Questionable miracles don’t impress
The times we live in appear to be ripe for miracles, saints and the blessed. During his reign, Pope John Paul II beatified 1,340 people, a miracle to each of them. The number of whom were beatified is greater than that of every Pope in history combined, which leads one to seriously question the validity of the process and wonder if those receiving such a high honor were truly deserving of it. After all, is a miracle a miracle if it’s so very common?
Paul was beatified on May 1, only six years after his death, instead of the traditional ten, and after Pope John Paul II’s reforms, only two miracles are required. That leaves only one miracle to go, which will undoubtedly occur sometime in the very near future.
The first alleged miracle came when Sister Marie Simon-Pierre prayed and asked Pope John Paul II to intervene on her behalf, and sure enough one day she arose and found her Parkinson’s disease cured. This is particularly good news to those looking forward to the unprecedented curing of incurable diseases like Parkinson’s in years to come. The act of a miracle was confirmed at the testimony of Vatican-appointed doctors who assured that there was in fact, “No scientific explanation.”
There is no information as to whether Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was taking any type of medicine, or if she was misdiagnosed. A similar scenario is the supposed miracle of the recently beatified Mother Teresa in regards to Monica Besra, an Indian woman who claimed to have been healed by her visage in a locket. Besra’s husband and medical staff continually insist she had taken medicine for a treatable condition for nine months to a year before supposedly the picture of Mother Teresa cured her of a cyst caused by tuberculosis, which was originally misdiagnosed as a cancerous tumor. In this case, why does Mother Teresa still retain her title of Blessed? Would it mean admitting the infallible is fallible? That wouldn’t be good PR.
When speaking of Pope John Paul II, it’s hard not to think of controversies like the child sex abuse scandal and murkiness that surrounds it. How much did Pope John Paul II know about the scandal? Did he cover it up as was alleged? Why was he so slow to react to a legitimate issue regarding the church, yet so quick in condemning AIDS-preventing condoms and disease-curing stem cell research?
Regardless of his innocence or lack thereof in these matters, what is certain is that it was not good PR for the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church. The miracle is in all likelihood no miracle at all, and there may be testimonies to this in the future. Until that time, and probably onwards for the Catholic Church, everything is shrouded in doubt.