Pilgrims pray around a statue of the Virgin Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje. The six-pointed star has long been used in magic, occultism, witchcraft, and astrology.
The “Norms regarding the manner of proceedings in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” were approved by Pope Paul VI in 1978 and distributed to the world’s bishops, but never officially published or translated into modern languages.
However, over the past three decades, unauthorized translations have appeared around the world, according to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cardinal Levada is the same priest who decided to return priests
who were confirmed sexual abusers back to ministry.
In a note dated December 2011 the cardinal wrote that the doctrinal office “believes it is now opportune to publish these ‘Norms,’ providing translations in the principle languages” so as to “aid the pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin”.
His note and the newly translated norms have been published on the congregation’s website www.doctrinafidei.va.
Cardinal Levada wrote that he hoped the norms “might be useful to theologians and experts in this field of the lived experience of the Church, whose delicacy requires an ever-more thorough consideration”.
More than 1,500 visions of Mary have been reported around the world, but in the past century only nine cases have received Church approval as worthy of belief.
Determining the veracity of an apparition falls to the local bishop, and the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation established the norms to guide the process.
Granting approval is never brief, with some cases taking hundreds of years. Visionaries and witnesses must be questioned and the fruits of the apparitions, such as conversions, miracles and healings, must be examined. (Continue reading)
Note: Captions not part of the original article.
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