Day after Mariam Thresia’s canonisation, Kerala surgeon questions saint’s miracle
A day after Kerala-born nun Mariam Thresia was declared a saint by Pope Francis in Vatican, the secretary of the Kerala unit of the Indian Medical Association Dr N Sulphi on Monday questioned the miracle attributed to her saying superstition should not be attached to the process.
“We are not against any belief and we respect all. I do pray before I enter the operation theatre. But what we oppose is the stamp of approval for a miracle. If somebody says prayers fully cured one it is difficult to comprehend for the medical community,” he said. Earlier, in a Facebook post, the surgeon urged the Christian community heads to base their decision on some other findings, not on miracles.
“Though we have made rapid progress in science and technology some of our beliefs are rooted in age-old practices. Being an informative and educated society Kerala should take lead in changing some of them. We only questioned miracle part, nothing else,” he explained. He said he has no idea how a medical practitioner in Amala Hospital in Thrissur ratified the miracle attributed to the saint.
While elevating a person to sainthood, a miracle has to be attributed to him or her and a high-level committee from the Vatican examines its veracity before canonisation. The miracle attributed to Mariam Thresia is that “she saved the life of a baby born prematurely in Amala Hospital in Thrissur in 2009.”
The baby, now a boy, Christopher Jolly was also present in Vatican to witness the event on Sunday. Congregation officials said his parents took the baby to her tomb for several days and prayed. Later one of the doctors who treated the baby Dr Sreenivasan has approved the miracle saying “divine intervention of the Holy Mother saved the baby”
Dr Sulphi said the church should avoid things that have no rationale or scientific background and base their findings on services and other factors while elevating a saint. “We are not questioning the newly-elevated saint’s contributions or services. We are questioning only miracles,” he said.
A spokesman of the Syro-Malabar church Verghese Vallikkatt said miracle plays an important role in elevating a saint. “It is nothing new. All saints were elevated like this. We don’t want to get into a controversy when the whole community is in a festive mood,” he said.