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Validation des Guerisons de Lourdes

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“The signs performed by Jesus (...) invite us to believe in Him. (. ..) But [miracles] can also be a downfall. They don't want to satisfy curiosity and magical desires." (CEC No. 548)

The fundamental question that has been asked for some time has been this:

Should the healings observed in Lourdes continue to constitute a rare event specific to relating only to the category of miracle as defined by the canonical rules? Or should they also be received, primarily, as a manifestation of God's compassion, and thus be a source of witness for the community of believers?


It was necessary to find a way that would allow credible witness, without taking the risk of asserting inaccurate things, without discrediting the Church; a path that is therefore acceptable:


• scientifically for the medical and scientific community,

• humanely for the community of the faithful,

• spiritually for the Church.


We are going to see how we plan to respond to it from now on, keeping in mind the exhortation of HH John Paul II to the members of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes in Rome on November 18, 1988: "For a long time, the assistance of doctors has been precious to help in the discernment of miraculous cures, according to their own degree of competence. As science progresses, certain facts are better understood. But the fact remains that many cures constitute a reality which has its explanation only in the order of faith, which scientific examination cannot deny a priori and which it must therefore respect, precisely in its order”.


I remind you that to be qualified as miraculous, a cure must meet two conditions:

• take place in extraordinary and unpredictable ways: this is the abnormal event

•  bring the beneficiary and the witnesses to seek to recognize a spiritual significance to this event, inviting them to believe in the special intervention of God: this is the sign.(1)


1st stage: Healing observed

The first step - unavoidable - is the declaration - voluntary and spontaneous

- people who have experienced a radical change in their state of health which they consider due to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes.


The permanent doctor of the Medical Office collects and archives any declaration of this type. He then proceeds to a first evaluation of the seriousness of this declaration to decide to carry out the necessary investigation for an official recognition of miracle, keeping in mind the two components of a prodigious religious fact which are - inseparably - the abnormal fact itself and the context in which it takes place.


The finding will therefore relate simultaneously to the veracity of the facts and to their significance.


1. The abnormal event:


The primary objective is to ensure the reality of the cure: indisputable passage from a known pathological state, precisely diagnosed, to a fully recovered state of health.


To achieve this certainty, the effective participation of the doctor(s) of the patient claiming to be cured is ideal (but not always easy), with, in any case, the possibility of accessing a maximum of administrative and medical documents (examinations biological, radiological, anatomo-pathological, etc.) before and after healing.


You should also be able to check:


• from the outset, the absence of any trickery, simulation or illusion;

• in the history of the disease, the persistence of painful, disabling symptoms affecting the integrity of the person and resistance to prescribed treatments;

• the suddenness of the rediscovered well-being;

• the permanence of this cure, complete and stable, without sequelae;

• the manifest improbability of such a development.


The opinion of caregivers who are part of AMIL (2) is sought as much as possible, as well as that, if any, of doctors and health professionals who wish, whatever their beliefs, it is the tradition in Lourdes, leading to being able to declare that this healing is quite singular, having been carried out according to extraordinary and unpredictable methods.


2. The psycho-spiritual context:


At the same time, it is essential to specify the context in which this healing took place (in Lourdes itself or not, in such and such a precise circumstance) by taking a complete observation of all the dimensions of the experience of the person healed, not only on the physical but also mental and spiritual


• his generally patent emotion, keeping this experience as unique and unforgettable, transforming it profoundly;

• the fact that she immediately sees in it the intercession of the Virgin Mary in her life;

• the climate of prayer (or possible suggestion);

• the reading of faith that she recognizes in it.


At this stage, some of these statements are clearly only "subjective improvements", others are objective cures which can be classified as "pending" if elements are missing, or recorded as controlled cures that can go further, therefore "to be validated".


Step 2: Healing Confirmed


This second stage will therefore be a re-verification, based on interdisciplinarity, both medical and ecclesial.


The Surprising Healing:


Current files are presented each year at the CMIL(3) meeting in order to verify them. A member is appointed to carry out an interrogation and complete examination of the cured.


It is also possible to seek the opinion of specialists in the disease concerned on the proposal of the president.


The objective is :


to reconstitute the history of the disease with an assessment of the current state;

to note the circumstances of the healing itself, if it took place according to extraordinary, unpredictable, striking methods, in particular by its character of instantaneity, or by a patent dissociation between the anatomical lesions and the new functional state.

to appreciate the personality of the patient, in order to eliminate a possible hysterical or delirious pathology…;

to judge whether this cure appears to be completely contrary to the predictions of the prognosis, the current state of the disease being in contradiction with the usual evolution of the disease concerned.


This cure can then be classified without follow-up, or else "medically



The sign :


From that moment, on the advice of the BM, a diocesan commission, chaired by the bishop of the healed person, will be able to carry out a collegial discernment to appreciate the way in which this healing is experienced in all its dimensions, physical, psychic and spiritual, taking into consideration both the negative signs (ostentation...) and the positive signs (spiritual fruits...) engendered by this singular experience.


If approved, the healed person will be empowered, if desired, simply to bring to the attention of the faithful this “authentic healing grace” that has occurred in a context of faith and prayer.


This new way of doing things allows:


to the declarant to be accompanied so as not to be alone in carrying this experience of healing, which is not always easy to live with, both vis-à-vis those around me and the media;

to offer the community of believers attested testimonies;

to give the possibility of a first thanksgiving.


3rd step: Healing validated


This later stage should be considered, with reference to Lambertini's criteria (master plan and not articles of law) ensuring that we are indeed faced with a complete and lasting cure of a serious, incurable disease or one with a very unfavorable prognosis, which has occurred quickly, even instantaneously. It also includes two readings, medical and pastoral, which take place in two successive stages.


1°) Certified healing:


It is the CMIL, as an advisory body, which is responsible for ratifying this cure through an expert assessment in order to provide full and complete guarantee of its "exceptional character" in the current state of scientific knowledge.


2°) Healing proclaimed:


This level always comes under the bishop of the diocese of the healed person, in conjunction with the diocesan commission set up. It is he who will make a canonical recognition of a miracle.


These new provisions should lead to a better understanding of the "cure-miracle" problem and to get out of the dilemma "miracle-not miracle" which is too dualistic and does not correspond to the reality of the facts noted in Lourdes.


They should, moreover, lead to a better awareness that the apparent healings, bodily, physical, visible, are signs of the innumerable interior and spiritual healings, not visible, that everyone can experience here.

1) See Prof. Christian Bregeon, coordinator of the International Congress of Lourdes CCMF/AMIL in October 1993.

2) International Medical Association of Lourdes, made up of around 12,000 doctors from 75 different countries.

3) International Medical Committee of Lourdes, made up of about twenty heads of clinics, meeting once a year under the co-president of the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes.

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