Bishop rules on supposed apparitions of Virgin Mary in Italy

March 26, 2024 - 11:04 AM
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Bishop Marco Salvi of Civita Castellana. (Diocesi Di Civita Castellanas)

After an investigation by a group of experts, “fervent” prayer, and “attentive discernment,” an Italian bishop has decreed that the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Trevignano Romano, a town about 30 miles northwest of Rome, are not supernatural.

statement issued March 6 by the Diocese of Civita Castellana explained that “the bishop of Civita Castellana, Marco Salvi… after an appropriate period of careful discernment, having listened to the testimonies coming from the [diocesan] territory and making use of a commission of experts, made up of a Mariologist, a theologian, a canonist, a psychologist, and with the outside advice of some specialists, having considered the figure of Mary in the Tradition of the Church and in the living faith of the people of God, after fervent prayer, decrees the events in question to be non-supernatural.”

The events in Trevignano

Salvi’s decree states that the events occurred in 2016 when Gisella Cardia, née Maria Giuseppa Scarpulla, reported alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and God the Father, which purportedly took place in Trevignano Romano in the Diocese of Civita Castellana.

These events reportedly began after Cardia and her husband, Gianni, brought back an image of Our Lady of Peace from Medjugorje in 2014.

According to Cardia, the image not only weeps blood but also multiplies food and a message is given on the third day of each month, as happens on the 25th with the visionaries of the supposed apparitions of the Virgin in Medjugorje.

Cardia, who created a nonprofit Trevignano Romano, association that accepts donations and whose chapel was closed by the Trevignano city government, has brought together numerous faithful and priests for prayer meetings, even though the Church did not authorize them.

All of this, which later became known as the “Trevignano events,” gained notoriety in 2023, the year in which Salvi was installed as bishop of Civita Castellana.

On April 14, 2023, the bishop published a statement asking the faithful not to attend the events Cardia was holding.

In addition, the Civitavecchia prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for fraud against Cardia and her husband that same year, and the mayor of the town ordered the demolition of the chapel where her followers were meeting.

Theological errors in the ‘apparitions’

In his decree, the Italian prelate explained that the messages of the supposed Marian apparitions contained “numerous theological errors.” He prohibited priests from celebrating “the sacraments or leading events of popular piety” that connect “directly or indirectly with the events of Trevignano Romano, whether on the grounds of the ‘Madonna di Trevignano ITS Association’ or in other private, public, and ecclesial places.”

The decree also prohibited priests from “going to the place of the apparition or encouraging the faithful to believe that there is any ecclesial recognition.”

Salvi also imposed on Cardia, her husband, “and all the persons of various capacities involved in the events of Trevignano, respect and adherence to the decisions of the diocesan bishop, in addition to the availability to complete a path of purification and discernment, which promotes and maintains ecclesial unity.”

The bishop also made it clear that “the title of ‘Madonna di Trevignano’ (Our Lady of Trevignano) has no ecclesial value and cannot be used as if it had one, not even in the civil sphere.”

The prelate also warned the faithful of the obligation to “refrain from organizing and/or participating in private and/or public meetings (of prayer and/or catechesis) that take for certain and indubitable the supernatural truth of the events of Trevignano or events pressuring the diocesan bishop to modify his legitimate decisions regarding these same events.”