Filipinos warned against making money out of 'miracles'

Manila, Philippines — Philippine church leaders have warned the faithful against making money out of reported "miracles" and "apparitions" of Mary.

Fr. Melvin Castro, director general of the Confraternity of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, noted that stories of weeping images of the Jesus' mother had surfaced in the media.

The stories followed a church declaration that a reported apparition of the Mary in the province of Batangas in 1948 has a "supernatural character."

On Sept. 12, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Philippines, issued a decree declaring "with moral certainty" that the events of 1948 were "worthy of belief," reported.

"It's possible that some people think that this is some sort of fad that they should join in, but people should also be discerning," Castro said.

The priest told reporters Wednesday that what was recognized by the church was the event that took place in 1948 that is "beyond any statue or picture."

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, advised the faithful to carefully consider the reports.

"Hopefully, there would be no individuals who would make money out of it by producing this item or image, medals, candles left and right for business," he said.

Cruz explained that the church is careful in declaring as authentic so-called miracles because once these are proven false, it will negatively affect the faithful.

Evidence must be gathered and sent to Vatican officials, who in turn will send experts to conduct interviews and gather empirical data.

Castro said the Vatican usually respects what a local bishop says. "If the Vatican will not reject it, that's already a silent confirmation," the priest said.

On Sept. 12, 1948, Mary reportedly appeared before Teresing Castillo, a Carmelite postulant, and apparently told the aspiring nun she was Mary mediatrix of all grace.

The apparition was followed by several unexplainable showers of rose petals inside and outside the Carmelite convent in Lipa.

"The shower of petals created some kind of a mass hysteria," Castro said, adding that the event was "commercialized."

After 67 years, he said, people should "go beyond the external and focus on the message" of Mary.

In the 1948 apparitions, Mary reportedly appealed for humility, penance and prayers for priests and the pope.

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