Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles revealed a rather unfortunate news for many Marian devotees throughout the country on Tuesday, his declaration on the authenticity of the Marian apparition in Lipa was stated as “null and void” by the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF).
What happened in this apparition?
Sixty years ago, in 1948, a Carmelite nun claimed to have met the Virgin Mary in an apparition, calling herself the “Mediatrix of All Grace.” The nun claimed that the apparition asked her to craft an image in the Virgin Mary’s likeness – a lady dressed in pure white. Afterwards, rose petals fell from the sky, mysteriously bearing the image of Our Lady.
As per Vatican law, a special commission was formed to investigate the mystic event. In 1951, six local bishops formed the special commission that investigated and reported their findings to the Vatican. However, the report was declared by Pope Pius XII as “non-supernatural” putting away the image of Mary and the rose petals far.
It was not until 1991 when then Lipa Archbishop Mariano Gaviola ordered to put the images of Mary back into public veneration. While the pope may have already declared the apparition as unauthenticated, Canon Law provides that devotion to the Blessed Mary through her supposed Lipa apparition is not prohibited, as long as it doesn’t contradict the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church.
However, in 2009, Archbishop Arguelles, a known Mary devotee, disregarded the 1951 decision and started the ecclesiastical investigation anew. In September 2015, 64 years after the event, the archbishop reiterated his claim and said that “it is worth of belief.” This statement boosted the already popular devotion to the Mary Mediatrix of Grace throughout the country.
On May 31, Arguelles received a letter from CDF once again debunked his statement that the apparition was authentic and further affirmed that the declaration made by Pope Pius XII was definitive and asked all on-going investigation on the Lipa apparitions be disbanded.
CBCP: “Obey of the Holy See”
CBCP President Socrates Villegas expressed that he, together with all concerned, shall “obey the Holy See.
“Her being the mother of Jesus is our first and constant reason for honoring her,” he said. “We do not need apparitions to honor the Blessed Virgin.”
That image of a holy lady dressed in pure white with her arms reaching out to us shall forever be a popular icon of Marian faith in the Philippine despite this news. Arguelles encouraged the faithful to continue visiting Lipa and pray to Mary.
“If you do not believe that an apparition happened there, it’s up to you.” Arguelles explained. “I believe it, maybe until I die. And I don’t think I will go to hell because I believe in a way that those in Rome do not.”
Mary, in her title “Mediatrix of All Grace” is the proposed fifth Marian dogma that refers to her mediating role between man and her son Jesus Christ, through her.
Currently, the Church holds belief in four dogmas: Mary’s Divine Motherhood, Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, and Assumption. (Luke Godoy)