Statues that cry? The Vatican changes its rules for validating supernatural events

Statues that cry?  The Vatican changes its rules for validating supernatural events

Whereas in the past the bishop often had the final say on recognition or non-recognition unless assistance was requested from the Vatican, now all recommendations must be approved. The bishop may take a more cautious approach if there are doctrinal warning signs about the reported event. The most serious calls are to declare that the event is not supernatural or that there are enough red flags to warrant a public declaration that “membership in this phenomenon is not permitted.”

The most egregious case of confusion was the alternating determinations of authenticity by a series of bishops over more than 70 years in Amsterdam, Netherlands, regarding supposed visions of the Virgin Mary at the shrine of Our Lady of All Nations.

Another similar situation led the Vatican, in 2007, to excommunicate members of a group from Quebec, Canada, the Army of Mary, after its founder claimed to have Marian visions and declared herself an incarnation of the Mother of Christ.

The revised rules acknowledge the real potential for such violations and warn of fraudsters being held accountable, including legal penalties.

The new guidelines represent a significant and welcome change in current practice while reaffirming important principles, said Neomi De Anda, executive director of the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton.

He said: “Believers can deal with these phenomena as individual believers in popular religious practices, while not feeling the need to believe in everything that is presented to them as supernatural, as well as being careful not to be deceived and deceived.”

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