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I have a question that I hope you can help me with. Last evening my 16 year old granddaughter spent the night with me. She brought a movie she wanted me to watch called Stigmata.  I feel this is NOT from God. Do you have an opinion regarding Stigmata? Have you heard of it before?

I have not seen the movie, but do have some material about the concept of stigmata. I do not know how much of this directly applies to that film.

Stigmata refer specifically to the wounds of Jesus that are miraculously reproduced in the body of a Christian. The person experiencing stigmata often develops wounds or blood blisters that will not heal. They may bleed and may do so especially at certain holy days. The experience can be traced to the 13th century when Roman Catholic doctrine developed an extreme devotion to the sufferings of Christ.

The first famous person to experience the stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi. In 1244, he had a vision of a seraph with six wings and between the wings was the image of a crucified one. When he regained consciousness, he found himself marked with the wounds of the crucifixion in his hands, feet, and right side. But even the Catholics of his time as a rule denied their authenticity. Since that time, there have been over 400 claimed cases of stigmata in some form or another (such as the marks of the crown of thorns, etc.). The great majority of these people have been Roman Catholics. The historic Roman Catholic stand has been to accept stigmata as a divine miracle though the official word is now guarded.

Certainly, it is possible that certain people had unusual wounds or blood blisters in places on their body that could be related to certain of the wounds of Christ. However, each of these cases would need to have several questions answered about them. Are the wounds real, imagined, or faked? Do they really match the wounds of Christ or is this a product of imagination? Are they self-inflicted? Could they be psychologically inflicted? Are they natural or divine? Could they be the product of satanic activity (we sometimes forget that Satan uses religion to draw people away from what is really important)?

The evidence is scanty and much of it is supplied by those who believe it and want to support it. It is never mentioned in the Bible. It started over 1200 years after the death of Christ. It is a product of the ignorance and superstitions of the Catholic Church in the darkness of the Middle Ages. It is the product of a morbid and  unscriptural fascination with and meditation on the physical wounds and suffering of Christ (something we are beginning to see again today). The Jesuits used  meditations on the sufferings of Christ in the extreme to initiate its
new members. The whole process is quite interesting and instructive of their methods. They knew that extreme meditation on gory scenes could alter the mind.

This mind-numbing effect of blood and gore is warned against in scripture. Before God destroyed the earth, He declared, "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:11). Notice how corruption in the earth is connected to the earth being filled with violence. Proverbs 13:2 states that "the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence." Graphic portrayals of blood and gore with acts of violence create an adrenalin rush in the body that can create a high of sorts. This high can be addictive as is demonstrated by the popularity of horror films and other films depicting graphic violence. This effect was developed centuries ago by the Roman Catholic church and is being reintroduced to "Christianity" today in a renewal of films connecting graphic violence with Christianity.

Films have a power to recreate all the emotions of the real thing without the actual suffering. People are having their consciences burned out with sensational special effects. We are enjoying the blood and gore of the Roman Circus without feeling guilty about people really dying. However, I do not believe that this will be enough for many. As they come to depend more and more on the high provided by pretended violence, they will feel cheated from the full effect because of their knowledge that the suffering is not real. Eventually, they will have to find ways for seeing real suffering. I think they are being prepared for a new set of martyrs.

Anyway, I realize that I strayed from the original question about stigmata. However, I believe it is all related. We are heading back to the darkness and ignorance of the Middle Ages. I thank the Lord for people like you who are still making a stand against this corruption. Keep up the good work.