Bishop’s Commission Report
After many requests, many of them from the clergy of Lourdes, Bishop Laurence of Tarbes, the diocese covering Lourdes, announced that he would set up an investigative commission. His decision was dated 28th July 1858 and publicly posted on 1st August 1858.
“Order of the Monseigneur the Bishop of Tarbes, appointing a commission charged with the examination of the authenticity and nature of the events which have taken place during the last six months or thereabouts, on the occasion of an Appearance, real or alleged, of the Most Blessed Virgin in a Grotto situated to the west of the town of Lourdes.
“Bertrand Severe Laurence, by the mercy of God and the grace of the Holy See Bishop of Tarbes, to the clergy and the faithful of our diocese, health and benediction in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Certain events of the greatest importance concerning religion which have stirred the diocese and been discussed far and wide have taken place at Lourdes since the 11th February last.”
“Bernadette Soubirous, a young girl of Lourdes of the age of fourteen, is said to have had certain visions in the Grotto of Massabieille; the Immaculate Virgin is said to have appeared to her; a spring of water of water is said to have flowed there; the water of this fountain, drunk or applied as a lotion, is said to have caused a great number of cures. These cures are described as miraculous…
“To guide and enlighten the religion and piety of so many thousands of the faithful, to satisfy a public need, to clear away doubts and to calm minds, we accede today to the requests which have been made for so long from all parts… For this purpose we have resolved to establish in the diocese a permanent commission to collect and register the events which have occurred or may occur in the future at the Grotto of Lourdes, to bring those events before us and inform us as to their character and thus to furnish us with the necessary facts whereby we may arrive at a solution.
“For this cause, the Holy Name of God being invoked, we have ordained and do ordain that which follows:”
“… A commission is established in the diocese of Tarbes in order to enquire whether any cures have been effected by the water of the Grotto of Lourdes, either drunk or applied externally, and if these cures can be explained naturally or must be attributed to a supernatural cause… Whether the visions which the child Bernadette Soubirous professes to have had in the Grotto are genuine, and if so, whether they can be explained naturally or whether they have a supernatural and divine character… Whether the object seen in the visions has made any requests, or revealed any desire to this child… Whether the child has been told to communicate them – if so, to whom, and what are the requests or desires revealed? …. Whether the spring now flowing in the Grotto existed before the vision which Bernadette Soubirous claims to have seen …
“Given at Tarbes at our Episcopal palace under our seal and signature and countersigned by our secretary the 28th July 1858, signed Bertrand Severe, Bishop of Tarbes.”