What Use Are Miracles?




It is not true, for example, that the Church considers every unexplainable event a miracle (we know that even the medical world is full of this!). It considers as miracles only those unexplainable facts that, because of the circumstances in which they take place (which are rigorously ascertained), have the character of a divine sign, that is, they give confirmation to someone or an answer to a prayer. If a woman, who is without pupils from birth begins to see at a certain point while still being without pupils, this can be cataloged as an unexplainable fact. But if this happens while she is confessing to Padre Pio, as did in fact happen, then it is no longer possible to speak simply of an unexplainable fact.

Our atheist friends with their critical attitude in regard to miracles make a contribution to faith itself because they make us attentive to easy falsifications in this area. But they too must guard against an uncritical attitude. It is just as mistaken always to believe whatever is claimed as a miracle as it is always to refuse to believe without looking at the evidence. It is possible to be credulous but it is also possible to be … incredulous, which is not very different.



Hi Urban,

Yes, it is the circumstances that make for a true miracle. Indeed at some future time a natural explanation could be found for the miracle.

For example, if a priest led a procession to a burning village and, out of a clear blue sky, a torrential rain began to fall, that would be a miracle. If some days later, a scientific explanation were found for this, it would still be a miracle.

Of course, miracles for canonization have their own rules, but basically, the principle is the same.

Those who deny miracles either don’t believe in God or don’t believe that He is all-powerful.


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