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Tightening canonisation

Vatican (SE): The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has announced there will be new rules governing the role of medical boards investigating miracle cures in the beatification and canonisation processes.

They strengthen requirements for acceptance of authenticity and set stricter standards for the documentation of payment to experts.

In a press release on September 23, the Vatican says that reported miracles have always been examined with the utmost rigour and since 1743 all reported miracles have been examined by medical experts.

In 1959, Pope John XXIII established rules for the medical boards, which were updated under Pope Paul VI and then Pope John Paul II.

At least five experts out of a seven-member board, or four out of a six must now approve the certification of a miracle. If it is rejected, it cannot go back to the same group and no one can be examined more than three times.

Experts must now be paid by bank transfer, a new rule aimed at cleaning up the congregation’s accounting system.

The updates are not retroactive, so miracles already certified will not be re-examined. Also, the Vatican statement affirms that the pope has the final say and “exclusive competence of acknowledging an extraordinary event as a true miracle.”

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