Lourdes and Doctrinal Bootstrap. A convenient affirmation of new dogma.
1. Background. To believers, Saint Bernadette's story is roughly this: Mary Mother of Jesus., appeared 18 times in 1858 to one Bernadette Soubirous, a poor and asthmatic child, a miller's daughter, at Massabielle, near Lourdes. A new doctrine, "Immaculate Conception," had just been established in 1854. Mary declared to Bernadette to say the Rosary and drink the water, do penance, and stated -- naming the new doctrine -- that she, Mary was the "Immaculate Conception."
Bernadette, an illiterate girl who had no idea what the Immaculate Conception was, lived from 1844-1879. She was hidden away in a convent, but ultimately beatified in 1925, canonized in 1933, although she herself is attributed with no miracles healing others, but in seeing Mary and finding the spring whose waters appeared to be healing others.
1.1 Ask: What is the role of institutional timing, in the dogma itself, in finding this sudden "affirmation," in the life and institutional disposal of Bernadette?
The "Immaculate Conception." This was only the latest, at the time, of many church doctrinal adoptions, and it had been instituted just a few years before, in 1854. See it as Doctrine #23 at this Timeline of Roman Catholicism, at http://www.eaec.org/cults/rc/timeline.htm/.
2.1 Does this theory fit: that the church needed a vehicle for educating about this new and novel doctrine of Immaculate Conception, and so we find it inserted in the Bernadette story.
- Investigate further. Bernadette, once her "year" was over, and noone else had seen the apparitions, was hidden away in a convent. She not permitted after being hidden in the convent to drink the water, see twists and turns so that Bernadette is not associated with healing, but with the necessity of suffering, at http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/articles/bernadette.html
See FN 6.5, Dogma.
3. Lourdes as illustration: Progression from female-centric back to male-centric Christianity. The institution won. The male dominates even Lourdes, the place of women.
Watch the progression: Communications emanated fromMary to Bernadette. But Bernadette was set aside. Soon came the institutional morph to male-centered dogma and did not stop until little Bernadette was undone.
- Bernadette herself, took others to the grotto where she had the apparitions, and no-one else saw what she saw. She cannot be elevated, then, to some higher status than those who did not see, so she was whisked off to a convent -- hidden away, even mistreated, see http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=1757/. See FN 6.1
Although having asthma and other ailments from an early bout with cholera, she herself was not allowed to drink further of the healing water that sprang up where she was told to scratch beneath the rock. She died of tuberculosis, with, as I understand, no further access allowed to the healing waters of Lourdes, not allowed to speak to people there, no voice at all.
So why the crown and cross? Jesus was not appearing at Lourdes to anyone, yet see dominant the cross, all gold gilt, riches with a crown, gleams in the sunset.
- Cross and crown like Templars. If the cross is set at an angle within the crown, the symbol becomes the freemason, the masonic, the Templar Cross and Crown, see http://www.whale.to/v/cross_and_crown.html.
- Is this use of the pairing of the cross and crown here intentional, to invoke the male Catholic Templars over Mary and Bernadette, and literally?
- Shapes of steeples. No accident. The phallic nature of the steeple shape does not appear in histories of steeples, surprise, see for example http://www.religiousproductnews.com/articles/2007-February/Feature-Articles/The-History-of-Church-Steeples.htm/; including histories that claim steeples and obelisks to be directly (and wrongly, for them) derived from the Sun God Ra, see http://biblicaltruth.net/forbidden-things/obelisks-or-church-steeples/ This site advocates the literal tearing down of all of them, see http://www.piney.com/Asherah.html
- The crypt and the Rosary Basilica are beneath the upper Basilica. It is easy to forget to go down and around to the cave at all.
All of Lourdes: a stage.
4. The staging continues, and away from the grotto beneath.
5. Castle of Lourdes
Castle of Lourdes, unrelated to miracles. Chateau fort de Lourdes
Charlemagne laid siege here in about 778, and it became the later home of several houses of Counts.
6.1 Massabielle as a name derived perhaps from massif vieille, the old solid place, a grotto, near Lourdes, The Old Rock. It was located on the riverbank of the River Gave. People disbelieved and scoffed, some, and then a spring appeared from the cave with apparently healing qualities.
Bernadette, also known as Marie Bernarde Soubirous, was sent to be hidden away in a convent, not happily.
The grotto was "dirty and obscure" -- see http://www.moreprayers.com/lourdes-history.html/. A supplemental version describes Bernadette crossing a stream, feeling a breeze or wind,. See http://www.moreprayers.com/saint-bernadette.html/. Messages to Bernadette: penance, drink of the spring, healing.
6.2 . Napoleon III in that same year, 1858, ordered the unkempt grotto area cleaned up, and a little wood statue of Mary was put in the grotto, with some artificial flowers.
From that housekeeping and memorial, behold the buses, the tours, the hotels, the bustle, the plastic, folding chairs without number available, chapelschapelschapels, and imaginary routes for finger-dipping and -- do a search -- you can get your own bottled Lourdes water, guaranteed from where?
6.3. There have been vettings of the visions, and who is to vet the vetters. This one says there were indeed miracles, and the last was 1987, see French Doctor First to Vet Lourdes, at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1188122/posts / Miraculous recoveries appear to be attested to frequently. What source, mechanism triggered, is a matter of faith.
6.4. Other sites have been disavowed by the Church, but not this one. Disclosure: I came to this site with an interested (liberal Christianity with constant vetting of dogma, little adoption of institutional positions) and relieved to find that at Medugorje the miracles had been disavowed. Nonetheless, the tours continue and the money rolls. See http://bosniaroadways.blogspot.com/2006/06/medjugorje-pictures-what-you-see.html#!.
6.5 Dogma. Immaculate conception is a concept created by the institution over time for dogmatic purposes, see http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/kimmac.html, and which illiterate Bernadette at the time did not understand. Mary, in her representation here, emerges as from herself. Note the vaginal surround.
Yet the Immaculate Conception itself is suborned to more traditional male-centered dogma, like crosses and crowns.
Even at Lourdes, where the point is woman to woman communication, portrayals of Mary at Lourdes are suborned in size and position, off to the side, secondary to those gigantic images of other dogmatic teaching symbols, such as the cross and crown, that dominate Lourdes.