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Lourdes Doctors Will No Longer Rule on Miraculous Cures

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The international doctor’s panel that gives aid to the Church in judging whether pilgrims to Lourdes have received miraculous healings has decided not to continue its involvement in assessing miracles at the world’s most popular Marian shrine. Dr. Patrick Theillier, secretary of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL), announced that the committee, which acts independently of Rome, will no longer decide whether cures qualify as miracles. From now on, the panel will only rule on whether healings that occur at the shrine are "remarkable" and leave it up to the Church to decide whether the cures are miraculous. "It's a sort of rebellion, if you will, against laws that don't concern us — and shouldn't," Dr. Theillier told the Associated Press. "The medical corps must be independent of the ecclesiastic power." He added: "Before, what we presented to the church was a gift all wrapped up — and all the church had to say was 'I approve,' without making a lot of effort," said Theillier. "Not today." To date, there have been more than 7,000 claims of miraculous healing associated with Lourdes but only 67 have received Church approval. The latest approved healing occurred in 2005 when the stretcher-bound Anna Santaniello was dipped into the miraculous springs at the shrine and was able to stand, having been instantaneously cured of severe heart disease and other ailments that left her unable to walk or speak properly. Currently, the Church relies on seven criteria devised in 1734 to decide whether a healing is miraculous, such as assessing the gravity of the ailment, the accuracy of an original medical diagnosis and the suddenness and durability of the healing. The Tarbes-Lourdes diocese created the CMIL in 1954 to assist in the process of deciding whether or not a medical miracle has occurred. The CMIL acts independently of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which investigates reports of miraculous cures as part of the process of canonization. "Our congregation doesn't deny what Lourdes is doing, but we do not recognize what they are doing," said Fr. Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit who works with the Congregation. "Our procedures are much stricter." He said he knew of no other shrine that had a similar medical panel. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com

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