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Pilgrims gather at the site of the approved apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in central Portugal (CNS/Rafael Marchante, Reuters)

The Pontifical International Marian Academy has created a commission to study and monitor cases of possible Marian apparitions and other mystical phenomena. Source: NCR Online.

The new “observatory” or monitoring body was officially inaugurated at the academy in Rome on April 15 and will study cases that have not yet received an official Church pronouncement regarding their authenticity.

Its purpose is “to provide concrete support to the study, authentication and correct disclosure of such events, always in harmony with Church teaching, relevant authorities and applicable norms of the Holy See,” said Franciscan Fr Stefano Cecchin, president of the Marian academy. It will specialise in cases such as alleged Marian apparitions, “weeping” statues of Mary, private revelations and stigmata.

“It is important to provide clarity because often presumed messages generate confusion, spread anxiety-inducing apocalyptic scenarios or even accusations against the Pope and the Church,” he said in a press release.

“How could Mary, mother of the Church, undermine (the Church’s) integrity or sow fear and conflict, she who is mother of mercy and queen of peace?” he asked.

“At the same time, it is important to provide formative support because facing certain cases requires adequate preparation,” Fr Cecchin added.

The observatory will comprise experts from different fields, including a lawyer specialising in safeguarding people susceptible to criminal manipulation, fraud and deceit.

Fr Cecchin said the body will set up commissions on the national and international level to “evaluate and study apparitions and mystical phenomena reported in various parts of the world” and to promote opportunities for keeping people updated and educated about the events and their “spiritual and cultural significance”. 


Papal academy launches study centre to evaluate Marian apparitions (By Carol Glatz, CNS via NCR Online)