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Archbishop’s Communique Explains Why the Vatican Has Reversed Decree Declaring Lipa Apparitions Supernatural

Image of Mary Mediatrix of all Grace at the Carmelite Convent in Lipa City.

In a communique dated 31 May 2016, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles informed the faithful of the reasons why the Vatican has reversed a September 2015 decree issued by the same archbishop declaring the 1948 alleged Marian apparition in the city of Lipa to the Carmelite novice Teresa Castillo as “exhibiting supernatural character and worthy of belief.”

In the same decree, Arguelles encouraged devotion to the “Most Holy Mother Mary under Her revered and worthy title Mediatrix of All Grace.1

In a surprising twist, the Vatican through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has reversed Arguelles’ earlier proclamation. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest of nine congregations of the Roman Curia, the administrative office of the Holy See. Founded to defend the Church against Heresy, it presently functions to promulgate and defend Catholic doctrine.2

In the archbishop’s 31 May 2016 communique, a digital copy of which was publicly posted on his Facebook Timeline, Arguelles included the concluding lines of a four-page document that he received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document was dated 11 December 2015 but only formally received by the archbishop on 30 May 2016.

“Therefore, having carefully examined the matter and having, in summary, put forth the reasons behind the definitive decision made in 1951, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith hereby decrees that in the light of the fact that the declaration of 1951 was a decision confirmed by the Supreme Pontiff and therefore definitive, consequently, the matter of the phenomenon of Lipa is not subject to the authority of the local Diocesan bishop (cf CIC can 333). Therefore, the decree of Archbishop Arguelles dated 15 September 2016 is null and void.

“Furthermore, this Congregation confirms the definitive nature of the 11 April 1951 decree by which the phenomena of Lipa were declared to lack supernatural origin.

“The authority on which this declaration was made was not that of the Bishop members of the Special Commission, but rather of the Supreme Pontiff.

“Furthermore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith repeats its instruction that any and all commissions studying the question of the alleged supernatural phenomenon of the alleged apparitions in the Carmel of Lipa be immediately disbanded.3

This 1951 decree, dated 11 April 1951 and signed by Manila Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes, Bishop Mariano Madriaga of Lingayen, Bishop Cesar M. Guerrero of San Fernando, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Sison of Nueva Segovia, Auxiliary Bishop Vicente Reyes of Manila and Lipa Apostolic Administrator Rufino Santos stated that the members of the investigative commission “have attentively examined and reviewed the evidence and testimonies in the course of repeated, long, and careful examinations, have reached the unanimous conclusion and hereby officially declare that the above mentioned evidence and testimonies exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings – including the shower of petals at the Carmel of Lipa.4

Arguelles ended his communique by saying, “My hope and prayer is that, this document notwithstanding, we will never doubt the love of God and the Blessed Mother for all of us – Their zealous devotees from the entire world – but remain steadfast and determined to bring hope and blessings to many in this troubled world.”

Notes and References:
1 September 2015 Decree of Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, online at The Miracle Hunter
2 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Wikipedia
3 31 May 2016 Communique to the faithful issued by Archbishop Ramon Arguelles
4 Decree stating the Marian Apparitions of Lipa “Not Supernatural” online at The Miracle Hunter

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