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 has 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, CNS reported.
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 on Sept. 23.
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.”
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.