|Cures and Miracles: again at Lourdes
During a Press Conference in Paris on Thursday 16th March 2006, Bishop Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, made an unexpected statement concerning the question of miracles in Lourdes. The bishop, who is co-chairman of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL) with Professor François-Bernard Michel, wished to have a new approach to cures in Lourdes, especially concerning the different stages of recognising them.
||Bishop Jacques Perrier has been Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes since 1998. He is Co-Chairman of the internal Medical committee of Lourdes (CMIL) with Professor François-Bernard Michel
The International Medical Committee of Lourdes has the power to speak, since it is the commission charged with studying all the cases of cures linked to Lourdes and reported to the Medical Bureau of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. The following document signed by professor Michel and a Press Release from the CMIL throw light in these new initiatives.
||Professor François-Bernard Michel, Co-Chairman of the CMIL, is a member of French academy of Medicine
THE DOCUMENT OF PROFESSOR MICHEL
Introduction: Cures at Lourdes today.
One hundred and fifty years after the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette, medical science has changed more during these past fifty years than in the previous one hundred years, especially in the field of diagnosis and therapy.
Therapy, which was almost non-existent at the time of Bernadette, has become more effective and available to all. There is no sick person coming to Lourdes who has never received treatment and that is how it should be. This pushing forward of medicine has achieved such a degree of sophistication that it is more difficult than ever to appreciated in a cure what is applicable to treatment and what is contributable to an inexplicable medical phenomenon. If, however, a pilgrimage with sick and disabled pilgrims is undertaken it is because a cure was not medically obtained.
Pilgrimages to Lourdes have, for a long time now, been viewed from the exterior like an enquiry into a miraculous cure. But Lourdes should not be reduced to the alternatives – miracle or no a miracle. For the Church, as well as for the believer, a pilgrimage to Mary is more than a journey to a miracle. It is a journey of love, of prayer and of the suffering community. In Lourdes, in effect, the sick, who get out of their bed of sickness and isolation in their bedroom or hospital room, are welcomed, respected, surrounded and in a lively world where they have pride of place.
In order to give an updated of miracles in Lourdes, self-declared or scientifically declared, the Church together with the doctors, have undertaken a reflection to bring the situation of Lourdes up to date and report annually on their progress. It appears that many people believe because of a media “scoop” that nothing is happening at Lourdes.
A New Approach to Cures in Lourdes: the Stages of recognition
Beginning with spontaneous and voluntary declarations made to the Medical Bureau by people who claim that they have been cured thanks to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, the specialists of the International Medical Committee (CMIL), during their meeting in Paris on 27 and 28 November last decided to put in place the following 3 stages for examining files.
Stage 1: From the “Declared” Cure to the “Unexpected” Cure
All possible information is gathered from the person who believes they have received the grace of a cure by the medical officer of the Medical Bureau who then proceeds with a primary evaluation to:
- to build up a file on the illness with a report on the current state of health
- to judge the person’s personality in order to rule out trickery, acting, illusion, a possible hysterical or delirious pathology.
- to judge if this cure is clearly beyond the normal medical provisions of the illness in question note the circumstances of the cure itself and to verify if it happened according to extraordinary, unforeseen, striking or remarkable conditions.
Some of these declarations will be marked “no follow-up” or “pending” or registered as “unexpected cure” to be studied.
The bishop of the diocese where the person claiming to be cured lives will be infirmed that this cure is the subject of an enquiry and a doctor nominated by him can also be informed.
Stage 2: from the “Unexpected” Cure to the “Confirmed” Cure.
The files of the “unexpected cures” are studies to complete the authentication inquiry which consists of a comparative study of the medical documents before and after the cure. This is to ensure that there was an indisputable change from a precise medical diagnosis of a known illness to a situation of restored health. They will also look to see if this cure shows signs of being completely out of character with the development of this illness. The opinion of a large number of professional specialists will be sought by a member of the CMIL before the file is presented to a gathering of the CMIL.
In the end, the CMIL will classify the cure as no follow-up or they will validate this cure which they feel has been “thoroughly discussed and confirmed”
Stage 3: Opinion for Recognising an Unexpected Cure.
This is the final stage where the CMIL will affirm the “exceptional character” of a cure according to present scientific knowledge.
The file is then sent by the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes to the bishop of the diocese where the person who was cured lives.
The support of the Lambertini criteria will assure that the cure has been found complete and lasting, from a serious illness which is incurable or of an unfavourable prognosis and that it happened in a sudden way.
The Press Release of the International Medical committee of Lourdes.
At the end of the meeting of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes last November the following statement was prepared:
– Spontaneous declarations of cures during 2005: forty, of nature and seriousness that was extremely variable
– Files under investigation: declarations of persons who affirm, with a clear conscience, that a cure happened in the context of Lourdes, but whose scientific criterion does not allow for a definitive decision: 5. Observations: post traumatic myelopathy, serious Crohn’s disease, advanced multiple sclerosis, myopathy, cancer of the kidney.
We can state here that two of these illnesses are often “psycho-somatic”.
The Medical Committee responds to the objections as follows:
- Psycho-somatic is an obsolete and antiquated term, because it is founded on the thought that there exists a bodily illness, the illness of the mind, (ideas more in common use than indefinable) and “mixed”.
This concept is contradictory to present scientific knowledge: all illnesses, obviously, have psychological implications and all illness involves the human person “mind and body”.
- These were serious forms of these illnesses, advanced and progressive, having resisted hitherto heavy and prolonged therapeutic treatment carried out up to the time.
The opinion of recognition of an exceptional character of one cure in the present state of scientific knowledge: an observation: that of an attack of an illness in 1992. a malignant non-Hodgkinson’s Lymphoma type-B diffused from the pleura complicated one year later by acute myeloblasty leukaemia with suspected meningitis and optical neuritis treated by chemotherapy, but with unfavourable progression and cured without after effects or further relapse for 13 years coinciding with a faith journey to Our Lady of Lourdes.