Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

20160923T1015 0439 CNS VATICAN SAINTS MIRACLES 800St. Peter's Basilica is seen during sunset in Rome in this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo. Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In an effort to ensure transparency as well as historical and scientific accuracy, Pope Francis has approved revised norms for the Congregation for Saints' Causes regarding medical consultations on healings alleged to be miracles.

Among the regulations published by the Vatican Sept. 23 was the requirement that the medical panel have a quorum of six experts and that a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a statement declaring a healing has no natural or scientific explanation.

Previously, the declaration – a key step in a pope's recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of a candidate for sainthood – required the approval of a simple majority of the consultation team members present.

"The purpose of the regulation is for the good of the (saints') causes, which can never be separated from the historical and scientific truth of the alleged miracles," Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci, secretary of the congregation, said in a Sept. 23 statement. 

Archbishop Bartolucci presided over a seven-member commission that began revising the regulations in September 2015 to update the norms established by St. John Paul II in 1983. Except in the case of martyrs, in general two miracles are needed for a person to be declared a saint – one for beatification and the second for canonization.

The new regulations, which were approved with the pope's mandate Aug. 24 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, also state that an alleged miracle "cannot be re-examined more than three times."

For each alleged miracle, the Medical Consultation team is comprised of a maximum of seven experts; when the promoter of a cause appeals a negative judgment, a new team of physicians and medical experts must be appointed, the new norms say.

he members of each consultation will remain unknown to the postulator, as the promotor of the specific cause called.

A presumed miracle is first reviewed by two medical experts within the congregation, and with their recommendation is then sent to the Medical Consultation team.

While the medical experts receive compensation for their work, the new regulations state that they will only be paid through wire transfer. Prior to the approval of the new norms, experts were given the option to receive cash payments for their work.

Archbishop Bartolucci said the regulations will further ensure that the consultations will be carried out with "serenity, objectivity and complete security" by the medical experts.

"This regulation obviously concerns only the proper functioning of the Medical Consultation, whose task is always more delicate, demanding and, thank God, appreciated inside and outside the church," he said.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.