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MacKillop saintmaker calls doctor miracle denial "unscientific"

The procurator for the cause of Blessed Mary MacKillop - Australia's first saint - has criticised the attitiude of doctors who deny the possibility of a miracle because they fear professional embarrassment.

Adelaide Jesuit Fr Paul Gardiner told ABC Radio's Religion Report yesterday that a scientist whose mind is closed to the possibility that nature may surprise is behaving in an "unscientific" manner.

He said: "A lot of people seem to have presumed that because nature is regular, generally, therefore it's always that way. Well, that doesn't follow, it's not logical."

The cause for canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop has reportedly run into difficulties, as Australian doctors have proved reluctant to attest to "miraculous" recoveries from illness.

Blessed Mary MacKillop, who died in 1909, co-founded the Australian Sisters of St Joseph. Her courage and dedication in facing the challenge of building an education system in the harsh conditions of the Australian colonies, were recognised when she was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995.

Last week Sydney's Catholic Weekly reported that a young boy with an untreatable brain tumour had recovered after the family offered prayers to Mary MacKillop, but Fr Gardiner was unable to find a doctor who would admit that he couldn't explain the cure in scientific medical terms.

"I see the point of view, they're scientific people, and they're professional people," Fr Gardiner told the Religion Report. "There's also, on the part of some, an understandable reluctance to be thought by their colleagues to be associated with miracles."

Mary MacKillop not yet sainted (ABC Religion Report 26/11/03)

Blessed Mary MacKillop
Conversation: Fr Paul Gardiner, postulator for the cause of Blessed Mary MacKillop - Lack of 'miracle culture' delays Mary's sainthood (Catholic Weekly 16/11/03)
Teresa's in line, but Mary may need miracle (Sydney Morning Herald 27/10/03)
Boy's cancer cure could be MacKillop's required second miracle (22/9/03)

27 Nov 2003