The Vatican is fighting miracles. These are the brand new rules for “supernatural” phenomena.

The Vatican is fighting miracles. These are the brand new rules for “supernatural” phenomena.
23 May 2024 J.W.H

New norms distinguishing supernatural from natural phenomena inside Catholicism It took effect May 19.

The recent norms result from the necessity to assess as quickly as possible the supernatural origin or other source of plenty of phenomena which can be increasingly appearing within the Catholic world and spreading rapidly via social media.

Possible supernatural phenomena include apparitions – especially of Jesus or the Virgin Mary – internal or external voices, writings or messages from outside, crying or bleeding of sacred images, bleeding of consecrated Eucharistic hosts, and so forth. The visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary proceed occur repeatedly in Catholic Christianity.

The recent document neither supports nor rejects supernatural phenomena. Rather, it provides a set of criteria and processes by which the Church can officially distinguish them and separate the authentic from the fake. So what should we learn about these standards?

Old document replaced

The recent standards replace the previous document since 1978.

In this 1978 document, the choice to acknowledge a given phenomenon as supernatural or not was essentially left to the local authorities – generally, the diocesan bishop.

According to the factors, the bishop decided to decide on one among two options: supernatural or not.

An apparition of the Virgin Mary is alleged to have appeared in a third-floor window at Milton Hospital in Massachusetts in June 2003.
Chitose Suzuki/AP Photo

If the phenomenon were deemed to be of supernatural origin, he could allow a public display of devotion to the supernatural tantamount to saying: “Nothing stands in the way for now” (“nothing stands in the way for now“).

According to this document, central Vatican control was minimal. The local authorities were on top of things.

Supernatural is under recent management

The recent document is meant to more effectively supervise the validation of such events.

It does this by centralizing the authorization, management and control of supernatural phenomena inside the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, higher generally known as “Inquisition“. Any decisions bishops or other authorities want to make should be submitted to the Dicastery for approval.

The recent document states that the Holy Spirit can:

reach our hearts through certain supernatural phenomena, comparable to apparitions or visions of Christ or the Blessed Virgin.

But the central authority of the Church will now resolve where, when and the way God will act, what His miracles or miracles shall be.

Overall, we’ll find that God intervenes minimally directly on the earth.

Six recent criteria for assessing whether God is involved

Instead of the relatively easy judgment of whether an event is supernatural or not, the Church now provides six possible ways of classifying an event.

They range from “nothing stands in the best way” (“nothing stands in the way”) to “declaration of lack of supernaturalism” (“declaration of non-supernaturalism”).

Jesus on bread.
An image of Jesus was reported to have appeared on this chapati in India in November 2002.
AP Photo/Press Trust of India

But even where a nothing stands in the best way just isn’t granted, as a rule neither the diocesan bishop, nor any conference of bishops, nor the Dicastery itself “will declare that these phenomena are of supernatural origin.”

In short, a transparent declaration of a supernatural event will almost never occur (at the very least without the intervention of the Pope).

If discovered, a declaration of non-supernaturalism shall be made

this phenomenon was based on fabrication, unsuitable intentions or mythomania.

In short, if a fake or hoax is discovered.

Between these two extremes lie 4 other possible judgments. While there are positive signs of God's work in each of them, each of them indicates growing concerns about credibility. The first two of them concern growing doubts concerning the credibility of the phenomenon. The next two concern growing doubts concerning the honesty of those involved.

What are the brand new procedures?

If the diocesan bishop, after consultation, considers that a supernatural phenomenon requires investigation, he notifies the Dicastery.

He then convenes a Commission of Inquiry to conduct a “trial”. At this hearing, witnesses, sworn testimony, expert opinions on written texts, in addition to technical, scientific, doctrinal and canonical assessments shall be heard. This is essentially the standard approach to the Inquisition in modern dress (or robes).

Gas cloud.  It is very difficult to recognize the face of Jesus.
In 1995, CNN viewers claimed to see the face of Jesus in a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
AP/NASA photo

The Commission ultimately assesses the veracity of the case based on positive and negative criteria.

Positive criteria include the popularity of those involved, doctrinal orthodoxy, the exclusion of forgery and the resulting fruits of the Christian life.

Negative criteria include the potential of obvious error, potential doctrinal errors, sowing division within the church, overt pursuit of profit, power, fame or social recognition, in addition to the non-public and public ethical integrity of those involved, in addition to their mental health.

In the sunshine of the commission's work, the Bishop proposes to the Dicastery to come to a decision in keeping with one among the six classification methods. The Dicastery then issues a final decision, which is to be communicated to the bishop, who’s obliged to implement this decision and make it public

Catholicism “disenchanting” the world

There is deep concern within the Vatican about misinformation and misinformation concerning the supernatural.

The document informs us:

Now greater than ever, these phenomena affect many individuals […] and quickly spread to numerous regions and plenty of countries.

The digital world is a spot with many meanings, where the supernatural occupies an area somewhere between reality and unreality. This is an area where belief is a matter of alternative and disbelief is voluntarily and happily suspended.

Burn pattern on the iron.  It really is more like Mary.
Mary Jo Coady from Massachusetts said she saw Jesus Christ at the underside of an iron in 2009.
Grant Morris/The Eagle-Tribune/AP Photo

Ironically, the effect of the brand new norms shall be to reduce the variety of phenomena considered “supernatural” within the Catholic Church. In effect, it can place more stringent limits on God's motion on the earth.

New church norms for managing the supernatural are intended to “disenchant” the world quite than further “enchantment.”

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”