The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, explained this week that the possible miraculous healing of a French nun attributed to the intercession of John Paul II has not yet been examined by the Vatican Medical Commission.
Cardinal Saraiva made his statements to a group of reporters in Rome in reference to reports published a month ago in Poland claiming that the Vatican commission had dismissed the miracle supposedly experienced by Sister Marie Simon Pierre. The cardinal said the miracle could not have been rejected “because the doctors have not examined it yet.”
The nun had been suffering from Parkinson's, a degenerative disease of the nervous system, since 2001, but has testified that she was cured in the night of June 2, 2005 after praying to John Paul II, whose final years were also marked by the disease.
“All I can tell you is that I was sick and now I am cured. It is for the church to say and to recognize whether it is a miracle,” Sr. Marie Simon Pierre told reporters in 2007.
The procedure for approving a miracle through the intercession of a specific person involves first “that it be approved by a Medical Commission, which certifies that the event is scientifically unexplainable and that the healing is instantaneous, complete and lasting,” the cardinal explained.
Before beginning the final examination, “the Congregation usually gets the opinion of two doctors beforehand” and keeps the information confidential. However, in the case of the French nun, one of the doctors expressed doubt and “the news came out,” the cardinal said. He added that even so, this does not mean that the miracle has been rejected, but rather, as is usually the case, the Congregation will ask for a third opinion before beginning the official examination.
If the evaluation by the doctors is positive, the miracle will be evaluated by a Theological Commission, which will study whether or not the event is due to the intercession of John Paul II. Then, it must pass analysis by the 30 members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who are like the “Parliament” of the Congregation.
Asked if this might delay the date of John Paul II’s beatification, Cardinal Saraiva said, “It’s not a case of delaying because a date was never set in the first place.”