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Pope Benedict XVI not preparing 'vademecum'

for the crackdown on Marian apparitions including Medjugorje

According to the oldest American Catholic newspaper, National Catholic Register, a Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith official has denied a vademecum (booklet, guide, handbook, manual or similar type of document) is being prepared about how the Catholic Church and bishops should deal with alleged Marian apparitions and visions, such as are those at Medjugorje.

The Register, on the basis of information's from its correspondent Edward Pentin, who is also an editor of The Holy Land Review and Vatican correspondent for Newsweek, The Times, Newsmax, columnist for The Catholic Herald (UK) and has work experience also with Rome Reports TV News Agency, and Vatican Radio, reported as follows:

According to some reports that have circulated in the last few days, Pope Benedict has instructed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a vademecum, or handbook, on the matter. It reportedly would require individuals who said they have experienced appearances or visions of the Virgin Mary to remain silent while their claims are investigated carefully by Church authorities.

The document was also rumored to specify that local bishops should set up commissions composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests to investigate the claimed apparitions.

But according to a Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith official who spoke with Register correspondent Edward Pentin, there is no truth to these reports. The official stated emphatically that no work is underway on a vademecum or on any other type of document regarding the question of how to handle claims of apparitions.

The 'Vademecum crackdown' claims was last few days circulating in several major media's, including:

  • the Italian online magazine Petrus (
  • Telegraph newspaper, UK (article Pope orders bishops to root out false claims of visions by Simon Caldwell)
  • Daily Mail newspaper, UK (article Pope declares 'holy war' against people who falsely claim to have seen the Virgin Mary by Simon Caldwell)
  • The Independent newspaper, UK (article Catholics ordered to keep quiet over visions of Mary by Jerome Taylor and Simon Caldwell)
  • Fox News TV, USA (article Pope Benedict XVI Declares 'Holy War' on Phony Virgin Mary Sightings)

More articles with similar claims are certainly yet to appear.

Also many other websites (e.g. Unity Publishing, Catholic Culture), blogs and forums report and discuss the alleged coming vademecum booklet and it's impact on determination of validity of Marian apparitions, namely those in Medjugorje.

However, the vade mecum rumors and speculations had already appeared before several months. In Times Online September 2008 article, Pope urges crackdown on reported visions of Mary, Richard Owen in Rome wrote that Pope Benedict asked a Spanish Jesuit archbishop, Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer (who is Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Roman Curia and member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission), to draw up new guidelines for bishops around the world on the recognition of reported apparitions. Other such article by Ignazio Ingrao appeared in the newspaper Panorama.



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