Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Importance of Lourdes

Lourdes, France is famous for its healing spring. However, being a French spring, it is usually on vacation and only rarely offers physical healing.  I think that the most important thing about Lourdes and St. Bernadette's visions has to do with Papal infallibility. 

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed in Ineffabilis Deus, that Mary was conceived without sin, and that the Immaculate Conception "is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."  A few years later, in 1858, Mary appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes and said "I am the Immaculate Conception."  This one sentence confirmed the Pope's ex cathedra statement over a decade before the doctrine of Papal infallibility was formally adopted at the First Vatican Council.  I believe that Mary was sent to Lourdes to offer a comforting validation of the Pope's authority to any who might doubt it.

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