD. No witnesses to this event can be found, other then the originator of the claim in the 8th century(dark ages).

The story seems to tell of a schism in the catholic church about what kind of bread they should use, leavened or unleavened. It is very suspicious that a miracle would just suddenly happen at that particular time showing that unleavened bread was pleasing to GOD.

Evidence so far: one priest eyewitness account during the 8th century (Dark ages)

Now on with the story a supposed Dr. Linoli did a study on the magic meat and flesh showing the following:
  • The Flesh of the miracle is real Flesh and the Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart, which would be highly unlikely to "fake", given that only an expert hand could have done it, and not without serious difficulties.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium. The Flesh is a heart complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood type, AB, which is also the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin and all other Eucharistic Miracles.
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • There is no trace whatsoever of any materials or agents used to preserve the Flesh or Blood.
Notice how the shroud of turin is referenced, The supposed blood from the shroud of turin turns out to be nothing more then red ocher and vermilion tempera paint. Is it possible that Dr. Linoli used the same crappy methods as in all the other catholic blood tests used? (I requested the paper at this point in time so I can further evaluate these claims)

In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. These minerals are normally found in blood but also combination's of them are also normally found in solutions made to preserve blood.

The Blood consists of five coagulated globules and has an earthly colour resembling the yellow of ochre.
In light of recent findings on the debunked shroud of Turin(red ochre), isn't it funny that this one resembles yellow ochre?

Also nothing out of the ordinary is found, a piece of heart flesh, and some blood. The only things out of ordinary are the inferences that are being made by Dr. Linoli. Question, was blood available at the time? Yes, the priest has blood in his body. Did the priest in the 8th century have access to dead bodies? Yes, the catholic church killed many people during that time. Can blood and flesh be kept in good condition for 12 centuries? Yes, many techniques were available to the catholic church during the 8th century, to think that a supposed miracle occurs and the miracle objects are thrown around and not taken extremely good care of is unheard of.

The original miracle is not even mentioned in Linoli's findings, so this paper does nothing to validate the original claim that this flesh and blood was originally a cracker and wine.

While studying this, I have found that it is incredibly difficult to obtain the original paper by Linoli and the paper from the World health organization. Neither is it possible to find any quoted information on what types of tests were performed on the samples, which puts major doubt on the validity of his findings. If his experiments were so rock solid, why are they no where to be found? The Vatican has billions of dollars, they could exploit this miracle like crazy if it were so bullet proof, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain in converts. (they are probably to preoccupied with gay pedophilia to bother)

The WHO report photo does not explain how the experiments were done, it was just a reiteration of what Linoli previously said. It is just a long "we found the same thing", perhaps the same faulty experiments were performed? Considering how hard it is to find any type of documentation of the study done by the WHO I doubt it was anything special. ( I am still looking for the actual data from them if anyone knows where I can find it let me know)

One paper in an obscure journal is hardly proof of anything. Misinformation (albeit unintentional, most of the time) escapes the peer review process and is often published in journals, especially obscure journals such as the one Linoli published in.

These claims need to be rechecked with new modern techniques and unbiased scientists. The claims of previous supposed miracles when put under high scrutiny have yet to hold up to any type of scientific validity. (e.g. Shroud of turin, other blood miracles)

Ad hominim attacks just for reference: Dr. Linoli is apart of the catholic congress on eucharist miracles. Is he really an unbiased source of information that can be relied upon? The study was supervised by the Vatican and everything was done in Italy.

Links:
Linoli's report can be found at
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4950729
http://cat.cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/search/a?searchtype=i&searcharg=0033-4979+&searchscope=1&SORT=R

other websites about the supposed miracle
http://www.catholicherald.com/saunders/97ws/ws970911.htm
http://www.doxa.ws/other/Miracles3.html
http://www.zenit.org/article-12933?l=english
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharistic_miracle
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Eucharistic_Miracle_of_Lanciano

6 comments:

Scott Smith said...

Even if the "miracle" were a hoax, it would not prove that the Eucharist is a hoax any more than the "miracle" can prove to you that it isn't. There simply will never be enough information to make a scientific decision about the matter. Skepticism as a philosophy can ask questions that cannot be answered to it's own satisfaction, hence they who hold it get to remain skeptics.

Aruman_Chan said...

Yes, you are correct even if this miracle were a hoax does not mean that all miracles are hoaxes. But, making a statement like that does nothing to help the cause of whether or not miracles exist. What you said here is equivalent to me claiming that an invisible, untouchable, unknowable, dragon is living in my garage.

As for what you wrote next "Skepticism as a philosophy can ask questions that cannot be answered to it's own satisfaction, hence they who hold it get to remain skeptics." That is not skepticism, that is called close minded.

Eric said...

In regards the supposedly "debunked" shroud of turin, you seem to lay aside your standards. McCrone's findings that it was not blood but instead pigment were not published in any peer-reviewed journal, and his results have not been reproduced by anyone succesfully.

http://shroudstory.com/faq/Shroud-Turin-McCrone-Paint.htm

Philip said...

I am surprised many people find it difficult to believe in miracles where the evidence for their authenticity is available.

Blessed Alexandrina Da Costa from Balazar in Portugal, during the last 13 years of her life ate and drank nothing-except daily Communion. Alexandrina was asked by her bishop to enter a hospital where she could be observed. Dr. C. A. di Lima, professor of the Faculty of Medicine of Oporto and Dr. E.A.D. de Azevedo, doctor graduate of the same Faculty, testified that from 10 June to 20 July 1943 Alexandrina’s abstinence from solids and liquids was absolute, that she retained her weigh, that her temperature, breathing, blood pressure, pulse and blood were normal, her mental faculties were constant and lucid and had not during these forty days any natural necessities. Alexandrina for this period in hospital was under day and night surveillance. These doctors issued a signed certificate of their findings.

“The laws of physiology and biochemistry cannot account for the survival of this sick woman for forty days of absolute fast…

Alexandrina by Frances Johnston p83


“She confided to her confessor that Our Lord had told her
(1)
"You are living by the Eucharist alone because I want to prove to the world the power of the Eucharist and the power of my life in souls”

(1)Alexandrina The Agony and the Glory by Francis Johnston

"And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen. "

Mk.Ch 16:20

Vinícius Rosa Cota said...

Dear friend, thanks for the excellent text on this alledged miracle. It was really instructive.

Do you have any copy of Linoli's 1971 paper. I would like to read it.

Thank you!

Myyleez said...

Here is a link that may shed some light on the subject: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/physician-tells-of-eucharistic-miracle-of-lanciano