Miracles were not a topic I expected to surface during our parish mission last month. But Father Tim referenced them with easy comfort.
“I’ve seen so many miracles in my fifteen years here,” he said. “Changes of heart, real conversions.” What, he implied, could be more miraculous?
Which brings us to the subject of canonization.
Supernatural miracles, long required for canonized Catholic saints, have had a storied role in the history of sainthood. Post-death miracles were mandated as a way of verifying that the potential saint was a friend of God and not a fraud or magician, and that her current address was indeed heaven.
In the centuries prior to John Paul II’s papacy, at least four miracles were required for sainthood, but in 1983 the pope lowered the requirement to two: one to be beatified, and a second to become a canonized saint. (Martyrs need only one miracle total.)
Pope Francis has gone still further, lifting the requirement for a second miracle for Pope John XXIII and dispensing the miracle requirement entirely for three other new saints.
Might the Church be moving toward eliminating the requirement for miracles? I hope so, for both theological and practical reasons.