Greta Christina has scooped me, saying what I wanted to say, but making it sound purty. It concerns a testimonial for The Pope’s Cologne (a cologne supposedly made from a recipe that Pius IX enjoyed, or some such):
A few minutes before the brunch ended we got the bad news that a friend of my parents for over 50 years had just died. He was struggling with cancer but did not win the battle, he was 76 years old. The following morning we assisted the wake and as my mother hugged his widow she mentioned how pleasant her fragrance was. My mom proceeded to explain to her that it was a mother’s day gift given to her by one of her daughters. His widow expressed a feeling of peace and comfort as she was hugging my mom, and that it was the fragrance that made her feel this way. […]
What I experienced later will be a sight I will never forget!!! The widow used the cologne to “anoint” her husband EVERY 20 minutes. She would sprinkle it on his hands, his head, his forehead, and his neck. You could see in her eyes she had found a way of redemption through the cologne. Everyone was asking about the cologne and its origin. Everyone that came in to give her their condolences could not stop asking about the pleasant aroma they were experiencing. Everyone was quiet and in awe for hours. She also kept on rubbing the bottle as if it was some sort of amulet or charm.
(Bold emphasis added.)
Greta reaches the same conclusion as I did:
I do not ever — ever — want to hear another progressive theologian say that modern religious thought doesn't involve magical thinking. […]
But if you think nobody believes [in the personal interventionist God who answers prayers] in the rather larger world outside of theology schools, you need to visit Lourdes. Or attend a prayer meeting being organized by the parents of a terminally sick child. […]
Or else, just go to a funeral where the grieving widow is anointing her dead husband with Magical Oil of Pope.
But go read the whole thing.