Annual day of prayer in Amsterdam (pictured 2019). In 2020 he had to be canceled because of the Corona measures. But there were side shots against the "Lady of All Nations".
(Rome) On September 15th, the French-language press agency I.Media headlined: “The Holy See rejects the Marian apparitions of Ida Peerdeman,” better known as “ The Lady of All Nations” . What's it all about?
“The Amsterdam apparitions are false. The 'Lady of All Nations' must not be venerated and the faithful must stop all promotion of it,” said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a letter dated July 20, 2020 that has just been published. After decades of controversy, the 56 alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Ida Peerdeman were officially rejected by the Holy See."
The articles of I.Media was literally accepted by Aleteia (French edition). It was not published in the original of the aforementioned opinion of the CDF .
David Murgias "shock document of the Vatican"
The basis of I.Media -Artikels is a contribution of 28 August by David Murgia on his blog Il Segno di Giona . Murgia, a Roman journalist, also wrote the lurid headline: "The apparitions of Amsterdam are false" and the designation as a "shock document of the Vatican".
Murgia maintains excellent contacts with some parts of the Vatican. He is an employee of TV2000, the television station of the Italian Bishops' Conference, and a member of the International Observatory on phenomena and mystical phenomena that in is located in the Pontifical Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis (PAMI), the International Marian Academy.
The alleged "Vatican shock document" to which all three articles refer is not published by Murgia either. He published a letter from the Apostolic Nunciature in Lebanon to Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.
This letter is dated July 20th and signed by the Apostolic Nuncio Msgr. Joseph Spiteri. The main statement of the articles mentioned, "The Amsterdam apparitions are wrong," which appears with quotation marks, that is supposedly quoted, is not found anywhere.
Blogger and journalist Murgia is known for having a somewhat screeching tone around paranormal phenomena in which he specializes. How exactly this and other things get along with his membership in the International Marian Pontifical Academy remains to be seen.
The apparitions of Mary from Amsterdam
In this specific case he directs the attention to private revelations that took place from March 25, 1945 to May 31, 1959 in Amsterdam to Ida Peerdeman. The Dutch woman, who died very old in 1996, was 39 years old at the beginning of the apparitions. The first appearance took place in the final phase of the Second World War. On March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation, Mary appeared to her, according to her description, in the presence of her sisters and her confessor, Father Joseph Frehe OP (1896–1967), who introduced herself as "Woman, Mother of All Nations". Core of the phenomena is the desire for a new Marian dogma of Mary as the Coredemptrix , Mediatrix and Advocate.
At this point, the Amsterdam apparitions will not be discussed further, but rather the previous decisions of the Church on this phenomenon.
Nuncio Spiteri, a Maltese who has been working in Lebanon since 2018, responded on July 20 to a request from the Patriarch regarding the "official position of the Church on the veneration of the Virgin Mary as 'Lady of All Nations'".
The nuncio asked the CDF about the corresponding "clarification." This referred to the notification published on May 25, 1974 and "clarified" that this is "still valid." This confirmed the judgment of the Bishop of Haarlem. The Congregation, after "deeper examination" and with the approval of Paul VI. states that the "supernatural nature of the appearances is not certain." As early as 1956, the responsible local bishop of Haarlem, Msgr. Johannes Petrus Huibers, had pronounced a “ non constat de supernaturalitate," thus declaring that “the supernatural is not certain.” That was an evaluation that was negative, but wait and see. A clearly negative judgment should have read: "constat de non supernaturalitate " ( "non-supernatural character is clear"). Thus the commission he appointed for the investigation, was headed by the later Cardinal Johannes Willebrands.
At the same time he forbade "the public veneration of the image of the 'Lady of All Nations' and the distribution of writings that presented the above-mentioned apparitions and revelations as of supernatural origin."
The third church evaluation of the supernatural phenomena was also mentioned for the sake of completeness and now It read "constat de supernaturalitate,", so the statement that "the supernatural is established".
In 1957, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (then still called the Holy Office) certified the “prudence” of the Bishop of Haarlem and “approved” his measures. After “even deeper examination” she confirmed in 1974 that the judgment pronounced by the bishop “is well founded”. Therefore she called on “priests and laypeople” to “refrain from any propaganda for the alleged appearances and revelations of the 'Lady of All Nations' and exhorted everyone to show their veneration for the Most Holy Virgin, Queen of the World, to express in those forms recognized and recognized by the Church recommended.”
The Nuncio also wrote to the Patriarch that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "is of the opinion that it is not fitting to contribute to the spread of the devotion to Mary as 'Lady of All Nations'"
Is that cleared up? Not at all.
The Church's judgment on the supernatural nature of phenomena could, until recently, take three forms, which have already been mentioned:
- constat de supernaturalitate (the supernatural is certain) - positive judgment;
- non constat de supernaturalitate (the supernatural is not certain) - waiting / carefully negative judgment;
- constat de non supernaturalitate (the non-supernatural is certain - negative judgment.
With the notification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1974, the waiting / cautiously negative judgment of the Bishop of Haarlem was declared to be "prudent". For David Murgia this is the "shock document of the Vatican". It is of course not, as a member of the Pontifical Marian Academy he has long known the notification. So why the theater?
Starting in 1978, new guidelines for assessing supernaturalness were developed, but were not published until 2012. The three possible ratings were reduced to two. It did not necessarily achieve what was supposed to create more clarity, because the previously clearly negative judgment was dropped. In the new guidelines, there are only the ratings "constat de supernaturalitate" and "non constat de supernaturalitate." The judgment that had been waiting until now has turned into a negative judgment. The exact re-weighting and the question of the continuation of the third evaluation option should not be discussed at this point.
In recent years, on the basis of the new, only two-stage guidelines, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 1974 to be "justified", attempts have been made to present the waiting judgment of the Bishop of Haarlem from 1956 as a clearly negative judgment. However, such retrospective reinterpretation is not permitted.
In the Amsterdam case, two further aspects should also be mentioned.
There is the difficult to understand question of what sense judgments should have that are not published. So much for today the assumption expressed by some that the decision of the Congregation of 1974 was a clear negative judgment, so ( "constat de non supernaturalitate"), has reinforced that still wait-decision of the Bishop of Haarlem as a negative judgment. Such a notice is given only 38 years later in a footnote of the printed version of a lecture by Msgr. Charles Scicluna of 2008, who was then- Promoter Iustitiae of the CDF. Msgr. Scicluna, Maltese like the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon and now Archbishop of Malta, was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Francis in 2018 while retaining his office as diocesan bishop.
On the other hand, a third judgment has been made since the 1974 notification. After biding judgment of the local bishop from 1956 ( " non constat de supernaturalitate " the supernatural is not certain) that the CDF had confirmed in 1974, for another, a negative judgment ( " constat de non supernaturalitate ") is not found in the notification, said the local bishop of Haarlem, Msgr. Jos Punt, in charge of Amsterdam, on 31 May 2002 a positive judgment of ( " constat de supernaturalitate " the supernatural is apparant). He ruled:
"In view of all the reports, testimonies and developments and after having pondered everything in prayer and theological reflection, this leads me to the conclusion that there is a supernatural origin in the apparitions of Amsterdam."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not objected to the recognition of the Marian apparitions by the Bishop of Haarlem. However, in 2005 a correction of the prayer of the Lady of All Nations was requested.
In this context, a hint in the letter of the Apostolic Nuncio to Patriarch Raï, which shows that the clarification of questions of the supernatural is always complex, remains misleading. Msgr. Spiteri mentions the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Philippine Bishops' Conferenceof 2005 with the request to erase from a prayer a statement made several times by the apparition in Amsterdam, according to which the “Lady of All Nations” who “once” was “Mary”, contained “nothing that could suggest a changed judgment “Than that from 1974. By that time the Bishop of Haarlem had recognized the apparitions for three years. The prayer of the “Lady of All Nations” was actually corrected in 2006 and recognized by Bishop Punt: the formula “who once was Mary”, the primary stumbling block, was replaced by “the Blessed Virgin Mary”.
Attempt to overturn Church recognition
And of course it's about Church politics: Apparitionists and anti-apparitionists face each other as well as conservatives and progressives. It is known from Medjugorje and other cases how bitter this conflict can be. Murgia's advance should also be seen in this context. Behind him are circles within the Church who clash with the Church's recognition of the "Lady of All Nations" and want to overturn it.
On the other side is, for example, an international movement, originating from the US, led by Mark Miravalle movement, called Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici. It endeavors to proclaim a new, fifth dogma of Mary with the three titles “Co-redeemer”, “Mediator” and “Intercessor,” as requested by the apparitions in Amsterdam. Similar efforts in 1997 with the "Declaration of Czestochowa" by one on the International Mariological Congress, allegedly halted by a Commission formed in consultation with the Congregation of Doctrine and the Faith. The way leading to the Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationaliswho belongs to Murgia. This commission rejected the three titles as "misleading" and "ecumenically problematic."
Apart from the fact that the commission mentioned does not have any magisterial authority, such statements are more suspicious than they are welcomed by the faithful. Church political motivations are seen in this, partly not without good reason. Anti-Marian currents in the Church, in the German-speaking area especially in the field of theological faculties, perfunctory Catholicism and diocesan apparatchiks are just as well known as “ecumenical” efforts going beyond that, which with a view to Protestantism or the zeitgeist, hold that Marian considerations are not “opportune." The suspicion is in the room and is believed by a not inconsiderable number of believers - not always justified, but not always unfounded either.
One more step of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should be mentioned. During their ad limina -Visit in 2010, Philippine bishops were told at the request of the Congregation that a Marian Dogma about the mediation is not excluded for the future. The demand for a dogma for three titles, as desired in Amsterdam, is not to be supported.
In 2011, the Doctrinal Commission wrote the Philippine Bishops' Conference under the direction of Luis Antonio Tagle, a follower of the progressive School of Bologna, then Bishop of Imus, then Archbishop of Manila, since 2012 cardinal and since February 2020 Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples about Amsterdam:
“The judgment of the Holy See is firm: the supernatural character of the alleged apparitions of our Lady cannot be verified. Even if piety to Our Lady under this title [Lady of All Nations] and the use of the modified prayer may help people, we should avoid pointing out that the Church has judged the apparitions to be real. ” 1
What is certain is that parts of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have reservations about the Amsterdam apparitions.
What clarity do the believers have?
So what clarity can believers rely on in a specific case? Ultimately, the recognition by the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, as the diocese has been called since 2008, as it is the most recent and clearest judgment. This decision is public, official and the most extensive. The rest is a bit of a strange poking around behind the scenes.
To put it another way: if a group of officials and mariologists does not agree with a certain development, whether justified or unjustified, it remains to be seen, they should perhaps look for other ways to announce this within the Church, but not by launching sensationally made articles, that create more confusion than clarity, or through subliminal boycotts.
It should not be a coincidence either, the Nunciature letter in Lebanon or not, that David Murgia's advance came less than three months after Bishop Punt's health-related retirement.
Clarity should look different.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: de-vrouwe.info (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org