November 4, 1986
Letter of Bishop John Mugavero of Brooklyn
In recent months, doubts have been raised by members of the so-called"Bayside Movement" concerning the official position of the Diocese ofBrooklyn on the alleged "apparitions" of the Blessed Virgin Mary, andother heavenly beings, to a woman by the name of Vernica Lueken.
Moreover, erroneous claims have been made by a number of followers of Mrs.Lueken concerning the legitimacy of their position, in order to justifytheir activities on behalf of the "Movement." These have taken the form
ofstatements in their publications that "since
Articles 1399 and 2218 of(the 1917 Code of) Canon Law were abrogated by Pope
Paul VI in 1966, noecclesiastical permission is
required, neither can anyone incure censure,for the
publication or dissemination of information dealing withrevelations, visions or miracles, provided these do not endanger Faith ormorals."
As a result of the above-mentioned doubts and claims, a number of Christ'sfaithful continue to attend the regularly-scheduled "vigils" held atFlushing Meadow Park, and to disseminate or receive propaganda literatureon this matter.
I, the undersigned Diocesan Bishop of Brooklyn, in my role as thelegitimate shepherd of this particular Church, wish to confirm
theconstant position of the Diocese of Brooklyn that a thorough investigationrevealed that the alleged "visions of Bayside" completely lackedauthenticity.
Moreover, in view of the confusion created by published reports ofmessages and other literature by this "Movement," I consider it myobligation to offer Christ's faithful pastoral guidance, lest their faithbe endangered by "messages" and "teachings" relayed by "visionaries,"which are contrary to the Faith of our Catholic Church.
Therefore, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of theFaith, I hereby declare that:
1. No credibility can be given to the so-called "apparitions" reported byVeronica Lueken and her followers.
2. The "messages" and other related propaganda contain statements which,among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,undermine the legitimate authority of bishops and councils and instilldoubts in the minds of the faithful, for example, by claiming that, foryears, an "imposter (sic) Pope" governed the Catholic Church in place of
3. Those who persistently maintain that "no ecclesiastical permission isrequired for the publication or dissemination" of information concerning"revelations, visions or miracles," are erroneously interpreting thedirectives of the Holy See when they attempt to justify the publication
ofthe propaganda literature on the "Bayside
In view of my declaration concerning the authenticity of the "visions ofBayside," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmedthat the principles governing the publication of such religious materialstill maintain authoritative moral value prohibiting the endangering offaith and good morals (Cf. Response of SCDF of June 14, 1966, in AAS 58,1186).
As a result, those publishing or disseminating this propaganda literatureare acting against the judgment of legitimate Church authority.
4. Because of my concern for their spiritual welfare, members of Christ'sfaithful are hereby directed to refrain from participating in the
"vigils"and from disseminating any propaganda related
to the "Baysideapparitions." They are also
discouraged from reading any such literature.
5. Anyone promoting this devotion in any way, be it by
participating inthe "vigils," organizing pilgrimages,
publishing or disseminating theliterature related to
it, is contributing to the confusion which is being
created in the faith of God's people, as well as encouraging them to actagainst the determinations made by the legitimate pastor of thisparticular Church (c.212, para. 1).
It remains my constant hope that all the faithful spend their time andenergies in promoting devotion to our Blessed Lady, in the many formswhich have been approved by the Catholic Church.