From the Bishop of Hexhani and Newcastle.
ONE OF your correspondents, Nov I. stated that, "Garabandal has never been officially condemned and the present bishop leaves the matter open for all practical purposes".
That is not true. The so-called revelations at Garabandal began in 1961 when four girls claimed to see Our Blessed Lady. These claims continued for a number of years. Late in the summer of 1966, the four girls asked to see Bishop Puchal, the then Bishop of Santander. He saw them on five separate days. The parish priest and two diocesan officials were with him. The girls then made their final statement.
The summary of what they said was that, since 18 June 1961, there had been at Garabandal no apparitions and no messages, but only events with a natural explanation.
The Bishop did not immediately issue his note with a judgment to this effect. He sent all the evidence to the Holy See with the draft of the note he intended to issue. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome took four months to examine and study all the material with great care.
Cardinal Ottaviani wrote on 7 March 1967 to the Bishop of Santander arid said that the Holy See had examined all the information from Santander and elsewhere about Garabandal. They have concluded that the matter had been so carefully examined and decided by the Bishop that Rome need do no more. Moreover, the Holy See praised the prudence and the care which the Bishop had used in resolving the matter.
So, the Church has judged officially that neither Our Lady nor St Michael nor any other heavenly person ever appeared at Garabandal, that there have been no messages from them, but only events with a natural explanation. The present Bishop del Val said that he agrees with the decisions of his predecessors and indeed he was the one who gave me this information about the past. Whilst he himself would have no difficulty if the Holy See wished to re-examine the matter, he points out that there are no plans for such a review. So it is not true to say that he is leaving the matter open for all practical purposes.