has made public its hitherto closely guarded guidelines on how apparitions,
miracles and other supernatural phenomenon should be evaluated within the
The authenticity of wondrous events at places such Fátima in
Portugal and Lourdes in
has long been officially accepted. Appearances of the Virgin Mary at Fátima on
the same date on six consecutive months, and the ‘miracle of the sun’ witnessed
by tens of thousands of people in 1917, were genuine occurrences, according to the France . Sceptics
dismiss all this as deluded mumbo-jumbo. Vatican
has openly expressed the
ground rules for deciding. In essence, it is up to the local bishop advised by
a specially set up panel of theologians, psychologists and doctors. They must
determine whether such a spiritual revelation corresponds with Church doctrine
and whether it comes from a mentally and morally sound source. Vatican
This clarification comes amid the on-going Vatileaks scandal over documents allegedly stolen by the pope’s butler.
Ironically, the current top two at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, and his second-in-command Tarcisio Bertone, were the prelates who made public the long-withheld ‘third secret’ of Fatima in 2000. But their explanation of the secret was widely rejected within the Catholic Church as a cover-up of the truth.
The third secret was said to have been entrusted by the Virgin Mary to Lúcia, the eldest of three child visionaries at Fátima. When eventually disclosed after years of public clamouring, the
unconvincingly linked the secret to the attempted assassination of Pope John
Paul II in St Peter’s Square in 1981. Vatican
Many Catholics believe Our Lady of Fatima warned that the Church was in grave danger of being destroyed from within. There is now dark talk that the leak of confidential documents at the
to an internal power struggle. Vatican
The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, has denied media suggestions that the pope is considering resigning because of the scandal. The Curia has expressed its solidarity with the pontiff and continues to work “in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he said.
“We are seeking the truth, and trying to objectively understand what may have happened. First, however, it is necessary to be sure to have understood it, in respect for persons and the truth."