Pope Francis has approved new rules that will improve scientific accuracy when evaluating miracles.
Before a person is beatified, a miracle is required. Before a person can be canonized, two miracles are required. Miracles provide some of the best evidence that a person is in heaven.
However, some gave argued that the process of certifying a miracle could be made more challenging to promote scientific accuracy. Pope Francis, who is himself trained as a scientist, has agreed.
The old ruled require a simple majority of doctors to agree. Now, the new rules will require a minimum of six doctors, and two-thirds must agree.
The doctors must sign a statement that the alleged miracle has no natural or scientific explanation.
Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci, Secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints said, “The purpose of the regulation is for the good of the Causes, which can never be separated from the historical and scientific truth of the alleged miracles.”
Archbishop Bartolucci was in charge of a seven-member panel that Pope Francis sent to work in September 2015 to update the rules. The previous rules were sent by Pope John Paul II in 1983.
Additional rules approved by Pope Francis now only permit three evaluations of a miracle. If a miracle is not certified by two-thirds majority and a minimum of four doctor, then it will not be considered valid for the Cause.
Another change affects the way doctors are paid. From now on, all doctors will be paid by wire transfer, and will be kept confidential from those who are promoting the Cause of the saint. This will allow the doctor to render an accurate assessment without pressure or temptation.