The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age

Valutazione media 3,97
( su 137 valutazioni fornite da Goodreads )
 
9780525426899: The Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age

“The process by which these supernatural events are authenticated is expertly told by John Thavis, one of the world’s leading Vaticanologists. In fact, that a book on so secretive and complex a topic is so deeply researched, beautifully written, and artfully told is something of a small miracle itself.”—James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vatican Diaries, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Vatican investigates claims of miraculous events


Apocalyptic prophecies and miraculous apparitions are headline-grabbing events that often put the Catholic Church’s concept of “rational faith” at odds with the passion of its more zealous followers. To some, these claims teeter on the edge of absurdity. Others see them as evidence of a private connection with God. For the Vatican, the issue is much more nuanced as each supposed miraculous event could have serious theological and political consequences. In response, the Vatican has developed a highly secretive and complex evaluation system to judge the authenticity of supernatural phenomena.
 
Former journalist John Thavis uses his thirty years’ experience covering the Vatican to shed light on this little-known process, revealing deep internal debates on the power of religious relics, private revelations, exorcisms, and more. Enlightening and accessible to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the book illustrates the Church’s struggle to balance the tension between traditional beliefs and contemporary skepticism. 

Le informazioni nella sezione "Riassunto" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

About the Author:

John Thavis is the prizewinning former Rome bureau chief of the Catholic News Service. He has written extensively on religious issues in Europe and the Middle East, has lectured on Vatican affairs in the United States and Europe, and has won awards for his firsthand reporting on the war in the Balkans. In addition to numerous awards for individual excellence and analytical reporting, he has received the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the Catholic press.  He lives in Minnesota.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

—THE GOSPEL OF SAINT MATTHEW

Introduction:
At the Crossroads of Reason and Wonder

The Mexican man fidgeted in a wheelchair, waiting for a blessing from Pope Francis. It was Pentecost Sunday in May 2013, two months after Francis’s election, and there was already extraordinary public enthusiasm for the new pontiff. The pope’s down-to-earth and unpredictable style had captured the world’s attention, and TV cameras followed his every move. Like his predecessors Francis ended his liturgies by personally greeting a line of the sick and their caregivers. On this day they had assembled in a shaded corner of Saint Peter’s Square. Among them were pilgrims with cancer, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and other serious infirmities.

The young man from Mexico, Angel V., did not suffer from any common illness or disability, however. He was convinced that he was possessed by the devil. For years exorcists in Rome had tried, unsuccessfully, to cast out his demons. One of them believed that Angel was possessed by no fewer than four evil spirits; ridding him of them would require a prodigious spiritual effort. But where ordinary exorcists had failed, perhaps a pope could succeed—especially a pope like Francis, who in his first weeks had shocked listeners by describing the devil as a real force in the modern world, and warning Christians to guard against Satan’s cunning ways. After repeated attempts, Angel’s clerical friends in Rome had finally received permission to bring him to the papal Mass. For the Vatican he was just one more sick person in a wheelchair, but for a small group of priests seeking to revive the exorcism ministry, he was an important test case.

Pope Francis was unaware of all this as he made his way down the line of the ill and impaired, greeting each sufferer and leaning in to offer a few words of comfort. When he came to Angel, he laid his hands on top of the man’s head. Angel began to writhe and breathe heavily. His mouth opened wide, emitting a strange howling sound, and then he slumped in his chair. Vatican security guards quickly blocked the view of the professional photographers who were present and moved the pope along.

Had Pope Francis just performed an exorcism? The media headlines and YouTube postings suggested that he had, and several priests who routinely did exorcisms agreed. If not the full-blown exorcism rite, they said, Francis had at least recited a prayer of liberation from Satan, and the dramatic effect of the pope’s intervention was there for all to see. A few hours later, however, the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, categorically denied that Pope Francis had conducted an exorcism. The pope had simply said a generic prayer to relieve suffering, which he often offered to the sick. For the Vatican, the case was closed.

This episode, described in greater detail in the fourth chapter of this book, is a striking example of the Vatican’s extreme sensitivity to any suggestion of the existence of real-world demonic manifestation. The devil may be acceptable as a theological reality, but not as a personality who makes people howl, levitate, speak in unknown languages, and exhibit superhuman strength—all classic signs of possession, but far too Hollywood for modern Vatican tastes.

In a wider sense the “exorcism” of Angel V. highlights a growing tension between the Vatican’s more intellectual approach to faith, heavily skewed toward philosophical and doctrinal assertions, and the popular thirst for something more tangible. In an age in which Christianity is supposed to be the faith of reason, many are still fascinated by the possibility of miracles, apparitions, encounters with the devil, and other signs of the supernatural.

Balancing these two aspects of faith is a task that has increasingly occupied the Vatican’s time and resources. In recent years its offices have issued a series of instructions aimed at controlling devotional and mystical experiences whenever they threaten to disturb the church’s beliefs and practices. In a sense the Vatican is engaged in vetting the supernatural and filtering “wondrous” experiences, to minimize anything it judges unorthodox, superfluous, excessive, or bizarre. At the same time, of course, officials in Rome cannot be seen as placing limits on divine intervention, including the possibility of God’s intercession in everyday life—that would be viewed as betraying the church’s oldest traditions.

The diverse forms of the supernatural—miraculous events, apparitions, healings, prophecies, and demonic interference—have been essential elements of Christianity from the moment God said “Let there be light” in the Book of Genesis. The wonders of creation brought about by the word of God were followed by numerous Old Testament accounts of divine favor or retribution: the Nile River turning to blood, one of the ten plagues of Egypt; the withered hand of King Jeroboam, who tried to silence a prophet; the diviner Balaam’s donkey, who spoke to his master in a man’s voice; or the revelations received by biblical prophets like Daniel, who foretold events from his own time to the End Times. The life of Christ was marked by an even more intense flurry of supernatural activity. Jesus raised the dead, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, cast out demons, changed water into wine, fed the multitude with a few loaves and some fish, and walked on water. The New Testament records thirty-seven miracles of Christ, but as the Gospel of John states, “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”

According to scriptural accounts the Apostles continued to perform miraculous wonders after Christ’s death. They cured the ill and the lame, rid men and women of evil spirits, caused prison gates to burst open, and experienced prophetic visions. Saint Peter’s spiritual powers were so great that even his passing shadow was said to have healed the sick. Miracles came to be seen as an important indicator of sainthood, and in the eighteenth century the Vatican established formal criteria for validating miracles as part of the canonization process.

In a very physical way, pieces of human bone and other relics came to preserve the link to the early Christian evangelizers and saints, and their supposed supernatural potency made them fixtures in churches in Europe and, in later centuries, on every other continent. In the Middle Ages relics retrieved from the Holy Land assumed greater importance as communities began to rely on their patronage and protection. Sometimes even small towns would honor a whole pantheon of patron saints, each of whom specialized in overcoming a particular type of disease or adversity. Prayers answered by saintly intercessors were often memorialized with ex-voto offerings, new shrines, or the construction of major churches.

Apparitions of the Virgin Mary were a later development in the church’s history. In some areas of Christendom they began occurring frequently by the late Middle Ages, and were sometimes tied to annual processions or other events. Many towns in Mediterranean countries venerated their own particular “miraculous” images of Mary—typically, weeping icons or bleeding statues—which were objects of prayer and invocation. Over the last two centuries messages from Mary, delivered directly to chosen visionaries, have increased dramatically. The most famous of these apparitions have attracted worldwide followings, and some have won the Catholic Church’s official approval. But hundreds of others have never attained more than local notoriety, and in many cases church authorities have avoided an official pronouncement on the visions or the prophetic messages that accompany them.

The other side of the supernatural coin, demonic influence, has always compelled Christians. The struggle against malignant magic and sorcery very much engaged the early church, and for centuries it was acceptable for both clergy and laypeople to drive out evil spirits by invoking the power of Christ, the saints, and the angels. Exorcism eventually became a recognized sacramental in the Catholic Church with its own rite, which was last revised in 1999.

From the beginning, then, Christians have relied on a web of supernatural connections in prayer, worship, and daily life. In early times there was not much controversy over these displays of divine power; they were accepted, at least by the Christian community, in the spirit of wonder and gratitude. For many centuries, in fact, the church hierarchy had no official set of procedures to investigate and authenticate such phenomena. The dangers inherent in private revelation, however, came to the fore in the fifteenth century, when the fiery and popular Italian Dominican preacher Girolamo Savonarola prophesied a series of scourges to be sent by God to purify a corrupt church in Rome. Alexander VI, the Borgia pope, took note and, after continued defiance by Savonarola, had the friar hanged and his body burned in his native Florence in 1498. The threat to authority posed by prophecies, and their ability to stir the masses, alarmed the Vatican, which began to insist on closer vigilance over all forms of supernatural signs and communications.

Today, with global media attention focused on every new claim of the miraculous and Internet pages dedicated to the latest “divine” messages, the Vatican is ever more sensitive to the potential damage, both internal and external, posed by false miracles, apparitions, and prophecies. Internally the risk is primarily that of sowing confusion and doubt among the faithful. The central Christian belief that God’s public revelation ended with the New Testament leaves little room for dogmatic surprises and innovative prophesying by private visionaries. Nowadays no one is burned at the stake for heresy, but Catholic seers who do contradict official church teachings or invent new ones have been criticized, ostracized, and in some cases excommunicated.

Equally important to the Catholic Church is how it appears in the eyes of the world. In their ongoing campaign of global evangelization, popes and other Vatican authorities have emphasized that faith and human reason go hand in hand, and that the church has no desire to turn back the clock to the time before the Enlightenment. They argue that the church has been a thoughtful, if at times critical, force in the shaping of contemporary civilization, and as such rightfully merits a voice in the modern age. For that reason many Vatican officials wince whenever they hear about a new weeping Madonna, a healing relic, or a prophetic housewife taking dictation from God.

In the view of several experts interviewed for this book, the strain between the theological and devotional wings of the Catholic Church is real, and reveals itself whenever the hierarchy must pass judgment on apparitions, miracles, and private revelations. “Devotion to the saints and belief in the power of the saints sometimes borders on superstition,” one Vatican theologian said. “On the other hand, ‘superstition’ is often used by the theologically enlightened to dismiss popular piety, because they don’t appreciate the importance of these devotions.”

But the demarcation lines are far from clear or complete. Even Catholic rationalists remain open to expressions of the divine, embracing a broader concept of reason and rejecting the idea that empirical science is the only path to truth. From the Christian viewpoint, material and supernatural realities coexist across a continuum in a world created by God and redeemed by Christ. They are not two separate realms; their points of contact are limitless. The Catholic understanding of the world is sacramental, in the sense that all things can be a medium of the divine and a means of grace, which helps explain why supernatural events have always been given wide latitude in the church. Even today many skeptics (including Vatican officials) may profess incredulity at the proliferation of apparitions and apocalyptic signs, yet will recount personal encounters and wondrous experiences that defy rational explanation.

The Vatican does not have a Department of the Supernatural, a central clearinghouse for all things miraculous or inexplicable. Instead, its various bureaucratic agencies, often operating with little coordination, attempt to evaluate and regulate a wide variety of extraordinary occurrences, though in most cases they throw responsibility for a verdict back to the local bishop. The Vatican’s approach can be liturgical, doctrinal, or scientific, and the inevitable result is a series of mixed messages when it comes to otherworldly signs and wonders: One Roman Curia congregation may issue a document cautioning against “the mania of collecting relics” and superstitious belief in their powers, while another office will distribute small pieces of saints’ body parts for veneration by the faithful. Likewise, while one group of doctrinal officials may be monitoring charlatan prophecies—including suggestions that Pope Francis is the antipope—other Vatican experts are writing books unlocking scriptural codes to the End Times. A papal commission investigates supposed Marian apparitions in the Bosnia and Herzegovina town of Medjugorje at the same time that cardinals are publicly disagreeing about the authenticity and value of the visions. The Vatican allows carbon-14 testing that dates the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages, but six months later a pope declares that the Shroud is “certainly a relic” from the time of the crucifixion. One Vatican office invites the submission of supposed miracles that demonstrate the power of saintly intercession, but then turns to medical science to reject about half of the miraculous claims.

The Vatican’s efforts to be more objective and transparent about supernatural phenomena have sometimes backfired. A classic example came in 2000, when Pope John Paul II and top doctrinal officials divulged the third secret of Fatima, publishing a formal text and a commentary on the meaning of the Blessed Virgin’s message to three Portuguese children in 1917. This initiative to set the record straight after decades of secrecy and ominous speculation not only failed to convince many Catholics, but ended up spawning a small industry of books and videos speculating about a Vatican cover-up. The third secret of Fatima was the Vatican equivalent of Area 51: any attempt at an official explanation was bound to ignite new conspiracy theories.

One central issue in the debate over mystical visions and prophecies is whether they are a matter of God’s communicating directly with a devout individual, without the mediation of the institutional church—and if so, why? This is a question that Saint Ignatius of Loyola posed after his own mystical experiences in sixteenth-century Spain. Ignatius came down firmly on the side of the mystic, saying that spiritual exercises should “permit the Creator to deal directly with the creature, and the creature directly with his Creator and Lord.” Ignatius was called before the Inquisition to justify his teachings, but unlike others who were branded as heretics, he was able to explain that a personal mystical relationship with God did not ...

Le informazioni nella sezione "Su questo libro" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

I migliori risultati di ricerca su AbeBooks

1.

Thavis, John
Editore: Penguin Random House Company 2015-09-15 (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 15
Da
BookOutlet
(Thorold, ON, Canada)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Penguin Random House Company 2015-09-15, 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Codice libro della libreria 9780525426899B

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 5,27
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 7,26
Da: Canada a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

2.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 8,49
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

3.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking 2015-09-15 (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 5
Da
Ebooksweb COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking 2015-09-15, 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 8,50
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

4.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
Booklot COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 8,50
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

5.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
Vital Products COM LLC
(southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 8,50
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

6.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 13,68
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

7.

Thavis, John
Editore: Viking
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Viking. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0525426892. Codice libro della libreria Z0525426892ZN

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 13,69
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: EUR 5,11
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

8.

John Thavis
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Quantità: 2
Da
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Condizione libro: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Codice libro della libreria 97805254268990000000

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 19,22
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
Da: U.S.A. a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

9.

John Thavis
Editore: Penguin Putnam Inc, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
The Book Depository
(London, Regno Unito)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The process by which these supernatural events are authenticated is expertly told by John Thavis, one of the world s leading Vaticanologists. In fact, that a book on so secretive and complex a topic is so deeply researched, beautifully written, and artfully told is something of a small miracle itself. James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vatican Diaries, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Vatican investigates claims of miraculous events Apocalyptic prophecies and miraculous apparitions are headline-grabbing events that often put the Catholic Church s concept of rational faith at odds with the passion of its more zealous followers. To some, these claims teeter on the edge of absurdity. Others see them as evidence of a private connection with God. For the Vatican, the issue is much more nuanced as each supposed miraculous event could have serious theological and political consequences. In response, the Vatican has developed a highly secretive and complex evaluation system to judge the authenticity of supernatural phenomena. Former journalist John Thavis uses his thirty years experience covering the Vatican to shed light on this little-known process, revealing deep internal debates on the power of religious relics, private revelations, exorcisms, and more. Enlightening and accessible to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the book illustrates the Church s struggle to balance the tension between traditional beliefs and contemporary skepticism. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780525426899

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 19,40
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
Da: Regno Unito a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

10.

John Thavis
Editore: Penguin Putnam Inc, United States (2015)
ISBN 10: 0525426892 ISBN 13: 9780525426899
Nuovi Rilegato Quantità: 1
Da
The Book Depository US
(London, Regno Unito)
Valutazione libreria
[?]

Descrizione libro Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The process by which these supernatural events are authenticated is expertly told by John Thavis, one of the world s leading Vaticanologists. In fact, that a book on so secretive and complex a topic is so deeply researched, beautifully written, and artfully told is something of a small miracle itself. James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vatican Diaries, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Vatican investigates claims of miraculous events Apocalyptic prophecies and miraculous apparitions are headline-grabbing events that often put the Catholic Church s concept of rational faith at odds with the passion of its more zealous followers. To some, these claims teeter on the edge of absurdity. Others see them as evidence of a private connection with God. For the Vatican, the issue is much more nuanced as each supposed miraculous event could have serious theological and political consequences. In response, the Vatican has developed a highly secretive and complex evaluation system to judge the authenticity of supernatural phenomena. Former journalist John Thavis uses his thirty years experience covering the Vatican to shed light on this little-known process, revealing deep internal debates on the power of religious relics, private revelations, exorcisms, and more. Enlightening and accessible to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the book illustrates the Church s struggle to balance the tension between traditional beliefs and contemporary skepticism. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780525426899

Maggiori informazioni su questa libreria | Fare una domanda alla libreria

Compra nuovo
EUR 19,44
Convertire valuta

Aggiungere al carrello

Spese di spedizione: GRATIS
Da: Regno Unito a: Italia
Destinazione, tempi e costi

Vedi altre copie di questo libro

Vedi tutti i risultati per questo libro