Wednesday, January 14, 2009
GETTING TOUGH ON APPARITIONS
The Globe and Mail reports:
The Pope is declaring a 'holy war' against people who claim falsely that the Virgin Mary is appearing to them.
He will attempt to snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help bishops root out frauds.
Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata - the appearances of the five wounds of Christ - and weeping or bleeding statues.
In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is 'divine' origin or 'demonic'.
The guidelines will be published by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into cults.
The handbook comes six years after the Pope - when he was simply Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – first said that the boom in such phenomena posed a risk to the unity of the Church....
The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.
The article also indicated that between 1905 and 1995 there were 295 supposed apparitions reported. Of these 11 were deemed genuine.
I wholeheartedly welcome some sanity on this subject. This can't come soon enough!