A Religious Fair
By Awake! correspondent in Italy
IT WAS in February 1995 that reports began to circulate regarding what was thought to be a modern-day miracle: A statue of the Madonna in Civitavecchia was supposedly observed crying tears of blood. Since that time, Catholics from all over the world have made a pilgrimage to see the statue for themselves.
Yet, according to the newspaper La Repubblica, many Catholics are irritated by the “atmosphere of a fair” surrounding the tourist site. Even a number of theologians are uneasy about the masses who are flocking to venerate the statue. For example, Luigi Pizzolato, a teacher at the Catholic University of Milan, criticizes the church for being content with an “emotionally aroused” faith. He notes that the fruitage that is being produced by this so-called miracle is “spoiled by superstition.” Another theologian, Carlo Molari, reminds us that “in the New Testament, a certain Simon Magus uses extraordinary powers for his own ends—to make money, we would say today.”—Acts 8:9-24.
Jesus warned his disciples to beware of those who would perform “great signs and wonders.” (Matthew 24:3, 24) Even when such signs seem authentic, a Christian’s faith cannot be based on supposed miracles. (Hebrews 11:1, 6) Rather, it is by acquiring accurate knowledge of God’s Word and applying its counsel that a solid faith may be attained. (John 17:3; Romans 10:10, 17; 2 Timothy 3:16) Would you like to have that kind of faith? Why not let Jehovah’s Witnesses help you the next time they call?
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