Church Approves Apparitions of the Lady of All Nations

May 31,2002

In Response to Inquiries Concerning the Lady of All Nations Apparitions

As Bishop of Haarlem/Amsterdam, I have been requested to make a statement regarding the authenticity of the apparitions of Mary as the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam during the years of 1945-1959. Many members of the faithful and bishops have emphasized the urgency for clarification. I also have been personally aware that this development of devotion, which has spanned over 50 years, call for this.

As it is known, my predecessor, Msgr. H. Bomers and myself had previously given permission for public veneration in 1996. As to the supernatural character of the apparitions and contents of the messages, we did not give our judgment, but declared that “everyone is free to make a judgment for himself or herself according to their conscience.” Having had a generally positive attitude towards authenticity, we decided to await further development and to “discern the spirit” further (cf. 1 Thes 5:19-21).

Over the period of six subsequent years, I observed that the devotion had taken its place in the spiritual life of millions all over the world, and that it possesses the support of many bishops. Many experiences of conversion and reconciliation, as well as healings and special protection also have been reported to me. In full recognition of the responsibility of the Holy See, it is primarily the task of the local bishop to speak out in conscience regarding the authenticity of private revelations that take place or have taken place within his diocese.

Therefore I have asked once again for the advice of theologians and psychologists concerning outcomes of previous investigations, and the questions and objections deriving from them. Their recommendations state that no theological or psychological impediments for a declaration of supernatural authenticity can be found therein. I have also requested the judgment of a number of brother bishops concerning the fruits and development of the devotion, who within their own dioceses have experienced a strong devotion of Mary as the Mother and Lady of All Nations. In light and virtue of all these recommendations, testimonies, and developments, and in pondering all this in prayer and theological reflection, I have come to the conclusion that the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam consist of a supernatural origin.

Naturally, the influence of the human element still exists. Authentic images and visions are always transmitted to us, in the words of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, “through the filter of our senses, which carry out a work of translation…” and “…are influenced by the potentialities and limitations of the perceiving subject” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Theological Commentary In Preparation for the Release of the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima, L ‘Osservatore Romano, June 28, 2000).

Unlike Holy Scripture, private revelations are never binding upon the conscience of the faithful. They are a help in understanding the signs of the times and to help live more fully the Gospel (cf. Lk 12:56, Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 67). And the signs of our times are dramatic. The devotion to the Lady of All Nations can help us, in my sincere conviction, in guiding us on the right path during the present serious drama of our times, the path to a new and special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Who alone can heal the great wounds of our times.

To follow the further development of this devotion and to come to an even deeper insight into its meaning, I have installed a commission whose task it will be to continue to document all initiatives, experiences, and testimonies stemming from the devotion in order to help insure and preserve a correct ecclesial and theological progress of devotion

I hope this has provided sufficient information and clarification.

Bisdom van Haarlem Nieuwe Gracht 80, Postbus 1053, 2001 BB Haarlem, Tel. 023 – 511 26 00, Fax 023 – 511 26 29 Militair Ordinariaat

The Lady of All Nations…Who Once Was Mary? Position of the Bishop of Haarlem

The Lady of all NationsWho once was Mary?
Position of the Bishop of Haarlem, Msgr. Dr. Jozef Marianus Punt

 

At the moment a discussion is taking place concerning a clause in the prayer of “The Lady of all Nations”. The occasion for the discussion was a concern expressed by the Secretary of the Congregation of Faith, Archbishop A. Amato, regarding “one particular aspect” of this devotion, that is the clause “who once was Mary“. This concern was communicated to certain Bishops of the Philippines, to the religious community, “Family of Mary”, as well as to the Bishop of Haarlem, Mgr. Dr. J. Punt.

The concern of the Congregation is part of a long tradition. Initially the first local Bishop, Msgr. J. Huibers, who dealt with this devotion sixty years ago, struggled with this clause.

At first he considered the removal of the clause, but upon later reflection he accepted it and granted permission for the ‘Imprimatur’. Up to this day, the prayer has as well received the Imprimatur of approximately seventy Bishops and Cardinals worldwide. This indicates that they saw no contradiction with any teaching of the Church. In 1996, the Prefect of the Congregation permitted the public release of the devotion. In 2002, the local Bishop recognised in its essence the authenticity of the apparitions.

Naturally, the Bishop contacted the Congregation and expressed his opinion on this matter. In the meantime, he has asked the authorities of the devotion to respect the pastoral concern of the Congregation by leaving out or praying silently the clause during public prayer until further notice. The Bishop realizes that for many people this may cause a tension between conviction and obedience, but he refers to the example offered by the visionary herself. Once she experienced a similar type of dilemma and then heard the following words from ‘the Lady’: “obedience comes first”. Of course, obedience does not exclude ongoing and open dialogue on this issue, he states. Also the great and actual importance of this prayer, that asks the “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father” to send “now” the Holy Spirit over our wounded world, completely remains.

In all this, the Bishop also sees a positive side. With this discussion a deeper dialogue is launched. Behind this clause, given after the proclamation of the Dogma of Our Lady’s Assumption, lies a fundamental question: Who truly is Mary in God’s plan of Salvation? What is Her role in the coming of the Holy Spirit? Who is She to be for this time and this world? It was to this dialogue that Pope John Paul II in 2002 explicitly encouraged theologians.

R. Soffner
Coordinator of the Advisory Commission
regarding Devotion of the Lady of all Nations
Diocese of Haarlem / Amsterdam , Netherlands
August 8, 2005