1. "Garabandal Ruling Final" was courageously posted by Thomas Rutkoski, June 1998

    Garabandal Ruling Final

    Index: Apparitions: Garabandal
    (Ruled nothing supernatural by bishop)

    I have removed the information about Garabandal because their bishop has ruled that nothing supernatural has happened there. Unlike Medjugorje Where the Vatican had overturned the bishops's ruling and took over the investigation, 1 they did not do so now with Garabandal. I remove the links promoting Garabandal under obeidence to the Church. If the Vatican rules otherwise, I will return the links of Garabandal on my site. I know that this is not popular with some people but PLEASE NOTE that if i go against what a bishop says, then I become no different than those people who openly disent against the church. 2

    I noticed my name and that of Gospa Missions being bandied about on the Internet quite frequently, in reference to our publishing of the translation of Bishop Jose Vilaplana's (diocese of Santander, Spain) official ruling on the happenings at Garabandal.

    People are saying that the translation we printed in the late 1996 was not accurate and that the information contained in the bishop's letter was not meant for the general public. Neither statement is true. In an effort to make certain, beyond a doubt, the official opinion of the Church on this subject, we dispatched a reporter to Santander, Spain, to meet with the bishop. The end result is the following information from the bishop and his Pastoral Vicar General.

    You must understand how extensively we sought a true translation. Ellen Pella, the reporter, has a master's degree in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania. Ellen is consumed with knowing true Spanish and travels to Spain for extended periods to enhance her skills in the language. When she did the following translation she conferred with a professor at Penn and he agrees that the translation is accurate. In fact, EWTN, on their web site posts a nearly identical translation to the one published here.

    That not being enough, I had that translation read by Cuban-born, Oscar Delgado. Oscar was, for ten years, the Latin American bureau chief for NBC News and one of their foreign war correspondents. His impeccable knowledge of the Spanish language was a requisite of that position. Oscar says this translation is correct.

    After ascertaining the true position of the Church on Garabandal, which is, there was never anything supernatural about the events there, I wanted to know exactly what my posture and that of all Catholics should be regarding this situation, so I called the Diocese of Pittsburgh and spoke with Father Ron Lengwin. Father explained that when the Church renders the opinion on a reported apparition that "nothing supernatural" has occurred, there is nothing with which to be involved. It is over as far as Catholics are concerned. Father added that we must gently draw people away from the error of promoting something against which the Church has ruled.

    I, Thomas Rutkoski, submit my findings to you, that you may know the truth. The Church has investigated Garabandal and has rendered the decision that there was "nothing supernatural" regarding evens there. To use Bishop Vilaplana's own words, "The subject is terminated."

          Editor's note:  Luis Vega Perez writes the opening statement below because 
          I submitted to the bishop about twenty questions about Garabandal.  We 
          believe the diocese is reluctant to become too deeply involved in 
          additional responses because they dislike the attention of being paid to a 
          subject they consider closed. 

    April 1, 1998

    Luis Vega Perez, pastoral Vicar General of Santander greets Miss Ellen Pella, a representative of Gospa Missions, and communicates to her the following: His Excellency, the Bishop of Santander, Jose Vilaplana, goes back to his official statement, which you already know, as his response to your questions about the "supposed apparitions" of Garabandal, oh which I am sending you an updated copy. I'm afraid that this response will not satisfy you, but there isn't any other.

    Yours affectionately,
    Luis Vega
          Editors' note: 
          Below is the full text of the bishop's letter to Gospa Missions in which 
          he addresses us with the words, "like you".  We are only known by him as a 
          Catholic news agency which makes his following statements very public. 
    Some persons have recently directed themselves to this Diocese of Santander asking, like you, about the "supposed apparitions" of Garabandal, and especially, about the response of the church hierarchy regarding these events.

    I should communicate to you that:
    1. All the bishops of the diocese, from 1961 through 1970, affirmed that there was nothing supernatural about the said apparitions, which occurred during those years.

    2. In the month of December, 1977, Monsignor del Val, Bishop of Santander, state his concurrence with his predecessors and affirmed that in the six years that he was Bishop of Santander, there was nothing in the way of new phenomena.

    3. Nevertheless, the same Monsignor del Val, the first years of confusion and excitement having passed, promoted an interdisciplinary study to examine in greater depth the said phenomena. The conclusion of the study coincides with the previous declaration given by the bishops, that is to say, that there was nothing supernatural about the said apparitions.

    4. This study was concluded at the time I took over the diocese in 1991. Taking advantage of a trip to Rome, going there for an ad liminia visit in that same year, I presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the said study and requested an orientation for my pastoral action regarding what referred to the case.

    5. On November 28, 1992, the Congregation sent me its response, which consisted in, after carefully studying the cited documentation, that it did not consider it opportune to intervene directly, taking away from the ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santander this matter which rightly belonged to him. Previous declarations of the Holy See coincide with this affirmation. In the same letter, it was suggested to me that, if I thought it appropriate, I should publish a declaration reaffirming that there is nothing supernatural about the referred-to-apparitions, making my own the unanimous positions of my predecessors.

    6. Given that the declarations of my predecessors, who studied the case, were clear and unanimous, I did not think it appropriate to make a new public declaration, wishing to avoid giving notoriety to some events too far back in time. Nevertheless, I have considered it appropriate to compose this statement as a direct response to the persons who ask for an orientation about the question, which I consider terminated, accepting the decisions of my predecessors, which I make my own, and the orientations of the Holy See.

    7. Referring to the Eucharistic celebrations in Garabandal, following the dispositions of my predecessors, I only admit that they be celebrated in the parish church, without reference to the supposed apparitions, and with the authorization of the current parish priest, who enjoys my confidence.
    With the desire that this information may help you, receive my cordial greeting in Christ.

    Jose Vilaplana
    Bishop of Santander

    Jose Manuel Fernandez
    General Secretary of the Chancery

    Reprinted from Gospa Missions Newsletter
    June 1998 Vol. 7, Issue 6 P. 8-9

    As is the way of the "Garabandalistas" and other typical apparitionaits, the above was treated with contempt. People such as Miguel de Portugal, Ted and Maureen Flynn, Grace Mizzi, Gary Schaefer, Ben Verdana, etc. continue unabashed with their promotions of this false event.

  2. On Jan. 9, 2002, "Piper" introduced herself on a Marian Apparition type Forum:
    I have recently joined this group and was wondering which was the criteria used to evaluate an apparition? In the list of apparitions given in the description of the group, some benefit of a certain acceptance from the Catholic Church (Lourdes and Fatima for instance), while others are seriously questioned (Medjugorje) or have already been condemned (Garabandal).

    Ben J. Verdina (a fervent disseminator of alleged mystical phenomena - without regard for whether it might be true or false!) replied Jan. 12, 2002:"
    I do not know how well the information that you requested transfered via forwarding. Here it is posted directly via attachment.

    Schedule of Garabandal URL's

    The Workers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Joey Lomangino's Mission) --- Excellent

    The Church's Position in Respect of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Garabandal

    Maria Saraco's Statement re: The Church's Position:

    M+G+R Foundation Commentary:

    St. Michael's Garabandal Center:

    Interview with Conchita by Dr. Dominquez (audio):

    And, on the same day - relative to Medjugorje:
    I believe that you will find the info. that you asked about at the following web site:

    Ben J. Verdina
    Piper asked:
    Ben, thank you for your mail regarding the Church's position on Garabandal and Medjugorje. I'll need some time to review the links for Garabandal, and thank you for pointing them out to me. Regarding Medjugorje, you state: "Also, the Vatican has taken over the investigation of Medjugorje from the Bishop of Mostar, and is investigating the allegd apparitions itself." I was wondering if you could tell me who/what is your source on this piece of information?
    It is worthy of note at this stage that Ben Verdana made no more posts on this site on the subject of Garabandal or Medjugorje!!!

    Then, on Jan. 16, 2002, "Piper" delivered a broardside:
    Finally, I have had enough time to review the different links you sent me regarding the Church's position on Garabandal. I've done also some research on my own, and would like to share with you what I have found:

    1. LETTER OF THE BISHOP OF SANTANDER (corresponding to your link [That is, Miguel de Portugal's "The M+G+R Foundation". John L.]

      The web page indicates that there is a mistake in the translation of the letter: Since my first mother tongue is Spanish, I searched the web for the original Spanish text, and found a copy of the said letter The Bishop of Santander.

      The original text is:
      "Todos los Obispos de la Diócesis, desde 1961 al 1970, afirmaron que no constaba la sobrenaturalidad de dichas apariciones, que por aquellos años sucedían."
      The verb constar in this case is used in the sense "to prove, to establish". The letter is stating that all the bishops of Santander, since 1961 through 1970, affirmed that the supernatural origin of the said apparitions was not proved/established (it uses no latin terms, but uses the verb constar with its Spanish sense), and therefore is not qualifying the apparitions as belonging to one or another category (otherwise he would have included the latin term).

      Does this mean that the events in question are still "open to eventual recognition as being authentic" as indicated in the web site? The Bishop's letter answers by the negative, stating that he considers the MATTER CLOSED (..."sobre la cuestión, que doy por terminada"...), and says so with the approval of the Holy See (see original letter).

      Therefore, the events at Garabandal cannot be referred to as supernatural.

    2. A RECENT BOOK written by the Catholic French historian Joachim Bouflet ("Faussaires de Dieu", Editions Presses de la Renaissance, Paris, 2000) regarding false apparitionns, states (page 26) that the supernatural character of the events was NOT RECOGNISED by the bishops of Santander ("Le caractère surnaturel des faits n'a pas été reconnu par les successifs évêques de Santander, ordinaires du lieu").

      This book has the nihil obstat (Paris, May 1st, 2000, M. Dupuy, p.s.s.) and IMPRIMATUR (Paris, May 1st, 2000, Mgr. M. Vidal, v.é.).


    3. FINALLY, several elements contribute to make one discard the divine origine of the apparitions, such as:
      • - Contradictions, such as the "Virgin" in one apparition stating that both the Pope (Paul VI) and Padre Pio would see the miracle. The miracle has not yet happened although both are dead.
      • - The way the apparitions took place, with scenes that have more to do with the film "The Exorcist" (seers walking backwards with their heads bent in an unnatural angle, seers seeming to way tons at some moments, etc.) rather than with the Holy Presence of the Mother of God.
    For all these reasons, I am absolutely convinced and have no doubt that the events at Garabandal cannot be of divine origine, and find it daredevil to promote such events, ignoring the bishops' judgement, in a case so clear as this one.

On Feb. 11, 2002, I tried to elicit a response from Ben Verdana relative to Piper's question on Medjugorje, where she asked him:
"Regarding Medjugorje, you state: 'Also, the Vatican has taken over the investigation of Medjugorje from the Bishop of Mostar, and is investigating the allegd apparitions itself.' I was wondering if you could tell me who/what is your source on this piece of information?"

Ben replied to her - by saying that he "believed" that some URLs supplied would give the answer.

Give us a break, Ben! Please don't make us search through miles of files to find what you claim! Would you please substantiate your claim? There was nothing but silence from Ben!


When has the Vatican or the Pope EVER gone contrary to ANY local bishop who has declared in the negative on ANY alleged apparition? I would appreciate any details. If not, what reasonable expectations are there for this happening in the case of Garabandal or Medjugorje, where after all these years, the findings have been in the negative as to ANY supernaturality or miracles?"


  1. This is untrue. The Vatican has NOT taken over the investigation. Certainly, a local bishop may request guidance, advice or help from the Vatican, and may even cede jurisdiction to the Vatican. It would be interesting if the Garabandalians and the Medjugorians would provide official EVIDENCE for their claims.
  2. This is true. The local Ordinary posseses the right of obedience from his subjects. Is God pleased by arbitary dis-obedience?

General Directory for
Views on Illusions, Alleged and False "Apparitions," "Visions," and "Seers", The Index of Forbidden Books, Decrees on the "Secret of La Salette", Anna Katharina Emmerick - and more

Sean Ó Lachtnáin's Home Page