Two miracles have been confirmed under the intercession of John Henry Newman who could now be declared a saint in the near future. In 2010, he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI after his first miracle was confirmed in which he healed a deacon of a disableing spine condition. In the second miracle, a pregnant woman was diagnosed with a fatal illness that she spontaneously recovered from. Her doctor’s were not able to provide a medical explanation for her sudden recovery. The event was examined and confirmed by the Archdiocese of Chicago. To establish John Henry Newman’s sainthood the cure needs to be approved by a committee of bishops and then Pope Francis has to declare that he is a saint.
Who is John Henry Newman?
John Henry Newman was an Anglican priest, a writer, and an educator. He was well known before his conversion making it very controversial and leading to a lot of his friends to reject him. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1847 and a Cardinal in 1879. During his priesthood, he founded two schools and lived a life of integrity. Today, there are “newman centers” established in Catholic and Non-Catholic universities in honor of John Henry Newman that promote the same spirit of education with Christ.
In Lourdes, France there is a shrine that many pilgrims and tourists visit regularly. The Virgin Mary visited Bernadette Soubirous 18 times encouraging her to “pray and do penance for the conversion of the world”. After the shrine was constructed many who visited were cured of their illnesses. In 1882, a medical bureau was established made up of about five-hundred medical professionals with various beliefs.
“Miracles of Lourdes.” Miracles of Lourdes, olrl.org/stories/lourdes.shtml.
While there are over 7000 miracle claims as a result of Lourdes, 67 have been validated.
In the case of a miracle at Lourdes, there are specific criteria that need to be met in order for a cure to be cofirmed as a miracle. The patient miracle must have been accurately diagnosed of their illness, the cure must be immediate and complete, and the treatment of the illness ineffective. Pilgrims who are sick are often accompanied by a doctor who has a file regarding the individuals condition. In the case of a cure, the person is sent to a medical office and his file must be submitted. It is then analysed on the same day, by members of the medical profession. If there is agreement by at least 3/4ths, the case is sent to the Lourdes Medical Committee. This committee consists of thirty specialists including surgeons and professionals from several countries who assess the patient over the years. The cure is then sent to the Church authorities and the bishop of the patient’s diocese is informed. At this point, the case is already said to be extraordinary in science and without any medical explanation. It is the duty of the bishop to gather a diocesan committee of priests, canonists, and theologians to examine the case according to the rules outlined by Pope Benedict XIV (before he was pope) in his treatise “Concerning the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God (Book IV, Part I, Chapter VIII No. 2). Then and only then, can the bishop publicly declare that this event was most likely a miracle.
Null. “How Lourdes Cures Are Recognized as Miraculous – ZENIT – English.” ZENIT, 1 Jan. 2016, zenit.org/articles/how-lourdes-cures-are-recognized-as-miraculous/.
The article that I read had several quotes and data points that would be great to source in my paper.
“For the cure to be considered miraculous, the disease must be serious and impossible (or at least very difficult) to cure by human means and not be in a stage at which it is liable to disappear shortly by itself. No medical treatment must have been given, or it must be certain that the treatment given has no reference to the cure. The healing must be spontaneous, complete and permanent.” This is a quote by Michael O’Neil, the founder of MiracleHunter.com.
This article had a great quote from the CCC: “the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability ‘are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all’; they are ‘motives of credibility’ (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is ‘by no means a blind impulse of the mind.’” (CCC 156). It does a great job explaining the Church’s stance on the existence and purpose of miralces.
The amount of claims drastically surpasses the number of confirmed miracles. According to “the Lourdes Medical Commission, while documenting over 8,000 extraordinary cures, has only validated  of them.”
Kosloski, Philip. “This Is How Miracles Are Approved by the Church.” Aleteia, Aleteia, 14 May 2018, aleteia.org/2018/05/14/this-is-how-miracles-are-approved-by-the-church/.
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.
A miracle is a gift or fruit of the Holy Spirit that is perceived by the senses and does not abide by the order of nature. For example, a miracle can disobey the law of the conservation of matter as in the multiplication of loaves in the New Testament. If a circumstance can be replicated within the bounds of nature, it is not a miracle. Although humans can disrupt the order of nature, they cannot break the order of nature. Therefore, any situation in which the order of nature has been broken is a divine act. However, acts of God such as creation and the sacraments are not miracles because they belong to the order of divine providence and are beyond the senses.
Miracles can occur as a result of prayer and petitioning for intercession through use of relics or visits to holy sites. God can perform a miracle directly or by instruments. When God uses an instrument to perform a miracle, that instrument does not have the power to implement the miracle again at will.
The effect of a miracle can only be to enhance the good of man or it is not a miracle. The purpose of a miracle is to teach, provide evidence to confirm the truth of the divine mission, and verify the sanctity of the saints. Miracles have always occurred throughout all of time. In the Old Testament, God used Moses to perform miracles to display his power and love for His chosen people. In the New Testament, Jesus performed miracles to help Christians to grasp God’s nature and mission more fully and illustrate the power of faith and prayer. When Jesus heals the paralytic, he shows that he has the power to forgive sins. His multiplication of loaves symbolizes the eucharist and raising people from the dead foreshadowed his ressurection and victory over sin and death. Finally, Jesus gave bestowed the ability to perform miracles to his apostles and those who believed in him.
Miracles help bring people to the Catholic Church because the miracle has an effect on not only the recipient of the miracle but those around him and those who come to believe as a result.
According to an encyclical written by Saint John Paul II, miracles are investigated and confirmed by the sacred congregation and are a key part in the process of canonization. The sacred congregation is a committee that is led by a cardinal prefect. They are involved in the process of canonizing saints by setting guidlines, thoroughly studying each case, and voting on it.
While investigating a miracle for canonization, the sacred congregation follows a procedure in which a case is prepared and discussed among the medical experts who study those who have been healed by a miracle. It is then discussed between a theological committee and a group of cardinals and bishops. It is finally reported to the Supreme Pontiff who has the authority to either reject or validate the case.
“Divinus Perfectionis Magister (January 25, 1983): John Paul II.” Divinus Perfectionis Magister (January 25, 1983) | John Paul II, w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_25011983_divinus-perfectionis-magister.html.
I read an article about the definition of a miracle according to the Catholic Church. They defined a miracle as “an extraordinary sensible effect wrought by God that surpasses the power and order of created nature”. The author proceeded to explain her definition by analyzing each part of the definition.
First of all, God is the sole source of the miracle. The miracle must surpass the powers of nature in effect of the miracle. Also, it must surpass the both powers of the subject that the miracle happened to and the manner in which the miracle occurred.
Divine acts such as the creation of the world do not count as miracles because they are within order meaning they were willed by God from the beginning of time. A miracle is not within the realm of order. It also is above the ordinary natural and supernatural (i.e. grace bestowed by God).
Lastly, a miracle must be subject to perception by the senses. The author argues that the purpose of miracles are to prove the authenticity of God’s revelation and the validity of the Catholic Church. A miracle is another way in which God can communicate with humanity.
The author includes a quote from the First Vatican Council “[I]n order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with reason, it was God’s will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and are suited to the understanding of all (The Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, ch. 3; emphasis added)”.
Miracles need to be clearly defined in order to accurately decipher the validity of miracles in different situations. Once parameters have been set, situations can be examined according to the boundaries declared by the Church. A miracle is not subject to nature or a substitute answer for a circumstance that cannot be explained. Therefore, the Catholic Church carefully lays out what constitutes a miracle in order to ensure that only valid miracles are confirmed.