Justice in the Face of Charisms

Chapter 7: Administrative Justice in the Face of Charisms

(Extracts of the book Administrative Justice in the Catholic church, by Yves Alain Ducass, Paris 2018, 374 p).

This chapter differs from the preceding ones, insofar as it does not concentrate so much on the jurisprudence of hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse, but rather on administrative practices of clerics in the face of charisms.

In the first part, the analysis focuses on the phenomenon of private revelations, with the applicable law, the tests and sanctions imposed on seers and their friends, and finally on contentious-administrative recourse in both ecclesiastical and civil court systems[1].

The second part focuses on justice in the face of the new religious movements and so-called sects, with the applicable law, the sanctions imposed and possible recourses.

  1. Private Revelations

At the time of Jesus, His uncle Zechariah, His mother Mary and His foster father Joseph received visits from a angel, while His apostles received the visit of the Risen Jesus[2]. Subsequently, a large number of saints have received private revelations[3]. In effect, the

[…] apparitions and supernatural signs scan the course of history, they enter into the real life of human vicissitudes and accompany the path of the world, surprising believers and non-believers.[4]

Even today, there are more private revelations that we think, but most of them remain secret. This is typically the case when they are directed to an individual to encourage or assist him to accomplish his vocation. Sometimes the confidence of a friend or the reading of a book allows us to become aware of them as, for example, in the case of H.E. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Cardinal Archbishop of Abidjan:

You know, Francesco, (as he likes to call the author) during this period in the hospital, I was visited by the One that I had chosen to serve: Jesus Christ. One day, I spent several minutes in atrocious pain, I suffered terribly and suddenly, everything stopped and I fell asleep. It was at this time that I saw Jesus. He was very bright and in a spontaneous gesture, I was immediately lying at His Feet and I clutched them in my arms.  Jesus asked me: « Why do you fear? Do not be afraid. Your mission is not complete. Go back. »[5]

This type of private revelation affects not only the baptized, but also atheists and people of other religions:

The 1929 law of the Soviet Union, today repealed, prohibited religious activities and punished the recalcitrant in order to encourage the dissemination of atheism. In this context, many witnesses testify to the conversion of atheists by private revelations or dreams. Closer to us in Algeria, the order of 28 February 2006 regarding Muslim worship severely punishes « anyone who incites, forces or uses means of seduction intending to convert a Muslim to another religion » or which « shakes the faith of Muslims, » and so Catholics are discreet. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is at work and the Archbishop of Algiers testified that many Muslims have come knocking at the door of churches because they have had a dream that speaks to them of Jesus Christ as the Savior.

We define these revelations as “private revelations of a personal nature”.

 

Conversely, other private revelations contain messages that the recipient is asked to make known. These revelations, that we call « private for a public purpose, » pose a cultural problem in the Western world, marked by materialism and rejecting the very idea of God. They also pose a serious problem of discernment for the Church as to the nature and content of the alleged apparitions, and as to the events which accompany them. This is exactly what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says in its letter on the hierarchy and the charisms:

Among the charismatic gifts, freely distributed by the Holy Spirit, many are received and lived out by persons within the Christian community who have no need of particular regulations. When, however, a gift presents itself as a “founding” or “originating charism”, this requires a specific recognition so that the richness it contains may be adequately articulated within the ecclesial communion and faithfully transmitted over time. Here emerges the decisive task of discernment that appertains to the ecclesial authorities. Recognizing the authenticity of a charism is not always an easy task, it is, nonetheless, a dutiful service that pastors are required to fulfill[6].

The U.S. website « Miracle hunter[7] » lists nearly 700 private revelations[8], with a strong acceleration over time: there is on average one per year in the years 1900 to 1925, then about 35 on average per year in the years 1970 to 2000[9], with a total of 410 revelations in the period 1967 to 2016. Abbot Laurentin[10] explains this sudden increase, not by a greater frequency of private revelations, but by the evolution of the canon law in force:

This is due to the abolition of canon 1399, §5 of the old Code of Canon Law which prohibited « books and pamphlets that talk about new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies and miracles, or launch new devotions, even under the pretext that they are private » (and canon 2318, which excommunicated offenders)[11].

 

 

          Number of Apparitions per decade identified by Miracle Hunters

 

Without counting that of Lipa, which we will discuss below, the Church has recognized 16 Marian apparitions, including five during the period of our study[12]. The popular piety which accompanies them is one of the expressions of the sensus fidei, but it goes against the current of rational society today:

Apparitions, honored by popular piety in our sanctuaries, are disregarded in the theological community, including laypersons.[13]

This hypothesis may in particular be illustrated by the remarks of the Bishop of Quimper and Léon about Kérizinen:

The Christian faith is not of the order of the senses: it is the home of Jesus Christ, of His Gospel, of His Church. […] Can those who are led astray by these alleged revelations open their eyes to the sole truth of Jesus Christ, which does not exclude the Virgin but includes her in her place, instead of locking themselves into a ghetto without opening or without end! May these persons meditate on these strong words of Saint John of the Cross, an authentic mystic and also a Doctor of the Church: « In giving us His Son as He has done, He who is His last and final Word, God has spoken to everyone and only once, and has nothing more to say.”[14]

Certainly, revelation was closed with the death of the last apostle, as Saint John of the Cross wrote when commenting on Heb 1, 1-2, but the catechism adds:

Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries. Throughout the ages, there have been so-called « private » revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church…. It is not their role to… complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history[15].

Since there is tension between popular faith and the rationality of some theologians[16], let us now examine the applicable canon law.

1.1. The Law on Private Revelations

When a prophet speaks in the name of God, or when a person makes known a private revelation of a public nature, the result is invariably tension between him and the authority of the Church, because both of them think that they are acting and speaking in the name of God. This situation poses a major problem of discernment, for the Local Ordinary confronted with the words of Saint Paul:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5, 19-21)

But also of Saint Matthew:

You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.[…]Many false prophets will arise and deceive many. (Matthew 24, 6 and 11)

Three regimes of positive law have governed the method of discernment during the period under study:

  • On December 29, 1966, shortly before the beginning of our study period, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a decree approved by Pope Paul VI on 14 October 1966[17], repealing canons 1399 and 2318[18] of the 1917 Code on the imprimatur and religious books, and relaxing ecclesiastical discipline relating to apparitions, recognized or not[19]. By contrast, there did not exist at that time specific procedural standards on the manner of handling them, outside of the general principles of law;
  • In November 1974, the annual plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was working on private apparitions, and its conclusions were sent to the bishops, but not published[20];
  • On 14 December 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the criteria for discernment, to enable those concerned to know what the applicable law is[21]. In the preface to this publication, the Cardinal Prefect indicated:

It is my firm hope that the official publication of the Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations can aid the Pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin.[22]

 

These procedural norms encourage the ecclesiastical authority to act with caution, in three stages:

  1. Judge first of all according to positive and negative criteria[23];
  2. Then, if this review leads to a favorable conclusion, allow for certain public manifestations of worship or devotion, observing them with the greatest caution (which is equivalent to the formula: pro nunc nihil obstare);
  3. Finally, in the light of time and of experience (in particular the abundance of spiritual fruit provided by the new devotion), render, if applicable, a judgment on its authenticity and supernatural character.

In order to carry out the first step, the Congregation encourages authorities to carry out a serious investigation of the facts, which raises a question as to whether this recommendation creates a right for the faithful concerned, or not.

Let us hope that these new procedural elements will be respected in the future and that we will not engage in ad hominem battles that conceal power-games, as was the case, for example, in the apparitions at Tilly-on-Seulles, in Normandy, of which the Archbishop of Paris blocked recognition, while it was on the right track in Rome[24].

1.2. The Difficulties Encountered

In the past, the serious investigation foreseen in order to obtain a positive judgment on the character of the facts was very often rejected in favor of a hasty application of negative criteria, interpreted unilaterally, without sometimes even questioning the persons concerned

  • At Garabandal, Monsignor Juan Antonio del Val Gallo opened a new investigation (completed in 1986), taking into account the considerable defects observed in the work of the First Committee[25];
  • At Kérizinen in Brittany (France), a duplicate prohibition was imposed by the Bishop of Quimper and Léon on 12 October 1956, and again on 24 March 1961, prohibiting the faithful from building a private oratory and going to pray the rosary on the premises of the alleged apparitions, while no investigation was taking place[26].
  • At Montichiari in Italy, Mgr. Abate Francesco Rossi, then parish priest of the parish, said in private that he was absolutely convinced of the authenticity of the apparitions of the « Rosa mystica,” [27], and that the investigation was canonically biased: “Bishop Giacinto Tredici appointed a commission of inquiry. But in my opinion, the latter went to work with a definitely negative bias and in no way did he do his duty, because 1. No miracles were examined, 2. No witnesses were heard, 3 A physician declared Pierina Gilli to be a drug addict, which was absolutely malicious slander.”
  • At Dozulé in France, Father Curty severely criticized the seriousness of the canonical investigation carried out before 1998[28], while the rejection of the message seemed to stem from spurious considerations[29]In 2011, the bishop resumed the investigation, but he received a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking him « to see fit to put an end to any investigation without delay« , considering the fact that his predecessor had writes: « I can not discern the signs that would authorize me to declare authentic the apparitions that are reported ».[30].
  • At Lipa, in the Philippines, neither the bishop of the place at the time of the apparitions, nor his coadjutor were interviewed during the investigation carried out by their successors in 1950. Upon his arrival in 2003, the new Archbishop, Mgr. Ramon Argüelles, found no report in the archives of the Diocese. The new investigation that he had carried out in 1991 led to a contrary result, which enabled him to recognize the supernatural nature of the apparition and the rain of roses that happened afterwards. He himself wrote in the decree of recognition: “The 1951 decree, which denied the supernatural character of the facts was ‘from the beginning’ tainted by a ‘shadow of doubt,’ the fact that the bishop-signatories of the decree who were opposed ended by declaring, at the end of their lives, that they believed in the veracity of the apparitions.” [31]. According to Rafael M. Villongco[32], the members of the Commission of inquiry were forced to sign the decree under threat of excommunication.

Aware of the difficulties resulting from the tension between charisms and authority, Pope Francis approved the 14 March 2016 letter Iuvenescit Ecclesia of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts in the life and mission of the Church:

Different charisms have never ceased to arise throughout the history of the Church; yet, it is only in recent times that a systematic reflection on these themes has been developed. This fact is due historically to the Montanist schism, from Christian antiquity, and then to the medieval apocalyptic doctrines which left a long-lasting negative mark on every charismatic claim, associated with an ethereal epoch of the Holy Spirit. Lumen Gentium totally overcomes this problematic legacy, distinguishing between hierarchical and charismatic gifts, and underlining « their difference in unity.” These graces, from the more eclectic to the more simple and the most widely disseminated, should be received with thanksgiving and bring consolation[33].

The Congregation’s document specifies the criteria for the discernment of charisms, one of which consists in the acceptance of the periods of testing that their beneficiaries have to undergo on the part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

  1. f) Because a charismatic gift may imply “a certain element of genuine originality and of special initiative for the spiritual life of the Church” and in its surrounding “may appear troublesome”, it follows that one criteria of authenticity manifests itself as “humility in bearing with adversities”, such that: “The true relation between genuine charism, with its perspectives of newness, and interior suffering, carries with it an unvarying history of the connection between charism and cross”. Any tensions that may arise are a call to the practice of greater charity in view of the more profound ecclesial communion and unity that exists[34].

The question then arises as to whether passive acceptance, which constitutes one of the criteria for discernment, is or is not compatible with the canonical possibility offered to the faithful to claim their rights, taking into account the common good of the Church.

To try to answer this, let us look at what types of tests are imposed on the seers of our time, and what answers are given.

1.3. The Tests Imposed

Once the « serious » investigation has been conducted, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommends to the competent authorities an appropriate approach, depending on the types of situations encountered, including sanctions if necessary:

the competent Authority can intervene motu proprio and indeed must do so in grave circumstances, for example in order to correct or prevent abuses in the exercise of cult and devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrine, to avoid the dangers of a false or unseemly mysticism, etc[35].

Dean Philippe Greiner illuminated this concept of abuse in his thesis on the legal framework of proselytism, distinguishing between proselytism of good and bad faith:

Depending on the circumstances, the practice of bad-faith proselytism can be considered a fault, and it can justify disciplinary measures, or correspond to an offense punishable by canon law, and lead to the application of a penalty for physical persons.[36]

His remarks may apply to private revelations, the beneficiaries of which apply to themselves the words of the Apostles: « It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard » (Acts 4,20), and a fortiori: « We must obey God rather than men » (Acts 5,29). Philippe Greiner then described two main disciplinary measures provided by canon law in regard to persons who would be guilty of bad-faith proselytism, or at least considered as such, namely the withdrawal of pastoral care and the suppression of an association. We will expand the debate, distinguishing between three types of persons sanctioned:

  • The beneficiaries of the alleged revelations, and their friends;
  • The parish priests and religious who accompany them;
  • The pilgrims who practice a particular form of devotion related to these revelations.

We will then examine the paths of recourse, and the manner in which the obligations and the rights of the faithful are taken into account.

1.3.1. Sanctions Against « Seers and Friends

Abundant literature on private revelations provides a lot of evidence of the disciplinary measures that the Church has imposed on the faithful benefiting from private revelations, and on their friends.

The simplest measure is to leave the seer in the shadows, and to collect the fruits of the revelation within the parish:

In 1980, in the heart of the Muslim quarter of Anoumambo in Abidjan, Gabriel, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, was requested by his neighbors to bury a Christian left without burial. Having done so, he realized that the Christians of the neighborhood do not know each other. He said the rosary with those who gathered and their number increased, even though he began to be afraid of the Muslims who surrounded them. Then he had a dream: the Virgin Mary prompted him not to be afraid, and to build a chapel in this place. Today, the Chapel « Saint Mary Bangtaba[37] » is attached to the Parish of Saint Peter of Anoumambo and will become an independent parish dedicated to Mary Mother of God. The dream was forgotten and Gabriel is now let alone and bedridden.

Here is another example in which the « visionary » was submitted to testing before the bishop recognized the apparition:

In 1931, Elisabeth Ravasio became a sister and then Mother Eugenia[38], in the Congregation of Our Lady of the Apostles, lived in France in a series of ecstasies and of mystical experiences. She conversed with the Father, imploring his mercy on the world and receiving the stigmata, in accordance with her desire to suffer with Jesus. On July 1, 1932, she received her first message of the Father for mankind[39], and her case was submitted to Mgr. Clot, Bishop of Grenoble. In September 1933, the bishop appointed a Commission of inquiry on the facts. The examiners did not believe her at first glance, and their vexation increased until they themselves locked her in the Saint John of God psychiatric hospital, explaining to her superior: « This is a women’s sanitarium, and she will remain there until she tells the truth. She will remove her habit and veil, and will no longer receive communion or engage in meditation or the Way of the Cross: she will be able to attend Mass. Then we will send her to Italy where she will be put in prison for the evil that she did to the Church of France by her interventions of the Father.”The Sister Superior had her put out and, on 28 December, she ordered her to leave the novitiate and go to another home, as a canonical penalty. By order of the Bishop, she left for Pommiers… for 8 days. Then the investigation resumed, and the impression of the theologians evolved positively. Toward 1935, the Commission of inquiry issued a favorable opinion, and toward 1943, Mgr. Caillot concluded 1.) the virtues of Sister Eugenia were solid; 2.) she had a character that was precise, legitimate and appropriate to her mission [contained in the messages] from a doctrinal point of view; 3.) that the intervention was supernatural and divine was the only logical and satisfactorily explanation for the established facts, 4.) the finger of God was present.

 

In this episode, which happened before the Second Vatican Council but is still not settled today, we will retain the surprising nature of the canonical penalty that was officious (confinement in a psychiatric hospital[40]) and official (the transfer to Pommiers), the sanctions that were imposed on Sister Eugenia “for the evil that she did to the Church in France.” How is she evil, since the supernatural character of the revelations was officially recognized by the Local Ordinary?

Let’s go on to the second episode of her life, her election as Superior General of her Congregation:

On 7 August 1935, during the General Chapter of the Congregation N.D. of the Apostles, Elisabeth was elected Superior General and then re-elected on 7 August 1947. Her success was noteworthy, to the extent that the number of houses went from 50 in 1932, to 144 in 1944, and she was the inspiration for the work of Raoul Follereau among the lepers, and the origin of the world center of the leper in Adzopé in the Ivory Coast. With regard to this, her congregation received the civic crown from the hands of the President of the French Republic, on 4 June 1950 in Paris. This was the same date that Mother Eugenia was removed at the request of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, which made her sign a letter of resignation « on the grounds of incapacity. » What did she do wrong? We know that she was denounced in Rome by a jealous sister who wanted to be appointed Secretary, in order to be able to travel with her. Apparently she did not know what was alleged against her and was not able, or perhaps did not want, to defend herself. She then endured significant tribulations in the repeated attempts to take away, and then return her religious habit. She founded various works for the poor, and “Catholic Unity,” which was created in 1953 and recognized as a Pious Union in 1964. On several occasions, administrative decisions were imposed on her to close the houses that she had established, and to move to another city. Each time she obeyed, provoking the non-comprehension of the sisters who had followed her: « We are being expelled? But what have we done? » Mother Eugenia testified: « The Archbishop of Reggio installed as Superior and Director General three people, without these appointments having been approved by the houses. I was seen as a simple boarder, having no voice in the Chapter, prohibited from going to religious and civilian authority. I was prohibited from working with Catholic Unity […] For 11 years, from 1957 to 1968, I lived in contradiction! As soon as I would begin to do something for our work, they would prevent me from continuing… » Although the Holy See intervened in her favor in 1966, the memory of Mother Eugenia is today tarnished by a dossier of various issues, kept secret from the mother house of the Sisters N.D. of the Apostles, and by a civil suit brought by her detractors. Currently, a growing number of faithful Catholics would like a light to be shined on this matter, including among them the Sisters of the Congregation N.D. of the Apostles.

 

Here a canonical sanction which consisted in the revocation of pastoral assignments of the three superiors of the houses of Catholic Unity, and the impeding of voting rights of Mother Eugenia within her own congregation. The reasons that justify these sanctions are not known, but they have without doubt a link to a private revelation, whose supernatural character has not yet been recognized[41]. Even if the case of Mother Eugenia is old, it concerns our study, because the matter is not closed today. In effect, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Grenoble continues to make administrative decisions relating to Mother Eugenia, for example by refusing, August 26, 2014, to open its archives for the present research work:

We do not communicate regarding the records pertaining to Mother Eugenia Ravasio.

Shortly after, Pope Benedict XVI responded to a fellow Bavarian who contacted him to ask for the institution of a feast of God the Father in the month of August, as requested in the messages of the Father to Mother Eugenia. He replied that the case has already been decided negatively in the 9 May 1897 encyclical letter Divinum Illud Munus of Leo XIII[42]. In addition to the fact that this information is little known, it seems that theologians could easily find a solution, in establishing for example the feast of the Merciful Father, on the occasion of the Year of Mercy.

Let us return to the case of Lipa, in the Philippines:

The sisters received an order to destroy all the evidence relating to the apparition, the Bishop and his Coadjutor were transferred, as was the Superior of Carmel. All those who were directly related to the apparition had to suffer. The Carmel was quarantined. A psychiatrist, Dr. Pardon, threatened to intern Teresina if she persisted in her testimony. Later, her admission to Carmel was denied because of the apparitions, under the pretext that she was away some time of Carmel, whereas she had obtained permission for this[43].

 

Let us look at an actual case which occurred in Burundi, recounted below from several witnesses[44] which agree as to the facts, but not as to their interpretation[45]:

From 1990 onwards, a peasant by the name of Eusébie Ngendakumana (Zebiya in Kirundi), declared that she had benefited from private revelations from the Most Holy Virgin Mary, presenting herself under the name « Queen of Africa.” The apparitions occurred first on her property at a place called Businde, in the parish of Rukago, in northern Burundi, and then in the capital, Bujumbura. Little by little, people associate with her, and they testified to graces and conversions in abundance. Irritated by the frequent prayer vigils, neighbors complained to the civil authorities, who stopped the visionary and her entourage, and beat some of them so much that they fainted. On 21 October 2012, an altercation occurred between the friends of Zébiya, who wanted to enter the church of Rukago, and the priest who wanted to prevent them[46], such that the civil authority was called in to restore order. In November 2012, the Bishop of Ngozi strictly prohibited all worship at Businde and requested that Ms. Eusébie and her « followers » to cease all activity detrimental to the unity and communion of the Church. In January 2013, some students were expelled from the University of Ngozi because they issued a « prophetic » publication considered « deceptive » by University authorities. They complained and won their case at the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Ngozi; but the University refused to allow them to return, because it depends on the bishop. In March and April 2013, the police shot projectiles at the followers, killing between five and ten people, arresting more than two hundred of them and condemning some to sentences of five months to six years in prison. In July 2013, the site of Businde was transformed into a military camp, while the orphanage which had been built by Zebiya and her friends was demolished[47].

 

In this case, the ecclesiastical administrative decisions against Zebiya and her friends are rather questionable[48]. We can however bemoan a clear lack of dialogue that might have allowed them to respect the discernment of the bishop, in particular in the light of the significance of the investigation provided for by the norms. One can also wonder about the degree of collusion between the Church and the State, which led to the arrest, injuries and even deaths of many faithful Catholics.

Returning to our issue of the link between passive acceptance, and the need to claim one’s rights while taking into account the common good of the Church, we find that in all the cases referred to, the beneficiaries of private apparitions have suffered with patience the tests, often illegal, that authorities have made them suffer. For example, the current Archbishop of Lipa considers that the suffering and humiliation which the visionary experienced confer a solid credibility to her visions and to her statements. The Virgin had warned the young Carmelite, « You are going to suffer, they will scoff at you, but don’t be afraid, because your faith will lead you to heaven.”

 

Let us conclude by citing the case of Jeanne-Louise Ramonet in Brittany:

Jeanne-Louise Ramonet, a peasant of Plounévez-Lochrist in Brittany, claimed that the Virgin Mary and Christ appeared to her between 1938 and 1968, in a place called Kérizinen in Nord-Finistère. Since then, the Rosary is recited each day and many pilgrims come to ask Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to intercede for the healing of minds and bodies. Yet, the magnificent private sanctuary built at this location on 17 September 1978 is still not allowed to house the Real Presence of Christ, despite more than thirty years of prayers on the part of thousands of pilgrims[49], and a botched canonical investigation[50].

Teresita Castillo, Lipa (1927-)  

Mother Eugenia Ravasio,

France, Italy

 

Madeleine Aumont, Dozulé

(1925-2016)

Let us now consider the sanctions applied to the ecclesiastical authorities close to the seers.

1.3.2. Sanctions against Parish Priests and Religious Favorable to the Apparitions

The easiest disciplinary measure for a bishop to take, when he is confronted with a case of private revelation, is to transfer the priest who supports the beneficiaries of an alleged apparition, as well as any religious who accompany them.

As we have seen, the revocation of a pastoral assignment is governed by canon 184 §1, while the procedure is outlined in canons 1740[51], 1741 and 1742 when it comes to a parish priest. It begins with a request for the priest’s resignation, theoretically preceded by a phase of discussion with two other priests, justified and in writing. The first ground for transferring a parish priest mentioned by the canon 1741 is « a manner of acting which brings grave detriment or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion.”

In practice, when a group of the faithful believes in a private revelation, or at least in an alleged revelation, it generally leads to division between the group of pilgrims who believe in it, and the group of parishioners who do not. Even when the two groups remain cautious, awaiting the discernment of the bishop, it is likely that this will cause division and, regardless of the attitude of the priest, he can be held responsible for it, resulting de facto in a reason for his transfer. Yet, it is normal that such disorder is produced in the life of the Church as soon as the Holy Spirit intervenes: « My thoughts are not your thoughts » (Isaiah, 55, 9), said the Lord; while Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has confirmed:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.” (Matthew 10, 34-36).

In this regard, here are a few of the sanctions applied on a regular basis to the parish priests and religious who attend places of alleged revelations which are private and unrecognized, and/or support those who attend them:

  • Prohibition on visiting the place, as is the case at Kérizinen[52] or at Lipa[53],
  • Transfers of parish priests[54], of religious[55] and of bishops[56];
  • Expulsions of religious[57];
  • Interdicts (c. 1332) and suspensions (c. 1333), or even the threat of excommunication[58];
  • Denunciation or neutrality in the face of secular authorities[59].

In France, Mgr. René Laurentin, whom we have met before he died on 10 September 2017, devoted his doctoral thesis in theology to the priesthood of the Virgin, and throughout his life he studied private revelations. The following are excerpts from his memoirs:

I agreed to enter the dark domain [of apparitions] at the request of the authorities of the Church, including Cardinal Seper, the predecessor of Cardinal Ratzinger, who consulted me before establishing his standards for apparitions (1978). But the authority that has been attached to my name in the matter has hampered me: too many people have used it in an inappropriate way, as if dialogue or an investigation amounted to authentication. […] The result will see my slow descent into hell, but without drama or splendor, because I have limited the damage without throwing myself at anybody, and being obedient to the established order. Thus I have lost, in silence, a good part of the freedom that I had appreciated in the Church, up to the age of eighty, and verified the prediction of Jesus to his disciple Peter: « When you were younger, you used to dress yourself…” (Jn 21, 18). Any notoriety makes its beneficiary a man worth beating up, and my dual concern to clarify outstanding issues, and to rehabilitate reputations that had been defamed, considerably aggravated my case. […] Certainly, the repressions are less stringent and enigmatic than they were in the days of Father Congar, but the various methods are analogous to minimize freedoms that are human, Christian, priestly, related to the media, academic or of another type, which interfere with ongoing actions to hide official secrets. [60]

 

1.3.3. Sanctions on Pilgrims

Another sanction, or at least a « disciplinary measure » that Philippe Greiner cited regarding bad-faith proselytism is the suppression of an association. He himself cited for example the May 4, 1987 suppression of the public association « Ark of Mary » by the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, although it had been erected by his predecessor in 1975[61].

Other types of sanctions are commonly applied, including:

  • Prohibiting the building of a sanctuary, even a private one, or the authorization of the celebration of worship[62];
  • Prohibiting pilgrims from visiting the sites of alleged revelations[63];
  • Prohibiting them from speaking and testifying, as for example in Dozulé [64];
  • Prohibiting the publication of books[65];
  • Prohibiting particular clothing, as in Businde;
  • Attacking the reputations of pilgrims, considered credulous as in Dozulé, or even as enemies of the Church[66];
  • Abandonment to the secular authorities[67].

There may be a question of the legality of these decisions, and of their character as administrative act that would permit filing a recourse.

 

1.4. The Path of Recourse and Justice

Chapters 4 to 6 present a wide panorama of hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourses covering all of canon law, but we have not met any relating to disputes about private revelations. Is that to say that the administrative justice of the Church is not applicable in this area, that the intervention of justice is unknown because it is kept secret, or are there reasons why the Catholic faithful who have been the victims of administrative decisions do not make recourse?

We have seen that Mgr. Laurentin has been a witness to what he called the « various methods » of the ecclesiastical hierarchy to stifle some private revelations. In his memoirs, he specified that private revelations of a public nature inevitably confer a certain notoriety on their authors, making them « men to shoot down.” In the face of these attitudes of the hierarchy, he himself chose the path of silence and submission which preserves for him a minimum of freedom to write, sacrificing all the rest. With this choice, he could have become complicit in violations of the rights of the faithful by ecclesiastical authority. He suggested that he had used the paths of diplomacy and mediation to support discreetly some « seers,” but he clearly did not use the legal path. The reason for this choice may be related to his decision to not make recourse in order not to poison the situations, or to an inability to act effectively regarding « official secrets,” which, according to him, constitute a « shelter » against contentious-administrative recourse? We do not know.

 

 

In the case of Garabandal[68], the Bishop of Santander continued to apply in 1968 canon 1399 of the Code of 1917 even though this canon had been abrogated. The parishioners made no recourse, probably because they were unaware of their rights[69].

In the case of Kérizinen, ex gratia recourses have been filed regularly by the Association of Friends of Kérizinen with the Local Ordinary, with results more or less positive with regard to the personality of successive bishops. The Association has always sought to maintain dialogue, renouncing blind submission and the way of contention. This sometimes results in a degree of openness:

You will find attached a note […] which […] takes note of the positive, and indicates at the same time the steps which will still have to be overcome. […] It is absolutely necessary to indicate clearly [in the brochure]  that Jeanne-Louise said that she had had, between 1938 and 1965, more than 70 apparitions of the Virgin Mary and/or of the Lord Jesus, and received, during the course of these apparitions, messages that she transcribed in his notebooks; and that these apparitions and messages have never been recognized as having a supernatural origin …[70]

In the case of Zebiya in Burundi, a reference to canonical justice should be noted on the part of the Ordinary of Ngozi, in a letter of 2 April 2013 to the lawyer Segatwa Fabien, calling on him to get the followers of Zebiya out of jail:

… In case it seems to you that the bishop of Ngozi has violated a canonical law in the provisions taken to ask the faithful who are entrusted to his care to behave as Catholic Christians, be aware that he would like to better respond before the church courts competent in this field…

One can ask if the prospect of appeal raised by the bishop is credible, as the lawyer Segatwa had no administrative act in writing from the bishop that he could have challenged, nor canonical skills which would have allowed him to bring the case before the Council of the Laity, with obligatory transfer to the Apostolic Signatura. It seems that the practical impossibility, for Zebiya and her friends, of a healthy dialogue with both the priest and the bishop, was one of the sources of the violence which was triggered. As for Father Hermann, he preferred flight, rather than recourse.

A certain dialogue has existed in other places like Dozulé, where a resident filed an ex gratia recourse to the Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, after having received the 2 March 2006 letter below:

My predecessor, Monseigneur Badré, in December 1985, and I myself, on various occasions and especially in Lourdes, in September 1989, the Cardinal Ratzinger, currently Pope under the name of Benedict XVI, in October 1985, we all had prohibited: any publication of books, brochures, cassettes. And any dissemination and gathering of funds in view of the construction of a sanctuary or of a gigantic cross of 738 meters. Any travel whatsoever to Dozulé. It is pointless to gather on this alleged hill of prodigies. We cannot declare the apparitions of Dozulé authentic. Therefore, dear Madam, you must comply with the decisions of the Church[71].

This letter could have been the object of disputes[72], but the recipient did not file either hierarchical or contentious recourse. The attitude of respectful dialogue has produced very little fruit, since Sunday 29 May 2011, in the presence of the bishop and of a crowd of faithful, the parish priest of Dozulé imposed his hands on the head of a parishioner and uttered these words:

Madam M., on behalf of the Church, I appoint you the one responsible for the reception of pilgrims on the hill of Dozulé. In difficulties I will be there to help you[73].

Since the publication of the first edition of this book, on 3 January 2017, a reliable source has said that some of the pilgrims of Dozulé were informed that the local bishop had undertaken further canonical investigation into the alleged apparitions of Dozulé, but that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had asked him to stop the investigation before its completion, which he did. The faithful of the place remain perplexed by this situation that appears improbable, since it is contrary to the recommendations of the same congregation.

This situation, however, presents some similarities with the recent developments in Lipa in the Philippines. After having conducted a thorough investigation, the Bishop of Lipa has recognized the revelations as supernatural, indicating the « doubtful » character of the decree of prohibition of 1951[74]. Here too, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervened by revealing a document kept secret for more than fifty years, in which Pope Pius XI would have validated in forma specifica the investigation strongly tainted with illegality, concluding the non-supernatural character of the apparitions and of the rain of rose petals[75]. While announcing the decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rescinding its own decree[76], Mgr Argüelles stated that he would not appeal this decision. Without knowing the reasons, it should be noted that Bishop Argüelles was invited to resign his office of Bishop of Lipa on February 2, 2017, two years before he reached the age limit, and a new bishop was appointed in his place immediately.

A prominent doctor in canon law criticized the choice of the author to mention the private revelations in this book:

I was surprised to read for example the passage (with photo!), where you mentioned the pseudo-revelations of Dozulé or other places… Be careful not to fall to an incongruous journalistic level, in a book which is considered more serious[77].

Conversely, a member of the Catholic faithful wrote:

I have read the 2017 book by Yves-Alain and you have not written for nothing. The passages on the period 1022 to 1307 in particular are remarkable and for me very meaningful (Cathar period, Templars and Hospitallers…). The same with regard to private revelations, which I have experienced, and of which I continue to collect very startling testimony which is entrusted to me so that I can do research, to the thread of improbable meetings […] Chapter 7 renders justice[78].

Finally, it seems to us important to maintain the sensitive subject, because we have seen that alleged revelations have prompted many individual administrative acts, relating rightly or wrongly to infringement on the rights of the Catholic faithful. In addition, it seems to us that, if a presumed revelation does not qualify publicly as a supernatural revelation, it should not be characterized as a “pseudo-apparition,” since the Ordinary has not yet made an official pronouncement in view of the in-depth investigation requested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Taking these elements into account, a survey of associations of the pilgrims to several places of non-recognized apparitions has allowed us to understand why their members do not resort to ecclesiastical justice, inasmuch as they have the conviction of a deep injustice with respect to the seer and the messages:

  • The ecclesiastical hierarchy is particularly sensitive to alleged revelations which could be a source of division in the ecclesial communion;
  • The persons concerned are connected to the Church, and do not want to break a dialogue with their bishop, no matter how difficult and tenuous it may be;
  • No associations of pilgrims had received the legal personality that would allow them to act;
  • Their members do not have adequate knowledge in the field of canon law to assert their rights, and the priests who could dispense this knowledge are subject to the prohibition to attend the places concerned;
  • The decisions of the bishop are not clearly administrative acts subject to recourse;
  • All the decisions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are communicated to the local bishop, and are therefore not contestable by the Catholic faithful concerned. In addition, these are sometimes approved by the Pope in forma specifica, thus giving them a definitive character,
  • The documents of the report, and in particular the canonical investigation, are not disclosed, and thus it is not possible to contest them.

We have nonetheless found an exception, with a contentious recourse filed with the Supreme Tribunal for an issue related to a private revelation[79].

On 10 March, 1975, the association « The Army of Mary » was canonically erected by the Archbishop of Quebec, according to the 1917 Code. Subsequently, it appears that the association was in the sphere of influence of the community of “Our Lady of All Peoples,” which is based on the mystical life of its foundress and on messages that she received between 1940 and 1959. Yet devotion to Mary the Mother of All Peoples was condemned under Pius XII. Also, the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec asked the association to stop « embarking on tracks that are dangerous and not completely Orthodox,” after which he obtained the following opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: « After having studied the writings disseminated by the Army of Mary, this Congregation […] approves and confirms these warnings, leaving you with the latitude to take all measures that you deem to be necessary, without excluding the possibility of suppressing the association ad normam iuris.” By decree of 4 May 1987, the Archbishop then removed the recognition of the association. The decree was the object of hierarchical, and then contentious-administrative recourse, but it was not admitted to discussion due to the obvious lack of foundation, in accordance with the decisions of the Congress on 17 March 1989 and 1 March 1990, and of the College on 20 April 1991.

 

It will be noted that the decision of the Tribunal does not address the merits of the position of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is not regarded as an administrative decree; but rather the decree of suppression of the association, validated by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, based on the position of the Congregation.

The bishop’s decision regarding the Army of Mary leads us to look more closely at a second, related subject, namely, that of new religious movements and alleged sects.

 

  1. New Religious Movements and Alleged Sects

From the dawn of Christianity, Christians were, quite rightly, considered a sect, since the word “sect” comes from the Latin verb sequor, sequeris, which means “to follow,” and Christians followed Jesus Christ. In the 21st century, the understanding of the word “sect” has evolved, with different meanings in the civilian and religious worlds[80]. It has become a hot topic in France, like other countries, because of current civil and religious events.

On 12 June 2001, France passed a law « to strengthen the prevention and the suppression of sectarian movements » […] This law was immediately attacked by the Jehovah’s Witnesses before the European Court of Human Rights; but their appeal was dismissed on 6 November 2001. […] It is primarily within Catholicism that this notion of sect presents a pejorative connotation: the 1917 Code also defined negatively all the groupings that it considered schismatic or hostile, « Catholic” sects, “Masonic” sects, etc. The other major religions have a more positive or at least more neutral attitude vis-à-vis minority groups or « new religious movements,” even if they surprise or disturb the established religious order[81].

On 29 April 2016 in Dijon, at the conference of the secular world entitled The “Anti-sect » Battle: Assessment and Prospects[82], Thierry Bécourt confirms its intentions for 2002:

It is obvious that a current of intolerance runs across France and is being propagated in Europe. It reminds us of darker periods in our history. The spectre of Vichy threatens us… This nationalized intolerance that we live today in our country which says « rights of Man,” marks the beginning of a real loss of freedom, the freedom of thought… which, if we lose our vigilance, will open the door to totalitarianism[83].

Despite the subjective and therefore biased nature of these words, it is interesting to see how the Church behaves, and its justice in what Thierry Bécourt called « a new witch hunt.”

2.1. The Applicable Law

In canon law, the 1917 Code several times cited persons who gave their support, or who publicly joined a heretical or schismatic sect or the Masonic sect, or to societies of the same type[84], in forbidding them to participate in voting (canon 167), to be admitted to the novitiate (canon 542), to belong to an association (canon 693), to be godparents (canon 765), to marry in a religious ceremony (canon 1060), or to have a Christian burial (canon 1240). They were obliged to be declared “notorious,” and be excommunicated (canons 1214 §1[85] and 2335). Likewise forbidden were books dealing with Masonic sects and other societies of the same kind, which argue that they are useful and not harmful to the Church and civil society (canon 1399).

Currently, the 1983 Code partially contains these canons[86], without using the word “sect,” but preserving the word “heresy,” aware that belonging to an atheist sect is comparable to heresy[87]. In addition to the Code, various pronouncements specify the position of the Magisterium.

In 1981, the Permanent Council of the Church of France created the group « Pastoral and Sects« , led by Jean Vernette[88].

On 3 May 1986, the Roman Curia published a document entitled « The Phenomenon of Sects or New Religious Movements: A Pastoral Challenge.” Taking into account the ecumenical and interreligious-dialogue approach, Philippe the Vallois distinguishes three cases:

  • Sects of Christian origin, namely groups that add to the Bible other books and other prophetic messages;
  • Religious groups with a vision of the world that is distinctly their own, deriving from the teachings of one of the major religions of the world;
  • Certain groups that are normally seen as a threat to personal freedom and to society in general.

On 5 April 1991, the fourth plenary meeting of the Consistory of Cardinals had for its theme « Sects or New Religious Movements,” in the five continents. Cardinal Arinze, then President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, set out « the challenge of sects or new religious movements, a pastoral approach[89] » replacing the term « sect, » which was considered to have too many negative meanings, with the expression « new religious movements, » better adapted to cover new movements of protestant origin, sectarian groups which have Christian roots, new movements in Asian or African countries, and those of Gnostic or esoteric types. He called bishops to discernment, judging some of their reactions on the ground to have been excessive, and asked them to put aside condemnation, discrimination, and generalizations that apply to all new religious movements the negative aspects of a few.

On 15 November 1991, the Conference of the Bishops of France published « The Catholic Churches, the Sects and New Religious Movements in France[90].

In 1996, Mgr. Jean Vernette criticized in the name of human rights the report on sects adopted on 22 December 1995 by the National Assembly’s Commission on Sects[91], published on 10 January 1996, which establishes a list of 173 « sectarian movements » based on secret works of general information and according to criteria which, in his opinion, can be applied to almost all established religions[92].

In 1997, Opus Dei reacted against a report on sects by Belgian Parliamentarians, which portrayed them as similar to this category, accusing them of  » a fundamentalist and elitist Catholicism.”

In 2013, Yves Hamant, President of Istina, as well as other persons, addressed to the Bishops of France « a vigorous appeal to denounce practices of sectarian leanings within the institutions of the Church.” The President of the Conference of the Bishops of France responded in these terms on 7 November:

We have received this as the cry of people suffering within the heart of the Church because of what they have experienced personally or their relatives have experienced or still experience. We think of those who are injured, sometimes in the long term, by the behavior of some members of the Church. As the President of our Conference, I would like in the name of all of us to tell you say that these practices dismay and shock us. To assure you of our prayers for them is not enough; we want to bear with them their suffering, to assure them of our compassion, to help them in their reconstruction[93].

The result was the establishment of a cell for the sectarian drifts in Catholic communities within the Conference of the Bishops of France[94], as well as the publication in September 2014 of a list of criteria for the discernment of identifying behaviors of sects[95]. Nothing was said, however, about the procedure to follow in the case of a presumed sectarian drift, and, in particular, about the protection of rights of the Catholic faithful who are members of the communities in question.

2.2. Difficulties and Sanctions

In a struggle characterized by secretly informing, exclusion and fear which evokes dark periods of history, three distinct types of difficulties appear:

  • Violations of the rights of victims of deviant processes within the Church;
  • The combining of deviant groups and religious groups, causing exclusions and sanctions against the members of these groups;
  • The connivance of certain Catholic priests with the French State and with the Masonic lodges, which have sometimes taken advantage of the fear of sects to carry out an attack against religion.

Nobody is effectively immune from the phenomena of exclusion, resulting from a stigmatizing of deviant groups, as Pope Benedict XVI himself testified, four years before his resignation:

At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint[96].

Opus Dei learned this at its own expense, when Monsignor Jacques Trouslard, honorary canon, charged by the French church to the documentation on the sects, identified in them ten characteristics of sects[97]. He was rewarded by the French State with the high distinction of Knight of the Legion of Honor[98].

 

Some French bishops have been recipients of reports of general information which are at the origin of the 1995 parliamentary report on sects, or of anti-sect groups such as UNADFI, largely subsidized by the French Government. Sometimes, on the pretext of this unverified information, they deny rights to members of movements considered to be sects, or attack their reputations without allowing them the right to self-defense.

By adopting the form of an open letter, the President of the French Bishops’ Conference made problem public, leaving it to the press to comment on his remarks. The press did not fail to do so, by citing possible « spiritual abuse » on the part of the Béatitudes, the Legionaries of Christ, the Point-Coeurs, the Community of Saint John… Contrary to canonical procedures protecting the reputation of the parties, it is to be feared that

They single them out in the media, often doing irreparable damage to the reputations of innocent people.[99]

2.3. Possible Recourses

It happens that some members of groups designated as sects make contentious-administrative recourse against the position taken by administrative authority. After the recourses of members of the « Army of Mary » and of the association « Call to Action Nebraska,” here is a third example:

A member of a private association of the faithful that is the subject of a warning displayed in a monastery complained of damage to its reputation, because of a letter from ecclesiastical authority addressed to a person who had requested information on this association. The Supreme Tribunal did not accept the recourse to discussion, stating « that it has not been demonstrated that the disputed response-letter is an administrative act, because the hierarchy responded only to a woman who asked about this associations’ connection to the Church, noting the report of a French Senator and other internet sources[100].

 

In the face of this situation, a canonist can only speculate on the merits of the sources that the hierarchy uses, citing the parliamentary report on sects brought by well known Freemasons and the site www,sos-dérive-sectaire.fr, which refers explicitly to « the accuser of one’s brethren » as the webmaster of the site calls himself phonetically[101].

One also wonders about the credibility of the advisers chosen by the French episcopate, namely Mgr. Trouslard who claimed to be « obsessed by sects[102],” and Mgr. Vernette, who has contracted a marriage[103]. One finally has to deplore the fact that none of the three appeals filed which have come to our knowledge has been admitted to the discussion, which could reveal a problem that is structural, and not merely circumstantial.

 

As for the response of the President of the French Bishops’ Conference on sectarian tendencies within the Church, it is perhaps surprising that it sends the victims to the justice of the French State, without mentioning any of the canonical procedures in force within the Church.

We want to tell you forcefully that we wish to continue to act so that situations are clarified, so that truth may appear when necessary, and so that those who have been victims of deviant processes might find among the bishops an attentive ear and understanding. […] Some behaviors that you denounce fall within the criminal justice system. No one is above the law. The victims have the prerogative, if they wish, to lodge a complaint before the courts when this happens [104].

In failing to cite the ecclesiastical administrative justice, it seems that the Bishops of France consider that it does not play a role in identifying, limiting and resolving difficulties related to presumed sectarian tendencies within the Church. Without doubt this is it due in part to the lack of effect of organizations of dialogue, such as diocesan mediation committees, which Pope Francis however seems to value in his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium:

In its mission to foster a communion that is dynamic, open and missionary, he [the Bishop] should stimulate and search for the maturation of the organizations of participation proposed by the Code of Canon Law and other forms of pastoral dialogue, with the desire to listen to the whole world, and not just the few who are always quick to pay him compliments.

In conclusion, let us reflect upon these words of Pope Francis, applying them to the ecclesial communities rejected by the hierarchy:

A Church without martyrs… is a church without Jesus […]the greatest strength of the Church today is in the small churches, small, small, … persecuted[105].

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Eugenia

[1] The competent Congregation in matters of private revelations is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, the database of publications mentioned in Chapter 3, reports only four recourses relating to decrees emanating from this Congregation, of about 2,000 publications relating to contentious recourses. In addition, none of the cases identified makes explicit reference to a private revelation. Certainly, it is possible that jurisprudence exists for the transfer of parish priests or the suppression of an association, which constitutes one of the disciplinary measures imposed by the bishop in cases of presumed apparitions, but in this case, jurisprudence is very abundant and reference to the private revelation is not indicated in the subject of the recourse.

[2] Cf. Ratzinger, (Cardinal Joseph), theological places of private revelations, Comment on the Third Secret of Fatima, 13 May 2000. He distinguished between the time of the revelation, termed “public,” in opposition to « private revelations, » knowing that between these two realities, there is a difference not only in degree but in nature.

[3] We think, for example, of Saint Augustine, Saint Martin, Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Gertrude, Saint Francis of Assisi, St Francis de Sales, Saint Jeanne de Chantal, St Teresa of Avila, Saint Catherine Laboré, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and the children of Fatima, Sister Faustina, Padre Pio…

[4] Bertone, (card. Tarcisio sdb), Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, « The message of Fatima” Fatima 13 May 2000

[5] Lebry (Léon Francis), Jean-Pierre Kutwa, miraculé et cardinal, Abidjan NEI-CEDA, 2015, 262 p.

[6] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, letter of 15 May 2016, on the occasion of the Feast of Pentecost 2016.

[7] The www.miraclehunter.com website was developed by « Miracle Hunter » Michael O’Neill, a graduate of Stanford University, and a member of the Mariological Society of America. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, MA. commented, « Thank you for sending me your site. It is excellent. »

[8] He identified more than 1 000 miracles, or at least alleged miracles, consisting of miraculous images, stigmata, incorrupt dead bodies, Eucharistic miracles and apparitions.

[9] This increase may reflect an increase in their real number, but it may also be the result of a better knowledge of apparitions due to greater media coverage.

[10] Mons. René Laurentin, prelate of His Holiness, is dead on Sunday 10 Septembre 2017, when getting quite 100 years old.

[11] Laurentin (Père René) « Multiplication des apparitions de la Vierge aujourd’hui » (Fayard 1995). The abrogation took place by Blessed Pope Paul VI, on 14 Octobre 1966 (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 29 Decembre 1966, p. 1186)

[12] Guadalupe (Mexique, 1531), Aparecida (Brésil, 1717), Rome (à Alphonse Ratisbonne en 1842), La Salette (France, 1846), Lourdes (France, 1858), Pontmain (France, 1871), Giertzwald (Pologne, 1877), Fatima (Portugal, 1917), Beauraing (Belgique, 1932), Banneux (Belgique, 1933), Amsterdam (Pays-Bas, 1945), Betania (Venezuela, 1976), Akita (Japon, 1973), Kibeho (Rwanda, 1981), Le Laus (France, 1664) et Champion (États-Unis, 1859).

[13] Laurentin, (Mgr. René), Mémoires. Chemin vers la lumière, Paris, 2005, Fayard, p. 332/624.

[14] Barbu, (Mgr. Francis), « Que penser de Kerizinen ? Une réponse de Rome, la position de l’Evêque diocésain », Quimper, June-July 1975, drawn from the archives of the Association of Friends of Kérizinen.

[15] Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 66 and 67.

[16] Cantalamessa (Père Raniero)  www.totus-tuus.fr/article-2220137.html

[17] AAS 58/16.

[18] Can. 2318 : § 1 In the excommunications especially reserved to the Apostolic See, after the publication of the book, the publishers of books of apostates, of heretics and schismatics, which support apostasy, heresy or schism. The same punishment for those who defend these books or other works specifically condemned by apostolic letters, or knowingly the read or retain them without the required permission. § 2 The authors and publishers who print, without the required permission, books of Sacred Scripture, or notes and comments on these books, incur by that fact an excommunication which is not reserved.

[19] Ottaviani (Cardinal). The excerpt of the decree of the Congregation, translated by the author from the English version downloaded on 20 May 2016 from www.lovingmother.org/misc/canonsofthechurcheng.htm
Canon 1399 : forbade, by right of publication, certain books such as those that deal with revelations, visions, prophecies and miracles.  This canon was repealed on March 29, 1967.  This means that as far as these publications are concerned, prohibition is lifted as to their being bound by ecclesiastical law and henceforth, Catholics are permitted, without need of imprimatur, nihil obstat, or any other permission, to publish accounts of revelations, visions, prophecies and miracles.  Of course, these publications must not put in danger the faith or morals. This is the general rule, which every Catholic must follow in all his actions, even journalists, especially journalists. There is henceforth no longer any prohibition concerning the narrative of seers, be they recognized or not by ecclesiastical authority. All the more reason is it permitted for Catholics to frequent places of apparitions, even those not recognized by Ordinaries of their dioceses or by the holy Father, granted that the Catholic visitors who frequent these places must respect the faith and morals. However, they are not subject to any ecclesiastical discipline, not even for their public prayers. Permission is required only for the celebration of Holy Mass or any other religious service.

Canon 2318 : carried penalties against those who violated the laws of censure and prohibition.  This canon has been abrogated [revoked] since 1966.  Non can incur ecclesiastical censure for frequenting places of apparitions, even those not recognized by the Ordinaries of their dioceses or by the Holy Father.  Also, “those who would have incurred the censured treatment in Canon 2318 will be likewise absolved by the very facts of the abrogation [revocation] of this Canon.”

[20] www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_
doc_19780225
_norme-apparizioni_en.html

[21]The criteria have been kept secret for 37 years, and then made public after informal versions circulated everywhere in the world. In fact, the publication of the procedural standards is not only useful to pastors, who were already informed, but also and especially to the faithful who may inform themselves of the laws which apply to them and, therefore, seek to discern the alleged revelations and perform the recourse that they consider timely, in cases where they would feel aggrieved by administrative decisions considered to be illegitimate.

[22] www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_
doc_20111214_prefazione-levada_en.html

[23]A) Positive Criteria:

  1. a) Moral certitude, or at least great probability of the existence of the fact, acquired by means of a serious investigation;
  2. b) Particular circumstances relative to the existence and to the nature of the fact, that is to say:
  3. Personal qualities of the subject or of the subjects (in particular, psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life, sincerity and habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, the capacity to return to a normal regimen of a life of faith, etc.);
  4. As regards revelation: true theological and spiritual doctrine and immune from error;
  5. Healthy devotion and abundant and constant spiritual fruit (for example, spirit of prayer, conversion, testimonies of charity, etc.).
  6. B) Negative Criteria:
  7. a) Manifest error concerning the fact.
  8. b) Doctrinal errors attributed to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to some saint in their manifestations, taking into account however the possibility that the subject might have added, even unconsciously, purely human elements or some error of the natural order to an authentic supernatural revelation (cf. Saint Ignatius, Exercises, no. 336).
  9. c) Evidence of a search for profit or gain strictly connected to the fact.
  10. d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject or his or her followers when the fact occurred or in connection with it.
  11. e) Psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject, that with certainty influenced on the presumed supernatural fact, or psychosis, collective hysteria or other things of this kind.

It is to be noted that these criteria, be they positive or negative, are not peremptory but rather indicative, and they should be applied cumulatively or with some mutual convergence.

[24] Lesserteur (R.P.), Already for a long time, the Holy Office had recognized that there was nothing wrong with the apparitions of Tilly, and the Pontiff, who had himself read with great emotion the journal of the religious of the school, had given the order to complete the information and make a decision. Mgr. Amette [Cardinal of Paris] objected, rushed to Rome, and argued for reasons of expediency, to postpone the proclamation of a favorable decision. […] In the first months of last year (1908), Pius X ordered again the case to be resumed. Mgr. Amette ran again. […] The pope would then have  let himself be persuaded, and would have ordered to wait. Pierre-Marie GRÜNNEISSEN, Présence mariale à Tilly sur Seulles, ed. Les Amis de Tilly (1996), p. 104-105.

[25] www.lesamisdegarabandal.com/l’eglise%20et%20garabandal.html

[26] Fauvel (Mgr. André) « We had in addition prohibited all priests and to go to Kérizinen or to advise it to anybody. Learning that the faithful continue to go there, we formally prohibit any form of devotion and worship at Kérizinen. » Translated from La semaine religieuse de Quimper, 24 March 1961.

[27] www.rosamisticafontanelle.it

[28] Curty (Père Christian) : Has the canonical investigation of your predecessor been conducted according to all of the legal standards required by law? Has each of the witnesses really and separately been interrogated? From the moment that it was maintained that there is no supernatural dimension, what explanation has been found about the 120 Latin quotations of scriptural or liturgical origin, that clearly Madeleine was not able to improvise or tap into the subconscious part of her memory, and that she could not be under the influence of her parish priest, also outdone by the facts? Have the ‘Fruits’ of this tree really been studied: the healings deemed complete and definitively recognized as ‘inexplicable’ by medicine, conversions that are profound and sometimes surprising and long-lasting, either obtained spontaneously on the Butte, on the occasion of a pilgrimage, or indirectly connected to the facts of Dozulé? Is there interest in the fact that many vocations (seminarians, consecrated religious) have recognized at Dozulé their point of departure and of awakening? Such are some of the many questions, which have not yet received a response and which have puzzled many of our Christian brothers engaged in pastoral care, whereas the Second Vatican Council asked them to overcome the passive obedience to which they were accustomed, in order to exercise an obedience now active and intelligent, and therefore informed and motivated. Translated from www.ressource.fr/devoilement/esprit_saint_devoile/E(-217).pdf

[29] The message was rejected by the bishop under the pretext that the alleged request of Jesus to Madeleine Aumont, « Tell the Church to raise a cross [738 m] and at its feet, a sanctuary » seemed impossible to him. Yet a comprehensive study proving its feasibility was presented to local elected officials on 8 January 1997, and since then, a tower 828 m tall was erected in Dubai in 2010.

[30] Ladaria (Luis), Archevêque de titulaire de Thibica, Secrétaire de la Congrégation pour la Doctrine de la Foi, Prot 19/1984-36132, 25 juillet 2011.

[31] Argüelles (Mgr Ramón Cabrera) : extracts from the decree of recognition of 9 December 2015; English text drawn from www.splendorofthechurch.com.ph/2015/09/13/Lipa-appearance-of-our-lady-officially-declared-authentic-by-Archbishop-Arguelles/  and from   http://fr.aleteia.org/2015/09/28/je-suis-marie-mediatrice-de-toutes-graces/  on 20 May 2016.

[32] www.marianmessenger.ph/index.php/maian-feature

[33] Ouellet (Cardinal Marc), presentation of the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Iuvenescit https://fr.zenit.org/articles/importance-ecclesiale-des-charismes-par-le-card-ouellet/

[34] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, letter of 15 May 2016. www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160516_iuvenescit-ecclesia_en.html

[35] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, « Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations » www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19780225_norme-apparizioni_en.html

[36] Greiner (Philippe), Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of Paris, « l’encadrement juridique du prosélytisme, en droit grec, français, européen (1950) et en droit canonique catholique romain. » Thesis presented 19 February 2005, at the Catholic Institute of Paris, p. 455.

[37] In the Moorish language, the word “Bangtaba” means « Let’s sit down and get to know each other. »

[38] Although this is the same person, we will distinguish Sister Eugénia Ravasio during the period 1931-1935, from Mother Eugénia during the period 1935-1990 which concerns our study.

[39] This event transformed the private revelation from personal to public.

[40] The confinement of a believer in a psychiatric hospital because of his faith is not the prerogative of the Catholic Church. This was encountered frequently in the Soviet Union, and Canonists without Borders has received testimony from Muslim countries where followers of Islam are still interned when they begin to turn to another religion.

[41] The detractors of Mother Eugénia commenced a civil trial against her, and had her imprisoned in 1972, then had her condemned with a reprieve on appeal in 1977. She was mainly accused by her detractors of having created Catholic Unity in her own self-interest, and not to hoor God the Father through Jesus.

[42] “The danger, in both faith and worship, is to confuse the divine Persons, or to divide their unique nature; because the Catholic faith worships only one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Also, Innocent XII, our predecessor, refused absolutely, despite strong representations, to authorize a special feast in honor of the Father. If we celebrate in particular the mysteries of the incarnate Word, there is no feast honoring only the divine nature of the Word, and solemnities of Pentecost were themselves established from the earliest years, not in order to honor exclusively the Holy Spirit for Himself but to remind us of His descent, that is to say, his external mission.”

[43] Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresita_Castillo et www.marianmessenger.php  as well as the references they cite.

[44] A dozen media organizations recount the events. Among them several media organizations of Burundians, including Iwacu, the Africa Report, the bulletin of liaison and information of the Salesians of the Great Lakes, as well as those of the ministries of the Interior of Burundi and of the Canadian Department of Justice https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/
eoir/legacy/2014/09/04/BDI104471.E.pdf

[45] The Friends of Zébiya claim to be Christians like the others, prevented from praying as they wish. The State invites them to base their own church outside of the Catholic Church. The parish priest claims to have narrowly escaped physical violence. The Bishop feels that disobedience, arrogance, rebellion, lies, etc. characterize the group.

[46] NSENGIYUMVA (P. Rémy, SDB), Curé de la Paroisse, « L’attaque des adeptes de Mlle Eusebie NGENDAKUMANA à la paroisse de Rukago »  in  Bulletin de liaison et d’information pour la Quasi-Province salésienne de l’Afrique de Grands Lacs (AGL),  AGL News, Mars 2013, www.sdbagl.org/PDF/aglnewsmars03.pdf  consulted on May 5, 2016.

[47] Segatwa (avocat Fabien) : extract of a letter of 10 March 2013 to the bishop of Ngozi: « With their meager resources, they have built a modern orphanage which welcomed from the outset 50 young orphans. »

[48] The parish council of Rukago made the decision to prohibit access to the Church to any girl or woman wearing pieces of cloth on her head. The Ordinary has formally prohibited all worship at Businde and he asked Ms. Eusébie and « her followers » to stop any activity which is detrimental to the unity and communion of the Church.

[49] More than 12 000 people participated in the inauguration.

[50] The visionary was received for 45 minutes by the bishop on December 28, 1974, after a third interdict on his part on May 20, 1973 and before a fourth interdict on 12 July 1975.

[51] Can. 1740 —When the ministry of any pastor becomes harmful or at least ineffective for any cause, even through no grave personal negligence, the diocesan bishop can remove him from the parish.

[52] On Friday, 12 October 1956, Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon, launched a first interdict on Kérizinen which was published in la Semaine Religieuse of Quimper: « Regarding the alleged apparitions of Kérizinen in Plounévez-Lochrist, we note the following points: 1.- the building that is there was built despite our express prohibition, expressed in writing and sent to the interested parties. No priest has received from us power to bless this building. 2.- We forbid all, priests and religious, to go to Kérizinen or to advise anyone to go there. (This note will be read from the pulpit next Sunday, 14 October, at all Masses in churches and chapels). To this interdict, the Association of Friends of Kérizinen responded that the prohibition was initiated without a canonical investigation and without warning and that, contrary to the assertion of the bishop, Jeanne-Louise has never received any express prohibition concerning the construction of a building but that on the contrary, she had received verbal authorization from the Vicar General to build an oratory on her property.

[53] A Lipa, Carmel has been quarantined with an interdict on any person to enter and on the Sisters to leave (except for taking courses).

 

[54] The abbot l’Horset, parish priest of Dozulé, was transferred when he wrote a book on this subject.

[55] At Lipa, the Mother Superior of the Carmel was transferred.

[56] At Lipa (Philippines), the two bishops of the place favorable to the events of 1948 were transferred to give place to a bishop who decreed in 1951 that the events were of a non-supernatural character. After their departure, there became known on 2 February 2017″ the « abdication » of Archbishop Ramon C. Argüelles, shortly after he recognized the supernatural character of the apparitions.

[57] Father Herman Harakandila was the superior of the Missionary Congregation of the Apostles of the Good Shepherd, erected in 1989 by Mgr. Ruhuna the Archbishop of Gitega, in Burundi, with the aim of encouraging priestly vocations and the mission, at the time when the Government of Burundi ousted huge numbers of foreign religious. Having supported the Marian apparition of « Our Lady the Queen of Africa,” he was forbidden to celebrate Mass, while the State put him in prison. According to a witness, the State would have proposed to let him out of jail, if he no longer promoted the apparition. He would have refused. Later the Bishops obtained his release, and sent a priest to him, before whom he finally signed a declaration by which he denied the apparition. Fifteen days later, he retracted this and disappeared into obscurity, and so his religious order had to obtain a decree of exclaustration. Following the disappearance of its two founders, Mgr. Ruhuna, who was murdered in 1996, and Father Herman, the new superior general of the young congregation made a call to Aid to the Church in Need to survive. Sources: White Fathers of Gitega, Church in Need, www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ1ktdUzieA consulted on 21 September 2014.

[58] At Lipa, on his death bed, one of the bishops involved may have said that they had forced the members of the 1951 Commission to recognize the non-supernatural character of the apparitions, under threat of excommunication.

www.marianmessenger.ph/index.php/maian-feature

[59] In Italy, Mother Eugénia did not receive support from the Church when she was imprisoned by the Italian State, upon her denunciation, probably fallacious, by religious of the congregation that she had directed. In Burundi, Father Hermann was imprisoned by the civil authorities, and the Church obtained his release at the price of his renunciation of his faith in the apparitions of Businde.

[60] Laurentin (Mgr René), Mémoires, chemin vers la lumière, Paris 2005, Fayard, p. 351, 558, 559.

[61] Vachon (cardinal Louis-André), Decree of suppression of the public association « Ark of Mary » May 4, 1987 in La Documentation catholique, t. 84, No. 1946, 6-20 September 1987, p. 864.

[62] At Kerizinen, a letter of supplication of October 7, 1956 addressed to Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon and countersigned by 356 people, is kept in the archives (she asked for a Mass instead of the apparitions). It was not sent, because of the interdict which occurred 5 days later. http://kerizinen.free.fr/messagef2.htm

[63] On 24 March 1961, Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon, had printed in la Semaine Religieuse of Quimper a second prohibition on Kérizinen: « In a note published in la Semaine Religieuse of 12 October 1956, and read in all the churches and chapels of the Diocese The following Sunday 14 October, we specified that a building had been built in Kérizinen despite our express prohibition. We had, in addition, prohibited all priests and religious to go to Kérizinen or to encourage anyone else to go there. Learning that the faithful continue to go there, we formally prohibited any form of devotion and worship at Kérizinen. We hope that this prohibition will be observed and that we will not have to resort to more serious measures. » To this prohibition, the Association of Friends of Kérizinen replied that to their knowledge, the second interdict was imposed without canonical investigation and without warning.

[64] On March 28, 1975, after the celebration of the Passion at 10:30 PM, the priest recommended to the approximately 50 persons in attendance to be silent about what they had seen and heard and do not understand. www.ressource.fr/francais/messages/messages21a30.html

[65] Cf message de Bishop Pican, supra..

[66] The Bishop of Quimper and Léon published the 21 June 1975 decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he commented on as well: « … the devotion maintained in this place and the cult that it wants to introduce are not in harmony with the Catholic faith, and must not be favored by the leaders of the Church. […] Those who propagate these messages and are working to promote a cult based on them are doing—perhaps in good faith, which is their excuse—a harmful work within the People of God. »

[67] In the Middle Ages, the Church delivered the « criminals of the faith » over to the secular power. Today, it is observed that the Church denounces to the secular power, or at least refrains from defending the Catholic faithful who were the beneficiaries of apparitions, such as Mrs. Madeleine Aumont, put under guardianship and placed against her will in a retirement home in Livarot.

[68] From 1961 to 1965, very many people have been witnesses to inexplicable events, which then have made the headlines and given rise to a commission of inquiry, […] « On 22 August 1961, the members of the Commission appointed by the Bishop arrived at Garabandal, with the mission to study these strange phenomena. They were two or three priests, a physician and a photographer. Their conduct during the course of this evening does not seem to be able to be cited as an example: with regard to the observation of the events themselves, their provisions of impartiality, the extent of their gestures and their discomfort. […] For this last [Conchita], began the same day [27 July 1961] the testing arranged by the members of the Commission, Dr. Don José Luis Pinal and the priest Francisco Odriozola. To the tests, which weree more or less mental or emotional, was added a change of scene: presence at the beach, at performances, entertainment, etc. […] With this intensive treatment of worldliness, they used during their interviews with the girl certain techniques: a mixture of flattery and threats, those who were acting on behalf of the Commission finally arrived at what apparently they wished for, to extract from Conchita « evidence » against the veracity of everything that had happened.  » (Cf. Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 31/152 p.)

[69]On 9 October 1968, the secretariat of the bishopric of Santander published a note in the Official Bulletin of the Diocese (Boletin O. del Obispado, noviembre 1968 p. 465.) about the alleged apparitions of Garabandal, recalling canon 1399 No. 5 of the 1917 Code of 1917, whereas this had been repealed. According to Father Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 103-104/152 p., « It was not a canonical condemnation, since no canonical trial, no study worthy of this name had preceded this note. » However, he recalled that « In Spain, at that time, the word of a bishop was regarded as indisputable.” (Cf. Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 103-104/152 p.)

[70] Guillon (Mgr. Clément), extracts from the letter and note of 16 November 2007 addressed to the President of the Association of Friends of Kérizinen. (Archives of the Association)

[71] www.ressource.fr/fdn/Dossier/Classeur2/BEElementsDeReponse_MgrPican_190306.htm

[72] N We have seen particularly that the imprimatur had been lifted for the publication of books relating to apparitions.

[73] http://apotres.amour.free.fr/page33/DOZULE.htm

[74] In 1951, no contentious-administrative recourse was possible, since the second section of the Supreme Tribunal was not yet created. Even if it had been created, contentious-administrative recourse would have been impossible to win, because evidence of a possible violation of the law was not known to the visionary or her friends.

[75] Cf. Zulueta, Lito (June 1, 2016). « Vatican overrules Batangas bishop; declared 1948 Marian apparitions not genuine.” The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 6 June 2016. Eugenio, Damiana L. (1996). Philippine folk literature: The Legends. University of the Philippines. p. 109. ISBN 978-971-8729-05-2; « Vatican reverses ruling on Lipa Marian apparition.” GMA News. June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.

[76] Hoyeau (Céline), in La Croix urbi & orbi of 6 June 2016: It is this decree that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called « null and void,” « In light of the fact that the 1951 Declaration was a decision confirmed by the Sovereign Pontiff and therefore final.” « The subject of the phenomenon of Lipa does not fall under the authority of the local diocesan bishop,” said the decree of the CDF.

[77] E-mail addressed to the author on 3 February 2017.

[78] E-mails addressed to the author on 4 and 6 Septembre 2017.

[79] Prot 18881/87/CA, Studia Canonica, 25 (1991), p 403-415.

[80] Védrine (Hubert) French Minister of Foreign Affairs, letter of 6 December 1999 to Mr. Albright, terminating the diplomatic dialogue of France with the United States on the theme of religious freedom, cited by Etienne OLLION, Raison d’Etat, histoire de la lutte contre les sectes en France, édition La découverte, 2017, April 2017, 360 p

[81] Werckmeister (Jean), « les sectes », in Revue de droit canonique, 51/1, 2001,
p. 3-4. « It is worth noting that in the same magazine (p. 44), Le Vallois (Philippe) is opposed to the appreciation of intolerance for only Catholics, in recalling how the Protestants are shown to have been intransigent vis-a-vis the Anabaptist sect.

[82] www.coordiap.com/press3012-conference-lutte-anti-sectes-bilan-et-perspectives.htm

[83] Bécourt (Thierry), La nouvelle chasse aux sorcières, Paris, Omnium éditions, 1992, 111 p.

[84] Before 1954, it was mainly the freemasons, Socialists, Old Catholics, communists, and of the school of the teaching of Jean Mace, then in 1954, two brother preachers clarified the context, namely H. CH. CHARY, L’offensive des sectes, Paris Cerf et M. B. Lavaud Sectes modernes et foi catholique, (Paris Aubier), by attracting the wrath of Protestant authors like Jean Seguy, Les sectes protestantes dans la France contemporaine, Paris 1956, Beauchesne & Fils.

Messner (Francis), Les Nouvelles religions, cours reprographié, Strasbourg, USHS, 1988, p. 33 cited by Le Vallois (Philippe) « Définition de la secte et attitudes envers les sectes dans l’Église catholique romaine »  in Revue de droit canonique, 51/1, 2001, p. 53-73.

[85] Can. 2314 § 1 All apostates of the Christian faith, all heretics or schismatics and each of them:

1° incur by the fact itself an excommunication;

2° if after a warning, they do not come to recant, they are to be deprived of any profit, dignity, pension, office or other charge, if they had these in the Church, and are to be declared infamous; after two warnings, those who are clerics must be removed.

3° if they have given their name to a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to one, they are infamous by that very fact; taking into account the prescription of can. 188 n. 4, that clerics, after an inefficcious warning, are to be demoted.

[86] Cf. c. 316 for accession to a public association, c. 1041 for validly receiving the sacrament of orders, c. 1124 for marriage, c. 1184 for ecclesiastical funerals.

[87]Response of the CPI/17-67 of 30-07-1934 (AAS 26 [1934] 494; DC 32 [1934] col. 901-902).

[88] Vernette (Jean Maurice), born on 26 February 1929 in Port Vendres, ordained a priest of the Diocese of Montauban on March 30, 1952, doctor of theology, licentiate in philosophy and canon law, was known for his great knowledge of sects. In 1973, the Permanent Council of the French Bishops’ Conference appointed him delegate to the episcopate for questions on sects and new religious movements. He published many books on sects between 1976 and 2001, including Sectes et réveil religieux Quand l’occident s’éveille, Salvator, Mulhouse, 1976 and Les sectes, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, coll. « Que sais-je ? », No. 2519, 1990 or Dictionnaire des groupes religieux aujourd’hui, with Claire Moncelon, Presses universitaires de France, 2001.

[89] Arinze (Cardinal Francis), Le défi des sectes ou des nouveaux mouvements religieux, approche pastorale, in DC 19 mai 1991, No 2028, p. 483-499.

[90] Document-Episcopat No 15, novembre 1991, p. 3, col 2.

[91] The report was approved on 22 December 1995 by the seven members present, eight days after the massacre of the Solar Temple, including relatives of the victims and the filmmaker Yves Boisset have declared after the fact that it was not a collective suicide but a murder with a flamethrower. www.assemblee-nationale.fr/rap-enq/r2468.asp

[92] Outside of France, the Parliamentary report has been the subject of violent criticism, including that of Massimo Introvigne and J. Gordon Melton « Pour en finir avec les sectes le débat sur le rapport de la commission parlementaire. » http://ec.cef.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/pontier_reponse_hamant.pdf

[93] http://ec.cef.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/pontier_reponse_hamant.pdf

[94] www.eglise.catholique.fr/structure/cellule-pour-les-derives-sectaires-dans-des-communautes-catholiques/

[95] Sorlin (Soeur Chantal-Marie), on the staff of the Bureau des Dérives Sectaires www.eglise.catholique.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/03/CRIT%C3%88RES-sep.-2014.pdf

[96] Benedict XVI, , « Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Remission of the Excommunication of the Four Bishops Consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre
,” Vatican City, 10 March 2009, http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20090310_remissione-scomunica.html

[97] Trouslard (Jacques), Communication aux chefs d’Établissement de l’Enseignement Catholique. This document, put online by the Church of Scientology on October 18, 2002, was removed on 11 June 2006, at the request of the Apostolic Nuncio. http://scientologie.fraude.free.fr/12/opus-dosnon.htm, but parts of it may be found on other sites, like www.prevensectes.com/opus11.htm, consulted 17 December 2016.

[98] Decree of 13 July 2001, on the promotion and appointment to the Legion of Honor, JORF No.162 of 14 July 2001 p. 11,337.

[99] Cotton (Marc-André) « L’Etat inquisiteur », Editions des 3 monts, 3rd edition, Auxerre 2010, p. 14.

[100] Prot 49737/14 CA, cases submitted to Canonists without Borders.

[101] www.sos-derive-sectaire.fr/AIcourrier.htm consulted on 22 Septembre 2013.

[102] http://opuslibre.free.fr/v/spip.php?article22 Mgr. Trouslard joked about the phonetic similarity between being “obsessed by sects” that no one mentions, and being “obsessed by sex” that people speak about often.

[103] Vernette (Mgr. Jean-Maurice) He got married on July 24, 2002 in Toulouse to Ms. Liliane Josette Moncelon, whose name is in reality Claire, Liliane, Josette, as was recalled on 20 December 2002 by the family affairs judge of the Superior Court of Tours (France).

[104] http://ec.cef.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/pontier_reponse_hamant.pdf

[105] Francis (Pope) Homily of 30 January 2017, during morning Mass in the house-chapel of Saint Martha, Vatican City.