The Catholic Church has a cautious approach when it comes to recognising Marian apparitions and the process can take even hundreds of years. The bishop on these occasions, such as those in Fatima, Portugal, must call for a commission of experts, theologians, canonists, psychologists, and doctors to help him determine the facts.
ROME – When it comes to Marian apparitions, the Catholic Church takes a prudent approach that focuses more on the message than the miracle.
Supernatural phenomena, like the alleged miracle of the sun in Fatima, Portugal, nearly 100 years ago, are not the primary factors in determining an apparition is worthy of belief.
In that particular case, the bishop of Leiria – where Fatima is located – deemed the apparitions, but not the miracle of the sun, were worthy of belief.
His ruling came in 1930, more than a dozen years after Mary’s final apparition to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
More than 1,500 visions of Mary have been reported around the world, but in the past century, fewer than 20 cases have received church approval as worthy of belief.
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This story first appeared on Crux, by Junno Arocho Esteves, April 19, 2017