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The power of God’s love: a miracle obtained through the intercession of the Servant of God Mother Teresa of Calcutta © Postulation for the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta Introduction A miracle is an intervention of God that goes above and beyond the laws of nature. In a cause of beatification and canonization a miracle granted by God through the intercession of a Servant of God or Blessed is divine confirmation of that person’s holiness and power of intercession. It is also a sign of God’s approval of the Church’s judgment on the person’s worthiness for beatification or canonization. For beatification one authentic miracle must be recognized by the Church as obtained through the intercession of the Servant of God, save the case of martyrs who may beatified without a miracle. One miracle occurring after beatification is required for the canonization of all those already beatified, that is, for both martyrs and confessors. In causes of beatification and canonization an alleged miracle generally involves a physical cure. This is because it is possible to document the state of the sick person before as well as after the cure. Before receiving official approval, any possible miracle is subjected to a thorough investigation by an ecclesiastical tribunal. The Postulator of the Cause submits to the diocesan bishop a brief report on an alleged miracle together with the relevant documents. The bishop then seeks a preliminary opinion from one or two (usually medical) experts. If the opinion is favorable, he initiates the official Diocesan Enquiry for the purpose of gathering all the proofs from witnesses and documents both for and against the possible miracle. In the case of a physical cure, competent medical authority is involved with questioning of witnesses and examination of documents. Doctors, especially those who were involved in the case, are called to testify. If the person cured is still living, he or she is examined by two doctors to establish the permanency of the cure. After the Diocesan Enquiry is completed all the proofs are sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS) in Rome. A study, called a Summarium, on the alleged miracle is prepared containing an exposition of the findings of the Diocesan Enquiry and all the documentation. The CCS appoints two medical experts who, independently of each other, conduct an in-depth study of all aspects of the case. If at least one of the two gives a positive judgment as to the worth of the claimed cure the case may proceed. The written findings of the two medical experts are then handed over to three other medical experts for study and evaluation. These five medical experts come together after individual examination of the evidence to discuss and vote on the case. From a medical perspective the following points must be verified: 1. that the cure was instantaneous, 2. that it was complete, 3. that it was permanent, 4. that it is scientifically inexplicable. If at least three of the five medical experts affirm that the above mentioned factors have been verified, then the “Position on the Miracle” (Positio) is prepared and presented to the Meeting of the theological experts of the CCS. It is their task to verify that the cure can be attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God. If the majority of these experts declare this to be the case, the Position is submitted to the Cardinal and Bishop Members of the CCS. If their judgment is affirmative, then a full report of these examinations is presented to the Pope for his final approval. The Pope’s approval of a miracle paves the way for beatification, a ceremony in which he permits the Servant of God to be venerated in the local church as one of the Church’s Blesseds. This veneration includes a day set aside to honor the Blessed (as his or her “feast day”) by a special Mass and an approved prayer for public use in the Church. In giving public honor to Saints and Blesseds (which is distinct from the worship and adoration that are due to God alone), the Church glorifies God Whose truth, beauty and goodness they reflect. Venerating the Saints and Blesseds as friends of God deepens our own friendship and communion both with them and with God to Whom they lead us through His Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

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