Blog #5: Process of confirming a miracle and its involvement in canonization

A saint is someone in heaven who can intercede for those still on earth. If two miracles are confirmed as valid by the Church after someone’s death, they can be declared a saint. However, this requirement has only come about recently, during the time of Saint John Paul II. It is speculated that already the importance of miracles has already decreased since then. Although it is still in the criteria to declare someone a saint, more emphasis is being placed on the sanctity of that person during their time on earth.

The Vatican has appointed a miracle commission made up of theological and scientific experts to investigate claims for miracles. According to Michael O’Neil, who runs the website MiracleHunter.com, almost every miracle confirmed by the Church is a medical miracle. In order to be confirmed, there must be no chance that could nature could cause the same outcome. It is not a miracle if someone is cured of a disease in which they had a chance of naturally being cured. To attribute a miracle towards someone’s canonization, the individuals praying for the cure can only have asked for the intercession of one person to avoid confusion of who to give credit for the miracle.

During his reign as pope, Saint John Paul II suffered many attacks to his physical health including an assassination attempt, and Parkinson’s disease. After his death, a French nun was cured of Parkinsons and a Costa Rican woman recovered randomly from a serious brain injury. These miracles were confirmed and were used in his case for canonization.

Ghose, Tia. “The Science of Miracles: How the Vatican Decides.” LiveScience, Purch, 9 July 2013, http://www.livescience.com/38033-how-vatican-identifies-miracles.html.

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