Criticism of NZ priest’s faith healing ministry rejected.

Doctors in Western Australia have expressed concern that sick pepople are rejecting conventional treatment in favour of “faith healing” from a well known New Zealand Catholic priest, Fr John Rea.

Australian Medical Association WA president Richard Choong said belief was important but he was concerned someone might not seek treatment because they believed faith had healed them.

“Faith and belief is a really important part of recovery, and that’s been demonstrated through history, but is that the only part? I don’t think so.”

“I am very much concerned, when someone makes a claim that they can heal through faith, that those patients may not attend or seek medical advice or may halt treatment. That’s unacceptable.”

But Disciples of Jesus senior co-ordinator Reg Firth said Rea always encouraged people to maintain existing medical treatments, keep medical appointments and follow their doctor’s advice.

“If God has healed, the practitioner will be the one to decide whether treatment is no longer required.” Firth says.

“If people have yet to see a doctor, he would encourage them to do so.”

The Perth Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community invited Father Rea to a series of Masses and “healing services” last month.

Father Rea rejected suggestions the apparent cures were a coincidence or attributable to the placebo effect. “The evidence indicates that these healings are real,” he said.

“When they occur in great numbers, as they frequently do, they can hardly be attributed to luck.

“Nor can the placebo effect be invoked for the overnight healing of broken bones and similar healings.



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