Report: Vatican Set To Release Official Guide To Discerning Alleged Apparitions
Abstracted and summarized by SpiritDaily
The Vatican is set to release new guidelines on how to distinguish authentic apparitions from false claims, according to the Catholic Herald, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom. The expected warning comes in the wake of an explosion of alleged private revelations.
"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to publish up-to-date criteria to help Catholics to distinguish between true and false claims of visions, messages, stigmata, weeping statues and Eucharistic miracles," reports the Herald. "It said the boom in such phenomena posed a risk to the unity of the Church and warranted an 'exemplary pastoral response' from the Holy See.
"The document, due early this year, was announced in the latest edition of Attivita della Santa Sede, a Vatican year book. The Congregation hopes new guidance will clarify the meaning of 'apparitions, messages, and extraordinary events in general, in keeping with the teaching of the faith and ... the practical criteria which could bring about a resolution.' It said that between 1905 and 1995 there were 295 reported 'apparitions,' only 11 of which were recognized as genuine. It said that in many cases false seers had been unmasked, pecuniary transactions discovered, and 'signs from heaven' exposed as human trickery."
Among those considered genuine private revelations are the occurrences at Fatima Portugal, as well as apparitions in Belgium, at Betania in Venezuela, Kibeho in Rawanda, and in Poland to Sister Faustina Kowalska. Pope Pius XII was said to have been visited by Jesus and Mary during the Second World War, and the private letters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta have shown that she began her ministry to India’s poor after she received interior messages from Our Lord in 1947. The most famous current apparitions, at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina, are still under study and have not yet been either rejected or granted official Church recognition.
Those reported apparitions were followed by hundreds of other claims, especially in the United States, where, unique among major nations, no apparition has ever met with full ecclesiastic sanction. "Sometimes there is a long and worrying tension between the faithful who believe in the 'apparitions' and the local bishop who is unwilling to give official recognition to them," the Herald quotes the Congregation as stating. "This enduring tension is a danger to the unity of the local Church."
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