Argument: (1) Miracles are defined as: enstences where events happen in such close temporal proximity and in logical connection to religious evocation, such as prayer; said events stand out from what we understand to be the set course of nature; said events cannot be explained through any known natural agency; said events create religious affections in the lives of those connected with them.
(2) Miracles are perceived to be interventions or influences of Supernature upon the lower sphere of nature.
(3) Thousands of such examples have been documented in modern times.
(4) When and if such occurrences affect the life of a believer, the believer is then justified in assuming that some supernatural effect has occurred
(5) If a supernatural effect happens, it is assumed that God works such an effect
(6) Such effects have occurred, therefore, the believer is justified in such a belief.
(7) A justified belief in the action of God is a justification for a rational belief in God. Therefore, the real first hand experience of this type of event, or the credible confidence in such documented cases justifies a rational warrant for belief.
The Medical committee at Lourdes is totally independent of the Church. They use skeptics on the committees, the rules are geared to control for remission. They screen our remission. They are required to use only the best medical evidence, to consult the doctors of the patients and they cannot make decisions without obtaining the medical records of those doctors. They do examine the patients. It does have to be proven that the people were sick beforehand! they will only choose a case when they cannot find a naturalistic explaination.
I am not claiming that these cases "prove" the existence of God. But in each case there is enough to make the leap of faith, filling in the gap with a good extraordinary pile of evidence. Atheists are always asserting we need extraordinary evidence. This is evidence. What most atheists mean by that is a little gape of raise the bar. I have played this game, met all their demands for documented miracles and they want more. They keep raising the bar until it turns out they will not believe until you give them regeneration of severed limbs. I show where St. Anthony did that, well it's a legond. I show a miracle that beatified St. Terisa of Lessex,a man grew grew back new lungs over night, but now that's not good because it's a Mary devotional site. It doesn't matter that the case is documented by the best medical evidence of the day (1916). But that's not good enough because the site it's on is not a science site and the X-rays are not on the net.
Atheists will never be satisfied because they are not seeking truth, they are seeking to guard a paradigm. Be that as it may, the evidence for miracles at Lourdes is the finest I the world, and is valid and well documented with the best science has to offer to date. That makes it extraordinary. This furnishes a rational warrant for belief. Meaning, if one chooses to construe it as proof it is not irrational to take it as such.
Lourdes evidence is the best. The Saintmaking miracles use the same rules and virtually the same committee, they are very exacting and rigorous. But they are not as pressure free as the Lourdes committee. There is some good evidence from the Protestant world, but not much. Protestants never think about documenting miracles. I also include what I call "the anecdotal pile." I don't think those cases prove anything, they sources are bad and docs stink, but I include them for the purpose of showing how many people in this world experience amazing things they define as "miracle." Miracles are going on all the time, and they not often given attention, not reproted and not believed.
The paradox of human miracle assessment is that the only way to discern whether a phenomenon is supernatural is by having trained rationalists testify that it outstrips their training. Since most wonders admitted by the modern church are medical cures, it consults with doctors. Di Ruberto has access to a pool of 60 - "We've got all the medical branches covered," says his colleague, Dr. Ennio Ensoli - and assigns each purported miracle to two specialists on the vanquished ailment.
They apply criteria established in the 1700s by Pope Benedict XIV: among them, that the disease was serious; that there was objective proof of its existence; that other treatments failed; and that the cure was rapid and lasting. Any one can be a stumbling block. Pain, explains Ensoli, means little: "Someone might say he feels bad, but how do you measure that?" Leukemia remissions are not considered until they have lasted a decade. A cure attributable to human effort, however prayed for, is insufficient. "Sometimes we have cases that you could call exceptional, but that's not enough." says Ensoli. "Exceptional doesn't mean inexplicable."
"Inexplicable," or inspiegabile, is the happy label that Di Ruberto, the doctors and several other clerics in the Vatican's "medical conference" give to a case if it survives their scrutiny. It then passes to a panel of theologians, who must determine whether the inexplicable resulted from prayer. If so, the miracle is usually approved by a caucus of Cardinals and the Pope.
Some find the process all too rigorous. Says Father Paolino Rossi, whose job, in effect, is lobbying for would-be saints from his own Capuchin order: "It's pretty disappointing when you work for years and years and then see the miracle get rejected." But others suggest it could be stricter still.
There is another major miracle-validating body in the Catholic world: the International Medical Committee for the shrine at Lourdes. Since miracles at Lourdes are all ascribed to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, it is not caught up in the saint-making process, which some believe the Pope has running overtime. Roger Pilon, the head of Lourdes' committee, notes that he and his colleagues have not approved a miracle since 1989, while the Vatican recommended 12 in 1994 alone. "Are we too severe?" he wonders out loud. "Are they really using the same criteria?"
Reported by Greg Burke/Lourdes
Copyright 1995 Time Inc. All rights reserved.
Vice Presidente Nazionale -
Associazione Medici Cattolici Italiani (AMCI)
Membre du Comité Médical International de Lourdes (CMIL)
"Ever since the period of the apparitions, medicine has played a crucial role. First of all, as far as Bernadette was concerned, when Dr. Dozous, the Lourdes physician, detected she was physically healthy and mentally sane, and subsequently with respect to the first people who had benefited from the blessing of a recovery."
"But the number of healed people continued to grow tremendously, and it was therefore necessary to consider, in each on of these event, the subjective and objective elements."
Establishment of Rules
"Dr.Dozous had recorded more than a hundred cases in the year 1858 only, and Canon Bertrin over 4000 statements of recovery between 1858 and 1914. Ever since 1859, Prof.Vergez, an associate of the Montpellier Faculty of Medicine, had been put in charge of a scrupulous scientific control of recoveries. Dr. De Saint-Maclou succeeded him in 1883, year in which he established the Bureau Médical, in its official and permanent organisation. Dr. Boissarie, another major personality in Lourdes, succeed the latter, upon his death in 1891, and maintained the position until the First World War."
I will skip much of the historical development of modern rules. But it is compelx and interesting, you can read more about it thorugh the link of the original Balzaretti article above.
THE CHURCHS CRITERIA
From: De Servorum Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione
(liber IV, Cap. VIII, no. 2),
with commentaries up to the end of the chapter -
Author: Cardinal Prospero Lambertini,
future Pope Benedict XIV, 1734.
1. Primum est, ut morbus sit gravis, et vel impossibilis, vel curatu difficilis Firstly, the disease should be serious, incurable or difficult to treat.
2. Secundum, ut morbus, qui depellitur, non sit in ultima parte status, ita ut non multo post declinare debeat Secondly, the eradicated disease should not be in its final stage or at a stage whereby it may involve spontaneous recovery.
3. Tertium, ut nulla fuerint adhibita medicamenta, vel, si fuerint adhibita, certum sit, ea non profuisse Thirdly, no drug should have been administered or, in the event that it has been administered, the absence of any effects should have been ascertained.
4. Quartum, ut sanatio sit subita, et momentanea Fourthly, the recovery has to take place suddenly and instantly.
5. Quintum, ut sanatio sit perfecta, non manca, aut concisa Fifthly, the recovery has to be perfect, and not defective or partial.
Sextum, ut nulla notatu digna evacuatio, seu crisis praecedat temporibus debitis, et cum causa; si enim ita accidat, tunc vero prodigiosa sanatio dicenda non erit, sed vel ex toto, vel ex parte naturalis
Sixthly, it is necessary that any noteworthy excretion or crisis has taken place at the proper time, as a reasonable result of an ascertained cause, prior to the recovery; under these circumstances the recovery cannot be deemed prodigious, but totally or partially natural.
7. Ultimum, ut sublatus morbus non redeat Lastly, it is necessary for the eradicated disease not to reappear.
"In 1948 Mgr.Théas, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, decided to lay down supplementary rules and indications, which were even clearer and more logic in terms of recovery acknowledgement, for the medical practitioners of the Acknowledgement Office, taking into account three basic criteria: a) Was there really a disease? b) Is there a real recovery? c) Is there a natural explanation for this recovery? At the same time, while medicine became scientific, under the chairmanship of Prof."
"Leuret, the National Medical Committee was established in 1947, made up by university specialists, in order for a more rigorous and independent control to better guarantee the authenticity of the conclusions. This committee became International (LIMC) in 1954, thus acquiring even greater authority and a universal dimensions. At present, the Lourdes International Medical Committee (LIMC) is based in Paris, and is chaired by Mgr. Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, and by Mgr. Jean-Luis Armand-Laroche from Paris; it is made up by 25 members, including luminaries of international renown, university professors and particularly experienced and qualified medical practitioners, from different countries worldwide.
Balzaretti with same members of Lourdes International Medical Committee (LIMC)
Italy is represented by three members; in addition to the undersigned, LIMC members include Prof. Fausto Santeusanio, Director of the Chair of Endocrinology at Perugia University, and Prof.Graziano Pretto, Director of the Otolaryngology Department of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo. Each complete medical file, accurately drawn up by the medical practitioner in charge of the competent Medical Service, after having been checked and accepted by the Bureau Médical, currently chaired by Dott. Patrick Theiller, is submitted to the LIMC, which meets in Paris or Lourdes once a year.
Just like a court of appeal, the LIMC confirma or invalidates the position taken by the Bureau Médical in the first instance, after having carefully examined and evaluated the various files and, should this be required, it can request the advice or opinion of highly qualified external experts. The LIMC is currently analysing two very interesting cases, which may lead to major developments. In order to take into account the acknowledgement of a recovery, the premises of the following two fundamental aspects (which however need to be carefully distinguished) need to exist: 1. The abnormal fact: the phenomenon of recovery itself, which is characterised by its being absolutely unexpected and unexplainable, compared to ordinary medical predictions and to scientific literature data, and which will be subject to an in-depth medical analysis; 2. The sign: which leads to the belief of a special intervention by God, by intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes; this intervention has to be acknowledged by the Church, based on the report of the cured person. But at this stage, we also need to point out: a) The definition of miracle: this is an extraordinary and exceptional event, which cannot be explained through todays scientific knowledge; b) The features of a miracle: this is a sudden or exceptionally rapid event, with permanent effects and no relapses, which can be assessed through a scientific and interdisciplinary methodology involving biology, forensic medicine, theology, etc. c) The context in which the miracle occurs: historic age, documentation and iconography, taking place within catholic religion and not other religious beliefs and/or cultures, etc.; d) The authority proclaiming the miracle: after the favourable judgement passed by the CMIL (Comité Médical International de Lourdes), this is the ecclesiastic ordinary of the diocese of origin or another authoritative representative of the Church.
After 1977, following the proposal put forward by Mgr. Donze (who has recently died) to reword the rules laid down by Benedict XIV in the light of nowadays scientific and technological innovations, a 16 query scheme prepared by the LIMC was laid down; among other things, this introduced the need to rule out any psychopathic component, as well as any other subjective pathologic statea or manifestationa (which are therefore not verifiable), hence only taking into account the recovery acknowledgements relating to serious and provable affections, the only ones that could be deemed as scientifically inexplicable. And therefore, in this case it will be possible to close the medical report supporting a certain and medically unexplainable recovery, only when:
1) The diagnostics and authenticity of the disease has been preliminarily and perfectly assessed;
2) The prognosis provides for an impending or short-term fatal outcome;
3) The recovery is sudden, without convalesce, and absolutely complete and final;
4) The prescribed treatment cannot be deemed to have resulted in a recovery or in any case could have been propitiatory for the purposes of recovery itself. These criteria are still in use nowadays, in view of their highly logical, accurate and pertinent nature.
They undoubtedly and straightforwardly set out the standard features of an unexpected recovery and have actually made it impossible to put forward any objection to any form of lack of scientific exactitude on the part of the medical practitioners belonging to the Bureau and to the LIMC. The rigour of the Lourdes medical practitioners, whose scrupulousness throughout the years has been centering on the suddenness of recoveries, on the relative effectiveness of the therapies administered, on the objective evidence of the disease found, or on the shorter or longer length of the monitoring period (depending on the disease), has always been exemplary and appreciated by all the Diocesan Canonical Committees that have been called to express their opinion.
Compliance to such criteria has corroborated the seriousness and objectivity of the former Bureau des Constatations and, today, it continues to guide the Comité Médical International de Lourdes, whose conclusions have always represented an indispensable experts piece of evidence generating and motivating any further canonical judgements required to acknowledge the real Miracles amongst the thousands of recoveries ascribed to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes.