May 27, 2024

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Vatican to publish new document on Marian apparitions nextweek

ROME— The Vatican’s doctrine office will publish a new document next week on discerning Marian apparitions and other supernatural events.

The Holy See Press Office announced on Tuesday that Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), will unveil new norms for discernment regarding “apparitions and other supernatural phenomena” on Friday, May 17.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner, last month, Fernandez said that the document will provide “clear guidelines and norms” for discernment.

The new norms will be the first time that the Vatican’s doctrinal office has issued a general document on apparitions in four decades. Pope Paul VI approved norms on “the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” in 1978.

Fernandez will speak at a livestreamed Vatican press conference at noon on the day of the document’s publication, along with Monsignor Armando Matteo, the secretary for the DDF’s doctrinal section.

The announcement comes after Fernández and Matteo met privately with Pope Francis on May 4, a meeting in which the pope likely reviewed the forthcoming document.

The Catholic Church calls for “great prudence” in examining the facts related to presumed apparitions of revelations. According to the 1978 norms, it is the Church’s responsibility to first judge the facts before permitting public devotion in the case of an alleged apparition.

Under Pope John Paul II, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a lengthy document on popular piety in 2001 that reiterated the Church’s teaching that private revelations do not belong to the deposit of faith.

“Throughout the ages, there have been so-called private revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith,” paragraph 67 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.

“It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.”