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Apparitions (bleeding statue still under investigation).

Bleeding statue still under investigation

Vatican (CWN)--The Vatican said in February that the Church is still investigating the case of the "bleeding" statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, contrary to local newspaper reports saying that theologians had authenticated the miracle.

"The question is still under study," said chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. He said the local church in Civitavecchia, a port city north of Rome where the small statue is housed, was not close to making a pronouncement on the case.

The Rome daily II Messaggero reported that a commission had concluded after 14 meetings and some 50 eyewitness accounts that the white plaster statue had indeed shed tears of blood. Archbishop Girolamo Grillo of Civitavecchia, who claims to have seen the statue bleed tears as he held it, said it was premature to talk of a definitive conclusion.

Initial scientific tests revealed that the red liquid streaking the statue's cheeks was male blood, but there has been no conclusive explanation as to how it got there.

A local magistrate ordered Church authorities to keep the statue temporarily out of public view last year pending an investigation into whether it was a hoax. The statue was bought in the town of Medjugorje in Bosnia, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have been appearing since 1981.

Medjugorje not discouraged

Medjugorje--Contrary to some reports, the Vatican is not opposed to people visiting Medjugorje as pilgrims. The Vatican does discourage official pilgrimages--that is, diocesan-approved tours--until after a final decision about the alleged apparitions has been announced.

The current situation is governed by the April 11, 1991, ruling of the Yugoslav Bishops' Commission which is as follows:

1. Medjugorje is officially accepted as a place of prayer and worship.

2. A liturgical and pastoral team is responsible for ensuring the rightful status of the Virgin in the offices of the parish.

3. The Commission has declared a `non constat de supernaturalitate'.

Since 1991 the Commission has been working at reduced efforts because of the Civil War.

The Latin phrase `non constat de supernaturalitate' signifies that at the present stage of investigation, it is not yet possible to declare the supernatural reality of the phenomena, but that such a possibility remains open for the future.

There exists another canonical phrase -- `constat de non supernaturalitate'--which the Commission has not employed. It signifies that the phenomena have been declared false definitively.

The rumour that the Commission has made a negative declaration and that, therefore, pilgrimages to Medjugorje are either not advised or forbidden, is erroneous. The pope himself has expressed interest in visiting Medjugorje, as he did in April 1995. (Monitor, NF. Sept '96)

Vassula Ryden

The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a new communique regarding the messages of Vassula Ryden on November 29, 1996. The complete text is as follows:

"The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has received diverse questions relative to the value and authoritativeness of the notification by this same congregation on Oct. 6th, 1995, published in L'Osservatore Romano of Oct. 23rd/24th, 1995, page 2, regarding the writings and messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden, attributed to presumed revelations and spread in Catholic milieux throughout the world.

"In this regard the congregation intends to make it clear that:

1) The notification addressed to the pastors and faithful of the Catholic Church maintains all its force. It was approved by the competent authorities and will be published in the official organ of the Holy See Acta Apostolicae Sedis, with the signatures of the prefect and secretary of the congregation.

2) With regard to the news spread by several members of the press concerning a restricted interpretation of such a notification made by His Eminence the cardinal prefect in a private conversation with a group of persons to whom he wished to give an audience, which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on May 10th, 1996, the cardinal prefect wishes to make it clear that:

a) As he has already stated, the faithful must not take the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations;

b) In such meditations, as the notification already made clear, next to the positive aspects, there are negative elements in the light of Catholic doctrine;

c) For this reason, pastors and faithful are invited in this regard to a serious spiritual discernment and to preserve the purity of the faith, morals, and the spiritual life, without counting on presumed revelations, but following the revealed word of God and the directives of the Magisterium of the Church.

"With regard to the spreading of texts of presumed personal revelations, the congregation makes it clear that:

1) The interpretation by some people of a decision approved by Paul VI on Oct. 14th, 1966, and promulgated on Nov. 15th of the same year, by virtue of which writings and messages coming from presumed revelations might be freely spread within the church, is absolutely not valid. This decision actually referred to the Abolition of the Index of Banned Books, and said that--once relative censures were lifted--the moral obligation in any case not to spread or read those writings which endangered faith and morals still remained.

2) A reminder, therefore, that for the diffusion of texts of presumed private revelations, the norm of the code in force, canon 823, para. 1, which gives pastors the right "to demand that the writings of the faithful which touch faith or morals be submitted to their own judgment before publication," remains valid.

3) Presumed supernatural revelations and writings which regard them are in the first instance subject to the judgment of the diocesan bishop and, in particular cases, to that of the episcopal conference and the [Sacred] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

(Wanderer, Dec. 12, '96)

Editor: The original note of Oct. 23/24/1995 warned Catholics against "alleged heavenly revelations" and told bishops not to provide diocesan facilities for the spreading of her ideas (See C.I., "No to Vassula Ryden," Dec. 1995, p. 19). Mrs. Ryden was in Peterborough, ON., in October 1996 and in Vancouver, B.C., in mid-December, where she spoke at a University of B.C. facility.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Jul 1, 1997
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