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Elaina Ramsey is the Women & Girls Campaign Director at Sojourners.

Vatican Details Rules on Virgin Mary Sightings

Stained glass Virgin Mary with Jesus, CURAphotography /

Stained glass Virgin Mary with Jesus, CURAphotography /

The Vatican has published rules to evaluate the authenticity of the dozens of apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported each year.

The “Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations” have been in use since 1978, but until now had been available only in Latin, never officially published and only circulated among bishops and specialists.

The Vatican document has now been translated into English and other languages to aid bishops in the “difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or ... extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin,” Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Vatican doctrinal office, wrote in a companion letter last December that was published only recently on the Vatican website.