Vatican rules supposed apparitions of Virgin Mary near Rome ‘not supernatural’

Alleged Trevignano apparitions Bishop Salvi has determined that the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Trevignano Romano are not supernatural. | Credit: Shutterstock

The Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith announced Thursday that alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary outside of Rome are not supernatural, upholding the local bishop’s ban on Masses and pilgrimages to the site.

The DDF communique on June 27 confirmed the legal validity of an Italian bishop’s decree that the supposed apparitions in Trevignano Romano, a town about 30 miles northwest of Rome on the shores of Lake Bracciano, are “not supernatural.”

It is one of the first known decisions from the Vatican’s doctrine office on Marian apparitions since the DDF issued new norms for discerning alleged apparitions last month.

The Vatican’s intervention is in regards to the claims by self-styled visionary Gisella Cardia and her husband, Gianni, who reported alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and God the Father.

The events reportedly began after the couple brought back an image of Our Lady of Peace from Medjugorje in 2014.

According to Cardia, the image not only weeps blood but also multiplies food and relates a message on the third day of each month, as happens on the 25th with the visionaries of the supposed apparitions of the Virgin in Medjugorje.

Cardia, who created a nonprofit association that accepts donations and whose chapel was closed by the Trevignano city government, brought together numerous faithful and priests for prayer meetings at the site, which were not authorized by the Church. 

Last year, the local bishop, Bishop Marco Salvi of Civita Castellana, issued a statement asking the faithful not to attend the events with Cardia. 

In addition, the Civitavecchia prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for fraud against Cardia and her husband, and the mayor of the town ordered the demolition of the chapel where her followers were meeting.

Salvi issued a decree on March 6 that explained an investigation by a commission of expert Mariologists, theologians, canonists, psychologists, and other specialists, who considered the figure of Mary in Church tradition, found the events in Trevignano Romano to be “not supernatural.”

In his decree, the bishop explained that the messages of the supposed Marian apparitions contained “numerous theological errors.” He prohibited priests from celebrating “the sacraments or leading events of popular piety” that connect “directly or indirectly with the events of Trevignano Romano, whether on the grounds of the ‘Madonna di Trevignano ITS Association’ or in other private, public, and ecclesial places.”

The decree also prohibited priests from “going to the place of the apparition or encouraging the faithful to believe that there is any ecclesial recognition.”

Salvi imposed on Cardia, her husband, and all people involved in the events of Trevignano “respect and adherence to the decisions of the diocesan bishop in addition to the availability to complete a path of purification and discernment, which promotes and maintains ecclesial unity.”

The bishop also made it clear that “the title of ‘Madonna di Trevignano’ (Our Lady of Trevignano) has no ecclesial value and cannot be used as if it had one, not even in the civil sphere.”

The DDF statement recognized the legal validity of Salvi’s decree both regarding its negative judgment on the alleged apparition (“constat de non supernaturalitate”) and for the restrictions it placed on worship connected with the site.

“May the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, mother of the Church, and our mother, restore peace and serenity in view of the spiritual good of the faithful of the parish of Trevignano Romano and of the people of God who are throughout the Diocese of Civita Castellana,” the DDF said.

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