On Revelations and Apparitions
Norms of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Concerning the Procedures for Judging Presumed Apparitions and Revelations
In 1978 the Vatican Congregation of the Faith published “Norms of the Congregation for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations.”
Criteria for Judgment
A. Positive Criteria
- Moral certainty, or at least probability, of the existence of the fact, established by means of a serious investigation.
- Particular circumstances bearing on the existence and nature of the fact; i.e., - Personal quality of the subject(s): mental equilibrium, honesty and moral attitude, sincerity and habitual submission to ecclesial authority, ability to return to the way of normal life afterward. - Theological and spiritual doctrine, true and free from error in the revelation itself. - Sound devotion and rich spiritual fruits which last (spirit of prayer, conversions, signs of charity).
B. Negative Criteria
- Manifest error as to the fact.
- Doctrinal error…taking into account the possibility that the subject may unconsciously add human elements to authentic supernatural revelation.
- Evident seeking of financial advantage, directly connected with the fact.
- Serious immoral acts, at the time or on the occasion of the fact, committed by the subject(seer)and his/her acolytes(supporters).
- Mental illness and psychopathic tendencies on the part of the subject, or psychosis or collective hysteria and diseases of this kind. These criteria are indicative and not absolute, and must be taken cumulatively as they converge.
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