A series of visions of the Virgin Mary, that supposedly took place at Lipa city in Batangas province in 1948, are “not of supernatural origin”, said leading Catholic school University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Sunday (July 10).
The UST, of the Dominican order, also rebuked one of its priests for printing novena booklets that promote “unauthentic” miracles attributed to the 1948 sightings, which have not been recognized by the Church, according to the Union of Catholic Asian News.
The University’s Faculty of Theology said Father Roland Mactal’s novena violated the “Pastoral Guidelines for Bishops on Private Devotions to Our Blessed Mother Mary, Mediatrix of Grace [All Graces]” issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
According to the guidelines, no clergyman should connect or revive a Marian devotion such as the recitation of a novena or the rosary, to a series of purported apparitions in Batangas for being inauthentic.
UST said that Father Mactal, who teaches at UST, violated this when he printed the texts of the novena and used the image of the Our Lady of Lipa on the cover. It stressed that while the priest had mentioned some Church authorities in the printed novena, it did not mean that they had endorsed the devotion of the Lipa visions.
The Faculty of Theology has reprimanded Father Mactal for using the letterhead of the Faculty in the publication of his message and sternly admonished him to cease using the letterhead unless with the explicit permission of the Dean.
The Lipa apparitions
In 1948, a woman named Teresita Castillo joined a Carmelite monastery in Lipa City. One day, she claimed she heard a voice instructing her to go back to the same location about 15 days later.
On September 15, 1948, she again heard the voice which she described as “mother” and later, believed was the voice of the Virgin Mary. However, in 2015, the Vatican ruled that the apparitions, including Castillo's visions, were inauthentic and were not of divine or supernatural origin.
Then president of the bishops’ conference Archbishop Socrates Villegas, added that the case was closed and must not be revisited by any clergyman or churchgoer. He added that Filipino Catholics do not need the Lipa apparitions to honor Mary.
“We do not need apparitions to honor her,” Archbishop Villegas added.