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Ken Pfeifer wrote:

Dear Mike —

I have an important questions about miracles. I'm a college student in a Historical Jesus class at the University of California, Irvine. We're discussing how miracles do not happen anymore and concluding that this is a logical proof that God doesn't exist.

Obviously, I disagree and was under the impression that the Catholic Church investigates these so-called miracles nowadays to determine their authenticity.

  • Where, if any, might I partake of their findings?

Thanks a lot for any information or help you can give me on this topic.  It's difficult being one of the few believers in a class of skeptics.

Ken

  { Where might I find the conclusions of the Church's investigations on the authenticity of miracles? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Ken —

There is no one place to which you can go to find the list of (non-Scriptural) miracles authenticated. It is done on a case by case basis by various bodies. For instance, there is a special commission for alleged Lourdes miracles, and they have their own procedures. Then there are the commissions for the beatification or canonization of each person proposed, and these are overseen by the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which is part of the Curia.

I don't know their procedures, but I do know that in all cases it must first be demonstrated that there is no possible natural cause. Generally, a miracle cure must be sudden, as even an "impossible" cure over a period of time can be due to some undiscovered natural factor.
The Church is very strict, and many signs and wonders are not dubbed miraculous, and, of course, most aren't even examined.

As far as "supernatural" events appearing in any locale, it is up to the local bishop to rule, if he wishes, and he generally does it through a committee. They usually issue an opinion and a decision about whether or what kind of worship of God is permitted at a given site. They often allow private [and/or] public devotional acts at sites of "wonders" until there is some clearly bad fruit or something clearly heretical emanates from the site.

Look in www.newadvent.org under miracles, and you will surely get some great information.

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann Parks, MA Theology

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