"Look, Pedro, it's ET...or is the sun spinning?"
A few years ago I was watching a documentary on Fatima, and some sceptics were trying to explain the miracle of the sun. Now ordinarily they would just dismiss it as religious nuts having hallucinations, but the fact that 70,000 people saw it, among them devoted atheists, and that it was reported in a secular newspaper, means they cannot take refuge in that argument. So they have to come up with something, after all one cannot accept on a scientific basis that the Virgin appeared at Fatima, that God exists and that a miracle was performed.
So as I was crunching away on some snack or other I was listening to the various theories one of which was that some sort of alien craft had come down on the crowds in Fatima. Now I don't know how you would answer that one, to be honest. Some poor devil who does not believe in God seemed quite content to introduce ET and his mates as a valid explanation for the miracle. Now, we could, indeed, examine that particular hypothesis on its merits, scientific or otherwise, but let's face it, life is too short.
What prompts my post: Matthew Archbald, always a good read, has an article on the most recent "explanations" put forward as a means of undermining the miraculous nature of the event. Enjoy, or a priest friend of mine would say, "knock yourselves out". It is a pity that among those positing these weird ideas are members of the science faculty of the Catholic University of Louvain.
All of this reminds me of the days I was studying Scripture in the Milltown Institute in Dublin. Our lecturer was coming up with all sorts of strange ideas to explain away the miracles of Jesus. One gem was that used to show Jesus never walked on water. It seems that if you are in a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, at a certain time of day, when the sun is at a certain strength, and the tide is at such and such etc etc, if you see someone walking on the beach, it will appear as if the person is walking on water, and that's what happened. "Right", says I, "and tell me now, ignorant man that I am: if the disciples were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus was only walking on the beach, how did he get out to the boat?" Response: "You're so closed to new ideas."
Sometimes the "alternative" explanations require a greater act of faith than the original miracles!
All that said: the Fraternity is going to Fatima in June, would you like to join us? A week's stay at the shrine: 10th- 17th June, with full board only €759. For more details contact Therese at JWT Pilgrimages: 01 241 0800.