I know beatification requires a miracle. And, I keep reading statements like this,

"On 19 December 2009, John Paul II was proclaimed venerable by his successor Pope Benedict XVI and was beatified on 1 May 2011 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints attributed one miracle to him, the healing of a French nun from Parkinson's disease."

I don't mean to be denigrating to the adherents, but is there any research on what percentage of Catholics believe the pope actually healed a French nun from Parkinson's disease?

And, on Mother Theresa,

"In 2002, the Vatican recognised as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian woman, Monica Besra, after the application of a locket containing Mother Teresa's picture. Besra said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous tumor."

I suppose I can understand praying to a Saint, and even believing in miracles -- but, what percentage of Catholics believe in these very contemporary ones?

all quotes from Wikipedia articles.

  • 1
    Curiously enough, St. Augustine asked the same thing 1600 years ago. – Peter Turner Mar 25 '13 at 3:14
  • 1
    I guarantee you at least one French nun and one Indian woman do! – Affable Geek Mar 25 '13 at 20:37
  • 1
    I don't know if there is any research on the specific question but Georgetown's CARA center does regular research on Catholic beliefs and attitudes -- and very helpfully correlates the results with frequency of practice. For example, in 2008 CARA found that 91% of Catholics who went to mass at least weekly also affirmed the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, whereas only 57% of self-identified Catholics as a whole would affirm that doctrine. – Ben Dunlap Mar 27 '13 at 19:53
  • @AffableGeek Alright ... so we've got 2. And you can count me in. So that's 3 ... – svidgen Mar 28 '13 at 20:43

From the wikipedia on Religion in the United States:

A late 2009 online Harris poll of 2,303 U.S. adults (18 and older)[59] found that "82% of adult Americans believe in God", the same number as in two earlier polls in 2005 and 2007. Another 9% said they did not believe in God, and 9% said that they were not sure. It further concluded, "Large majorities also believe in miracles (76%), heaven (75%), that Jesus is God or the Son of God (73%), in angels (72%), the survival of the soul after death (71%), and in the resurrection of Jesus (70%). Less than half (45%) of adults believe in Darwin's theory of evolution but this is more than the 40% who believe in creationism..... Many people consider themselves Christians without necessarily believing in some of the key beliefs of Christianity. However, this is not true of born-again Christians. In addition to their religious beliefs, large minorities of adults, including many Christians, have "pagan" or pre-Christian beliefs such as a belief in ghosts, astrology, witches and reincarnation.... Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated."

And from the actual poll, which was conducted at the end of 2009.

To = Total
Ca = Catholic
Pr = Protestant
Jw = Jewish
BA = Born-AgainChristian
                                                    To Ca Pr Jw BA
                                                    %  %  %  %  %
God                                                 82 94 92 79 97
=> Miracles <=                                   => 76 81 87 63 95 <=
Heaven                                              75 86 90 48 97
Jesus is God or the Son of God                      73 90 91  6 97
Angels                                              72 83 88 36 95
Survival of the soul after death                    71 82 85 37 91
The resurrection of Jesus Christ                    70 87 88  5 97
Hell                                                61 70 73 21 89
The Virgin birth (Jesus born of Mary)               61 74 79  5 92
The Devil                                           60 69 77  7 89
Darwin’s theory of evolution                        45 51 32 80 16
Ghosts                                              42 44 33 10 37
Creationism                                         40 37 56 20 68
UFOs                                                32 32 26 20 25
Astrology                                           26 26 20 19 21
Witches                                             23 22 23  8 27
Reincarnation – that you were once another person   20 19 13 18 14

So, the answer, if America is any representation of the whole, is 81% of Catholic [in America] believe in miracles.

Having not investigated the polling methods, I can't speak with any authority as to whether the numbers are accurate. Now can I say by what criteria the pollsters categorized people as Catholic and believing in miracles. My suspicion is that they were direct questions. And for what it's worth, most folks who I would say used to be Catholic would probably self-identify as Catholic.


This will sound flippant, but it isn't meant to be, so please forgive me. Any Catholic who attends mass believes in modern miracles, because that Catholic would believe, by definition, in the miracle of Transubstantiation, through which the bread and wine become the literal body and blood of Jesus.

  • I wish I shared your optimism about the folks in the pew next to me ... – svidgen Mar 28 '13 at 21:24
  • I hear ya, @svidgen! – Nat Mar 29 '13 at 20:16

Based on ... err ... recent research ...

At least 3 of them.

  • 1
    hey now, you better site your sources mister... – Peter Turner Mar 28 '13 at 20:54
  • @PeterTurner Done. – svidgen Mar 28 '13 at 20:56
  • And @peterturner, you need to learn the difference between this site and how we cite things! ;) – Affable Geek Mar 28 '13 at 21:23

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