The Vatican creates an Observatory of apparitions and mystical phenomena linked to the Virgin Mary to study the various cases whose authenticity has not yet been approved by the Church.
The Pontifical Marian Academy Internationalis (PAMI) has instituted this observatory to interpret not only Marian apparitions but also lachrymations, interior locutions, stigmata, and other mystical phenomena of the past and present that are still awaiting a response from the ecclesiastical authority.
In a press release, the President of PAMI, Fr. Stefano Cecchin, points out that "the objective we propose is to offer concrete support for the study, authentication and correct diffusion of these facts, always in harmony with the ecclesiastical magisterium, the competent authorities and the current regulations of the Holy See on the matter."
To achieve this, he assures that the observatory "will act in a systematic, strategic, multidisciplinary and qualified manner and collaborate with experts, researchers and high-level personalities in the scientific field and ecclesiastical authorities."
He also clarified that often these phenomena generate confusion, and for this reason, "it is important to provide informative support since the treatment of certain cases requires adequate preparation."
The observatory is composed of a Steering Committee and a Central Scientific Committee. It has officially started its activities with a first meeting on Saturday, April 15, at the PAMI headquarters in Rome, where it will work on a routine basis.
"The purpose of the Observatory is to act efficiently, to activate national and international commissions to evaluate and study apparitions and mystical phenomena reported in various areas of the world, to promote updating and training activities on these types of events and their multiple spiritual and cultural meanings," explained Fr. Cecchin.
In addition, it intends to promote high-level outreach and consultancy activities, especially at the service of local Churches and bishops, "but also transdisciplinary research activities in concert with academic institutions, both lay and ecclesiastical, and the publication of the results of the research carried out."
Almudena Martínez-Bordiú is a Spanish journalist and correspondent for ACI Prensa in Rome and the Vatican, with three years of experience in religious information. She has a double degree in Journalism and Advertising from San Pablo CEU University in Madrid. She has a passion for investigative journalism and for telling stories in a close way.