POPE FRANCIS tightens the rules on fake miracles to avoid scandals in the Catholic Church – See what will happen beginning today?

Sunday, May 19, 2024 – Head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis has moved to make it difficult for the purveyors of fake miracles within the church.

Starting today, the Catholic Church will have new rules to tackle the rising tide of claims related to supernatural phenomena after the Vatican issued new guidelines urging caution and stringent scrutiny.

The document drafted by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), sets out to refine the Church’s approach to reports of miraculous occurrences, such as weeping statues and divine apparitions.

The guidelines will replace the previous norms established in 1978 and will come into effect on Sunday, May 19, coinciding with the feast of Pentecost. This new framework calls for a more thorough investigation into such claims to prevent fraudulent or financially motivated incidents from misleading the faithful.

Highlighting the potential risks, the document warns against actions that could "damage the unity of the Church" or cause "scandals and undermine the credibility of the Church." The guidelines reflect concerns that in the age of social media, the dissemination of misinformation and rumours regarding supernatural events has increased significantly.

Under the revised rules, bishops are advised to issue a "nihil obstat" – meaning no obstacle – in cases of purported supernatural phenomena. 

This declaration does not confirm the events as miraculous but indicates there is no objection to them from a doctrinal perspective. 

The Vatican emphasises that formal recognition of supernatural events remains exceptionally rare.

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, head of the DDF, stated that the updated guidelines are designed to modernise the Church’s response to the proliferation of online claims of apparitions and miracles. The aim is to enable quicker decisions while still respecting popular devotion.

Previously, local bishops had the autonomy to rapidly declare the supernatural nature of phenomena, sometimes leading to conflicting conclusions by the Vatican or subsequent bishops.

The new directives centralise this authority, making it clear that declarations of supernatural occurrences are now primarily reserved for the Pope.


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