One third of French believe in miracles: poll

9th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 8, 2006 (AFP) - More than a third of French people believe in miracles, according to a poll to appear on Thursday, just days before a major annual pilgrimage to the Lourdes sanctuary in southwestern France.

PARIS, Aug 8, 2006 (AFP) - More than a third of French people believe in miracles, according to a poll to appear on Thursday, just days before a major annual pilgrimage to the Lourdes sanctuary in southwestern France.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to the poll, carried out by TNS-Sofres for the French Roman Catholic magazine The Pilgrim, said they believed in miracles, though they used different definitions for the word.

One third of believers defined a miracle as "a phenomenon for which there is no explanation", another third said it was "a happy and unexpected event" while only eight percent said it was the result of "divine intervention".

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they did not believe in miracles, while three percent had no opinion, according to the poll of 1,000 people carried out on July 6-7.

Some six million pilgrims flock every year to Lourdes, a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees, where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to a young miller's daughter inside a cave in 1858.

Christianity's most visited place of pilgrimage after Rome, Lourdes draws hundreds of thousands of sick and handicapped, fervently praying for a cure from the allegedly holy power of the site's spring water.

The largest French pilgrimage to Lourdes takes place on August 15, the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption.

The Roman Catholic Church in November recognised as "miraculous" the case of an Italian woman who recovered from a serious illness following a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1952, the 67th "miracle cure" attributed to the shrine.

Out of more than 6,700 exceptional cures reported to be linked to Lourdes since 1858, only one percent have been officially recognised as "miracles".

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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