question about saints

is it possible that some of the miracles used to cannonize saints, say like in the middle ages, could be proven to have happened by natural causes with modern science now?

also, aren’t we not supposed to judge where souls go? how can we say for sure someone is in heaven. that’s also judging…

Well, with saints, the Church has a criteria for sainthood. Over the millenia, the Church has seen some really interesting things with saints. For example, it has noticed that some have bodies which are “incorruptible”…don’t really decay!

Further, when people pray to these individuals, miracles can happen. When the Church can document 2, and the Church is quite strict, the person can be canonized, from my understanding of it.

To be considered a saint, the Church will look at a person’s life, ask a lot of questions, look for other signs…miracles, etc.

Let me give you one case of a saint that comes to mind off the top of my head. We have St. Philip of the Cross. If memory serves, he had to walk something like…500 miles, was crucified with a bunch of others. In the end, they put a lance through his heart. I think he, with the others…SANG on the way to their torture and death!

There were all these bodies on the crosses, and the Japanese, I believe, noticed these bodies did NOT decay like other people’s. They saw all that and believed! I think that entire city was converted due to their martyrdom!

There are some cases that merit canonization. That’s just one of many. The Church has the authority to recognize saints. It’s one of her many gifts.

I can’t really speak to saints in the past, since I simply don’t know how that works so will let someone else address that issue who does.

you can’t judge something declared a miracle in the past by using today’s standards of analysis since they have obviously changed over the years. Likewise becoming a martyr for the faith in many incidences would cause one to be declared a saint even without the 2 miracle requirement. St. Maximillan Kolbe would be a more modern example where he died for someone else yet declared a saint because he gave up his life for another person. In using your example of the middle ages, you are assuming that the medicine and analysis was so primative back then that it was too easy to assume a miricle happen because the people were such dummies and idiots. the people who could build great cathedrals were not stupid. Likewise, you questioned that declaring someone a saint was a “judgement”. Again this is an incorrect premise. The Church declares someone a saint because there is proof from their intercession in answered prayers. It isn’t a judgement but a declaration of the fact that this person is now fully in heaven. Read Revelations where it talks about people before the throne of God with bowls of incences which are the prayers of those of us on earth.

i did not say medieval people were idiots. i was just wondering if it was a possiblity to explain a miracle in a natural way using what we know now. obviously, we do know a few more things compared to then. and why exactly would the standards of analysis be different? if someone thought that praing to a particular person cured them from scurvy for example but they had simultaneously eaten a bunch of lemons before vitamin C was discovered, then it was natural means even though we thought it wasn’t

Yes, of course. It is entirely possible that a “miracle” defined before the age of the scientific method could be naturally explainable. Even today, we may learn that a “miracle” that we could not previously explain naturally has a possible natural explanation.

Fortunately for Catholics, it doesn’t matter. The “confirmed miracle” rule is just that - a rule. Any Pope may dispense this rule and canonize anyone he wishes. This has recently been done by Pope Francis for John Paul the Great, who will be canonized though he has only one miracle attributed to him (two are usually the norm). Pope Francis dispensed the “two miracle” rule.

Miracles are nice to have, but the essence of canonization is recognizing the life of the Saint (not the afterlife of the Saint). Miracles are unnecessary, so it is irrelevant if miracles of past Saints might have natural explanations.

Another thought to consider: Simply because a declared miracle turns out to have a natural explanation does not mean that God was not behind it, or that the saint did not intercede for that intention.

So let’s say someone prays to a possible saint to cure a friend, and then the friend is “miraculously” cured. However, after the possible saint is canonized, let’s say it’s revealed that a doctor accidentally administered a drug to the patient that ended up curing him. Simply because there’s a natural explanation doesn’t mean that the doctor didn’t act due to the intercession of a saint.

A “miracle” is nothing other than God acting outside the natural / scientific norm. But God can work within the norm as well!

correct if i’m wrong but i thought the miracles were the proof for the person being in heaven. we can’t know if they attained it or not just based on the life they lived

hmm, i guess that’s a good point. i feel like it’s a bit of a slippery slope though. maybe the church should have left cannonization alone… there doesn’t seem like there’s a way to be completely sure

It is A proof. It is not the proof.

THE proof is Catholic canonization.

i thought you had to have proof before you cannonize. you can’t just arbitrarily declare a person in heaven just because you want to. that would be judging

Canonization is an official declaration of belief that the subject thereof, is in Heaven.

The Holy Spirit is invoked, upon the same basis that Dogma is proclaimed.

The proclamation therefore rests upon the belief that the Holy Spirit continues to guide and protect the Church–as Chirst promised.

Hence it’s not ‘judging’, as the Church cannot damn or save anyone–‘judgment’ remains the exclusive province of God; rather the Church proclaims what it believes to be essentially revealed, as to the judgment of certain souls.

…and while there are thousands of canonized Saints…it is such a small number in comparison to the number of baptized persons, that it really is reserved for only those whom it may be conclusively determined were among the ‘Elect’, by the way they lived in accordance with the Lord’s commandments, and in furtherance of His Will, and by their legacies–i.e.–by the fruit they bore. (Ref. "…wherefore by their fruits you shall know them’. Mt. 7:15-20, Douay-Rheims)–and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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