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ROMA LOCUTA (ROME HAVING SPOKEN)

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles

    On September 28 before my visit to Montegiorgio, the hometown of the First Bishop of Lipa, I had a meeting with two key personalities of the Holy See's CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH. I asked for this meeting in my March 24, 2010 letter to the Congregation explaining why I was invited to speak in Rome on March 25, 2010, not on the Mediatrix of All Grace of Lipa but on the proposed Fifth Marian Dogma: Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. It was a very influential archbishop from the Philippines who was invited to the said meeting organized by the review INSIDE VATICAN. He passed it on to me, claiming I was the proper person speak on behalf of the many Philippine bishops supporting the proposed Marian Dogma. Indeed on that occasion I was not asked to speak on Lipa although almost all my Marian Conferences everywhere had references thereto. Nevertheless I eagerly looked forward to that meeting with the Congregation to know the real and definitive stand of the Holy See on Lipa.


Actually since I became the Archbishop of Lipa in July 16, 2004, countless people have been pressing me to do this.
Truly we have for a long time been wondering whether the Holy See really concurred with the April 11, 1951 Declaration of the six Philippine (Arch)bishops who composed the commission that investigated the 1948 supposed Marian apparitions in Lipa. In 1992, the late Archbishop Mariano Gaviola lifted the ban enforced fifty years earlier by the then Lipa Apostolic Administrator Bishop Rufino Santos. That April 12, 1951 decree contained the contentious phrase 'until final decision on the matter will come from the Holy See'. On November 12, 2009, I earned almost universal approval and praises for affirming the Gaviola declaration referring again to the phrase of the late Cardinal Santos. I did not hesitate to ask again the Holy See for the definitive statement.

September 28, 2010
will be remembered as the day the final statement was released. I am allowed to publish the following:
'The text of the declaration of the Bishops of the Philippines, published on
11 April 1951, is as follows: & quote; We, the undersigned Archbishops and bishops,
constituting for the purpose a special Commission, having attentively examined
and reviewed the evidence and testimonies collected in the course of
repeated, long and careful investigations, have reached the unanimous
conclusion and hereby officially declare that the above mentioned evidence
and testimonies exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary
happenings-including the shower of petals - at the Carmel of
Lipa.&quote; This declaration is the official communication of the final decision on
the matter, as approved by the Holy See.'

What many have been asking for is now finally clarified by the Holy
See. The official communication of the final decision on the matter, as approved
by the Holy See (italics mine), is the April 11, 1951 declaration. Take
note that in the above statement, the April 12, 1951 decree of the then Lipa
Administrator Bishop Rufino Santos is not cited. Therefore the oft referred
phrase 'until final decision on the matter will come from the Holy
See' can no longer be invoked. Obviously, the Holy See's approval concerns
the contents of the April 11, 1951. There is no mention of the April
12, 1951 decree.
Exactly a year ago, I issued the following decree:
"Whereas, on April 12, 1951 the then Apostolic Administrator of Lipa,
Rufino J. Santos, D.D., issued a decree banning public veneration of the
image of Our Lady Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace;
Whereas, while the Carmelite nuns and some others, most specially the
Lipa clergy, obediently observed the ban, the great majority of ordinary
faithful silently but perseveringly continued their prayer to and devotion
towards the Mediatrix of All Grace;
Whereas, on July 16, 1991 after 40 years of silence the Most Rev Mariano
G. Gaviola in effect lifted the ban and allowed the veneration of the Image of
Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace for the people to pray for world peace;
Whereas, the fervour of numerous faithful from the Archdiocese of Lipa
and from elsewhere continued and even increased throughout the subsequent
years and many miracles of physical and spiritual healing have been
ceaselessly reported;
Whereas, increasing number of pilgrims heed the supposed call of the
Blessed Mother Mediatrix of All Grace by visiting the monastery making
penitential processions and praying almost everyday but most of all on first
Saturdays and every twelfth day of the month;
Whereas, the faithful seek from the official church guidance and assistance
in deeper faith;
Whereas, the local church of Lipa that will celebrate its centenary from
April 10,2010 to April 10, 2011 looks forward to a deeper renewal of faith in
all the faithful and the increase of missionary fervour with the help of Mary,
the Star of Third Millennium Evangelization;
Whereas in the last one hundred years apparently the issue on the
Mediatrix of All Grace, regardless of the authenticity or not of the so-called
Marian apparitions in the Carmel of Lipa, is the most celebrated event recorded
of this local Church;
So, therefore, I, the undersigned Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lipa
declare and publicly announce:

That pursuant to the instructions
and conditions issued by my predecessor
Archbishop Mariano G.
Gaviola, the decree of 1951 is hereby
reversed;
That the public veneration of the
image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
in the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa
be continued and made available for
the prayer of the pilgrims for true
peace in our nation and the sanctification
of all priests;
That the contemplative and
prayerful atmosphere of the
Carmelite monastery as willed by the
reforms of St. Teresa of Avila be properly
maintained for the edification
and spiritual growth of the pilgrims
who join the prayers of the
contemplatives of the said place;
That all bans written or unwritten
intended to curtail or diminish the
devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All
Grace be lifted;
Finally, that a new commission be
established to review the documents
about the so-called apparitions in
1948 as well as to compile further
documents thereafter up to the
present.
Humbly, respectfully and joyfully,
I must state that my November
12 decree does not in any way
conflict with the final statement of
the Holy See. I owe the late Rufino
Cardinal Santos a lot for what I am
now. He was the one who received
me as a seminarian and later member
of the clergy of Manila. I believe
he, who was himself deeply
Marian, will be happy to know that
the difficulties of the early fifties
are being resolved slowly in favour
of the honour due to the Blessed
Mother and the good of the Church
especially in our part of the world.
Some clarifications need to be
made.
First of all, the Holy See, while
accepting officially the April 11,
1951 verdict about the Lipa apparitions,
does not prohibit the
spread of the devotion to Mary
under the worthy title Mediatrix of
All Grace. In fact the Holy See recognizes
that the devotion of the
people of the Philippines and especially
of the faithful of our Archdiocese
to the Blessed Mother is
well known and must be promoted.
Pope Pius XII said this already in
1954: "Philippines! Kingdom of
Mary! Philippines! Kingdom of the
Holy Rosary! Run to this throne of
Grace, to this saving devotion, because
the storm is raging not far
away from you. Remain firm in the
Holy Faith of your fathers that you
have received at the cradle, just as
your islands remain firm, although
shaken by earthquakes and violently
besieged by irritated waves.
Organize your nascent nation but
in giving a rightful place to Christian
values. By so doing, you will
guarantee for yourselves the best
in all things and prepare yourselves
to be in the Far East a lighthouse
of Christian faith, column
and pillar of an edifice whose
greatness no one can predict" . I
myself will not cease from promoting
love and devotion to the
Blessed Mother. We badly need her
help especially as we face these
critical moments when the Church
is persecuted and God is terribly
offended by the massive effort to
promote government policies that
violate God's commandments. I
have also again and again empha-

sized that the Blessed Mother
counts on us to join Her in the great
Third Millennium Evangelization
task.
Secondly, the April 11, 1951 decree
stated that the special commission,
which examined attentively
and reviewed the evidence
and testimonies collected in repeated,
long and careful investigations,
reached the unanimous
conclusion and officially declared
the evidence and testimonies exclude
any supernatural intervention
in the reported extraordinary
happenings --including the showers
of petals-- at the Carmel of Lipa.
This as well is the official stand of
the Holy See. But no one can be
stopped nor be faulted if he feels
otherwise. In fact many people at
that time left personal testimonies
of their own experience of the extraordinary
events. But they did
not challenge the Episcopal commission
then. Like the saintly souls
including Bishop Alfredo Versoza
and Bishop Alfredo Obviar, they
kept their conviction in their hearts,
obedient to the Church, hoping until
their dying breath that 'someday
the Blessed Virgin will vindicate
Herself' . In respect for the Holy
See's recently better clarified
stand, refraining from reference to
the 1948 apparitions, in spite of
personal belief will be more pleasing
even to the Most Holy Mother.
True followers of Mary are obedient
and humble. Our love for Mary
must also show in our love for the
Church, the Bride of Christ.
Pilgrims may continue to join
the Carmelite nuns in promoting
and relishing the prayerful atmosphere
of the place. All must plead
with heaven that the Blessed
Mother will still gather many of
Her children around Herself to
save the Church especially in the
Philippines from the escalating
threats to our faith. May God Himself
intervene and strengthen all
to close ranks with the Mother of
all humanity to save our Church
from imminent dangers and the
faithful from losing their faith. The
local Church in Lipa will and must
remain --and even give compelling
proof that it is-- the Marian Center
of the archipelago. This archdiocese
which celebrates its centennial
Jubilee must enter the new
century with a greater missionary
vigour always under the guidance
of the Our Lady of Caysasay, the
Mediatrix of All Grace.
Thirdly, the commission created
this time last year accomplished
the compilation of old and new
documents which are by no means
kept undisclosed. The documents
were freely given them by many pious
people and freely shared with
all interested. The final declaration
from the Holy See makes the
existence of the said commission
as tasked with gathering past documents
irrelevant. This pious and
selfless circle of lay faithful, of religious
and of priests, so devoted
to the Holy Mother, and consequently
obedient to the Holy
Church, will henceforth cease to
function like an investigative body.
They are now assigned to help all
devotees and pilgrims deepen their
Marian commitment to the total
benefit of the local Church and of
all the faithful according to the desires
of the Blessed Virgin Mary

expressed in many of her self manifestations
(especially in Lourdes
and Fatima). These seasoned
scholars and experts in various
fields who put their specialties at
the service of Our Lady, Mediatrix
of All Grace, are instead to make
studies of present graces and
favours due to the ardent prayers
and steadfastness of devotees.
They are to reflect and explain
prayerfully the meaning of Marian
attachment to Jesus in these difficult
times in the country and the
world and its bearing on the
Church's millennium evangelization
project.
September 28, 2010, will remain
a memorable moment for me for
something I experienced. It was the
Feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the only
so far canonized Filipino saint.
Earlier I celebrated Mass at the
altar of Blessed Pope John XXIII
after which I went to the Congregation
for the Doctrine of Faith to
meet the two Vatican personalities.
The meeting was very cordial. I
thank them until now for the kind
reception. I will be dishonest if I
deny my feelings of sadness and
disappointment. But there is also
a sense of contentment and joy. At
least we can go on properly guided
by the official Church. As I have
remarked again and again, what
happened sixty years ago is past.
What we do now and what happens
now and in the near future is
what matters more. We have still
to stand by our Holy Mother and
with Her fearlessly awaken in everyone
the need to return to God,
to bring the good news to people
of our times, to witness even
through suffering to the love of
Jesus.
Outside the building of the Holy
Office, I read a text in my cell
phone. ABS-CBN wanted to interview
me. I texted back asking on
what topic and if possible to wait
for a week on my return to the country
to answer their queries. Before
the day was over, numberless communications
arrived through my
cell phone announcing with great
alarm President Noynoy Aquino's
declaration in the USA which he
was visiting, that he was going to
support the Reproductive Health
Bill pending in Congress and this
clearly after being promised financial
aid from the USA.
A coincidence? Returning home,
I was met with so much tearful remarks
regarding the sudden upsurge
of the anti-Catholic propaganda.
I felt our country was on
the way of degeneration like many
countries I saw in my journey. It
seemed to me that the faith situation
is different from the Philippines
I left two weeks earlier. Even
friends and former comrades, including
priests and religious, have
shifted sides. Thanks to San
Lorenzo Ruiz, patron saint of the
Filipino laity, most combatants
against the anti-Life bills are lay
people. The more I realized, we
need Mary, the foremost laywoman,
in these times of great crisis.
The evil one must not prevail. I
hope more pilgrims will see the
need for God's help and Mary's
assistance more than ever. I do at
this very moment. In spite of everything
I trust heaven will not
abandon us. Mary, Mediatrix of All
Grace, help our country and the
whole world.
 

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