The Pope is declaring a ‘holy war’ against people who claim falsely that the Virgin Mary is appearing to them.
He will attempt to snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help bishops root out frauds.
Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata – the appearances of the five wounds of Christ – and weeping or bleeding statues.
In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is ‘divine’ origin or ‘demonic’.
The guidelines will be published by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into cults.
The handbook comes six years after the Pope – when he was simply Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – first said that the boom in such phenomena posed a risk to the unity of the Church.
The Church has been traditionally cautious in dealing with ‘private revelations’, in the belief that nothing new can be added to the Catholic faith.
But according to Petrus, an Italian online magazine, the Pope will now explicitly demand the ‘utmost rigour’ in apparitions.
When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically. …
Caption this pope. What does he look like he is saying to you? Ratzinger has better expressions than a Sith Lord.