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New! The “Miracle Lite”! 2006-03-07

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Europe, Intolerance.

Exasperated at the refusal of modern medicine to declare any disease incurable, the Roman Christian pilgrimage shrine at Lourdes plans to introduce a kind of ‘miracle lite’ category for sudden unexplained recoveries.

Every year, dozens of invalids leave the site in southwestern France convinced they have been cured, but The Church does not rate their cases as miracles because its rules say doctors must attest their ailments could not be remedied.

Bishop Jacques Perrier said The Vatican need not change the rules on miracles, but could create a new category of ‘authentic healings’ so those who recover can share the story of their physical and spiritual experiences with others.

The Roman Christian or Catholic Church teaches that God sometimes performs miracles, including cures doctors cannot explain. Sceptics reject this as unscientific and explain sudden recoveries as psychological phenomena or the delayed result of earlier treatment. Unlike in the past, the Bishop said, physicians are now very reluctant to say a disease is incurable — yet such a declaration was specified in the 1700s when rules for recognising miracles were laid down.

‘Doctors speak in statistical terms, saying, for example, that the chances of recovery are very slim,’ he said.

‘They have a very hard time saying a disease is completely incurable.

‘Most healings may fail to meet this or that criterion for a miracle,’ he added.

‘We want to get recognition for a category of authentic healings linked to Lourdes.’

Bishop Perrier said he was working on a proposal for the new category of Lourdes healings to put to The Vatican for approval. He insisted that Catholicism’s leading miracle shrine was not considering this to boost pilgrimages to the grotto where The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a peasant girl in 1858.

‘There’s been no decline in visits,’ he said.

Rather, it sensed a lost opportunity, since those said to be cured on a Lourdes visit but not declared miracle cases do not get Church approval to tell their story in public, for example at retreats or meetings.

Six million pilgrims flock annually to the town in the Pyrenees. About 7 000 have claimed to have been cured since the shrine’s medical bureau began keeping records in 1883, but only 66 have been declared miraculously healed.

Bishop Perrier said the shrine’s International Medical Committee examined possible miracle cases and rejected most of them.

  • The last official miracle, a man said to be cured of multiple sclerosis, was declared in 1999 after 12 years of inquiries.

Sometimes the physicians — a 20-strong group including Christians and non-believers — see an ill person has been healed inexplicably, but draw no conclusions, he said.

‘They say “since miracles are by definition religious, it’s up to you religious authorities to draw a conclusion. We can only say this is something serious, but don’t put us in your place.”

‘What we want is to authenticate these healings and say the people who say they have been healed are not making it up or swindling people,’ Bishop Perrier said.

‘It’s meant to give a certain moral guarantee so we don’t have just anybody going around claiming to have been healed.’



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