The Church's position in relation to the apparitions of Garabandal 

In the case of apparitions, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could have interceded and conducted an investigation into the apparitions, taking it out of the hands of the Bishop of Santander. However, the Congregation has persistently refused to interfere in the process, arguing that no relevant event would have occurred recently and, therefore, the Congregation has no reason to interfere. In the end, the decisions were left to the bishop, including the one concerning the guidelines, and praising him for the zeal he would have shown in the matter. It can be inferred that the announced Warning or Miracle should be confirmed, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should change its position. So, over time, the Congregation remains in the position it has so often been in the past: accept the status quo and wait for the results. 



Although two committees called by the bishops of Santander declared that there was no phenomenon capable of authenticating the facts as undoubtedly supernatural, they did not invalidate the message. 

In this regard, the first commission stated that "we have found nothing that needs ecclesiastical censorship or condemnation, whether in doctrine or in spiritual recommendations addressed to the faithful". Bishop Juan Antonio Del Val, who called the second commission, upon retiring declared that "Garabandal's message was important and theologically correct". 

Four consecutive bishops of Santander made statements contesting the supernatural character of Garabandal's apparitions, which had already gained strength among the faithful. Below is a brief summary of the statements made by various bishops who served the diocese from the beginning of the apparitions to the present day.

Bishop Doroteo Fernandez (apostolic administrator from May 1961 to January 1962) published two notes. The first was launched just before two months had elapsed since the beginning of the apparitions, and only a month before after Conchita's first denials, in which he claimed that there was no evidence confirming the supernatural character of the apparitions. The commission made only two or three visits to the site of the apparitions. 

Bishop Eugenio Beitia Aldazabal (January 1962 to January 1965) also published two notes. The first says that "phenomena of this type lack supernatural origins and have explanations of a natural nature". This trial was undoubtedly premature, since the episcopal commission appointed to investigate what was happening at Garabandal did not produce any consistent scientific examination. He also imposed restrictions on priests going to the city without permission from the diocese; however, he did not condemn what was happening and stated that :

"We found nothing that deserves ecclesiastical censure or condemnation, whether in the doctrine or spiritual recommendations that have been published and are directed to the faithful, since they contain exhortations to prayer and sacrifice, Eucharistic devotion, devotion to Our Lady in traditional and commendable ways, and a sacred fear of God, who is saddened by our sins ". 

Bishop Vicente Puchol Montis (July 1965 to May 1967) tried to end Garabandal. He released a note that was not based on the technical committee's report, as his predecessors did, but on the statements of visionaries who, according to Bishop Puchol, proved that there had been no apparitions and messages and that "all the events that took place in this city have natural explanation ". 

Bishop José Cirarda Lachiondo (July 1968 to December 1971) was directly opposed to Garabandal and coordinated, through Cardinal Jean Villot (Vatican secretary), the presentation to the national and foreign press of a new note on the events in Garabandal, on October 9, 1968. 

Bishop Juan Antonio Del Val Gallo (December 1971 to August 1991) was the only bishop in Santander who saw the visionaries in a moment of wonder. With him, there was a change in the official position on Garabandal. In 1987 he opened a new investigation into the apparitions and lifted the ban on visits by priests to the place, authorizing them to celebrate masses in the village church, with the permission of the respective priest. 

Although in these notes, over time, the bishops did not point out anything supernatural about the alleged apparitions (an issue that remains open to revision, in the light of new information or better scientific studies on existing ones), they said nothing that go against the content ("we found nothing that deserves ecclesiastical censorship or condemnation, whether in doctrine or in spiritual recommendations that have been published"), and this was and is precisely its functions, as the Church directs.


To properly assess the unfavorable opinion of the four bishops of Santander, we must consider the arguments on which they are based, as in the case of the first two, in the report of the technical committee, and in the case of the other two, not only the judgment of the predecessor bishops but also in the negation of visionaries. This committee apparently consisted of three canons and professors from Santander. The fact is that there is more than enough information to reasonably suspect that the members of this commission adopted a negative and preconceived attitude towards the apparitions in Garabandal, an attitude that we can sum up in the fact that for them it was unacceptable that the Blessed Virgin Mary could appear so often, in such unusual dress, for four girls from a small village in the mountains of Santander and that, therefore, everything would have to be attributed to the imagination of the four girls, encouraged by the pilgrims who continually drive to Garabandal. After 40 days of the first appearances Conchita, who was considered the protagonist, was transferred to Santander, at the request of certain members of the committee, in an effort to end the alleged apparitions, recommending what would be a "good atmosphere and distractions in Santander. "as a treatment for what his" fantasies and hallucinations "would be. In addition, committee members rarely visited the event site, as numerous eyewitnesses claim, and as a result, they witnessed few moments of wonder and extraordinary phenomenon. According to the accounts of reliable witnesses, the member who testified the most often was present on only six occasions, always showing an evidently negative and preconceived bias. There are many phrases and incidents involving committee members that demonstrate this preconceived position. Given all of the above, it follows that the notes that were published by the bishops of Santander, based on the reports of the technical committee, suffer from the absence of serious and impartial information on the part of the commission. On May 30, 1983, Dr. Luis Morales Noriega, appointed by the apostolic administrator bishop Doroteo Fernandez as chief examiner of the Commission for the Investigation of the Apparitions, reviewed his previous negative views and acknowledged the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Garabandal during a lecture at the University of Santander, with a large number of people in the audience and with the permission of the Bishop of Santander. He also said that there was no formal commission or investigation; it was a scam. 


Regarding the Holy See, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not published or edited any statement on its behalf addressed to the Catholic world about the events in Garabandal. She never publicly or officially expressed her opinion about contemporary appearances in Spain. Meanwhile, the secretary of the Congregation sent two letters to the bishops of Santander and another, more recently, to Archbishop Hannan of New Orleans. But these are not official positions addressed to the world on behalf of the Congregation, nor do they have the authority to make such official statements. In these letters sent to the persons mentioned, the Congregation never included a positive statement, expressing agreement with the judgment of the Santander bishops. These letters praised the various bishops of Santander for the "prudence and pastoral zeal" that they would have shown in examining the apparitions of Garabandal, but offered no explicit agreement with the verdict of the bishops of Santander, which refuses to admit Garabandal's divine origin. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been silent about its position on the events of Garabandal. Even the strong support given by her to the bishops of Santander is far from being an opinion on the character of those facts. In addition to not taking responsibility for the investigation, the Congregation can only support the work of the diocese - which, however, does not imply agreement with the diocese in matters of doctrine. Interestingly, the constant pressure put on the Congregation by the diocese of Santander in these years, to obtain a declaration that would end the case of Garabandal - pressure documented in correspondence published between the two entities - never obtained the desired declaration, neither from the cardinal, nor from the Pope. Thus, speaking officially both at the level of the diocese and in terms of the Vatican, "the case remains open", and continues to gather new information. Visiting clergy can celebrate masses at the local church. In technical terms, the case of Garabandal's apparitions cannot be closed until two great prophecies are fulfilled: 1) The Warning and 2) The Miracle


Pope Paul VI's position on Garabandal

Pope Paul VI spoke the most authoritative and praiseworthy words that were spoken about the apparitions of Garabandal. This happened during the audience he gave to Father Escalada S.J. and said:

"It is the most beautiful story of mankind since the birth of Christ. It is like the second life of the Blessed Virgin on earth, and there are no words to thank him." 

This news was published in the magazine that publishes Difusora Mariana de AC de México, and also in the Peruvian White Legion, with «IMPRIMÁTUR» by Monsignor Alfonso Zaplana Belliza, Bishop of Tacna, Peru, on November 7, 1968. The Pope information about the apparitions. He had read with great interest the story of the apparitions, Dr. Bonance's circulars and Cardinal Ottaviani's information about the interview with Conchita that took place in January 1966. so that Fr. Escalada was enough to give him an interview. rapid exposure of events.volume_upcontent_copyshare

It was some years ago that Father Morelos communicated this news to Father Lúcio Rodrigo SJ, professor for many years at the Pontifical University of Comillas in Cantabria: "Father Escalada, a Mexican Jesuit, who spreads the messages of Garabandal in his homeland, was received in audience by the Pope; Father Escalada was accompanied by the Superior General of the Society of Jesuits, Father Pedro Arrupe ". Father Escalada spoke to the Pope about his work in spreading it in Mexico. The Pope then encouraged him and said: "It is necessary to make these messages known". 

When this news of such importance was known, we wanted to have the greatest guarantee about its authenticity and a lady from Barcelona wrote to the Jesuit Father Ramón María Andréu; He replied from Valladolid, dated April 13, 1967: "The news about Father Arrupe and Father Escalada is certain. The two of them raped the Pope. Father Escalada asked if he could continue to spread the message of Garabandal and the Pope. I told him that YES. "Fr Escalada, entrusted by the Pope's exceptional appreciation, said:" Yes, Your Holiness, but there are many people who are opposed, even from ours. "Then the Pope raised his voice and replied: "Does not matter; tell these people that it is the Pope who says it, that it is urgent to make these messages known to the world ". 

Pope Paul VI and the sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Barcelona 

According to the testimony given in Garabandal by the same Superiors of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Barcelona, confirmed by the Swiss priest present on that day in Garabandal before the Mother Superior of the Institute, on her visit to Pope Pablo VI, she asked if she could allow the spreading of Garabandal's messages in his Religious Institute and the Pope replied: "I have spread the message of Garabandal with charity among you." The Swiss priest, M. Luis Demierre, confirmed it by letter on 4 December 1969.

Apostolic Blessing to the Garabandal Centers of England and Ireland. 

Mr. N. Bacchus sent His Holiness Paul VI, on December 5, 1968, a letter pleading for a special Apostolic blessing for their Garabandal centers. The letter was accompanied by a brief "dossier", which Cardinal Secretary of State Monsignor Cicognani sent to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On March 3, 1969, Pope Paul VI granted his special Apostolic Blessing to Mr. N. Bacchus and all the Garabandal Centers in England and Ireland, to spread the messages of Garabandal in his apostolate.

Marian Diffuser  A. C from Mexico 

In Juno 1969, Pope Paul VI sent to the members of the Board of "Difusora Mariana de A.C." from Mexico, a special blessing, and accompanied with a personal gift for each of them, a crucifix, to encourage them to follow their apostolate, telling them the following: 

«Tell those of them, to continue spreading the messages, that I bless you and pray for me. 

Special blessing to the group of María Saraco. 

On May 7, 1970, he entered the Basilica of St. Peter of the Vatican, a nourishing pilgrimage of North Americans from the Vatican Basilica square and they had a banner with a large image of the Virgin of Garabandal with this inscription: «St. Michael's Garabandal Center for our Lady of Carmel. Brockton. Mass. U.S.A. ». It was the Garabandal Center of S. Miguel located on the east coast of the United States, run by Maria Saraco. Since 1964, she has been spreading the messages given by the Blessed Virgin in Garabandal. Years later, this center moved to California. With the banner high up inside St. Peter's Basilica, they attended the general audience located in a very prominent place and next to the Papal altar. When His Holiness arrived before these pilgrims, he ordered the procession to stop before the banner of the Virgin of Garabandal and performed a special Blessing on it. As soon as he finished the Blessing, he said these words: Keep going ". The pilgrims, knowing what it was about and after seeing what the Pope had done, started to kiss the banner inside the same St. Peter's Basilica to to pay homage to the Virgin of Garabandal. It was the day of the Ascension of the Lord. This group of North Americans was present in Rome, but as the next destination, Garabandal. On May 8, "LÓSSERVATORE", broke the news on the front page. 

Apostolic Blessing to Father Verfaille S.D.B. and its collaborators. 

On December 12, 1970, the Pope granted another new special Apostolic Blessing to Father Verfaille S.D.B. and to its collaborators at the Marian Center of Garabandal, in the Republic of Zaire, in Africa.

In January 1966 Pope Paul VI blesses the Conchita 

Wednesday, January 19, 1966 

The Pope in the Gestatory Chair leaves the room where he had the general audience. He spots Professor Medi, his personal physician, and calls him: - Professor, Professor. He then says to the bearers of the Chair: - Fermi tutti. An indication to put down the Gestatory Chair and walk away. Papa is left alone with the small group of Dr. Medi in which Conchita, her mother and Father Luna were, and thus the hearing takes place outside the program. They have been able to speak calmly. Conchita spoke personally with the Pope. This audience, supernatural, prepared and achieved by the Blessed Virgin, ended like this: 

The Pope, enchanted, enlightened, blesses Conchita with these words: 

"Conchita, I bless you, and with me the whole Church blesses you." , 

the small group, with unspeakable joy, went to the car to go directly to the airport for the trip back to Spain. Statement by Cardinal Ottaviani on the Apparitions of Garabandal, which at that time were under study by the Holy Office At 10 a.m. on November 27, 1968, Brother David García Muga, a native of La Cerca, province of Burgos, Spain, born in 1913, entered the Vatican Palace of the Holy Office to meet with his Pro-Prefect, HE Cardinal Ottaviani. During the interview, Brother David asked him: 

Br. David: Is it true that this Congregation is studying the case of Garabandal? 

C. Ottaviani: Yes, it is true. 

Br David: Is it true that the Congregation sent a delegate to Garabandal? 

C. Ottaviani: Yes, it is true. I sent it. 

Br David: Is it true that the Congregation called Conchita to testify? 

C. Ottaviani: Yes, yes, it is true. Was with me. 

H. David: And what is your personal opinion? The cardinal smiled and said: Look, excuse me, but when a matter is being discussed in this Congregation, all the members have a serious obligation not to say anything to anyone, neither for nor against. 

Brother David says: I then I explained my cure for leukemia by Our Lady of Garabandal and my commitment to speak about her Messages everywhere and I told her: In various places they have wanted to forbid me to speak of these things, because they say that these Apparitions are not approved. So, do you mean that until this Congregation has spoken, I cannot fulfill my promise with the Blessed Virgin? 

He answered me without hesitation: No way. You can keep talking wherever you want. But yes, always in a personal capacity and under her own responsibility, without involving the Church, and for the rest, no one can forbid her to tell of her miraculous healing and attribute it to the Virgin of Garabandal, to speak of the wonderful events.No one can oppose these things. Now, the day this Congregation pronounces, you abide by what it says. Having solved my problem in this way, he accompanied me with all deference through various rooms, speaking highly of Spain and especially of the Virgen del Pilar, where I He said that he had had the good fortune to be. Brother David, whose first name is Bernardo, belongs to the Religious Institute of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. At this time he was teaching at the Colegio Gral. Benito Nazar of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

The Investigative Commission: It must be said that, among the members of the Commission, it is well known that Dr. Morales, its main physician, retracted his previous negative position and, as of 1983, became a fervent defender of the Apparitions. Similarly, Mr. Juan Antonio del Val enjoyed the full confidence of Mr. Doroteo Fernández and for this reason he was a member of the Commission and a witness to the Apparitions. At the end of 1971 he was appointed Bishop of Santander. The Bishop of Santander from 1971 to 1991, D. Juan Antonio del Val, studied everything on his own, because he saw that all this required a more in-depth study and that it was very serious. He gave Conchita permission to make the BBC film and later gave the Priests permission to go up to Garabandal and say Holy Mass in the Church, which had previously been forbidden, and promoted a new study on the Apparitions.

Pope John Paul II and the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Garabandal.

In the Vatican, the testimonies of Don Valentín, the parish priest of Cosío and Garabandal during the Apparitions, and the testimony of the visionaries were very well received, both by Pope Paul VI and by John Paul II. John Paul II with Joey Lomangino, founder of "The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal", "The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal" who spread the Messages and the Apparitions of Garabandal since 1965 and Joey, did personally, since 1963. Joey, blind from the age of 16 due to a work accident, has the promise of the Virgin in Garabandal that on the day of the Miracle he will regain his sight. Pope John Paul II believes in the Apparitions of Garabandal. He read the book in German on the Apparitions "Garabandal, Der Zeigefinger Gottes" from the photo, written by Albretch Weber. From its second edition you can read these words that the Pope wrote to its author: 

"May God reward you for everything. Especially for the deep love with which you are making known the events related to Garabandal, that the Message of the Mother of God be received in the hearts before it is too late. As an expression of joy and gratitude, the Holy Father gives you his Apostolic Blessing. »

Pope John Paul II added a personal greeting with his handwriting and signature. 

The classification of the Church about apparitions

However, the most current theology is faithful to tradition: the magazine of the Spanish Mariological Society in 2009 and Manfred Hauke ​​in 2015, a member of the Pontifical International Mariana Academy, among others, claim that even today, the options are 3: 

- CONSTAT de supernaturalitate, 

- CONSTAT DE NON supernaturalitate

- NON CONSTAT de supernaturalitate

So, we have an Approval or a condemnation or a doubt. 


Two negative expressions must be distinguished: The first denial is one of condemnation: CONSTAT DE NON (it is found that NO is not supernatural). 

The second expresses doubt: NON CONSTAT (there is NO evidence of supernaturality). The expression NON CONSTAT, "although negative in its form, expresses only a doubt from the Commission, which does not reach a majority conclusion, which ends up not clarifying the situation nor the faithful in search of discernment. In this way the diocesan authority (more clearly said) remains in ambiguity "(3) 

According to the Magisterium and Theology, NON CONSTAT means that the Church does not condemn or approve. The question, therefore, is open to all intents and purposes, and the faithful can go there. The Church, in insisting on the Garabandal orthodoxy, sees no harm, even though it expects new data or spiritual fruits to approve the apparitions. 

In Garabandal, disciplinary measures were imposed, banning the pilgrimage of priests to the village, from 1961 and 1962. However, in 1991 and 2007, Msgr. Juan A. del Val and Mons. Carlos Osoro rescinded those prohibitions, encouraging pilgrims to rush to the village in faith. And the fruits are absolutely admirable. 

Thus, while waiting for the Church to offer a definitive judgment, the faithful can already approach Garabandal with devotion. Precisely in the abundance of spiritual fruits of these pilgrimages, the Church will find the best argument for judging the phenomena. In 2017, the Doctoral Thesis of the priest José Luis Saavedra, approved with the highest qualification at the University of Navarra (Spain), refers to the amazing and real current fruits of Garabandal. The Thesis can be found at: (1) Cf. MONS. DEL VAL, J. A., "Audiovisual testimony about Garabandal", in TUBBERTY, M., "Garabandal: The Eyewitness" ("Garabandal: The Visual Witnesses), Auckland 1996 (audiovisual) (2) HAUKE, M., Introduction to Mariology, BAC: Madrid 2015, 262. (3) GUTIÉRREZ GONZÁLEZ, J., "The Apparitions of the Virgin Mary", o. ç. in note 4, 428.

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