Matt C. Abbott
Interview with 'The Miracle Hunter'
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By Matt C. Abbott
May 26, 2016

Below is an email interview I conducted with Michael O'Neill, also known as The Miracle Hunter. Click here to order a copy of his book Exploring the Miraculous.



Could you describe a little about your book Exploring the Miraculous?

Michael O'Neill: My book Exploring the Miraculous takes a look at the major supernatural events that the Catholic Church has found to be worthy of belief over the centuries. I try to cover all the major miracle types that the Church investigates, including apparitions, Eucharistic miracles and weeping icons. I try to take the reader on a journey examining the investigative techniques and approval mechanisms that are used to validate such phenomena, but also look at the ways miracles have impacted the Church throughout the ages. With incredible miracles in the news even today: a Eucharistic miracle recently validated in Legnica, Poland, various claims of weeping statues surfacing around the world in greater numbers than ever before, and another Marian apparition – this one from San Nicolas, Argentina from 1983 to 1990 – receiving full approval as a supernatural event worthy of belief, this book is extremely relevant to answer the questions Catholics have about the supernatural.

What do you think Catholics will find most interesting about it?

Michael O'Neill: Most Catholics have heard of these very famous miracles, especially apparitions like Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe. When reading the book, the eyes of Catholics will be opened to the incredible history of the miraculous that the Church has embraced throughout the centuries. Even things that seem simple that we might take for granted, like how a miracle is found for the process of sainthood, are thoroughly explored. Aside from learning how the Church judges miraculous phenomena, I hope people will be inspired by the great stories that have led to some incredible healings, the establishment of the most famous religious orders and some of the largest and most beautiful churches in Christendom, and the foundation of some of Catholicism's greatest treasures like the Rosary.

Do you think non-Catholics would also find it of interest?

Michael O'Neill: Believe it or not, I am actually a skeptic at heart and am not afraid to say that most things initially thought to be potentially miraculous do have natural explanations or are the result of hoaxes. But when a miracle is validated, it is cause for great excitement. At the beginning of most chapters of the book, I try to address those things that may concern non-Catholic Christians and give a Biblical basis for these miracles and Catholic beliefs where possible. I have an entire chapter dedicated to the miracles of the Bible, so any Bible-believing Christian will be interested to look at those things upon which their entire faith rests. My hope is that those who don't think miracles are possible will read the book and find some fascinating and inexplicable stories while gaining some respect for how seriously the Church looks at these events and how methodically it investigates them.

What do you think the fallout, if any, will be among the faithful once the Vatican issues a declaration on the reported apparitions in Medjugorje?

Michael O'Neill: Pope Francis has a pastoral challenge with the ruling about Medjugorje – much like an umpire in baseball – in that no matter what call he makes, half the Catholics will be disappointed. There have been many reports of healings, conversions and vocations from the famed alleged long-running Marian apparitions, and those would all be called into question with a negative judgment. Because the seers are still alive and the messages continue, very likely some statement of status quo or one of support for pilgrims while suppressing the public activities of the seers will be issued. With the promised permanent sign for the world to see, this apparition will prove itself authentic or the greatest hoax in the history of religion. Time will tell.

Once again, controversy surrounding the Church-approved Marian apparitions at Fatima has surfaced – this time involving Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (click here for the news item). What's your take on these latest developments?

Michael O'Neill: The apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima in 1917 to three shepherd children has been the gold standard of Marian visions reported throughout Christian history. Because of their tremendous impact and the interest they have generated worldwide, there will always be conspiracy theories about the requested consecration of Russia and the famous secrets of Fatima. This recent controversy related to the claimed partial release of the Third Secret by the Vatican in the year 2000 has been addressed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the Vatican as being an allegation with no basis. Despite very little to corroborate this claim, people will always raise questions, but it underscores the tremendous interest in miracles and apparitions that the faithful truly have.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if those emails are marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

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