Bishops told not to hold rites on Lipa ‘apparitions’
Citing the advice from the Vatican, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has asked fellow prelates to refrain from holding any commemoration of the so-called Marian apparitions in Lipa, Batangas province, whose 75th anniversary would come next month.
CBCP President and Caloocan Bishop Pablo David issued the reminder to Lipa City Archbishop Gilbert Garcera and other prelates in his Circular No. 23-04.
Dated July 14, the circular was posted on the CBCP website apparently in anticipation of any commemorative event that would be mounted in August by those who believe accounts about the series of Marian apparitions to a Carmelite novice in Lipa in 1948.
A group called Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace has staunchly defended the commemoration of the apparitions despite a ruling in 1951 by the Vatican’s Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy See saying the manifestations had “no supernatural character and origin.”
A leading member of the group, former Sandiganbayan Justice Harriet Demetriou, sued an exorcist priest, Fr. Winston Cabading, in December last year for alleged violation of Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code (“offending religious feelings”) after he cited the Vatican ruling in various statements and interviews.
Cabading was arrested in connection with the case on May 13 and posted bail two weeks later.
He was due for arraignment on June 1, but Judge Madonna Concordia Echiverri of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 81 reset the proceedings to Aug. 1 to give the priest time to seek the dismissal of the case at the Department of Justice.
David’s circular cited a May 8 letter from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the Vatican’s prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The predecessor of Ladaria’s office is the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy See, which ruled against the Lipa apparitions.
The letter to David cited an earlier correspondence by Garcera seeking the Dicastery’s advice regarding the Confraternity’s preparations for the apparitions’ anniversary.
“Since Cardinal Ladaria addressed [his letter] to my office as CBCP president, I presuppose that he expects me to communicate it, not just to the archbishop of Lipa, but to the rest of you, our brother bishops in the CBCP, with the specific instruction that we ‘dissuade any form of activity in view of the proposed celebration in Lipa,’” David said in his circular.
Ladaria’s letter to David noted that “devotion [to the apparitions] appear to have continued almost unabated to this day.”
It also pointed out the “theological inaccuracy” of the title “Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace,” saying this was associated with another event involving another nun, Sr. Teresita Castillo, who was said to have received instructions to use that name for that apparition. INQ