Thursday, February 14, 2008

The emperor really has no clothes

Last week I sent the same email to all three addresses provided in the Suarez healing ministry contact page. I wrote:
The website of Fr. Fernando Suarez ( has a number of articles purporting miraculous healings. The same website has also published quite a number of testimonials claiming the same.

Given all the anecdotal material, I would just like to inquire whether there have been investigations of the claims of miraculous healings by Suarez. If so, may I please have the names of the medical experts involved, their contact information, and what their findings have been thus far. Any other pertinent information as to evidence for miracles would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Thus far, I've received replies from the ministry's U.S. and Canadian offices. US contact person Manny Abalos told me he knows of no investigation. On the other hand, Mary Sheridan of Canada, Suarez's secretary, didn't answer my question directly but instead quoted a couple of parts of the Statement of Clarification the Companions of the Cross issued last February 6, the relevant one being the part about how only the bishop and medical experts can determine whether a miracle has occurred. She also bounced back what I had already said in my email--that testimonials were being published in their website.

From these responses, it appears Suarez and Companions of the Cross don't really have anything except lurid claims. Sure, they've got reams of testimonials and anecdotes, and unwavering belief, but they don't even have a single medical investigation which they confess is essential.

To believe wholeheartedly without evidence is to be deluded. I'll bet not a few in this healing mania are irredeemably so, beginning with that strutting naked emperor Fernando Suarez.

In many pre-scientific societies shamans play the role of doctor. Among other things they are said to harness or channel spirits and supernatural forces to cure the sick among their tribe. Suarez is a modern-day, city-dwelling shaman. The trouble is shamanic bunkum imported into the 21st century, into the cities, and into the Internet is still shamanic nonsense. While we can't fault Stone Age shamans and their tribe for not knowing any better, given their circumstances Suarez and his cohorts can only be seen, if not judged, as freaking imbeciles.

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