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Vatican cracks down on apparitions of Mary

Vatican cracks down on apparitions of Mary

After 'seer' north of Rome flouted ban on Marian gatherings

ROME, 17 May 2024, 15:27

ANSA English Desk



The Vatican on Friday cracked down on apparitions saying only the pope can say what is supernatural or not after a self-styled 'seer' defied a ban on hosting gatherings on a hill near Rome where she leads faithful in prayers to an alleged apparition of Mary.
    The Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document, countersigned by Pope Francis, in which it narrows and almost annuls the scope of the 'supernatural' nature of such alleged phenomena.
    Neither the local bishop nor the Vatican will any longer be able to issue "a declaration about the supernaturalness of the phenomenon", it said.
    The declaration of supernaturalness is only up to the pope and "in a totally exceptional way".
    At Trevignano north of Rome, the local bishop said in March that alleged apparitions of Mary at the lakeside town are bogus, ordering the woman who has been pointing them out to crowds for years to stop her monthly gatherings there - a ban she has flouted.
    The bishop of Civita Castellana, north of Rome, Marco Salvi issued a decree declaring the non-supernatural nature of the alleged apparitions of the Madonna in the small town on the shores of Lake Bracciano.
    He told the soothsayer, Gisella Cardia, to stop calling people to a hillside there over which the fake apparitions allegedly took place on the third of every month.
    Cardia, a 54-year-old Sicilian woman who moved to Trevignano after receiving a two-year suspended sentence for bankruptcy when her ceramics firm went bust in Sicily in 2013, has been hosting the apparition events for the last six years.
    She passed on messages from the Madonna including ones on Satan brewing catastrophes including the destruction of Rome by an earthquake, and the takeover of the Catholic Church by Communism.
    The former businesswoman, who until a few years ago went by her birth name, Maria Giuseppa Scarpulla, also set up a makeshift shrine, which was recently dismantled on Church and police orders, containing a statue of Mary she said wept blood.
    She bought it at the Bosnian apparition shrine of Medjugorje a few years ago.
    Cardia has also said she has been lucky in her efforts to feed the hundreds of visitors to the alleged apparition site, since she has found she is able to multiply gnocchi and pizza.
    Cardia was adamant that she would keep on showing Mary to her flock.
    Making her monthly appearance at Trevignano on the third day of the month, when hundreds come to see Mary appear above the Campo delle Rose, and ringed by bodyguards and video makers to keep journalists at bay, she said "I intend to keep staying here and I won't budge an inch because I'm in the house of God and I have the Madonna on my side".
    The Vatican's observatory on apparitions said recently "if she is making money out of it, filthy lucre, then it's probably a fake".
    Around a thousand believers turned up on Sunday, telling reporters "the Madonna has been speaking to us for years".
    As well as pointing out the apparitions, Cardia tells the assembled crowd what the Virgin is telling her, usually apocalyptic warnings, but also messages of hope.
    As well as the famous and recognised Marian Apparitions at shrines like Lourdes, Fatima, and Knock, the Vatican gets reports of many fake apparitions and bogus cases of weeping madonnas every year.
    In fact, the number of reported cases of Madonna statues moving or weeping has grown in recent years and the Vatican has become extremely cautious about giving its seal of approval.
    One case which caused a commotion in the Italian Church revolved around a Madonna statue which started weeping tears of blood in 1995.
    The 43-cm-high statue belonged to a family who had placed it in the garden of their home in Civitavecchia, north of Rome.
    Reports that it was weeping attracted a whirlwind of media attention and thousands of visitors eager to see the miraculous statue. Excitement rose to a peak when the local bishop said he too had seen it cry tears of blood.
    The blood on the statue was later found to be male but the owner of the statue, Fabio Gregori, refused to take a DNA test.
    The Vatican subsequently avoided making any pronouncement on the authenticity of the plaster Virgin's tears.
    In the wake of the Madonna of Civitavecchia, dozens of statues were reported to be weeping all over the country.
    Practically all were shown to be copycat cases of people splashing blood or red paint on the cheeks of statues or surreptitiously throwing water on their faces.
    In 2005 the Catholic Church said that tears of blood found on a statue of Saint (Padre) Pio in the southern Italian town of Marsicovetere were not a miraculous act of God.
    All this is a far cry from the 1950s when a 'weeping' Madonna in a Sicilian house was deemed a miracle.
    Pope (Saint) John Paul II consecrated a shrine devoted to her in 1994.


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