Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you believe in miracles?

Medical reporter André Picard goes to town on the recent media frenzy about the medical "miracles" of Brother André, now canonized.
The media – presumably secular institutions – report these “miracles” as credible, factual events, and ... buy into pseudo-scientific twaddle, consciously or otherwise.
Meanwhile Queen's University medical historian Jacalyn Duffin is also making miracle news. A hematologist in her other life, she was asked years ago to do a blind analysis of some cancer data and, when she found the progress of the disease inexplicable, her findings became part of the dossier that made another Quebecker, Marie-Marguerite d'Youville, a saint. Duffin was not involved in the Brother André case, but the matter of miracle cures inspired her recent book Medical Miracles: Doctors, Saints and Healing in the Modern World, published internationally last year.

I'm still quite fond of my own take on Brother André in 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal (still in print and coming soon in ebook), which works out an elaborate comparison between him and George-Etienne Cartier. (I wouldn't make a big deal about it, except at the time I kinda thought it would provoke some interest and I never saw a single word to indicate anyone even noticed, poor me.)
....From the 1840s into the 1960s, Quebec's leaders often believed their task was like Brother André's: to celebrate and safeguard traditional values in the midst of a world that was too English and too secular.

Quebec's political leaders had the harder task in this regard. If Brother André went to Parliament Hill, he went secure in his faith, seeking only to bring a blessing and take away a few alms. Secular political leaders had to bridge two worlds. French Canada's minority position in the Anglo-Protestant modern world meant its representatives had to deal as skillfully with English Canada as with their own francophone community. In the 1860s, the statesman charged with that double responsibility was George-Etienne Cartier, Quebec's pre-eminent representative in the making of confederation....
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