Vicenzo Battaglia, president of the International Pontifical Marian Academy, explained this week that the 23rd Congress the academy will host in Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary to St. Bernadette Soubirous will focus on the doctrinal foundations that explain these kinds of events.
In an article entitled published by the L’Osservatore Romano, Battaglia said the congress will take place in Lourdes September 4-8 and will be led by Cardinal Paul Poupard, Pope Benedict XVI’s special envoy.
“The importance and relevance of the theme that will be discussed, approved as is customary by the Pope, lies in the great interest of scholars and public opinion in a phenomenon which raises many questions because of the notable number of true or presumed ‘apparitions’ that have occurred in the past and that continue to occur even today,” Battaglia said.
He said that 22 experts have participated in organizing the Congress, which aims to provide “doctrinal foundations” to assist in properly interpreting and discerning Marian apparitions.
The conclusions of the congress will be made available to bishops, priests and all those who are “called to educate and guide the people of God, so that the faithful will know how to distinguish, in light of the sources of the faith, between true and false Marian apparitions.”