Why can't priests heal like the apostles?

This is a hard one. If the priest can forgive sins like the apostles, why can they not heal people and perform the signs and miracle the apostles could?

I just thought of this in my AM prayer.

It seems in scripture performing signs and wonders did not make you an apostle, but if you were an apostle you could do them.

Some priests have performed miracles. Saints John Bosco and Padre Pio come to mind.

I agree - but not at will like the apostles did, and no where near as broad, as it seems all the apostles could, it was universal, not rare.

Good question.

I realize some healings and miracles have been attributed to certain priests over the years, but from what Ive seen, its things that could have resulted by other means, Ive never once seen an amputee suddenly have their lost appendage back, a deformity mysteriously vanishing, or similar things like that.

Because it’s not by the power of being an apostle that these miracles occurred. It’s by God’s granting that power to the apostles. And for whatever reason, God isn’t granting that outward, visual sign to all priests. Yet He does grant them the power to forgive sin to heal the soul, which is greater than the healing of the body. (Matthew 9:2-6) :slight_smile:

Still, I think I understand what you’re getting at, and I think if we all had stronger faith and virtue, we would be blessed more abundantly, likely including some of those outward signs. (Luke 17:6)

Priests have prayed many people into life and health.
God does the healing

I think that too.

There actually are a lot of priests (as well as some lay people) who seem to have a gift of religious healing. Many of them are relatively quiet about it in order to avoid unwanted publicity or being deluged with requests.

Unfortunately the highest-profile ones who get featured in websites and news articles also seem to quit the priesthood pretty frequently.

Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.

I think this has a lot to do with it, in the beginning people really had to see to believe, look at Christ’s miracles, He did them for the glory of the Father and to show that He was the Son of God. Likewise the first apostles showed that they had the real truth. After so long that has been taken away, as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Abraham says to the rich man, they have Moses and the prophets let them listen to them.

We have Jesus, the apostles, the Saints and all the miracles that have happened since, all the way up to today i.e. Fatima, bi-location, healings, raising people from the dead, the Holy Eucharist turning into the visibly present Body and Blood of Jesus, and many, many more.

Why are they not as wide spread across the clergy? Maybe it’s the clergy?

Or maybe they were never as wide spread as we tend to think. Remember we look back and see the miracles performed by St Peter, St Paul and let’s just say for arguments sake all 12 of the apostles. Let’s say, even though not everyone has been recorded as performing great miracles, let’s say they all did.

Well that’s only 12, I’d imagine that there were thousands and hundreds of thousands thousands of Catholics which would mean there were at least hundreds if not thousands of priests, deacons and the like. Why weren’t all the miracles recorded that all of them performed? Or maybe they didn’t perform healings and great miracles.

Look at the Blessed Mother, who is unarguably the most holy person after Jesus/ God to ever be on this earth. Where are her miracles? What biblical story or tradition teaches that she healed or raised from the dead or whatever? Remember if everything that Jesus said and did was written down it there aren’t enough books in the world to contain it. We don’t know what we don’t know. Maybe even today there are people who do these things.

Also remember the way Jesus healed, first He dealt with their sins and their faith, and when there was no faith He said there was to be no miracle, when people had faith then He chose whether or not to heal them.

God gave us Jesus to tell us the way, but I don’t think He wants everyone to see, otherwise it would be Christianity: no faith required…

I remember reading one thing that talked about how the Holy Spirit had flooded the early Christian community. It went along the lines of reminding us how being Christian in those early years was a capital crime, punishable by death, and/or having your family killed/all your possessions confiscated. It wasn’t just, “Hey, let’s go do Bible study on Wednesday”. It was putting your life and your family on the line. Having those visible signs, and the graces from God, and the blood of the martyrs— all of that contributed to having a vigorous early Church in those difficult periods, one that would outlast the entities that persecuted them.

I remember a conversation my mother had had with a nice elderly lady who was (Presbyterian?). The elderly lady had gone to church back in the 20’s and the 30’s, and talked about how those sorts of apostolic-type miracles and blessings were very commonplace back in the day, in her little rural parish in the South. A big part of me wonders, if we paid as much attention to God as we do to our cellphones— I wonder what life would be like then?

Remember the whole bit about mustard seed faith-- “if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains”-- and the bit about “because of their unbelief, Jesus couldn’t do any miracles among them.”

There are people who have certain ministries, like Sister Briege McKenna, but they’re the first to clarify, it’s not them, or the fact that they’re special— they’re instruments to be used by God to do his work, and they’re given the graces and the abilities they need in order to accomplish it. So because there’s this built-in humility into the job, those graces are deployed within context, not setting up a card table outside the hospital for free healings. (Although that would be cool.) :slight_smile:

I know of one priest who’s able to read souls. He uses that ability to provide counseling to religious, among other duties. It’s nice to be able to cut through all the confusion and say, “This is where you failed,” or “This is what God wants you to do.” I tried taking that shortcut myself, when I was terribly conflicted over some personal stuff, but it fell through. The answer I got from his fill-in was “joyful trust”, which was a little disappointing, because I wanted a concrete roadmap of specific actions God wanted me to do, goshdarnit. :smiley: But it was the answer God wanted me to have. So I keep on bumping around, doing the best I can in my muddled human way, and I have to realize that life is life, not a checklist of things to accomplish. The people around me need to be loved and cultivated and appreciated, and I need to use my time to be God’s hands to them.

And ultimately, that’s what it’s like for everyone. Be God’s hands to them, even without superpowers. :slight_smile: And, if by some chance, God does give you extra blessings to pass on to people, you realize that you didn’t really need them after all. All you can give them is what God has given you to pass on; you don’t have any good stuff of your own manufacture, separate from God. And the more you realize that, the more you’re able to see God’s hand working around you. Occasionally the results are amazing and sparkly, like Hollywood, but more often, God works very quietly and subtly in the ordinary, normal, and everyday.

The apostles didn’t heal at will… they did it at God’s will. Throughout history, miracles have been done, by lay and religious alike, not because they wanted to do them (in fact, in some cases, they didn’t want to), but because the Holy Spirit led them.

There was an interesting discussion of this on the radio recently where they said in large part, miracles occur at the times when they’re needed. When the Church was getting started, there were frequent miracles to get the message out - pardon my analogy, but I think of it as akin to a media-blitz for a new business in town. After being established for a couple thousand years, there’s more onus on the day-to-day work of the ‘salesmen’. :smiley:

It also seems likely that with the thousands of people each Apostle encountered, there were instances where God did not step in and perform the miraculous healing as it was not His will, and these instances were not documented. In modern times, not everyone has been healed by going to Lourdes or visiting Padre Pio either. But likely they received other grace, such as spiritual peace and the ability to be at peace with their situation.

This is a good point. Those who are doing the healing generally are humble and aren’t seeking attention.

Along the same lines, I think a lot of miracles go largely ignored by mainstream media. Bad news may travel fast, but good news, much less so.

So although it’s rare, perhaps it’s not quite as rare as we think; it simply is reported less, so we don’t hear about it? :slight_smile:

And, the best healing of all is when a person comes back to the Lord repentant, and is filled with the grace of the Lord.

Thanks be to the Lord for the sacraments!

I was healed by a priest. When I was a young man, I was tormented by a chronic illness. My doctor told me there was no hope of a cure for me. My grandmother took me to a healing Catholic priest that was in town. I waited in a long time to have his hands laid on me. When he laid his hands on me, I felt like I was struck by lightning and lost my balance. After that my illness went away.

So it does still happen. I know it because I experienced it. However it seems to be a rare gift. Obviously the average parish priest does not have this ability.

All priests have different gifts. Some of the gifts are untapped, or may be growing.

Some can help with the words of advice they give in the confessional. Some can give excellent spiritual direction when you see them personally. Etc., etc.


In 99, I visited with Fr Alessio who took care of Padre Pio in his last years.

Who cares?
You are sadly mistaken if you think the essence of Jesus’ incarnation and mission was to heal people physically and same applies to the authority given to the Apostles.

The mainstream view is that Acts is a completely fictional novel.

See Richard Pervo, The Mystery of Acts (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge, 2008); and Richard Pervo, Acts: A Commentary (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009), for the most thorough accounting of this fact (see especially the latter, pp. 17-18), with substantial support in Thomas Brodie, The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2004), esp. pp. 377-445 (on Acts specifically); Dennis MacDonald, Does the New Testament Imitate Homer? Four Cases from the Acts of the Apostles (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003); and John Dominic Crossan, The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus (New York: HarperOne, 2012), pp. 196-217. See also Clare Rothschild, Luke–Acts and the Rhetoric of History: An Investigation of Early Christian Historiography (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004); Loveday Alexander, ‘Fact, Fiction and the Genre of Acts’, New Testament Studies 44 (1998), pp. 380-99; and P.E. Satterthwaite, ‘Acts against the Background of Classical Rhetoric’, in The Book of Acts in its Ancient Literary Setting (ed. Bruce Winter and Andrew Clarke; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1993), pp. 337-80.

Dennis MacDonald points out the shipwrecks of Odysseus and Paul share nautical images and vocabulary, the appearance of a goddess or angel assuring safety, the riding of planks, the arrival of the hero on an island among hospitable strangers, the mistaking of the hero as a god, and the sending of him on his way. Paul’s resurrection of the fallen Eutychus is based on the fallen Elpenor. The visions of Cornelius and Peter are constructed from a similar narrative about Agamemnon. Paul’s farewell at Miletus is constructed from Hector’s farewell to Andromache. The lottery of Matthias is constructed from the lottery of Ajax. Peter’s escape from prison is constructed from Priam’s escape from Achilles.

Randel Helms has shown that other elements are borrowed from the Book of Ezekiel: both Peter and Ezekiel see the heavens open (Acts 10.11; Ezek. 1.1); both are commanded to eat something in their vision (Acts 10.13; Ezek. 2.9); both twice respond to God, ‘By no means, Lord! (using the exact same Greek phrase, mēdamōs Kurie: Acts 10.14 and 11.8; Ezek. 4.14 and 20.49); both are asked to eat unclean food, and both protest that they have never eaten anything unclean before (Acts 10.14; Ezek. 4.14).

Acts contradicts Paul’s own autobiography in this letters.

For example, we know Paul ‘was unknown by face to the churches of Judea’ until many years after his conversion (as he explains in Gal. 1.22-23), and after his conversion he went away to Arabia before returning to Damascus, and he didn’t go to Jerusalem for at least three years (as he explains in Gal. 1.15-18).

In contrast, Acts 7–9 has him known to and interacting with the Jerusalem church continuously from the beginning, even before his conversion, and instead of going to Arabia immediately after his conversion, in Acts he goes immediately to Damascus and then back to Jerusalem just a few weeks later, and never spends a moment in Arabia.

Having looked at all your posts in various threads I would be surprised if you are even a Christian, never mind a Catholic.
Your views are anti-Catholic and even seem to be that the New Testament is just fiction!!

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