The excellent book by John Cornwell, Breaking Faith, needs to be read by everybody interested in the subject of ridiculous and false canonisations. Its fourteenth chapter, The Science and Politics of Saints, tells us a lot. It tackles the alleged holiness of some of those saints and because the Church requires miracles attributable to the intercession of the person before the person can become a saint these are put under scrutiny as well.
The first “saint” in for a slating is Saint Simon Stylites who sat on top of a pillar sixty feet tall for twenty long years. This lunatic is presented as an example of Christian behaviour despite the fact that he had no clothes on the entire time!

The book mentions the miracle when a young man fell from a high building and should have been killed or very seriously injured but just had grazes as the miracle accepted by the Church for the canonisation of Juan Diego the fictitious seer of the blessed virgin of Guadulupe. The pope canonised the seer on account of this miracle for the lad’s mother had invoked Juan the moment the lad had fallen out. Had there been a real miracle there would have been no grazes. Are we to believe that God can’t do miracles properly? The event is inexplicable but everything inexplicable doesn’t have to be a miracle or supernatural. The mother was probably lying that she said she invoked Juan. When things like that happen you will automatically invoke God, Jesus or Mary and not some obscure person who isn’t a saint. You will invoke the highest authority that comes to mind in that moment of terror. And wouldn’t it be dangerous to invoke somebody who might not be a saint in such a circumstance? Better to invoke somebody who is a saint and who certainly can do a miracle. If this is a miracle then God doesn’t mind people being reckless!
The book says the doctors only certify to the Vatican that the event that some class as a miracle of healing or protection from injury was inexplicable and it is up to the Vatican to decide if it was a miracle.

The book informs us that the Vatican finds it increasingly difficult to get doctors to do this job for they feel their reputations are at stake if they get involved in things like that. I would add that any doctor that does classify a healing or whatever as inexplicable deserves to get a bad name. First of all he is opening up to the possibility that his colleagues will stop trusting him. Usually miracle healings are healings of illnesses that never existed for the healed people were misdiagnosed. Second, he is helping the irrationalism of the Vatican which chooses to ignore the fact that inexplicable things happen every day in every form and few of them are declared miracles.

Cornwell found that if you want to check out the reasoning and research that led the Church to declare certain healings to be miracles both the doctors and the Church hide behind confidentiality and putting the records out of reach. Canonisation and beatification processes are secret (page 234). He went to see Monsignor Michele di Ruberto who takes care of the medical scrutiny of reported miraculous healings who promised to let him see before and after x ray pictures of a child that supposedly grew legs and feet over a few weeks but the priest made excuses for not producing it though he was asked for it several times. He had no intention of keeping his promise. He didn’t even offer an alternative. Small wonder when the miracle wasn’t exactly instant. It might indicate some unknown power of healing but it doesn’t amount to a miracle! A perfect God does miracles perfectly.

Incredibly, Father Cyprian Michael Tansi, was beatified by the pope, after and on account of the disappearance of a huge cancerous tumour afflicting a young woman who touched Tansi’s coffin and who believed the tumour then disappeared, despite the facts. The doctors investigating this did say the tumour going away was inexplicable but they didn’t say the cancer had entirely gone. What they declared was that it was almost a total reduction in growth. Two and a half years later a small growth was found to be what was left of the big tumour. Also the documentation proved that the lady never had cancer, it was a benign tumour.

The long space between the alleged cure and the specialist examining her makes the miracle suspicious.

Father Maximilan Kolbe who was made a saint by John Paul II was believed to be an antisemitist before the Second World War. The Church ignored the fact that St Edith Stein who was canonised because she was a martyr for the faith at Nazi hands didn’t die for the faith at all but for her Jewish origin.

Pope John Paul II beatified Jacinta and Francisco the little visionaries of Fatima. This was principally because they were so holy after having visions of a woman who was thought to be the Virgin Mary. It becomes less impressive upon realisation of the fact that the woman they saw was about the size of a doll! (page 88, The Pope in Winter, John Cornwell, Viking, London, 2004).

The Pope in Winter, says that John Paul II canonised St Josemaria Escriva on the basis of a report that was tailored to make this man who was harsh, vain, ill-tempered, and even a critic of popes, look like the perfect papal puppy (page 107). This saint founded the sinister Opus Dei.

John Paul is now a saint but we read of his corruption on page 37 of THE POWER AND THE GLORY, Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican, David Yallop, Constable, London, 2007. Some saint!

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