Canon Law on Private Revelation

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The following statements should clarify the Church’s standing on private revelations, visions, miracles, and apparition sites.

The following statement is recorded in the Code of Canon Law of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

ECCLESIASTICAL PERMISSION IS NOT REQUIRED FOR PUBLICATION OF REVELATIONS, VISIONS, OR MIRACLES.

A decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was published in the Official Acts of the Holy See (A.A.S.) 58/16, dated December 29, 1966. Articles 1399 and 2318 of Canon Law are abrogated by this decree. This decree of abrogation was approved on October 14, 1966, by Pope Paul VI, who ordered its publication at the same time.

This approval by the Holy Father took place during an audience accorded to Cardinal Ottaviani, Pro-Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The decree was made in Rome, November 15, 1966. It bears the signatures of:

Cardinal Ottaviani, Pro-Prefect
P. Parente, Secretary
The decree took effect three months after its publication on March 29, 1967.

 

Canon 1399

Canon 1399 forbade the publishing of certain books such as those that deal with revelations, visions, prophecies, and miracles.

THIS CANON WAS REPEALED ON MARCH 29, 1967.

This means that as far as these publications are concerned, prohibition is lifted as to their being bound by ecclesiastical law, and henceforth Catholics are permitted, without need of Imprimatur, Nihil Obstat, or any other permission, to publish accounts of revelations, visions, prophecies and miracles.

Of course, these publications must not put in danger the faith or morals.

This is the general rule, which every Catholic must follow in all his actions, especially journalists.

 

THERE IS HENCEFORTH NO LONGER ANY PROHIBITION CONCERNING THE NARRATIVE OF SEERS, BE THEY RECOGNIZED OR NOT BY ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITY.

THIS IS ALL THE MORE REASON FOR CATHOLICS TO FREQUENT PLACES OF APPARITIONS, EVEN THOSE NOT RECOGNIZED BY ORDINARIES OF THEIR DIOCESES OR BY THE HOLY FATHER, GRANTED THAT THE CATHOLIC VISITORS WHO FREQUENT THESE PLACES RESPECT THE FAITH AND MORALS.

However, they are not subject to any ecclesiastical discipline, not even for their public prayers. Permission is required only for the celebration of Holy Mass or any other religious service.

Canon 2318

Canon 2318 carried penalties against those who violated the laws of censure and prohibition.

THIS CANON HAS BEEN ABROGATED [ABOLISHED] SINCE 1966.

NONE CAN INCUR ECCLESIASTICAL CENSURE FOR FREQUENTING PLACES OF APPARITIONS, EVEN THOSE NOT RECOGNIZED BY THE ORDINARIES OF THEIR DIOCESES OR BY THE HOLY FATHER.

Also, “those who would have incurred the censured treatment in Canon 2318 will be likewise absolved by the very facts of the abrogation [abolishment] of this Canon.”
— Cardinal Ottaviani.

 

STATEMENTS IN REGARD TO PRIVATE REVELATIONS

 

POPE URBAN VIII: “In cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe than not to believe, for, if you believe, and it is proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because our Holy Mother asked it. If you believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true.” (Pope Urban VIII, 1623-44)

POPE ST. JOHN XXIII, February 18, 1959: “We exhort you to listen with simplicity of heart and honesty of mind to the salutary warnings of the Mother of God. The Roman Pontiffs, if they have been constituted the guardians and interpreters of the divine revelation contained in the Scriptures and in Tradition, also have the duty, when, after mature examination, they deem it necessary for the common good, of bringing to the attention of the faithful those supernatural lights which it pleases God to dispense freely to certain privileged souls, not for the purpose of presenting new doctrines, but rather to guide us in our conduct.”

  1. THOMAS AQUINAS stated that the purpose of private revelation is not to prove the truth of Christian Doctrine, or to add anything to it, but to offer to men of a certain period – and because of the circumstances of that period – direction for human action.

 

FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH, NO EXPLANATION IS NECESSARY!
FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT, NO EXPLANATION IS POSSIBLE!!

 

 

SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

(from the Vatican website)

DECREE

Decree regarding canons 1399 and 2318 no longer in force

Following the publication of the “Notification” of June 14, 1966, regarding the “Index” of prohibited books, it has been requested of this Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that canon 1399 remain in force, prohibiting certain books by law, as well as canon 2318, imposing penalties on transgressors of the law regarding the censure and prohibition of books.

The questions have been submitted to the plenary Session of Wednesday, October 12, 1966, during which the Cardinal Fathers, having considered the protection of the faith, responded as follows:

1) Negative regarding the two requests relative to the validity of the ecclesiastical laws; though one must nevertheless remember the value of the moral law which absolutely prohibits endangering faith and good morals;

2) those that are under the censures mentioned in canon 2318 are considered absolved, by the fact itself of the abrogation of the canon in question.

In the course of the Audience granted on November 14, 1966, to his Eminence, the Cardinal Pro-Prefect of this Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI approved the present decree and ordered its publication.

Given in Rome from the seat of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on November 15, 1966.

 

Cardinal A. Ottaviani
Pro-Prefect

P. Parente
Secretary

 

 

 


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