VATICAN CITY -- Miracles don't go against nature but instead only suspend its laws, Pope John Paul II said this week.

The pope devoted the homily for his weekly audience to the topic of miracles that the Roman Catholic church attributes to Jesus.

"Miracles are not in opposition with the forces and laws of nature, but constitute only a certain experimental 'suspension' of their ordinary function, not their annulment," the pope told about 5,000 people in Paul VI Auditorium on Wednesday.

Referring to the miraculous healings attributed to Christ during his lifetime, the pope said that Christ had "at heart the good of the people" who were healed.

"This does not signify, nevertheless, that Christ, being God, was forced to violate the natural laws, which are themselves a divine creation. To perform a miracle neither cancels out nor frustrates the causality that God has communicated to the things of creation, neither does it violate those same natural laws established by him...but exalts, and in a certain way enobles, the capacity to operate or to receive the effects of the actions of others," John Paul said.

The church's examination of miracles attributed to candidates for sainthood "documents that, even when put to the scrutiny of critics of history and medical science, confirm the existence of the 'power above' which operates in the order of nature and goes beyond it," the pope said.