In August of this year, Pope John Paul II made his 104th foreign trip, to the shrine at Lourdes, France. He was celebrating two dogmas relating to worship of the Virgin Mary goddess.
One is called the Immaculate Conception which declares that Mary was born without original sin and thus lived a sinless life. The other is the Assumption of Mary, that she did not suffer burial and decay after death, but that her body, as well as her soul, went directly to heaven when she died.
Reports of the whole event attended by some 300,000 pilgrims include scant mention of Jesus. The focus was exclusively on the virtues of the Virgin Mary and her care and concern for all her children in the world. The pope complimented the pilgrims for thronging to the Lourdes shrine "...in order to hear the maternal counsels of the Blessed Virgin...the Queen resplendent before the throne of God, ever interceding on their behalf."
In 1858, the Virgin Mary goddess apparition began appearing to a 14-year-old peasant girl in southern France. After several sessions, a local priest insisted she ask the "beautiful lady" what was her name. Finally on March 25, the apparition replied that she was "the Immaculate Conception."
This meant nothing to the illiterate girl but when she told the priest, he became excited. Just 4 years prior, the pope had officially declared that Mary had been conceived without original sin.
In those days news traveled slowly and only a few knew of the declaration. It was obviously unlikely that the girl, Bernadette, could have known of the dogma, much less, attach the complex theological title to the apparition. To the Vatican, this was powerful proof that the apparition was real and not the fanciful imagination of a teenage youngster.
John Paul II, ailing from severe Parkinson's disease, was one with the crowd containing tens of thousands of pilgrims with canes, in wheel chairs, or even gurneys with IVs attached. Lourdes is considered a "premier healing shrine" by Roman Catholics. Water from its springs is carried to the sick all over the world.
This entire exercise highlights some of the most unbiblical aspects of this false church. Central is their Virgin Mary who has been elevated by papal decree to the status of a goddess. Nothing in the Bible suggests that the biblical Mary is anything else but a devout, ordinary Jewish woman chosen simply to bring into the world the Messiah.
Rome has transformed her into a sinless, celestial being capable of presenting millions of petitions a day to the throne of God. She is supposed to have shared in Christ's suffering for the sins of the world making her co-Redeemer with Him.
This is sheer blasphemy, making her equal with Jesus in the minds of the hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics around the world. In fact, Jesus has been reduced to a wheat wafer in the Eucharist and the practical focus of their worship is now upon Mary, Queen of Heaven rather than Jesus as King and Savior.