This is the miraculous event that made Pope John Paul II a saint, as described in the article entitled 'Costa Rican woman who elevated the Pope to sainthood: "Praying to John Paul II saved me''':

Floribeth Mora Díaz was told there was no hope. Taken to hospital in Costa Rica, she was devastated to discover that her persistent headaches were the result of an aneurysm in the brain. The doctors said her days were numbered. [...] 

Alejandro Vargas Román, the neurosurgeon who treated Mrs Mora, is convinced that her recovery is the result of divine intervention.

"Of course it's true," he told Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion. "I am a Catholic, and as a doctor with many years of experience I do believe in miracles. No one has been able to provide a medical explanation for what happened."

Mr Román was questioned by Vatican authorities in San Jose, who concluded that she was saved by a miracle.

"I talked to the priests, but maybe they were specialised in something," he said. "They weren't doctors; they were theologians or lawyers, so my role was that of medical investigation."

But he is adamant that the science is sound.

"We have to remember that the arteriography [images of the blood vessels] was seen by various people within this hospital, and also shared at a symposium in Mexico. The images are stored here. Any person who needs to see the studies; they are here," he said. 

From another source:

"The neurosurgeon who admitted and diagnosed Mora, however, denies he gave her a month to live. Alejandro Vargas says he forecast only a 2 percent chance Mora could bleed into her brain again within a year of her diagnosis, possibly killing her. 

"She was sent home with medication that would reduce her blood pressure and was advised to improve her diet so as not to raise her cholesterol levels and thus decrease the chance of her having a second bleeding episode. She was sedated because the headaches were too sharp," he told Reuters. "We didn't send her home to be sedated and wait until she died in her sleep."

Thus, the God of the Gaps reigns supreme. Find a pocket of ignorance, add religion, some wild exaggeration, bake for 2 minutes, and God appears.

Crackpot: How do you explain X?
Me: I can't.
Crackpot: See? God did it. It's the ONLY explanation! The science is sound!

Tags: II, John, Paul, Pope, miracles, saints

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Is it just the Catholic Church that believes an intermediary is necessary or more effective to gain favor with the Almighty? Why would a direct communication or request for healing not be considered? 

As long as the world has simpletons we will be blessed with these religious theatrics. It makes my guts churn that people are so damn eager to believe this nonsense. Meanwhile thousands of innocents continue to die from numerous varied afflictions despite their fervent desperate prayers.

I think the idea behind that Ed, is, again, the idea that you are a worthless piece of shit, and as such, stand a better chance if you can get someone whose life has proven them to be more perfect, and thus, more worthy of god's attention than you, to intercede on your behalf. Nothing like religion to build up your sense of self worth.

Ever since the Moses story, it was believed that the Aaronid priests were an essential part of getting god to do what you want, for a fee of course, so the tradition, somewhat different, was alive among the Hebrews as well.

Also, the idea creates a paradox. Does god have a plan for the world, for each of us? If so, why would a prayer, by you or by a saint, change his mind? If his mind is that changeable, how perfect could his plan have been? If he changes his plan for you, as requested, thus creating a different future than you were originally scheduled, how many variables does he then have to change down the line, as a result of the change in the first one?

Is there a set of criteria a person, or a request must meet, for a mind-change to be successful? Why have we never been given an official list of what those criteria might be, instead of a crap-shoot, followed by, "God works in mysterious ways --"? Does he HAVE to? I mean, a simple list: "These kinds of requests could get god to change his mind -- These kinds don't have a snowball's chance in hell" - what could it hurt?

No intermediary required, @Ed.  Just sometimes helpful.  If you have an idea for the company you work for, you could go to the CEO directly.  More likely you would go to a manager you trust who knows the CEO well.   St. Thomas More might be an easier example to identify with for a lawyer who is trying to do the right thing in hard circumstances; a Polish pope who supported unionism might be easier to relate to for an ethnic Polish autoworker in the U.S. facing hard times.  These are just expressions of faith by individual people, who have different needs and personalities.

Also, the idea creates a paradox.

Not a paradox, @arch.  Just a lot of complexity. 

If humans do indeed have free will, then of course our choices change us, and our neighbors, and the universe.  God must respond to the change.  Or if you're a fan of Whitehead, our choices change God in some ways.

I don't know if you have kids.  For all of us with kids, we do have plans for them, or at least directions in mind.  But they have free will.  They choose different things than we anticipated.  They surprise us sometimes; disappoint us other times, and the way we adjust to support them changes thousands of variables down the line.  Their choices change our actions toward them and relationships with them; in some ways, their choices change us.

Lots of times we say "no" to our kids' requests, because we know those requests (for candy here, for getting out of a chore there) aren't good for them.  Sometimes we say "yes", though, out of love, or because mom's on board, or because it opens up new possibilities - possibilities that could only be opened by that voluntary, free-will choice.  There's a profound difference between dad saying "you have to play soccer" and a son coming to dad and saying "dad, I really want to play soccer."

All of that is anthropomorphizing a bit, of course.  God is deeper and more complex.  For a start at what sort of requests could get God to change his mind, though, I'd begin with what sort of requests could get you, as a father who cares deeply about his child, to change your mind?

"If humans do indeed have free will, then of course our choices change us, and our neighbors, and the universe.  God must respond to the change.  Or if you're a fan of Whitehead, our choices change God in some ways."

With one significant difference - no one I know of lays claims to my omniscience. Even if free will were real, an omniscient god would never be surprised, and in fact, would be in the perfect position to incorporate those changes into his original plan.

Oh, I don't reckon our understanding of things is quite good enough yet to be really thinking very cogently about the nature of omniscience in a 4 (or 10) dimensional framework.  Does an actor who stands outside of time take in everything at once?  Across how many universes?  Does quantum uncertainty apply, so the act of the Creator observing the choices of His creatures outside of time cause the wave state to collapse into a unique and unanticipated reality, even though He can see that reality across all of spacetime at once?

Omniscience is only a stumbling block if you insist on a childish definition of omniscience in a universe we know to be far more complex.

"a unique and unanticipated reality" - unanticipated by whom, an omniscient, all-powerful god?

"a childish definition of omniscience" - how many definitions of omniscience are there?

Seriously, Bob, do you ever just take a moment and listen to yourself? Every explanation you give, to any of us, speaks to the rationality of your mind, yet logic tells me that no rational mind can possibly believe in a supernatural entity.

You appear to be an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in silly putty.

Exactly, Arch. You're being childish about God's omniscience.

The same applies to our understanding of leprechaun magic, which is far too limited to be considering very cogently. Does the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow stand outside of time or in another universe entirely? Does the act of the leprechauns observing non-faery creatures outside of leprechaun-land cause the pot of gold to disappear when we get too close to it? Do the leprechauns imbue the pot of gold with sentience enough to disappear on its own? Is it simply the act of observing the pot of gold itself, in keeping with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, that causes the leprechaun magic to make it disappear?  We just don't know.

Leprechaun magic is only a stumbling block if you insist on a childish definition of leprechaun magic in a universe we know to be far more complex.

Rev Bob- "All of that is anthropomorphizing a bit, of course."

A bit? It could be easily argued that the very heart of religion(s) is awash in anthropomorphization. 

If you were actually, in the spiritual sense, a son/daughter of god (reference: new testament Xtian bible) why would it require a 3rd person to be a liason between you and your invisible Pop?

Ignorant people seem to have much difficulty recognizing nonsense. The charade continues.

@Ed -

"why would it require a 3rd person to be a liason between you and your invisible Pop?

I'm jumping in here out of nowhere, but I do know, in general, from experience, that advanced spirituality is a difficult subject and requires experts to make it clear. 

RE: "advanced spirituality is a difficult subject and requires experts to make it clear" - exactly the viewpoint of the Catholic Church, when for a thousand years, from 600 - 1600 CE, it forbade, upon penalty of death, possession of any Bible in a language other than Latin. "We know more than you do, so we will tell you what to think!"

Once more, Paynton betrays his closet theist tendencies.

the Catholic Church, when for a thousand years, from 600 - 1600 CE, it forbade, upon penalty of death, possession of any Bible in a language other than Latin.

LOL!  Too funny, @arch!  Where do you come up with this nonsense?

Of course, most of the original text was in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and we were preserving those texts.  Somehow we managed not to execute all the abbots and monks who had those non-Latin bibles. 

Saints Cyril and Methodius translated the Bible into Slavic (developing the Cyrillic alphabet along the way) during that period.  There are extant Saxon translations from the period as well, some attributed to the Venerable Bede.  

It doesn't seem likely that we were killing people off for non-Latin biblical translations if we were at the same time canonizing them as saints.  What rubbish!

Please tell me what part did not happen:

    By 500 CE, the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Just one century later, by 600 CE, it has been restricted to only one language: the Latin Vulgate. The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed!
     This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, which gave the church ultimate power to rule without question, to deceive, and to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people of the time could read at all, and still fewer, other than priests, could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000 year period from 400 CE to 1,400 CE known as the Dark Ages, during which time, Europe stagnated.
    During this same period, at least from 800 onward, the Islamic nations encouraged the sciences and the arts, and their civilization thrived and went on, not only to occupy much of the Levant, including Jerusalem, but a significant portion of Europe as well, for hundreds of years.
    Despite Papal edicts, over the next 700 years, there were numerous limited translations, of which, Caedmon's rendering of Bible stories into Anglo Saxon in 680 CE, and parts of the Bible King Alfred had translated into the vernacular in 995 CE, are worthy of mention.
    In the late 1300’s, the secret society of Culdees chose John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teachings of the organized Church which he believed to be contrary to the Bible, to lead the world out of the Dark Ages. Wycliffe has been called the “Morning Star of the Reformation”. That Protestant Reformation, for believers, was about one thing: getting the Word of God back into the hands of the masses in their own native language, so that the corrupt church would be exposed and, for those, the message of salvation in Christ alone, by scripture alone, through faith alone, would be proclaimed again.
    The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380's CE by Wycliffe. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe's death, he ordered his bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!
    One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.”
    Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) onto the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true! Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.
    Though there can be no doubt that Luther exhibited great courage in opposing the full force and extended reach of the Vatican, one must be a little conservative in the lavishment of praise of his work. Luther also helped spread anti-Jewish sentiments with his preaching and books such as his "The Jews and their lies," all supported through his interpretation of the Bible. One should not forget that Hitler (a Christian and great admirer of Luther) and his holocaust probably could not have occurred without Luther’s influence and the support of Bible-believing German Christians.
    Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated. Born as “Johann Gensfleisch” (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as “Johann Gutenberg” (John Beautiful Mountain).
     Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty. Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.
    Due to the original Greek having hundreds of custom symbols, even with the advent of printing around 1450 CE, it took until 1516 CE for the Greek to be widely available, in a special reduced Greek character set.
    In 1514 CE, printer John Froben, of Basle, engaged Desiderius Erasmus, who produced a dual Greek/Latin version and the Greek New Testament was printed for the first time in 1516, based on only five Greek manuscripts, the oldest of which dated only as far back as the twelfth century. With minor revisions, Erasmus' Greek New Testament came to be known as the Textus Receptus or the "received texts." It was hardly that, however, as the edition was full of errors, and not traceable to particular Greek originals. It was an instant success, reprinted with corrections several times, and led to nearly 200 successors, all suffering from errors to a certain degree between 1516 and 1550. The damage was done, the world was flooded with erroneous Greek text.
    By 1522 CE, the Polyglot Bible was published. The Old Testament was in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin and the New Testament in Latin and Greek. Erasmus used the Polyglot to revise later editions of his New Testament.
    In 1525-35, William Tyndale produced his English New Testament, the first printed English Bible, based mainly on the Greek. It did not have the shortcomings of Wycliffe, and was a landmark in method and style. Tyndale made use of the Polyglot in his translation of the Old Testament into English, which became the Myles Coverdale's Bible, the first complete printed Bible, published in 1535. Tyndale spent his last days in imprisonment and exile. He was hunted by the establishment, but his enemies finally caught him and burned him at the stake in 1537. Because of his celebrity, however, they compassionately strangled him first.
    Now, within a very short time, because of the political circumstances in England, and the reformation on the continent, a move was made by the Vatican towards acceptance, though not in time to save William Tyndale. 1537 saw the Thomas Matthew, a revision of Tyndale by John Rogers (80 Books), and 1539 saw the Taverners, a revision of the Matthew. But 1539 was a landmark, as it saw the publishing of the Great Bible, or First Authorized Version. With all 80 books, it is often called the Cranmer after that archbishop’s preface to the 2nd edition.
    1550 CE saw the publication of Robert Stephanus's Textus Recepticus, whose third edition became the standard text. He is credited with devising the chapter and verse delineations used to this day. 1633 CE saw further refinement by the Elzevir family of Dutch printers and publishers, and the "final" major revision is the 1873 Oxford edition.
    Work now gathered pace, as did the heat generated by the reformation. The Geneva Bible (1560) was a revision of The Great. It was the first Study Bible, with less than flattering comments about the Catholic Church. It was written by reformers in exile in Geneva, and was supported by John Calvin and John Knox, both Protestant Reformation leaders. It was a full 80-Book Bible, based on the Tyndale Bible, and remained popular for 100 years after the King James Version, especially with Puritans in the United States. It was also notable as the first Bible to have printed verse numbers.
    In 1568, the Bishop's Bible, 80 Books, translated by scholarly bishops, became the 2nd Authorized Bible, intended to supersede the Great and the Geneva.
    In 1582 Rome surrendered its Latin only edict. In 1609-10 the Douay/Rheimes Bible was published, the first Catholic English translation (80 Books), translated from the Vulgate. It became the seed bible for nearly all Catholic Bibles.

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