November 1996 a letter from Bishop Jose Vilaplana Blasco of Santander,
Spain, "postmarked October 11, 1996" appeared in a periodical called
GOSPA MISSIONS. Since then, it has been widely circulated causing
confusion because the English translation of the original Spanish is
inaccurate in key areas.
This letter has now appeared on the Internet and in The National Catholic Register and was reprinted in SOUL Magazine in its March-April 1997 issue. We have, therefore, to rectify the situation.
Firstly, the letter is not new. Ramon Perez, the author of Garabandal - the Village Speaks, received the original in Spanish dated 8 June l993 from Bishop Vilaplana. (Where therefore did they get the above-mentioned date of October llth l996? Was it deliberately updated?)
Secondly, we have the original Spanish and it is obvious to those who understand the language that there have been serious discrepancies in the translation. We mention only one as follows:
GOSPA translation: All the bishops of the diocese since l96l through l970 agreed that there was no supernatural validity for the apparitions (last part of the sentence omitted).
CORRECT translation: All the bishops of the diocese since 1961 through 1970 affirmed that the supernatural character of said apparitions was not certain for those succeeding years.
6. Given the declarations of my predecessors who studied the case have been clear and unanimous I do not believe it opportune at this time to make a new public declaration which would only give notoriety to events that happened so long ago. However, I do believe it timely to reissue this information as a direct response to those persons who ask for orientation about this question which I consider finished, accepting the decisions of my predecessors -- which I make my own -- and the directives of the Holy See.
7. Referring to the celebration of the Eucharist in Garabandal, following the dispositions of my predecessors, Mass can only be celebrated in the village church without reference to the alleged apparitions and with the authorisation of the current pastor who acts on my behalf.
of the Spanish verb constar
definitely changes the meaning implied in the letter. But aside
from that, it is nevertheless true that Bishop Vilaplana considers the
matter settled; and has no intention of continuing the study, at the
diocesan level, of these events. What should be the response of the
followers of Garabandal? The facts are these:
With the abrogation in 1967 of canons 1399 and 2318, it is permitted without ecclesiastical censorship, to publish information about alleged manifestations and visit the sites thereof so long as there is nothing in the events contrary to the Church's teaching on Faith and Morals. Garabandal clearly passes this test.
Bishop Vilaplana has cordially received Jacinta on two occasions and Conchita at least once. In fact, after the circulation of his letter, Mari Loli telephoned him about it. He told her it was not meant for publication. (So why was it on the Internet?)
The bottom line is that the Garabandal events are of such an awesome nature that the seal of authenticity can only come from an act of God and that is what we eagerly await in the Warning and Miracle and in the Sign that will be left at the Pines in Garabandal until the end of time. And let's not forget that Fr. Luis Andreu and Padre Pio have already been given a preview of the Miracle. So Garabandalists take heart and be assured that the status of the events is the same as it has always been and will probably remain so until the great events take place. Then, as Our Lady has assured us, "All will believe."
In view of persistent attempts to discredit Garabandal (a blatant case of "they protesteth too much"), here is our response on behalf of our members.
The translation of Bishop Vilaplana's letter published on the Internet is still flawed in that it fails to accurately translate the key parts that designate the status of Garabandal. This is a very important point because whenever bishops deal with private revelation or mystical phenomena to which they are required to render a judgement, they use a very specific terminology, which signifies the classification in which they place the alleged manifestations. This was true in the case of Padre Pio when the genuineness of his stigmata was being called into question and it is also true with Garabandal. There are three classifications:
The key word here is "constat" which has the meaning -- to be certain, to be sure, to be evident. So long as a manifestation is in the second category listed above, it is in the safe zone. Garabandal is in this second category and what is interesting is that the very letter being used to discredit the events confirms its second category status. In Spanish, the verb "constar" is derived from the Latin "constat" and has the same meaning. In Bishop Vilaplana's letter, when referring to the alleged apparitions, he uses the expression "no consta" (not certain) clearly assigning it to the second category.
Also, the detractors of Garabandal claim that because Bishop del Val (predecessor of Bishop Vilaplana as diocesan bishop) said he was "in communion with his predecessors" (some of whom did not believe in the apparitions) that means he also did not believe. This simply is not true and Bishop del Val once admitted to Father Turner that it was an ambiguous statement.
All the bishops, at least of that diocese, are required upon their installation, to publicly affirm their communion with their predecessors. This does not mean they agree with everything they did nor said as evidenced by the fact that Bishop del Val launched a new investigation into Garabandal after his two immediate predecessors, Bishop Puchol and Cirarda, declared there were no apparitions. If "communion" meant "agreement" then why would he have bothered instituting a new study?
We are not at all concerned that Garabandal is still being attacked. Viewed in the light of all God's authentic works throughout Church history, this is a good sign.
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