the Vatican revises its doctrine and warns its faithful – Libération

the Vatican revises its doctrine and warns its faithful – Libération
the Vatican revises its doctrine and warns its faithful – Libération

The Vatican updated this Friday, May 17, its rules concerning supernatural events, such as visions or miracles, recognizing in particular that overflowing imagination and “lies” risked harming the faithful.

This is a software update that will cause a lot of noise. This Friday, May 17, the Vatican reviewed its rules concerning supernatural events such as visions or other miracles. The new norms, published by the powerful dicastery (equivalent to a ministry) of the Holy See for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis, favor a more “cautious” unexplained manifestations.

“In certain circumstances, everything is not black and white,” pleaded Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, who heads the dicastery, during a press conference this Friday. “Sometimes a possible divine manifestation interferes […] to human thoughts and fantasies,” he added.

Make a pizza bigger

The history of the Catholic Church is punctuated by episodes of strange or unexplained phenomena involving religious statues (the Weeping Virgins), other artifacts or testimonies of apparitions.

The new guidelines come two months after the Church declared that a series of miracles attributed to a statuette of the Virgin Mary, including making a pizza grow bigger, were false.

These rules, updated for the first time since 1978, provide essential tools to bishops who, until now, have been left relatively free to determine the authenticity of these visions on a case-by-case basis. Only six cases of alleged supernatural events have been “officially resolved” by the Vatican since 1950, according to the document.

“Today we are convinced that we must always avoid these complicated situations, which produce confusion among the faithful,” continued Cardinal Fernandez. The new rules call for greater collaboration between the different dioceses and the Vatican regarding these events, the text specifies.

“Nihil Obstat”

The final decisions of the bishops will be subject to the approval of the dicastery. This point is crucial, specifies the document, because declarations or manifestations of mysterious phenomena can be linked to “crimes, manipulation of people, attacks on the unity of the Church, undue financial gains, serious doctrinal errors, etc., which could cause scandal and damage the credibility of the Church.” These include believers “driven behind an event, attributed to a divine initiative, but which is only the fruit of fantasy, the desire for novelty, mythomania or the tendency to falsification.

In the absence of problems, dioceses may declare a “Nihil Obstat”, indicating that nothing in the reported phenomenon is contrary to faith and morals. The faithful can therefore “join” to the idea that it is a supernatural phenomenon, but it is not an official declaration of authenticity, which is generally to be avoided under the new rules unless the pope ‘allowed.

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