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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Anglican leader accepts visions at Lourdes


Flickr photo of Rowan Williams under cc-by-sa-2.0.

I don't shock easily, especially these days, but the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has succeeded in startling me:

He asserted that 18 visions of Our Lady allegedly experienced by Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 were true.

His words shocked millions of Protestants worldwide because they not only signified a break with Protestant teaching on the Virgin Mary but also Dr Williams’s personal acceptance of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is explicitly linked to the apparitions.

The archbishop made his remarks during a three-day visit to the shrine in the French Pyrenees - the first ever by a leader of the Church of England.

In a homily he preached at an international Mass there, Dr Williams spoke about the apparitions without any qualifications.

‘When Mary came to Bernadette, she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious “thing”, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless mother,” Dr Williams said.

‘And Bernadette – uneducated, uninstructed in doctrine – leapt with joy, recognising that here was life, here was healing,’ he said.

‘Only bit by bit does Bernadette find the words to let the world know; only bit by bit, we might say, does she discover how to listen to the Lady and echo what she has to tell us.’


Read the whole thing here.

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