What do you make of Catholic Eucharistic Miracles?

There is supposedly scientific data that shows that a host from a Catholic mass in the 8th century is now a piece of human flesh. It’s called the Miracle of Lanciano. If true, it would seem to be hard evidence to support the Catholic religion and their constant claim that Jesus (who they say is the one only true god) is really present when the host is consecrated.

I was wondering if any of you have heard of this and know anything of the science that was behind it since I can’t seem to find any of the actual documentation that was supposedly done.

Here is a link for you to look at.

Posted: July 27th 2007

SmartLX www

As the others have said, all the scientific examinations since the event have served to establish nothing more than that the objects in question are real human flesh and blood. The claim that they were once bread and wine and that there was a miraculous transubstantiation is just that, a claim by a priest 1300 years ago with no support whatsoever.

What strikes me is that if the claim is true, that’s not just any flesh and blood; as a result of this miracle the Catholic Church is in possession of biological tissue literally from the body of Christ. That’s the whole point of the transubstantiation: the offering becomes a piece of Jesus himself, in this case obviously so.

Therefore it could be used to prove his existence once and for all, and his divinity, with a simple DNA and carbon dating test (neither of which was used in the last analysis in 1971). Think of the results: not only would the flesh be 2000 years old, the DNA would be that of a man with no biological father. Whether the gap were filled with divine DNA or left empty, it would be unique in the entire human species.

So why hasn’t this been done? Why has the Church passed up an opportunity to get science on its side once and for all, and win the hearts of the world? Because the Church doesn’t really trust the priest’s claim either. It’s probably not Jesus’ flesh, and it’s probably not even old enough to be, and it’s almost certainly ordinary mortal flesh whoever it belonged to. If they get it tested properly they’ll probably be shown up like they were with the Turin Shroud. They don’t want the same joy-killing doubt cast on this find.

Besides, they don’t need to use it to prove anything because the majority of people who believe in the miracle never asked for proof. The flesh is far more useful sitting well-protected in a church, simply available for people to believe in.

Posted: July 12th 2010

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George Locke

The link you’ve provided produces evidence which is supposed to show that wine turned to blood and a communion wafer turned to flesh. In fact, even if the claims made are to be taken at face value, what is shown is that there is some blood in a cup, and some human flesh on a plate. The evidence does not show that these items were once wine/wafer. So there is no proof of transubstantiation.

Although I have seen evidence for phenomena that cannot be explained, I have never seen a proof that any unexplained phenomenon is the result of supernatural forces.

Posted: August 6th 2007

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brian thomson www

I have little to add to previous responses, except to point out that this is an example of unfalsifiability in action.

Even if scientists were allowed full, unlimited access to the site over an extended period, they could only properly describe what they see, subject to those limitations. They could study it for a year, but not find anything. “Absence of proof is not proof of absence”, as the saying goes.

What if scientists were actually able to observe the claimed “miracle”: do you think they would just stop and say “Hallelujah”? No, it would just be the start of further investigation; a new food source to feed the poor of the world, for example. They would keep digging until they found the mechanism behind any change, even if that took them to the subatomic level.

With all the scientific advances of the last century – such as the computer and the Internet that you used to post your question – a God that has any power or influence can surely do better than hide in a little piece of meat.

Posted: July 31st 2007

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flagellant www

This question deals with a very special case of transubstantiation: ‘…in the 8th century A.D., in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk’s doubt about Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist…the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood …’ according to the website. ‘Live flesh and blood’ eh? It seems nonsense already.

Knowing how much people in the dark and middle ages competed to affirm their faith, we have to ask: ‘What is the connection between the original host (if it was ever there) and the flesh?’ The Lanciano Eucharistic Miracle site claims that the ‘flesh’ has been verified by ‘scientific study’ as being of human origin. This verification means nothing if there is no credible evidence that the ‘miracle’, i.e. the physical change ever took place. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary and incontestable evidence.

In 1988, my son had a school project to speculate on the nature of the Turin Shroud just before some pieces of it were carbon-dated. His conclusion, if I remember correctly, was that even if the Shroud were dated to round about AD30, this didn’t prove anything. In the event, the pieces dated, according to three separate and independent laboratories, to the middle ages. In other words, the artefact is a forgery. For more details, see Wikipedia.

The Lanciano Eucharistic Miracle site uses the Turin Shroud to support the ‘transubtantiation’. Apparently, the blood types are the same on each. To use evidence from a fake in support of a highly dubious ‘miracle’, torpedoes the claim immediately. Further, without this devastation, the claim itself is already open to massive doubt: even if the ‘flesh’ turns out to be datable to around AD30 – and I’ll bet it doesn’t – this still doesn’t mean very much. Finally, how can anyone be certain that the wafers were not replaced with human tissue at some time during the last twelve hundred years?

This claim is something that many people, apart from atheists, would dismiss immediately. Even people of faith would find their credulity strained in the extreme. No Protestant and few thinking Catholics would accept this nonsense.

It may also be useful to consult Wikipedia on ‘Miracles’ and ‘Transubstantiation’. There’s always common sense, too.

Posted: July 31st 2007

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John Sargeant www

I looked at the link and other websites which talk about this miracle.

One very crucial point. The scientific tests do not prove that wine and bread turned into flesh and blood. The only evidence for that is the monk’s claim that it really was wine and bread that he had prepared for mass which really did undergo the transubstantiation.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. The problem is no test can verify that this blood and flesh was once actually wine and bread. So you have to ask yourself which is more likely – a claim to make people believe in the transubstantiation or a really truly god patented miracle.

So to be honest, it is more likely to be a hoax. The scientific test claim is absurd because it tests for blood and flesh, not that a transformation actually happened. And the link you give has many assertions while missing that crucial point.

Under Queen Mary rejection of this dogma was considered heresy, and people were tortured and put to death over the issue. Queen Elizabeth I proclaimed “Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions”.

In short I find these so called miracles an insult to my intelligence.

Posted: July 31st 2007

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