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Loreto

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Definition:   Site of the Marian shrine known as the “Holy House.” In 1291 the house where Mary was born and where she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit was carried by angels from Nazareth to Tersato (in modern day Croatia). Three years later, the house was again carried away to its permanent home in Loreto, Italy. The house is contained within a larger basilica and is encased in marble. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Italy, and is alleged to be responsible for many miracles. The site attracts millions of pilgrims each year.

Discussion: This is another Catholic legend that promotes superstition and reliance upon the intercession of Mary. Pope after pope has encouraged the legend to support popular Catholic piety – without requiring the faithful to believe its veracity. The Bible encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Paul sought to teach only Jesus and His atoning sacrifice (1 Cor. 2:2), and to reject old wives’ tales (1 Tim. 4:7).

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