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Report says miracles could be removed from sainthood requirements

The London Times is reporting that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa disclosed that Cardinal Ratzinger has presented a formula to Pope John Paul II for the abolition of the the "miracle clause".

The paper says Cardinal Bertone revealed that there is a growing feeling in the Vatican that the need for miracles for both beatification and canonisation was "anachronistic".

At present, candidates for beatification must be shown to have performed at least one miracle after death by curing the terminally ill in response to prayers of intercession. For sainthood, evidence of at least two miracles is required. Claims of miraculous cures are examined by a panel of five medical experts at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The panel, drawn from a pool of a hundred doctors and specialists, must conclude that the cure was "sudden, complete and permanent" and had no scientific explanation. Cardinal Bertone said what mattered was not whether saints had performed miracles but whether they had displayed "heroic virtues" and led an exemplary Christian life.

Genoa's Il Secolo XIX newspaper said the proposed "revolution in saintmaking" would upset traditionalists who regarded miracles as "one of the cornerstones of the Catholic faith".

Pope John Paul II has created 482 saints during his 26 year pontificate, more than all his predecessors put together. He has beatified 1337 people holy men and women.

Saint-making Pope is ready to ditch the miracle clause (London Times 20/12/04)

Bertone: «I miracoli quotidiani» (Il Secolo XIX 20/12/04)
Archdiocese of Genoa
Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations - Saints and Blessed

Call for canonisation for Archbishop Fulton Sheen (CathNews 15/12/04)
Vatican publishes expanded calendar of saints (CathNews 8/12/04)
Priest offers $5000 to disprove miracles of Lourdes (CathNews 30/8/04)
Miracle identification could mean MacKillop sainthood (CathNews 5/7/04)
Boy's cancer cure could be MacKillop's required second miracle (CathNews 22/9/03)

22 candidates move toward beatification, canonization (Catholic World News 20/12/04)
Pope sets anti-Nazi prelate on road to sainthood (Reuters 20/12/04)
Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (Vatican Information Service 20/12/04)

21 Dec 2004