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The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions


The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions Cover




Chapter One

The priest chosen by Bishop O'Brien to investigate the events in Scottsdale was Father Ernest Larkin, a Carmelite theologian admired for both his intelligence and his spirituality.

As I began the interview I admitted that, no matter how often I heard them feathered or fudged, I still tended to accept three categories of possibility: Either the visionaries were lying, or they were delusional, or they were telling the truth. "Basically, I agree with you," Larkin replied, "but I also think that delusion, which sounds pejorative, needn't be. People may be telling the truth when they say they see this or that, but they may be unaware that the influence of the environment-which can be very subtle-encourages these experiences. I find it difficult to believe that Mary is standing on the edge of human consciousness, and maybe breaking in every now and then, here or there. The Blessed Mother is in this mysterious realm of Heaven." And there's no interface between that realm and ours? I asked. "I don't think so," Larkin answered. So he didn't believe in any apparitions at all? I asked the priest. "I can't say that," he admitted. "I believe in Lourdes. I believe in Fatima.

And I'm very curious about Medjugorje. Something of a profound nature has occurred in each of these places. I don't know to what extent these are the effect of natural causes and to what extent they are miraculous. It's almost impossible to know what comes from nature and what comes from grace."

We digressed into a discussion of St. John of the Cross; Larkin reminded me that Catholicism's most famous mystic poet had counseled the faithful to resist all supernatural experiences, even their own. "I really believe that these events send as many people away from religion as they draw near," Larkin said. "Because they seem so bizarre, so much out of the ordinary providence of God." If he went to Medjugorje, Larkin said, "I couldn't help asking, 'Why would the Blessed Mother appear here when the world is falling apart everywhere else, also?'" That's like asking why Jesus would raise Lazarus when there are so many other dead people, I observed. Larkin laughed. "You're right," he said. "It's the same question. I have to fall back on my a priori principle that we live in a realm of faith from which there is no escape."

Copyright © 2004 by Randall Sullivan

Product Details

An Investigation of Holy Visions
Sullivan, Randall
Atlantic Monthly Press
New York
Sociology of Religion
Miraculous Phenomena
Christianity - Theology - Christology
Christianity - Mariology
RELIGION / Christianity/General
Christian Theology - Mariology
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
April 9, 2004
9 x 6 in 26.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Spirituality and Wellness
Religion » Christianity » Mariology

The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$22.00 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Atlantic Monthly Press - English 9780871139160 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Whether The Miracle Detective has something valuable to say depends on what you want to know. For the curious skeptic, it's certainly not a very reliable account of this strange phenomena, but it does offer a fascinating glimpse at the paradoxes of religious faith." (read the entire review)
"Review" by , "[A] spiritual whodunit....The Miracle Detective may well emerge as one of the most comprehensive and engaging modern works on the subject. Well told and expertly researched, Sullivan's book should appeal to skeptics and believers alike."
"Review" by , "Sullivan...retains a sharp journalistic instinct, and his exhaustive rendering of the Medjugorje story is, if not the best journalistic account of the subject...certainly the best one I have read."
"Review" by , "In the end, it is clear that something powerful has happened; exactly what it is, or why it has happened, remain mysteries. Almost always absorbing and thought-provoking."
"Review" by , "[Sullivan's] writing draws readers into his search for answers, and soon we find ourselves sharing his excitement, depression, and anger."
"Review" by , "[A] wide-ranging work....Sullivan, who treads the path between true believer and outright denier, raises thoughtful, informed questions about the phenomena he studies. Anyone with an interest in Marian apparitions should read this book."
"Synopsis" by , An examination of the longest-running Marian apparitions in history, and the author's own faith and beliefs as he himself becomes a miracle detective, are at the heart of Sullivan's stunning new book, The Miracle Detective.
"Synopsis" by ,
In a tiny, dilapidated trailer in northeastern Oregon, a young Mexican woman saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in an ordinary landscape painting hanging on her bedroom wall. After being met with skepticism from the local parish, the Catholic diocese officially placed the matter "under investigation." Investigative journalist Randall Sullivan wanted to know how exactly one might conduct the official inquiry into such an incident and set off to interview "the miracle detectives." These were the theologians, historians, and postulators from the Sacred Congregation of the Causes for Saints who were charged by the Vatican with testing the miraculous and judging the holy. What Sullivan didn't know was that his own investigation would lead from Vatican City in Rome to the tiny village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where six visionaries have been receiving apparitions of the Virgin Mary. These raptures have been the subject of more medical and scientific examination than any other purported supernatural event ever recorded. An examination of the longest-running Marian apparitions in history, and the author's own faith and beliefs as he himself becomes a miracle detective, are at the heart of Randall Sullivan's stunning new book, The Miracle Detective.
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