According to the norms currently in place in the Catholic Church, before someone is declared a saint, it is usually necessary to have two scientifically documented miracles obtained through the intercession of the person to be canonized. The miracles must be physical healings brought about by Divine intervention, must be beyond the ability of natural science to explain, and must be permanent.
Recently, Pope Paul VI was “beatified,” which is the step before canonization, and one miracle is required for that. Another well-known person whose cause for sainthood has been introduced and through whose intercession a miracle has also been reported is Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
Both of these miracles involve the saving of children.
Monsignor Stanley Deptula of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, and director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, reported that in September 2010, a baby was born, but showed no signs of life for an hour after birth as medical professionals tried to revive him. The family prayed for Archbishop Sheen’s intercession, and the baby was restored to life. A team of doctors who examined the details of the case found no natural explanation for the baby’s revival.
In the case of the miracle attributed to Blessed Pope Paul VI, the National Catholic Register reported the following on May 10, 2014:
“The attributed miracle involves an unborn child, who was found to have a serious health problem that posed a high risk of brain damage, in the 1990s in California. The child’s bladder was damaged, and doctors reported ascites (the presence of liquid in the abdomen) and anhydramnios (absence of fluid in the amniotic sac). Physicians advised that the child be aborted, but the mother entrusted her pregnancy to the intercession of Pope Paul VI… The mother took the advice of a nun who was a friend of the family and had met Paul VI. The mother then prayed for Paul VI’s intercession using a fragment of the pope’s vestments that the nun had given her. Ten weeks later, the results of the medical tests showed a substantial improvement in the child’s health, and he was born by Caesarean section in the 39th week of pregnancy. He is now a healthy adolescent and considered to be completely healed.”
As the postulator of Paul VI’s cause for beatification, Redemptorist Father Antonio Marrazzo, the medical commission ruled that the healing is medically inexplicable.
The Lord speaks through miracles today just as he did in Biblical ages. And his message is always timely. Is there a reason that these miracles involve unborn and newborn children? Of course there is. God is speaking to a culture of abortion and infanticide. In showing his holiness, and the faithfulness of his saints, he is in that very act calling us to embrace life and build a Culture of Life. Children are at the center of God’s work, and that is why destroying children is at the center of Satan’s work. Honoring the saints means living the pro-life message they embraced, a message these miracles confirm.