Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lourdes and Healing

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The Original Lourdes Miracle


Also see my Miracle Pages on Doxa




One of the standard operating procedures I use in my apologetics on boards, is the use of Lourdes evidence for miracles. I think it's hard for atheists to get their minds around what that means. Lourdes is a town in France, and there is a major Catholic Shrine to Mary there. The town does not own or run the shrine, but it clearly benefits from the Shrine, or whatever that means. The purpose of the shrine is to mark the appearing to three French children, one girl in particular (Bernadette Subarou) of the Virgin Mary who said to her "I am the immaculate conception." The thing is people are healed of diseases when they partake of the water and pray. Millions of people have been through the shrine. Estimates of healings run as high as 20 million, although documented cases are not nearly that high. Of all these the Catholic church has only taken 65 cases as official miracles, but there are 4000 "remarkable" cases that just barely missed because they could not meet all the stringent rules required by the committee.

The rules the committee has set have grown over the years. They are strict, they are oriented around a scientific understanding of medicine, and they are calculatedly to promote a scientific outcome. For example, they don't take Leukemia cases unless they have been free of the symptoms for 10 years, that's because they know the remission rates and want to avoid the prospect of just getting someone in remission. They require complete medical documentation for the prognosis and diagnosis. All x-raya and results of other texts, and the full course of treatment must be known to the committee before they will even consider a case.

The atheist I was arguing with on CARM,and several others and different times, have demanded that I show a double blind experiment with control group and experimental group. They argue that unless I can show that the percentage of miracles is higher than the rate of natural unexplained cures then there's no way to say that something was a miracle. I say they don't understand the nature of medical research. First of all, it would nice sure, if we had an ideal double blind experiment with good controls. But we dont' have that nor can we if we are talking about Lourdes. There's no way Lourdes can do this since it has to be ex post facto. The people have already had the illness, treatment failed completely, and sought and received healing from the shrine at Lourdes. It would be impossible to set up a control group to run an experiment that's already over before you know of the participants in it.

Even so, the evidence form Lourdes doesn't need to be proven in double blind experiments to be effective evidence of a miracle. First we must understand what we are talking about. We are not talking not talking about proving a statistical average, nor are we field testing a drug. If we thought that God worked automatically as a force of nature we would have to seek an incidence rate, that would helpt have a control group. But God is a will, God has "his" own ideas about things, and one is suggesting that we can automatically compel God to action by prayer. So it would be foolish to even think about a control group. Moreover, control group and double blind would be important if we thought the outcome could be affected by knowledge of the participants. But these participants of course know they have prayed and sought healing at Lourdes so the whole concept is just idiotic. From whom would the double blind be hidden? In what way can the people effect their healing by knowing they prayed?

The whole concept of a miracle is predicated upon the idea that there is 0 probability of this happening. Its' not that its something that is just very very rare, but could happen. It has to have a 0% probability. Medical science knows this for many diseases, and the Lourdes rules are designed to screen out cases that remit or that don't fall within that 0% range. That's why they don't take Leukemia cases for 10 years. But the incidence rates and cure rates, death rates, remission rates, are well established and well known to most of medical science.

The point of investigating Lourdes miracles for the church is to give glory to Mary, not to establish a scientific law or a statistical incidence rate on miracles. But the comparison of a 0% probability verse this did happen, the impossible happened is enough to know a miracle happened. There will always be some epistemic gap between what we think has happened and what could have happened. One could stand before God in judgment and argue that it's not happening, how do I know this isn't a delusion. The first couple of million years in hell can be used to sort that one out. When a patient comes in with total black lung and prognosis gives him just weeks or days to live, and the next day after prayer his lungs are like knew, with no trace of the disease, we know something happened that was not supposed to have happened. We don't need a control group of Minors with black lung and an experimental group that we pray for to know that something amazing and beyond explanation has occurred.

One atheist arguing on CARM has stated that unless the cure rate for miracles is statistically higher than the rate of unexplained cures then we have to assume that it is a naturalistic phenomenon that we will someday come to understand. This is nothing more than sheer garbage. It assumes that God is an automatic force and is bound to work x% of miracles in all cases of disease. God doest' have to do anything. God can't be pinned down to a statistically cure rate, that's why its' a miracle, it's contextually impossible.

form a member of the Lourdes committee (quoted on Doxa):

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 confirm or invalidates the position taken by the Bureau Medical 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 analyzing two very interesting cases, which may lead to major developments. In order to take into account the acknowledgment 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 characterized 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 today’s 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 favorable judgment passed by the CMIL (Comité Medical 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 state or manifestation (which are therefore not verifiable), hence only taking into account the recovery acknowledgments 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 rigor 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 Consultations and, today, it continues to guide the Comité Médical International de Lourdes, whose conclusions have always represented an indispensable expert’s 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





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.

Introduction


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 explanation.

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 Saint making 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 reported and not believed.



Lourdes Miracles



MODERN MIRACLES HAVE STRICT RULES

BY DAVID VAN BIEMA



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.

Leadership (magazine)
Franco Balzaretti


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 CHURCHÂ’S CRITERIA

Balzaretti again:

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.

6.“ 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.

Ballzaretti:

"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 today’s 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 expert’s 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.



Number of Healings:

"The Special Mission of Lourdes"

The Marian Library Newsletter




No. 38 (New Series)
Summer, 1999


"It is impossible to estimate the number of cures which have occurred at Lourdes. There are healings of a spiritual nature, such as faith, conversion, acceptance, joy. There are also the psychological cures-- freedom from anxiety, release from addiction and compulsion. There are cures of a physical nature, the only type investigated at Lourdes (and also the only type accepted in the beatification or canonization process), because evidence of both the past and present condition can be presented."



There have been only 66 official proclomations of miracles at Lourdes since the miracles began. This may sound like so few that it is hardly worth caliming them, however, this is not the case. It is really a testimony to the rigor of the process and to the Chrch's refusal to use the miracles as any sort of propaganda. If the calims were merely used to bolster propaganda of some sort one would think they would choose many more than this. But the requirements or so strict that only a few are accepted. There is actually a much larger pool of claims to choose from, and many more "remarkable" cases that did not make it because the documentation is just too difficult to get.

Marian Library (Ibid.)

"In the last one hundred years, over 6,500 individuals have reported cures to the Medical Bureau. Of these, at least 2,500 cases are considered truly remarkable, but they lack some requirement needed to allow them to advance to the next stage--witnesses, evidence, lack of agreement on the nature of the ailment. In the last twenty years, there have been reports of about twenty cases of extraordinary cures or healings, about one a year. Mr. Bély's healing is the 66th cure occurring at Lourdes which has been officially recognized by ecclesiastical authorities. The recognition by church authorities has been a feature of Lourdes for a total of sixty- three years of its history."



The Process of Verification

There are three stages:

1)Examination by Lourdes Medical Bureau.

[Ibid]

"The first occurs when the cured person is examined at the Lourdes Medical Bureau. Established in 1883, the Medical Bureau receives the testimony of the cured person, of the doctor and of those who accompanied the person to Lourdes. After the preliminary examination, the cured person is usually asked to return to Lourdes a year later for another examination. Many cases remain at this first level because of the difficulty of gathering the previous medical reports, a frequent occurrence with individuals who come from underdeveloped areas."




2) Cases passed to International Bureau.

(Ibid.)

"Sufficiently documented cases are passed on to the International Medical Bureau. Established in 1946, this bureau consists of medical doctors, psychiatrists, and experts in specific diseases. The criteria for recognizing a cure at Lourdes are the same as those proposed, in 1743, by the canonist Prospero Lambertini (the future Benedict XIV) regarding the miracle required for the beatification and the canonization of saints. The infirmity must have been serious and considered impossible to cure; no medication or treatment must have been given, which could possibly have caused the change; the cure must be sudden and complete, with no relapse. In a word, the cure must be unexplainable, that is, there is no human or natural factor which could have effected the cure. (The doctors at Lourdes speak only of inexplicable cures, not "miracles.") If, in the opinion of the International Medical Committee, there is no natural explanation for the cure, the case is then referred to the bishop of the diocese in which the individual resides."


3)Investigation by Diocesan Canonical committee.

(Ibid.)

"At present, the final stage in the process is the investigation by the diocesan canonical committee, appointed by the bishop of the diocese. In the early years of Lourdes, the final judgment appeared to rest with the doctors, so much so, that the second President of the Medical Bureau wrote, in 1892, that "the history of Lourdes has been written entirely by doctors." In the twentieth century, church authorities have assumed a greater role in the discernment process. Although medical science has a role to play in their discernment, science alone cannot be the final arbiter. Since miracles are signs which point to something beyond, they belong to the order of faith. It is the Church's prerogative to recognize these signs of faith. In addition, a miraculous cure is not simply an impersonal intervention of divine power, but a gift to the individual, frequently accompanied by greater faith, charity, peace. For that reason, the canonical examination should also consider the individual's disposition at the time of the cure and religious attitudes which are part of his or her life.



The final word belongs to the bishop of the diocese, who, as did Bishop Dagens, recognizes the miraculous cure "in the name of the Church."



The Lourdes Medical Bureau and the International Bureau hold Symposia and conferences at which medical experts of all kinds present papers on the data of the miracle calims. Both philosophical and medical questions are addressed. The papers of top academic quality and the discussions are very important. There is a very interesting section on the Marian Newletter site about this, it is well worth reading, but we cannot go into that here. I urge the reader to click on that link and consider all that is said. One of the major issues addressed is the meaning of miralces. The Catholic chruch does not regard miracles as proof of the existence of God, rather, it understands them as a message, a sign form God, and the Pope has decalired that miracles are a call to prayer and to seek God. In light of this realization, I present a few examples of hearlings from Lourdes:



A Few examples from Lourdes The Marian Library Newsletter
No. 38 (New Series)
Summer, 1999

http://www.udayton.edu/mary/respub/summer99.html

On February 10, 1999, Msgr. Claude Dagens, bishop of Angoulˆme, France, announced that the cure which Mr. Jean-Pierre Bély, a member of the diocese, had experienced at Lourdes twelve years earlier, was truly "a sign of Christ." The bishop said, "In the name of the Church, I recognize and acknowledge in public the authenticity of the cure which Mr. Jean-Pierre Bély experienced at Lourdes on Friday, October 9, 1987. This sudden and complete cure is a personal gift of God for this man and an effective sign of Christ the Savior, which was accomplished through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes."

In 1984, Mr. Bély was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and, by 1987, he was completely paralyzed. He was brought to Lourdes on a stretcher in 1987 as a participant in the October Rosary Pilgrimage. On the final morning of the pilgrimage, as Mr. Bély was anointed in the Sacrament of the Sick, he felt a "sensation of coldness" followed by "a gentle warmth" that seemed to fill his entire body. "Later, I took my first steps, just like a baby who is learning to walk."



Patron saints Index

Lourdes cures

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stb06001.htm

Colonel Paul Pellegrin
3 October 1950
age 52; Toulon, France Post-operative fistula following a liver abscess in 1948. By the time of his pilgrimage in 1950, the condition had degenerated to an open wound that required multiple dressing changes each day, and showed no sign of healing. On emerging from his second bath in the waters, the wound had completely closed, and the condition never bothered him again. Recognized by the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France on 8 December 1953.

Brother Schwager Léo
30 April 1952
age 28; Fribourg, Switzerland multiple sclerosis for five years; recognized by the diocese of Fribourg, Switzerland on 18 December 1960

Alice Couteault, born Alice Gourdon
15 May 1952
age 34; Bouille-Loretz, France multiple sclerosis for three years; recognized by the diocese of Poitiers, France on 16 July 1956

Marie Bigot
8 October 1953 and 10 October 1954
age 31 and 32; La Richardais, France arachnoiditis of posterior fossa (blindness, deafness, hemiplegia); recognized by the diocese of Rennes, France 15 August 1956

Ginette Nouvel, born Ginette Fabre
21 September 1954
age 26; Carmaux, France Budd-Chiari disease (supra-hepatic venous thrombosis); recognized by the diocese of Albi on 31 May 1963

Elisa Aloi, later Elisa Varcalli
5 June 1958
age 27; Patti, Italy tuberculous osteo-arthritis with fistulae at multiple sites in the right lower limb; recognized by the diocese of Messine, Italy on 26 May 1965

Juliette Tamburini
17 July 1959
age 22; Marseilles, France femoral osteoperiostitis with fistulae, epistaxis, for ten years; recognized by the diocese of Marseille, France on 11 May 1965

Vittorio Micheli
1 June 1963
age 23; Scurelle, Italy Sarcoma (cancer) of pelvis; tumor so large that his left thigh became loose from the socket, leaving his left leg limp and paralyzed. After taking the waters, he was free of pain, and could walk. By February 1964 the tumor was gone, the hip joint had recalcified, and he returned to a normal life. Recognized by the diocese of Trento, Italy on 26 May 1976.

Serge Perrin
1 May 1970
age 41; Lion D'Angers, France Recurrent right hemiplegia, with ocular lesions, due to bilateral carotid artery disorders. Symptoms, which included headache, impaired speech and vision, and partial right-side paralysis began without warning in February 1964. During the next six years he became wheelchair-confined, and nearly blind. While on pilgrimage to Lourdes in April 1970, his symptoms became worse, and he was near death on 30 April. Wheeled to the Basilica for the Ceremony the next morning, he felt a sudden warmth from head to toe, his vision returned, and he was able to walk unaided. First person cured during the Ceremony of the Anointing of the Sick. Recognized by the diocese of Angers, France on 17 June 1978.

Delizia Cirolli, later Delizia Costa
24 December 1976
age 12; Paterno, Italy Ewing's Sarcoma of right knee; recgonized by the diocese of Catania, Italy on 28 June 1989

Jean-Pierre Bély
9 October 1987
age 51; French multiple sclerosis; recognized by the diocese of Angoulême on 9 February 1999



See also Why wont God heal my legs?

14 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"I think it's hard for atheists to get their minds around what that means"

It's hard for protestants too. I don't know any protestants who believe in this stuff. Of course that doesn't make it true or false, but it does show that it's not just atheists who are skeptical of this stuff.

J.L. Hinman said...

YOu know me. I'm a Prot and I believe it.

It's so amazing to me how athestis can't accept any kind of evidence. The Lourdes miracles everything atheists want in evidence, except the conclusion.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Ok, I now know one protestant who accepts it.

BK said...

Now you know two.

J.L. Hinman said...

ahahhahaha thanks Bill

Loren said...

Those Lourdes "cures" look impressive on the surface, but the extremely small number of certified cures still leaves too much room for misdiagnosis, spontaneous remission, and the like. Going to Lourdes likely makes one feel better, thus possibly supplying a Placebo Effect.

And where are all the regrown limbs and other body parts?

This seems like a shyness effect, like spiritualist mediums liking to work in the dark or psi effects only showing up with borderline statistical significance.

And when the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, why didn't she reveal anything more substantial than "pray and do penance for the conversion of the world" or "drink some of that spring water"?

In any case, why doesn't the Virgin Mary appear to Protestants? Especially Protestants who consider Catholics to be quasi-pagan polytheist idolators. Why hasn't she ever appeared to Jack Chick and said:

Jack, Jack, why are you persecuting me?

http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html

J.L. Hinman said...

Those Lourdes "cures" look impressive on the surface, but the extremely small number of certified cures still leaves too much room for misdiagnosis, spontaneous remission, and the like.


what does the number have to do with it? If God was a drug or a lawo f physics or some regular force that has to act automatically that would e a good point. But when he has his own will that is involved why doesn't one example do?

Miracle aren't supposed to ever happen. If one does that blows the deal for naturalism. But you are demonstrating that Kuhn was right, you are trying to save the paradigm.

besides I think you are confussed about the numbers. There are a half million calims at Lourdes, 6000 remarkable cases. Only 65 offical because it's so hard to get the proper docs and prove it.

now if they had 35,000 official miracles you would say they take any claim as fact. So either way you are going to whinge about it. The small number is just as much a sign veracity as a problem.






Going to Lourdes likely makes one feel better, thus possibly supplying a Placebo Effect.


these guy shave incurable diseases that vanish over night. that's a medical fact because thy have to have the docs to be considered. So that argument wont wash. they can't just say "O I feel better" they have these strict rules governing whom they chose and medical experts, including skeptics to examine them.

And where are all the regrown limbs and other body parts?


why?

(1) What's wrong with the lungs that grew back over night?

(2) what's wrong with the skelitons that grew back into living people after fives years?

(3) why is that the standard and not curing incurable diseases?


This seems like a shyness effect, like spiritualist mediums liking to work in the dark or psi effects only showing up with borderline statistical significance.


they don't have the medical evidence to back it up.

you can get copies of the xrays and other tests used to make the Lourdes investigations, just write to the committee.


And when the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, why didn't she reveal anything more substantial than "pray and do penance for the conversion of the world" or "drink some of that spring water"?


she said "I am the immaculate conception" that seems ok to me.

In any case, why doesn't the Virgin Mary appear to Protestants?

what difference does it make? It's clearly faith that heals them. Protestants don't have faith in Mary and Catholics do. I have Protestant miracles if you wish.

Especially Protestants who consider Catholics to be quasi-pagan polytheist idolators. Why hasn't she ever appeared to Jack Chick and said:


I suppose because they don't have faith in her. but there are Protestant miracles with god docs. But the Catholics have the best and most elaborate miracle validating machine, because of the need for saint making.

Jack, Jack, why are you persecuting me?

http://www.skepdic.com/lourdes.html


that's just crap. anyone can whine and be sarcastic. those guys refuse to look at the evidence. they are so jaded they don't even bother to study the facts.

the Amazing Randy has never studies Lourdes and told me so.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Please bring out the Protestant miracles. I'd love to believe the Catholic ones, but they are validated by the Vatican and third parties that seem to be legit, but I have a major road block in my brain for believing anything that comes from an organization that went to incredible lengths to protect pedophiles. Their evidence holds about as much weight with me as the folks that claim the moon landings were faked and that 9/11 was an inside job. Again, this is a trust issue. I don't trust the Vatican or anyone directly associated with them.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Oh, and my other problem with the Vatican is the complete BS about the supposed Incorruptibles, The wax dipped saints they put on display. This kind of blatant dishonesty shouldn't be respected by anyone.

Anonymous said...

This would be great material to share with atheist friends, but the spelling is atrocious.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Joe, we need to get you a big flashing graphic that says "Warning Dyslexia Ahead! Content is sound, but spelling may not be! ;-)"

J.L. Hinman said...

This would be great material to share with atheist friends, but the spelling is atrocious.

>>I have discussed my dyslexia on this blog many times.

J.L. Hinman said...

Please bring out the Protestant miracles. I'd love to believe the Catholic ones, but they are validated by the Vatican and third parties that seem to be legit, but I have a major road block in my brain for believing anything that comes from an organization that went to incredible lengths to protect pedophiles. Their evidence holds about as much weight with me as the folks that claim the moon landings were faked and that 9/11 was an inside job. Again, this is a trust issue. I don't trust the Vatican or anyone directly associated with


the committee is indepedent of the Vatican. The Vatican's role int eh process only comes in after the medical committee and they have no choice but to accept the candidatest the medicos aprove or forget them, they can't bring in their own.

so the medical committee's role is not managed by anyone in the Vatican.

J.L. Hinman said...

I thought I published your comment Mike about the sign "caution: dyslexic at work." But I don't see it come through. anyway it's a good idea.