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Machines Like Us

Verifying the Virgin

Tuesday, 10 July 2012
by Mano Singham

We know that Mary, the mother of Jesus, likes to show up in unlikely places such as toast, water stains, and the like. But it is not always a clear-cut identification, especially since we have no idea what Mary, or even Jesus for that matter, even looked like. So what should you do if you think Mary has appeared on some item of yours to make sure that it is the real deal before you start worshipping it, telling your friends about it, or flogging it on eBay?

The New Humanist magazine says that the Catholic Church recognizes this problem and in its thorough way has provided a set of guidelines on how to verify such claims. It turns out that this document was created in 1978 but not officially published until now. No doubt this action was triggered by the recent spate of Virgin sightings.

The Catholic Church may be cavalier in the way it treats pedophile priests and sexual abuse within its ranks but no one can accuse it of laxity in the really important things like making sure that visions are authentic. After all, it would be terrible to confuse an ordinary piece of toast with a Virgin Mary piece of toast, no?