THE POSITION OF THE CHURCH REGARDING MARIAN APPARITIONS
A. What Does Canon Law Tells The Faithful About The Belief And Dissemination Of Information On Marian Apparitions?
In "Lumen Gentium", Vatican II, CH. 2, Paragraph 12 we read:
added on October 7, 2005: We
have tried to find the original
documentation of the quotation which
appeared in this part of the document and has been ascribed to Pope
VIII by many writers. We have not found a source reliable
enough to quote. Therefore, since the above reffered to "judgment of
those who lead the Church" has been severely compromised so many times
recently, i.e. the canonization of Jose María
Levada's appointment, and taking the bloody legacy of
Fátima as concrete
of reference, miguel
de Portugal replaces the statement
ascribed to Pope Urban VIII with his own:
B. What Is "The Church"? What Is "Church Approval"?
What is "The Church"? This appears as an easy question but many people do not know what it is. By using a personal story this "mystery" will amply clarified.
Recently a friend of mine, while I was speaking of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje asked me: "Has this been approved by the Church ?" Before I answered the question I asked him: "What is your definition of "the Church" ? He answered "Father Paul" (the local parish priest).
Unfortunately this is a big mistake that many people make. The clergy is supposed to represent the teachings of the Magisterium and administer the Sacraments of the Church. The clergy, however, is not the Church, it is part of the Church. The Church was not set up as a theological democracy. Jesus Christ founded the Church upon the Rock of Christ with Simon-Peter as its visible head. He was the spiritual leader of the apostles. Through his successor, the Pope, the teachings (the Magisterium) of the Roman Catholic Church are dispensed.
Those poor members of the clergy, confused theologians and disoriented Administrators of the Roman Catholic Church that, of their own accord, choose to alter the teachings of the Faith to suit their needs and/or failings, are not true children of the Church and, most certainly, they do not represent "The Church".
Basically the procedure is very simple and generally follows these steps...
1. Private apparition/revelation is reported to the Parish Priest.
2. The Parish Priest conducts a cursory investigation and decides whether it should be brought to the attention of the local ordinary, the Bishop, with enough evidence to warrant the Bishops attention.
3. The Bishop decides, upon the submitted evidence, whether the event warrants further investigation.
4. The Bishop sets up a commission of investigation.
5. If he deems the results of the appointed commission valid then:
A. If the apparition/revelation is still not an ongoing event, then the Bishop will approve it, declare it "worthy of faith" and forward the documentation to the Vatican.
B. The Vatican will appoint a commission of its own to review the Bishop's Commission report before the event is labeled "worthy of belief".
6. If the apparition/revelation is unfinished or the event was of such magnitude (in Garabandal, for example, over 1,800 apparitions), the Bishop will leave the file open" to receive new information, which is a de facto temporary approval pending the fulfillment of the study.
7. If the results of the appointed commission indicate a non- supernatural event or a supernatural event of demonic origin, then the Bishop will issue a document officially rejecting the event and encouraging the faithful and clergy to avoid it.
The Bishop may be diplomatically bypassed by the Vatican as it was done in the case of Medjugorje, when a new and expanded commission was assembled after the one appointed by the local Bishop turned in a negative conclusion based on allegedly incomplete information.
From the above, for example, it follows
that it is technically impossible for the Church to give a final
approval to the events of Medjugorje and Garabandal, for example, since
there are yet unfulfilled prophecies of a confirming nature. (Both are
on Step 6).
C. Notes On Approvals Of Certain Marian Apparitions
Note  Rosa Mystica 1947;1966/1976
The Parish priest, Msgr. Abate Francesco Rossi, was convinced.
The Bishop of Brescia, Msgr. Giacinto Tredici, was privately convinced but kept it at a low profile due to concern about the adversaries.
The following Bishop, Msgr. Luigi Morstabilini, was "very reflective" about the apparitions and not negative, yet, the low profile continues due to the same concern about the adversaries.
At the Blue Army Congress in Rome (September 20-25, 1973), the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Joäo Pereira Venancio, was asked about the apparitions in Montechiari and he declared:
"Yes, I went to Montechiari when the 'Castle of St. Mary' was consecrated in 1965. I celebrated in the cathedral and got the wheat which I took to Fátima. I distributed communion from the wheaten hosts which were baked, to thousands of pilgrims, religious and seminarians".
This special wheat was blessed by Our Lady, Rosa Mystica, and She requested exactly what Bishop Venancio did with the wheat.
Pope Pius XII granted a private audience
to Pierina Gilli (the
visionary) in Castel Gandolfo on August 9th, 1951. Among his statements
(1) Pluck up courage, dear daughter, and try to live up to this great and wonderful grace! Therefore We give you Our apostolic blessing.
(2) Please, pray also for Us !
Thus there is no "Formal Approval" from the Vatican but, certainly, enough ecclesiastical support to pay close attention to this very important apparitions.
Note  Garabandal 1961/1965
The Bishop of Santander, Msgr. Antonio del Val Gallo reconvened a new commission of investigation. The prior commission, under the late Bishop of Santander, had based its conclusion on the statement of the only member with scientific expertise. He had declared the events of "non supernatural order". Since then, he has completely reversed himself and declared the total opposite.
Thus officially, at the Diocesan as well as the Vatican level, the "file remains open" gathering new information.
Visiting clergy may offer mass at the local church.
Technically, the file of the Apparitions of Garabandal cannot be completed until the two major prophecies are fulfilled: (1) The Warning; and (2) The Miracle.
In addition, a prophecy regarding John Paul II has also not come to pass yet.
The reader may ponder on this matter further. Do keep in mind, however, that Sister Faustian Kowalska, the "Secretary of Mercy" of our Lord, and who was Beatified on April 18, 1993, "prophesied" the same about Pope John Paul II (although she did not use the name, just the country of his birth).
Note  Akita, Diocese of Niigata, Japan 1973
The approval of these Marian manifestations was contained in the Pastoral Letter of Easter, April 22, 1984, issued by M. Rev. John S. Ito, the then Bishop of the Diocese of Niigata. At his meeting in Rome on June 20, 1988, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith expressed their approval of the content of his Pastoral Letter.
M. Rev. Bishop's Ito signed letter attesting to the above and certifying many other details may be read by Clicking Here
Note  San Nicolas 1983/1990
A Diocesan Level Commission has been set up to investigate. In the meantime, at the time of this writing:
* The huge Sanctuary, as requested by
Our Lady, is being built.
* The Bishop leads the public procession every 25th of the month.
* The Archbishop, when visiting, is a participant in the procession.
* When the Pope John Paul II visited Argentina, he requested the pilot of his helicopter to descend on the construction site of the Basilica for a visit.
Note  Medjugorje 1981/1993
A Special Commission, appointed by the Vatican, is making a detailed study. In the meantime, at the time of this writing:
* The Archbishop believes in the events.
* Thousands of clergy and religious believe in it and have visited the site.
* Over 16 million people have journeyed to Medjugorje.
* Visiting clergy is authorized to celebrate mass in Medjugorje.
Like in the case of Garabandal, this file cannot be completed because, as part of the prophecies, there will be a Warning and a Miracle. Until those take place, the file cannot be closed. Once again, the remarks made under the Note , Garabandal, apply also here for it is the same Warning and the same Miracle.
Reviewed, updated and Links added on October 7, 2005 - Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary
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