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A Long Silence

The Holy See's intervention, or lack thereof, according to some, regarding Garabandal, could seem to be "proof" that what took place in Garabandal is not verifiable. However, if we look closely at the Holy See’s response regarding what took place in Garabandal, it is perfectly in accord with the norms established in 1978 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith concerning how to proceed when discerning possible Marian apparitions and revelations.


While "it is up to the Sacred Congregation to judge and approve the Ordinary's way of proceeding or, in so far as it be possible and fitting, to initiate a new examination of the matter, distinct from that undertaken by the Ordinary," "the duty of vigilance and intervention falls to the Ordinary of the place." Before the request of successive bishops from Santander asking for a pontifical declaration, the Congregation, under three different prefects, has always responded by showing that it does not have the desire to bring closure to the issue, but that it belongs to the Ordinary to carry out the investigation and make a declaration.


Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself sent the following as his response to the documentation given to him by Bishop Vilaplana from the second commission: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, after having closely examined the cited documentation, does not consider it opportune to directly intervene, thereby removing from the ordinary jurisdiction of Your Excellency, a matter which corresponds to you by right. Therefore, this Dicastery suggests that if you deem necessary, publish a declaration in which you reaffirm that the referred apparitions are not established as supernatural [non constat de supernaturalitate]" (Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, November 28, 1992). Again, the term “non constat” is used, which does not mean “no,” but rather, “we do not know,” or it is not clear.


Rome seems to keep silent, but with its silence much is said, since not pronouncing a negative judgment leaves the case open. It is a silence which at the same time says, “wait.” The insistence of the Ordinary of Santander shows that it is not a closed case for the diocese, either. So, now what? We are left to wait… and pray.

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