Amsterdam: CDF says no

The news agency I.Media is reporting that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has denied the alleged apparitions of the “Lady of All Peoples” in Amsterdam from 1945 to 1959. The story appeared in French on the Aleteia web site on September 15, and apparently the statement was given in July.

The piece in Aleteia reviews the story of the claimed apparitions and its varied treatment by past bishops, so it’s informative for people who haven’t followed the case before. The unnamed writer, though, does succumb to cliché a bit, when he or she mentions for the third time that CDF was once called the “Holy Office”. Apparently even Catholic news writers feel the compulsion to allude to the Inquisition!

I haven’t found an English version of the report on the net so far, so for the convenience of readers, here is my quick and unofficial translation of the text.

Some of the expressions used in regard to the evaluating the alleged apparitions do seem unclear, so I hope there will be a more complete public statement by CDF.

Based on a screenshot from the promotional site

The Holy See rejects the apparitions of the Virgin to Ida Peerdeman

I.Media / September 15, 2020

The apparitions of Amsterdam are false. The ‘Lady of All Peoples’ may not be venerated and the faithful must cease all promotion,” declared the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a document dated July 20, 2020 that has only now become public. After multiple decades of controversies, the fifty-six alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Ida Peerdeman have been formally rejected by the Holy See.

Is the Peerdeman case at last closed? A young Dutch woman of the 20th century, Ida Peerdeman claimed to have witnessed, between 1945 and 1959, fifty-six apparitions of the Virgin under the name of “Lady of All Peoples”. These mystical revelations remained controversial until last July 20 when, at the request of Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), formerly called the “Holy Office”, clarified the position of the Holy See regarding the visions of Ida Peerdeman in a letter addressed to the prelate.

Although for some the Madonna that appeared to Ida Peerdeman presents many similarities to the Virgin who appeared to Catherine Labouré in 1830 (a globe below her feet, rays of light emanating from her down-turned hands), the former Holy Office confirmed a notification signed in 1974 that “considers that it is not appropriate to contribute to spreading the veneration of Mary as the ‘Lady of All Peoples’.”

The fifty-six pseudo-apparitions

According to the account given by the young Dutch woman, born on August 13, 1905 at Alkmaar (The Netherlands), the Virgin appeared to her for the first time on October 13, 1917, the day on which the Marian apparitions of Fatima came to completion with the famous episode of the “miracle of the sun”. The alleged seer, then twelve years old, reported that when she returned home in Amsterdam after a confession she saw a “luminous woman of exceptional beauty whom she immediately identified as the Virgin Mary.”

The first long apparition only took place on March 25, 1945, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. It was followed by fifty-six others until 1959. After some visions, the Virgin was said to have disclosed her name to Ida Peerdeman: “I am the Lady Mary, Mother of all the peoples.” She allegedly said she had been “sent by the Father and the Son to help humanity,” to announce the end of the war and warn the world of “degeneration, disasters, and war” and the danger of a third “worldwide catastrophe”.

There followed numerous predictions about political, economic, and social events of the 20th century: the Cold War, the dissolution of the USSR, the Korean War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the political chaos in Palestine and in the Near East, etc.

Starting in 1951, the Virgin reportedly showed Ida a vision of the Second Vatican Council, which was to take place a decade later. She allegedly confirmed the necessity of reforms and changes, and disciplinary changes that include the formation of priests and religious. She appeared to be particularly concerned for Rome and the Vatican, which were in danger according to her. Ida described one of the purported visions thus:

Now I notice that the Lady is holding her hand above the Pope and St. Peter’s. The Pope is seated, with his hands raised, and on his head is written ‘Fight.’ I see more and more fighting. Then suddenly I see soldiers wearing tall caps standing behind the Pope; they raise two fingers. Could this be a reference to freemasonry?

Ida Peerdeman, 1951

Controversies and recognitions

Traditionally, in the Catholic Church the task of judging the supernatural character of an apparition falls to the bishop of the diocese in which the apparition took place: in this case, the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam. The difficulty of the Peerdeman affair resides in the fact that the successive prelates of the dioceses have rendered contradictory judgments.

The first, Mons. Johannes Huibers, bishop at the time of the apparitions, gave his permission (nihil obstat) to the title and to the prayer associated with the apparition. However on May 7, 1956, after having attentively examined the case of the claimed apparitions and revelations of “Our Lady of All Peoples”, the same bishop reviewed his decision. He declared that he had found “no proof of a supernatural character of the apparitions”.

On several occasions, in 1957, in 1972, and in 1974, the CDF confirmed the position of the Dutch bishop. Meanwhile afterward, on May 31, 1996, one of his successors, Mons. Hendrick Bomers, with the authorization of the CDF, authorized public veneration of the same Virgin, maintaining that the question of the supernatural character of the apparitions themselves had not been resolved. He reiterated his decision in a letter dated December 3, 1997.

On May 31, 2002, Mons. Jozef Marianus Punt, the following bishop, declared that the apparitions were of supernatural origin. Since then, the question remains of knowing whether Mons. Punt had the power to annul the decision of his predecessor, having given that the latter’s decision had been confirmed by the CDF. In an unpublished letter of July 2005, the CDF asked that the prayer associated with the apparition be modified, replacing the words “who once was Mary” with “the Holy Virgin Mary”. The supporters of the alleged apparitions concluded from this that the CDF had tacitly accepted the approval by Mons. Punt.

Is the Peerdeman case closed?

At the inquiry of the Lebanese cardinal, the former Holy Office recalled, in a letter signed last July 20, that the judgment of the Church remained the one published by the diocese of Amsterdam on May 25, 1974, in which it is said – after an appropriate study – that Ida Peerdeman “was not conscious of the supernatural character of the apparitions.” This is why, one reads in the letter from of the Vatican Nunciature, the faithful are urged to “cease all promotion of the purported apparitions and revelations of the Lady of All Peoples and are exhorted to express their devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, Queen of the Universe, under the forms that are recognized and recommended by the Church.”

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