This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Pope Francis explains the miracles of Jesus

As all modern Catholics know, there is an easy explanation for the "miracle" of the feeding of the 5,000; namely, that it was all a matter of the happy picknickers sharing what they already had. This theory has now been endorsed by no less than Pope Francis himself.

Explaining away miracles is a good way to make Catholicism popular among atheists, as these guys have always had problems with believing in God, the supernatural etc., and these ideas are not, strictly speaking, needed in modern Catholicism.

Pope Francis went on to explain some of the other alleged miracles of Jesus:

The miracle at Cana (John 2). Yes, indeed the host's wine ran out. But the guests at the wedding knew that the host was an old stingy-chops, and smuggled in their own bottles and hip flasks, which (as it is recorded in the gospels) contained much better stuff, anyway.

Wedding at Cana

"That reminds me, I do have a few bottles with me."

The paralysed man (Mark 2). This was the chap who was let down from the roof of someone's house, and was told, "Take up your bed and walk." It's clear what happened here: old Habakkuk was the laziest man in Capernaum, and had taken to his bed, rather than do an honest day's work. Jesus knew this, and told him to get up.

The man possessed by demons (Luke 8). This is greatly exaggerated, of course. The man was actually singing a selection of hymns such as "Gather us in", "Walk in the Light", and "Kumbayah". This upset a herd of pigs with great musical taste, and they all rushed into the sea to escape. Seeing this, the man instantly sobered up and went on to compose "Lord of the Dance". No, that can't be exactly right. But something like that happened.

James Martin

Sorry, I couldn't find a picture of a man possessed by demons.

The raising of Lazarus (John 11-12). Of course, raising people from the dead is impossible. No doubt, Lazarus wasn't really dead, but was pretending to be dead for tax reasons. You try sitting around in a tomb for a few days, and people will naturally come to the conclusion that you have passed on, especially if you hang a sign saying "R.I.P." on the door.

Walking on the water and stilling the storm (Matthew 8 and 14). This is greatly exaggerated, and no doubt Jesus had found a underwater causeway: alternatively, He had been practising some sort of circus act. As for stilling the storm, well the trick is to say "Be still" just as the weather is getting better. Any competent meteorologist can do it.

Holy Island

St Peter decides to try going by car.

Answering questions (Matthew 22). No, we don't have an explanation for this one. Pope Francis has been unable to answer five simple Dubia ("it would be a miracle if he could"), so it is a complete mystery how Jesus managed to tackle some distinctly thorny questions from the Pharisees and Sadducees. It's simply amazing.


  1. Your link to Rorate Caeli has a quote from Pope Pius X that to me seems to support Francis! Is Pius really saying that even if science could disprove the miracles then the faithful would continue to believe them anyway? In other words, we believe them not because they're literally true but because they're a poetic way of describing something rather more run of the mill. Of course, science cannot disprove the miracles, so maybe the point is academic. But faith I think rests on the assumption that something wholly inexplicable occurred.

    1. The notion that miracles are something that science cannot explain is a completely modern one, devised in the 20th Century.

  2. If you want to explain away anything that is mysterious in the N Testament, you can resort to three convenient suggestions (i) "it must have meant something completely different in the original Aramaic" (ii) "it must be a later interpolation" (iii) "it's a metaphor, silly - it means that all those people were spiritually fed." I once heard a priest take as the subject of his homily Matthew Ch 10, and by the time he'd finished "putting it into context" [that's option iv] and "examining" the possible alternative meanings of selected phrases, he'd convinced himself, if not his congregation, that Our Lord really meant to say "Hey, all you guys and gals, shag anyone you like, up to and including hyaenas".

  3. hmm. Pius says that agnostic science cannot certify anything in the context of miracles. One, because they don't want to: they philosophically consider unexplained things as potentially explainable in completely immanent terms. Two, because they cannot: a sufficiently technologically advanced being is not distinguishable from a god. (see also John 20:27-29)

    Let's say there is a story in which a god suggests a prophet in trouble to go to the mountain at hour x day y and announce a sign and the sun goes out and everybody believes and he escapes trouble. Then, agnostic science calculates that in hour x day y there was a solar eclipse, which is an entirely natural phenomenon and known to some ancient class of people, and it CONCLUDES that no such god exists because it's a natural phenomenon so the guy must have known in advance and used it for his gain. It it a logically wrong conclusion, because there still lies the possibility that a god simply used his knowledge to help the guy, knowing in advance what the results will be short term and long term, and basically not caring about the opinion of guys who came up with exotic theories like collective hallucination to explain anything anyways.

    Scientists are in fact keen on using the correct terminology, "we think this is not evidence", but then talk like the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

    Back to the topic, as much as I don't think Francis is a Catholic, and by corollary a Christian (because a non catholic christian is still bound to the "don't say bullsh!t" commandment), I think this he was subtler than what his accusers claim. He is not denying the miracle.
    He is bending it to his pro global impoverishment and immigration mantra.
    He is saying there was no pop with a deluge of bread and fish afterwards. True. That the terms are sharing and divide. True.
    But the devil too likes to deceive using the truth.

    There is no accent on multiplication, no deluge, simply because the breaking of the bread and the feeding is symbol for the last supper and the sacrifice. It's even explicit:

    “This is a remote place,” they [disciples] said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
    But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

    Does it make sense for a guy to imply his followers have brought food for unexpected 5 thousand men? or that it is faster for them to go, buy stuff bring it here, than for people to get stuff themselves? Nope. This symbolically means that after Him, it's his disciples that will have to feed people with his eternal bread (which happens at Mass daily).
    As in other parts of the bible, the disciples (before getting the holy ghost) don't actually understand him and reply something along going to buy food.

    The accent on sharing IS also a theme, and here is the satanic subtlety, putting sharing above breaking the bread. But sharing is on the moral level, and in the context of the coming of the Son the moral level IS SECONDARY (Mark 14:3-9 John 12:1-8).
    The key is breaking the bread. God has not come down as man to say 'cmon guys, behave'. Pagans were already smart enough for that. He has come down to say: "what you suffer I suffered worse, as I can defeat death I can defeat it for you, as I am eternal justice I take your sins on me".

  4. Now that the Miracles of Jesus have been so well explained, can anyone please answer the Teachings of Francis ? I must say, I find the latter to be a lot more confusing than the former ...

  5. In his usual idiotic and ambiguous manner I do not think that Pope Francis actually denies that there was a miracle. Instead of there appearing enough loaves to feed everyone there were only five loaves but every time someone cut a slice off the loaf it did not get smaller - it was an extendable loaf. The logistics of this would have been a bit difficult. Five loaves and five thousand people means that one thousand would have have had to queue up to get a slice off one loaf. If this took ten seconds per slice it would have taken nearly three hours to feed the queue of one thousand. And then some slices must have got dropped to allow for the five(?) hampers being filled. Straight multiplication would seem much more likely.

  6. This is not the first time has has a problem with the word “multiplication” and emphasizing “sharing”.

    <> - Corpus Christi, 23 Jun 2019.

    << This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. Everyone eats and some is left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the Bread of God for humanity.>> - Angelus, 2 Jun 2013.

    1. *he has …

      “This tells us something very beautiful. Bread is not only something to be consumed; it is a means of sharing. Surprisingly, the account of the multiplication of the loaves does not mention the multiplication itself. On the contrary, the words that stand out are: “break”, “give” and “distribute” (cf. Lk 9:16). In effect, the emphasis is not on the multiplication but the act of sharing. This is important. Jesus does not perform a magic trick; he does not change five loaves into five thousand and then to announce: “There! Distribute them!” No. Jesus first prays, then blesses the five loaves and begins to break them, trusting in the Father. And those five loaves never run out. This is no magic trick; it is an act of trust in God and his providence.” - Corpus Christi, 23 Jun 2019