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Letter: miracles don’t preclude health care

Voices Feb. 28, 2019

Responding to concerns about healings at a recent Vancouver charismatic conference, a letter writer clarifies they were not for life-threatening diseases or invisible conditions like cancer and no one was told to stop normal medical care. (B.C. Catholic file photo)

As the writer of the Oct. 22, 2018, article “Healings abound in record charismatic crowd,” concerning the Vancouver charismatic conference, I sympathize with Prof. Robert Scott (“Skeptical about miracles,” Letters, Feb. 11) for his bad experiences connected with past charismatic healing services. I am aware that such abuses have occurred, and I would agree with his criticism.

But in defence of our September speaker, Bob Canton, I need to point out that his presentation was very different from those Prof. Scott describes, in some key respects:

First, Bob did not direct those who believed themselves healed to stop normal medical care or stay away from their doctors; in fact, he said it is essential to take proper care of yourself by natural means, and he is happy to have anyone who appears to be healed go see their doctors about it. This is normal practice in charismatic healing events today, contrary to what has sometimes happened in the past. 

Secondly, none of the healings reported at the conference were for life-threatening diseases, nor did Bob declare anyone healed of invisible conditions such as cancer. Nobody was placed in the position of taking his word for the healing of a deadly disease.

Thirdly, Bob did not claim at the conference that anything that happened was a miracle in the formal sense in which that word is used, for a very different purpose, in the canonization process. The people he prayed for just wanted to get better. If they did get better, that’s good enough; if they didn’t, or if the apparent healing didn’t last, they would know that. Either way, they are encouraged to carry on with proper health care.

Richard Dunstan
Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of B.C.