By Kathy Schiffer
Pope Paul VI, author of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), will likely be beatified in the next few months, according to a report by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli.
Writing in the Italian newspaper La Stampa,
Tornielli reports that the Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has declared that the former pope’s healing of an unborn child is “unexplainable.” Patrizio Polisca, Benedict XVI and Francis’ personal doctor, is chair of the Medical Commission.
The alleged miracle will now be studied by theologians and cardinals, before the case is forwarded to the Holy Father for approval.
The case involved a pregnant woman in California in the early ‘90s. Doctors advised the mother to abort, after they found an abnormality in the developing fetus which normally results in brain damage. The woman refused and continued the pregnancy, praying for the intercession of Pope Paul VI.
When the child was born, the medical team was surprised to find no evidence of defects. However, only after the child reached puberty could doctors assert with absolute confidence that he had made a full recovery. Finally last year, Father Antonio Marrazzo, C.Ss.R., postulator for the cause of canonization for Paul VI, said with confidence that “a truly extraordinary and supernatural event had occurred, thanks to the intercession of Paul VI.”
Several years ago, Father Marrazzo had received a list of a number of possible miracles; and from the list, he felt that the strongest case could be made for healing of the unborn child who appeared to be healed in utero.
And last year—on December 20, 2012—Pope Benedict approved the declaration of Pope Paul as a person of “heroic virtue”, granting him the title of “Venerable”.
The debate over the late Pope’s cause has intensified over the past year, with doctors exchanging medical opinions until yesterday’s final verdict. Speaking at a conference on Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land last November, the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, said the former Pope’s beatification “should be relatively imminent.”