A couple of years ago I wrote a post which began as follows:

Pope Francis was greeted by crowds of hundreds of thousands as he made saints of two shepherd children at the Fatima shrine complex in Portugal.

Shepherd children?

It is 100 years since the two – and a third child – reported seeing the Virgin Mary while tending sheep.

The traditional skepticism of adults listening to tales of what children saw must have been set aside that day.

Two of the children – Jacinta and Francisco Marto – have been canonised for the miracles attributed to them. They died in the 1918-1919 European influenza pandemic.

I’m way outside my area of expertise here, but I thought saints had to perform miracles, not merely have visions.

The so-called three secrets of Fatima were written down by their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005 aged 97.

So we’re going off a secondhand account of what two kids say they saw?

They are prophecies written down by Lucia, years after the apparitions that the three said they had witnessed.

This is not helping.

This isn’t the only case like it. Reader Michael van der Riet emails me with the story of Bernadette Soubirous:

Soubirous was a sickly child and possibly due to this only measured 4 ft.7in. tall. She contracted cholera as a toddler and suffered severe asthma for the rest of her life.

Soubirous learned very little French, only studying French in school after age 13 due to being frequently ill and a poor learner. She could read and write very little due to her frequent illness.

So not the sharpest tool in the shed, then.

On 11 February 1858, Soubirous, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood with her sister Toinette and a friend near the grotto of Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha) when she experienced her first vision. While the other girls crossed the little stream in front of the grotto and walked on, Soubirous stayed behind, looking for a place to cross where she wouldn’t get her stockings wet. She finally sat down to take her shoes off in order to cross the water and was lowering her stocking when she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move. From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, “came a dazzling light, and a white figure”. This was the first of 18 visions of what she referred to as aquero (pronounced [aˈk(e)ɾɔ]), GasconOccitan for “that”. In later testimony, she called it “a small young lady” (uo petito damizelo). Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing.

On 14 February, after Sunday Mass, Soubirous, with her sister Marie and some other girls, returned to the grotto. Soubirous knelt down immediately, saying she saw the apparition again and falling into a trance.[citation needed] When one of the girls threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock from above that shattered on the ground, the apparition disappeared. On her next visit, 18 February, Soubirous said that “the vision” asked her to return to the grotto every day for a fortnight.

I expect many religions have children – always simple children and in many instances those who, if born in the modern era, would take the short bus to school – who claimed to experience visions and were venerated by adults and later sanctified by the prevailing holy order. I write about this now because:

According to her mother Malena Ernman (48), 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg can see CO2 with the naked eye. She writes that in the book ‘Scenes from the heart. Our life for the climate’, which she wrote with her family.
Greta was diagnosed as a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, just like her younger sister Beata. The activist also has a photographic memory. She knows all the capitals by heart and can list all the chemical elements of the periodic table within one minute. In addition, she has another gift according to her mother. “Greta is able to see what other people cannot see,” writes Malena Ernman in the book. “She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She sees how it flows out of chimneys and changes the atmosphere in a landfill.”

I’ve said many times that environmentalism has replaced Christianity in the post-religious developed world. With its high priests, disciples, holy scriptures, heretics, and prophecies of doom it’s all there. Now it has its oddball children with holy visions. How long before it has its first saint?


30 thoughts on “Division

  1. The Blessed Obama of Kenya?

    Has the advantages of combining the Religion of Leftism, the Religion of Holy Mother Gaia and the religion of the Holy Black Man. If he’d come out and admit being Muslim we could stir that in as well.

  2. I too have a remarkable gaseous gift.
    I can tell when someone is trying to blow smike up my arse.

  3. She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye.

    That should be sufficient to completely discredit everything this woman and her poor, unhappy exploited child have to say on any matter.

    It won’t be, of course.

  4. The miracles have to be performed after death. Miracles performed while alive being just too implausible.

  5. She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye.

    Who are you to say her eyes aren’t uniquely capable of doing far-IR spectroscopy, bigot!

    Note that she doesn’t say that she can see it in her own (or anyone else’s) breath…

    Anyway, this would be sooooooooo easy to put to an independent scientific test. I can think of 3 or 4 simple testing protocols that would settle this one very easily. Which is why nobody will do it.

  6. abacab,
    Just like spoon bending, telepathy, religious healings, and all other sorts of charlatanry the excuse will be it doesn’t work on command for skeptics. The point is that you must just believe and follow the prophet.

    And if you don’t aren’t you such a horrible rotter being nasty to a 16 year-old schoolgirl. Especially one who’s prone to self-harming when people are nasty to her or the planet. You see, your skepticism has triggered her now.

  7. Pingback: Oh Dear, Great Thunberg Really Is A Nutter | The Continental Telegraph

  8. Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for “Earth in the Balance”. Does that count for sainthood?

  9. “Note that she doesn’t say that she can see it in her own (or anyone else’s) breath…”

    Honestly, I feel quite bad for her – since we all constantly breathe out CO2, she must be basically blind at all times. How can she take a test without breathing on it and covering up the problems?

    More seriously, I imagine the entire thing is just metaphorical, more like feeling good:s presence than outright hallucinations?

  10. Let’s be fair, it was clearly a metaphor and the family has already clarified that it was intended as such (I’m guessing “can see CO2 with the naked eye” is a translation error).

    Regardless, Tim’s larger point holds: jung Thunberg is being granted entirely unearned credibility and moral stature because she’s a useful tool for adults with an agenda. Not least of whom are her parents.

  11. The new religion has all the attributes of the old religions except the possibility of redemption. If you sin in the new religion you are damned forever.

  12. “Let’s be fair, it was clearly a metaphor ”

    Looks like the religion concept holds up, we already have the theologians ‘interpreting’ the Holy Writ……………

  13. Well, Left, SJW, MSM, Gove & Bercow have already bestowed her as St Greta Thunberg

    She joins St Jeremy, St Tony, St EU, St Mohamed etc in the PC Socialist Green bible.

    “Greta can see C02” – she should be sectioned and ignored.

  14. I can see smoky-bacon-flavour particles. I get really freaked out when I go to the pub, I see them coming out of people’s mouths. But generally I don’t see them, as long as I avoid the pub and the corner shop.

  15. “I’m way outside my area of expertise here, but I thought saints had to perform miracles, not merely have visions.”

    Well, yes, you are totally outside your area of expertise here; sorry to say that, but you could have at least checked on Wikipedia.
    The shepherds in Fatima are at the center of the biggest and most famous public miracle in history: they told the Virgin Mary appeared to them, with sombre messages for humanity; a public sign was promised. On 13 October 1917, the day foretold in the vision, ten of thousands gathered in Fatima to see what would happen; half of them were there to mock the credulous believers, including a vast representative of anti-Catholic journalists.
    Well the miracle happened, thousands of unbelievers converted, all is documented with photos and articles, written by the very people who the day before were mocking the event; it’s called “the miracle of the sun”.

    The messages were, among other things, about a revolution in Russia and a war “bigger than the one just finished”, predicted if people would not cease to drift away from God. The children, up to the day of the miracle, were not believed by their parents and mistreated and abused by both clerics and the police; they were even put in jail and intimated to “stop lying” otherwise they would be killed. You can easily check all the story.

    Btw, the present Pope is not a big fan of the messages: in fact, being a Socialist sympathizer, during the canonization of the seer he downplayed in any possible way the message that the Communist revolution was bad.
    Under his direction, the overall message became – quite incredibly – one of peace and embracing of multiculturalism.

  16. Paolo, as reported yesterday:

    Pope to Bulgaria: you should let lots more Muslims in.

    Bulgaria to Pope: we tried that 800 years ago. Didn’t work out so good.

  17. Let’s move to your cheap shots about Bernadette Soubirous, a girl and then a woman of incomparable candor, kindness and depth.
    Do you think she’s a (big) saint just because Catholics are dumb people? Did you try to investigate any of these events? Do you really know the story of this little girl, what she said, why she was found credible?
    Contrary to what’s probably the common idea, the Church is very skeptical when apparitions are involved, and even more so during the XIX century in France – the quintessential anticlerical age and place.
    From a Christian perspective, little and ignorant children are chosen because they have no humanly power able to withstand the adversity of their mission: they have to rely on God and, consequently, they are mercilessly mocked and mistreated by everybody, priests very included – and such was certainly the case with Bernadette, as with the children in Fatima. Part of her credibility came from the fact that, being the poorest in town and poorly educated as well, what she said about the visions and the messages was totally unexpected: this was the reason why the priest of Lourdes began to give credit to her.
    After the apparitions, she lived as a religious in a convent, always subjected to the incessant flux of people – believers and unbelievers – wanting to probe her credibility in any possible way, from the most respectful to the sneaky and even violent: this was incredibly tiring and painful for her, but she obeyed.
    She was usually cheerful and kind, and this led to many of her sisters in the convent to doubt and vilify her, because – according to some spiritual fashion of the time – she was expected to be more “serious and dignified”; after her death, it was discovered that she suffered all along from incredibly painful cancer of the bones, which nobody ever suspected.
    Her body, not embalmed and now exposed in a glass case, is still uncorrupted.
    Of course, there are plenty of miracles at Lourdes, duly documented for everybody interested.
    I know, medieval stuff, but after researching her life I think it’s hardly possible to live such a life, with such a style, if there is nothing behind. Everybody is free to make his conclusions, better if seriously reached.

  18. Bloke in Germany

    I have no sympathy for this Pope, and that should be also evident from what I wrote – which you evidently did not read carefully.
    He is just a terrible Pope, using his religious status in order to push for his political preferred causes – which are certainly not mine, and are not part of the Catholic teaching or tradition.
    Why do you jump to the conclusion that I support whatever political stance this Pope holds? The Catholic church does not work that way: it’s not true that Catholics have to pretend that the Pope is always right, as too many people still believe.

  19. By the way, although it’s tangential to Tim’s main point – the secular canonisation of Greta T – Bernadette wasn’t stupid, though semi-illiterate as a child because poverty and ill health meant that she rarely attended school. The letters she wrote as a nun, when her education had been remedied, show that she was of normal intelligence.

  20. Paolo, Catholics skeptical? I think not. I have visited the cathedral at Amiens when the skull of John The Baptist has been on display and on a recent trip to Rome we visited one of the churches where a Saint’s skull is also on display. Unless both JTB and the Saint were Rhesus monkeys then I call into question the validity of both skulls. See also Shroud of Turin.

  21. Do you think she’s a (big) saint just because Catholics are dumb people?

    Not at all. Religion and faith are complex subjects with roots deeply intertwined with human nature. I’m just pointing out that the faithful have a habit of elevating supposedly gifted children to sainthood.

  22. I’m so old I can remember when saying “I’m so old I can remember when ‘is the pope a catholic?’ was a rhetorical question” was funny.

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