Lourdes is a centre of pilgrimage that is known throughout the Christian world. However, it is a place of two contrasting halves. One is the serene, holy and special place that is the main basilicas and the main features of the actual site of the pilgrimage.
The other is the highly commercialised, profit-orientated area. This is full of souvenir shops and hotels, not associated with the church, but out to make a profit. There are two very different approaches to Lourdes, some highlight the commercialism in negative way, and others choose to see the positive merits. I will explore both sides of this argument and come to a conclusion.People who come to Lourdes often say that the commercialism has a bad effect; they say that it detracts from the religious aura and the general special feeling of the place. Others would argue that this touristy atmosphere adds to the mood of Lourdes. Many feel that people should be able to detach themselves from the commercialism, as the actual religious sites are not affected in the same way as the rest of the town.
After all, it is ones personal choice to go into the shops and buy things. People that oppose this positive argument for commercialism often say that the things for sale in the shops are verging on blasphemous and should not be allowed full stop, they are tacky and are sold for extortionate prices.Away from the religious side, the commercialism has brought nothing but good things for Lourdes as a community, the local economy receiving a substantial boost not to mention the jobs created. Many would argue that there is no getting away from the commercialism and that we should not let it affect us, after all the events that took place at Lourdes are far too important to be affected by it. Lots would say that as the church does not receive any sort of profit from the commercialisation of Lourdes then it is a bad thing, because commercialism stands for everything the church does not profit, greed and material happiness.
For example the incident in Matthew 21:12/13 “…cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves…
my house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den”I personally believe that Lourdes is not too commercialised. I think that it can be forgotten and that the real purpose of Lourdes is for physical and more importantly spiritual healing. People have their own choice about whether to let it detract from the experience, some even say that it helps.
Obviously, it is a matter of personal preference, but I believe that if someone truly believe in the events that took place here, the they can see that their importance far outweighs the negatives of the commercialism.