Author Topic: Why were many saints medical mysteries?  (Read 203 times)

Offline Geremia

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Why were many saints medical mysteries?
« on: April 11, 2018, 11:58:33 AM »
There are several examples of saints defies medical understanding:
Padre Pio's body temperature was feverishly high, yet he was healthy. St. Catherine of Siena didn't eat for years, yet she was healthy. St. Teresa of Ávila could not be exactly diagnosed. Etc.

St. Thomas seems to explain why this so when discussing why astrology, which seems to be the ancient analogue of today's evidence-based medicine (EBM) that views "disease as statistical associations at a population level" (Chin-Yee 2014 p. 921), oftentimes makes accurate predictions (Summa Theologica II-II q. 95 a. 5 ad 2):
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas
astrologers not unfrequently forecast the truth by observing the stars…because a great number of men follow their bodily passions, so that their actions are for the most part (in pluribus*) disposed in accordance with the inclination of the heavenly bodies: while there are few, namely, the wise (sapientes) alone, who moderate these inclinations by their reason. The result is that astrologers in many cases foretell the truth, especially in public occurrences which depend on the multitude (ex multitudine).
*Today we would use a statistical term like "on average".

Thus, the wise (sapientes), the saints, are outliers in modern medicine.
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Why were many saints medical mysteries?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 10:47:19 AM »
Huh? The point regarding astrology is that humans are influenced in parts of their nature by a set of cosmic forces whose activities are signified by the motions of the heavenly bodies, but that these influences are not deterministic in the sense that man can dominate them through his spirit - most just don’t, so there are effects in aggregate that are in some sense predictable.

What does that have to do with apparently miraculous defiances of the mechanisms of biology and physical law? These aren’t outcomes of an aggregate of effects upon individuals,  on one hand, and on the other they cannot simply be avoided by an application of will. I can refuse, e.g., to give into anger and violence influencing the world signified by some unfavourable position of Mars and Sun in Aries, hypothetically speaking, even by by natural human powers alone, but how do I cease to eat and still function physically when bodies obey the principles of conservation of energy and momentum?


As for Catherine of Siena being healthy, she died at 33 and looked like a living corpse in her final days. Devout woman, but some of her antics were just ... well, I’ll leave it at that.

 

Offline Geremia

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Re: Why were many saints medical mysteries?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 07:26:34 PM »
I'm not sure where your confusion lies. You seem to understand everything I wrote/quoted.
I can refuse, e.g., to give into anger and violence … even by by natural human powers alone, but how do I cease to eat and still function physically when bodies obey the principles of conservation of energy and momentum?
So we can use our freewill to counter the (gravitational?) influence of the stars/planets, but why cannot we violate "the principles of conservation of energy and momentum" without it being a miracle?