Friday, April 04, 2008

Anecdotal Rebuttal - Holy Water Debate Followup

Those who followed the Holy Water Debate may recall that the final refuge for PhatCatholic was under the theory that exorcisms actually occur and that holy water has proven its usefulness in such situations.

The following article provides an anecdotal rebuttal to those claims. In the article, Italian prosecutors are essentially charging a Catholic priest, "Father" Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi with fraud on account of his fake exorcisms. (link to article) This priest also claimed to perform healing.

Why is the government so interested? Apparently the priest has accumulated an enormous amount of money (millions of Euros) through his exercise of his supposed gifts.

It is interesting to note that the priest's bishop had cautioned him previously against performing exorcisms, and that the priest claims that he doesn't perform exorcisms, just "blessings." In fact the priest's bishop (who is also a cardinal) had apparently prohibited exorcisms!

What is the point? The point is to illustrate how invalid anecdotal arguments for the supposed efficacy of holy water are. There are plenty of deceivers and showman out there whether Benny Hinn or his Catholic equivalent Bazzoffi.

We need something more reliable than the fact that someone has claimed that they accomplished something using Holy Water before we accept it as a valid, efficacious practice. Does the article prove anything conclusively? Of course not. All it does is demonstrate how inconclusive anecdotal evidence is. It rebuts the case for Holy Water practices. Thus, at the end of the day, we don't find any reason to accept Holy Water practices as anything more than superstition.


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