The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the western world, and with more than one billion members worldwide, it is the largest Christian church. Its history spans almost 2,000 years and is rooted in the Church's Canon of Scripture and Tradition. At the head of the church is the Pope, who Catholics believe is the successor to Saint Peter whom Christ appointed as the first head of His church. The Pope, according to the religion's doctrine, can speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals. The Catholic Church practises closed communion and only baptised members of the church are permitted to receive the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.
Costa Rican woman speaks of Catholic Church-confirmed miracle
A Costa Rican woman whose brain aneurysm reportedly disappeared after she prayed to late Pope John Paul II broke down in tears as she publicly spoke for the first time about the church-confirmed miracle underlying John Paul's case for sainthood.
The Catholic Church presented 50-year-old Floribeth Mora and her doctor to reporters after Pope Francis approved the miracle needed to canonise John Paul.
With tears in her eyes, Mora told how she was sent home with pain medicine but no apparent hope for treatment, thinking she was going to die after her 2011 aneurysm diagnosis.
She says a photograph of the pope seemed to speak to her during the deceased pontiff's beatification, and her doctor says the aneurysm disappeared for no apparent reason.
Mora and her family kept silent as they awaited the signing of the papal decree recognising her story as a miracle. With the decree sealed, Mora said she went from believing she was about to die to a state of perfect health.
Mora, who lives in Dulce Nombre de Tres Rios near San Jose, said she woke up on April 8, 2011 with a strong headache and went to a hospital in nearby Cartago, where she was diagnosed with a severe migraine.
The pain lasted for three days and Mora returned to the hospital, where tests revealed an aneurysm on the right side of her brain that had begun to haemorrhage.
Her family built an altar to John Paul outside her house, and while Mora was watching the late pope's beatification on May 1, 2011, she picked up a magazine and, looking at a photo of the pope, starting to hear a voice. "It said: 'Get up, don't be afraid'," Mora said.
Mora stood up and felt instantly better. Tests then revealed that her aneurysm had disappeared.