|The Israelites Gathering Manna (Clerck)|
from Wikimedia Commons
“Miracles always relate to the faith. That is why a belief in miracles is not a vacation from reason, a little holiday from the tedious demands of rational responsibility. Not only is it reasonable to believe that miracles can and do happen, it is unreasonable to think they cannot and do not occur.”― Ralph M. McInerny, Miracles—a Catholic View
"The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern into which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern." --C.S. Lewis, Miracles
HOW THE CHURCH JUDGES MIRACLES
- Old Testament
- New Testament--Jesus
- New Testament--Apostles
- Historical--Marian Apparitions
- Historical--Eucharistic Miracles
- Historical--Healing Miracles
These agencies can return three verdicts on whether the event is truly miraculous, not to be explained by natural laws: yes, no, can't decide (translating from the Latin). Whatever this judgment, and the final judgment of the SCPDF, might be, it should be emphasized that other than those miracles which are part of Doctrine or Dogma (e.g. the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), the faithful are not required to believe in miracles, although they are encouraged to do so.
|Stature of San Juan Diego,|
who saw Our Lady of Guadaloupe
1) There must be moral certainty, or at least great probability, that something miraculous has occurred, something that cannot be explained by natural causes, or by deliberate fakery.
2) The person or persons who claim to have had the private revelation must be mentally sound, honest, sincere, of upright conduct, and obedient to ecclesiastical authority.
3) The content of the revelation or message must be theologically acceptable, morally sound and free of error.
4) The apparition must yield positive and continuing spiritual assets: for example, prayer, conversion, increase of charity.
Not all Marian apparitions have been approved. The most noteworthy example is that of Medjugorje.
Eucharistic miracles occur when the host, previously consecrated, either issues blood or is transformed into human tissue. One of the oldest (8th Century A.D.) occurred at Lanciano Italy. The host was transformed into cardiac tissue, and subjected in 1970-71 and 1981 to histological analyses. The results corresponded in blood type (AB) to that found for the Shroud of Turin. Remarkably, the tissue remained uncorrupted for the 1100 years after the miracle occurred.
The most recent in Legnicka, Poland occurred in 2013 when a host was dropped and then found to bleed. Examination by pathologists confirmed that it was most likely cardiac tissue.
These results are hotly contested by atheists who claim that they are either the result of fraud or that the internet reports of their occurrence are made up (including several in Buenos Aires when Pope Francis, then Archbishop Bergoglio, supposedly certified the miracle.) Given the reluctance of Church officials to certify miracles which might be revealed as fraudulent or natural (see the section on Healing Miracles below), it seems unlikely that this objection is valid. Whether all internet reports are totally accurate is another question.
Healing Miracles for Canonization
The process of canonization requires that the candidate for sainthood be responsible for at least two miracles. The miracles must be the result of prayer to the saint-to-be and only to him or her. Moreover, the miracle must involve a disease or injury that medical authorities say is totally without hope of cure. A committee of doctors (not all of whom need be Catholic) must examine the medical circumstances of the cure and certify that it is indeed miraculous.
A good example is that given by the canonization of Pope St. John Paul II. Three months after his death a French nun suffering from Parkinson's disease (the same affliction that Pope St. John Paul II suffered from) prayed to him and woke up one morning in perfect health, even though she had been unable to move her legs before. The second cure, after his beatification, was that of a Costa Rican woman who had been told by her doctors that her brain aneurysm gave her only a month to live.
We emphasize that the evaluation process for such miracles and for other miracles at shrines, such as Lourdes, is extremely rigorous. A group of doctors have to certify that there has been no previous medical treatment that could give a cure--that is, 0 % chance according to conservative diagnosis for a cure. There is no way to argue that fraud is involved in these cases or that something outside of "natural law" has not occurred.
CAN A SCIENTIST BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.Indeed, to take this a step further, to realize that the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" in science is itself a sort of miracle,
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.