The Alleged Apparitions at Garabandal, Spain
Msgr. Jose Vilaplana, Bishop of Santander, Spain
In answer to questions about the alleged Marian apparitions at Garabandal, Spain, Bishop Jose Vilaplana sends the following response to inquirers.
Diocese of Santander
Some people have been coming directly to the Diocese of Santander (Spain) asking about the "alleged apparitions" of Garabandal, and above all for the position of the hierarchy of the Church concerning these apparitions.
I must communicate that:
1. All the bishops of the diocese from 1961 through 1970 asserted that the supernatural character of the said apparitions, that took place around that time, could not be confirmed. [no constaba].*
2. In the month of December of 1977 Msgr. del Val, Bishop of Santander, in union with his predecessors, affirmed that in the six years of being Bishop of Santander there were no new phenomena.
3. Not withstanding, the same Msgr. del Val, the first years having passed in which there was confusion to enthusiasm, initiated an interdisciplinary study in order to examine with greater profundity these phenomenon. The conclusion of this study coincided with the previous findings by the bishops, which is to say, that it does not prove [no consta] the supernaturality of said apparitions.
4. This study concluded during the days in which I took possession of the diocese in 1991. Taking advantage, in that same year, of a trip to Rome for the motive of making the ad limina visit, I presented said study to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and asked for guidance for pastoral activity concerning the case.
5. On Nov. 28, 1992, the Congregation sent me its response, consisting in, that after having examined attentively the mentioned documentation, it did not consider it opportune to intervene directly, removing the ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santander, this subject that belongs to him by right. Previous declarations of the Holy See agree in this finding.
In the same letter it was suggested, if I find it opportune, to publish a declaration in which it is re-affirmed that the supernaturality of the referenced apparitions was not proven, making my own the unanimous position of my predecessors.
6. Given that the declarations of my predecessors, who studied the case, have been clear and unanimous, I do not find it necessary to have a new public declaration that would give notoriety to something which happened so long ago. However, I find it opportune to redact this information as a direct response to the persons who ask for direction concerning this question, which I give finally, accepting the decisions of my predecessors and the direction of the Holy See.
7. In reference to the celebration of the Eucharist in Garabandal, following the dispositions of my predecessors, I only allow that it be celebrated in the parish church without reference to the alleged apparitions and with the permission of the current pastor, who has my confidence.
With the wish that this information is helpful to you, receive my cordial greeting in Christ,
Bishop of Santander
* EWTN: It should be noted that this appears to correspond to the 3rd of the categories used by the Church since new norms were promulgated in 1978 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
1) constat de supernaturalitate (it is established supernatural)
2) constat de non supernaturalitate (it is established not supernatural)
3) non constat de supernaturalitate (it is not established supernatural)