Friday, May 17, 2024

Vatican Issues Guidelines on Supernatural Phenomena

The Vatican, the central governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, has recently updated its approach to discerning and dealing with alleged supernatural phenomena, such as apparitions and mystical visions. This move comes as a significant development in the Church's handling of these occurrences, which have long been a topic of fascination and controversy within and outside the Catholic community.

The new document, titled "Norms for Proceeding in the Discernment of Alleged Supernatural Phenomena," was published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 17, 2024. It outlines revised norms that aim to streamline the process for bishops to investigate such cases and establishes that the Vatican will avoid making definitive judgments on the authenticity of these events.

One of the key aspects of the new norms is the shift in the Church's stance on declaring supernatural phenomena. Historically, the process of officially defining the supernatural nature of an event could be lengthy and complex, requiring thorough study and discernment. The updated norms indicate that neither the local bishop nor the Holy See will declare these phenomena as supernatural in origin. Instead, the focus will be on authorizing and promoting devotion and pilgrimages related to these events.

The document emphasizes the importance of pastoral care and the spiritual fruits that can arise from such phenomena. It acknowledges that many times, these events have led to significant spiritual benefits, such as growth in faith, devotion, fraternity, and service. The Vatican's approach is not to control or stifle the Spirit but to ensure that any spiritual proposals are appreciated for their pastoral value and, where appropriate, promoted.

However, the document also addresses the potential risks associated with alleged supernatural occurrences. It warns against the use of such phenomena for personal gain, power, fame, or other interests that could be detrimental to the faithful. The Church must respond with utmost pastoral solicitude to protect believers from being misled by events that may not be of divine origin.

The new norms also involve the explicit involvement of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which must approve the local bishop's final decision and have the authority to intervene at any time. This change reflects the global reach of certain phenomena and the need for a decision made in one Diocese to be considered in a broader context.

The Vatican's publication of these new norms represents a thoughtful and measured response to the complex issue of supernatural phenomena. It balances respect for popular devotion with the need for careful discernment and pastoral care. As the Church navigates these mysterious occurrences, the updated guidelines provide a clearer framework for bishops and the faithful alike, ensuring that the focus remains on the spiritual well-being of the community and the authentic pursuit of the Gospel message.

Here at Sacerdotus we are actively studying and collecting documentation on the alleged apparitions of Our Lady of the Universe in 1945 in the Grand Concourse of the Bronx, see or

For those interested in reading the full document, it is available on the official Vatican website.


: Vatican News. "Vatican releases new norms on alleged supernatural phenomena."

: Vatican. "Norms for Proceeding in the Discernment of Alleged Supernatural Phenomena."

Norme del Dicastero per la Dottrina della Fede per procedere nel discernimento di presunti fenomeni soprannaturali (

Norme del Dicastero per la Dottrina della Fede per procedere nel discernimento di presunti fenomeni soprannaturali (

Vatican releases new norms on alleged supernatural phenomena - Vatican News

Vatican issues new rules on declaration of supernatural phenomena (

Vatican releases new norms on alleged supernatural phenomena - Vatican News

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