Last November 12, 2009, Archbishop Arguelles made his first, major official act concerning the alleged apparitions of Our Lady of Lipa by issuing an official decree. In this official decree, Archbishop Arguelles reinforced former Lipa Archbishop Mariano Gaviola’s 1991 ruling that lifted the ban on the public veneration of the Lipa image in the Carmelite chapel. Archbishop Arguelles ordered that “all bans written or unwritten to curtail or diminish the devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace be lifted”. Equally important, he formed a theological commission to conduct a thorough study and review of all documents on the alleged apparitions, perhaps preparatory to a possible imminent new ruling on the apparitions. Below is the full text of the decree:
Whereas, on April 12, 1951 the then Apostolic Administrator of Lipa, Rufino J. Santos D.D., issued a decree banning public veneration of the image of Our Lady Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace;
Whereas, while the Carmelite nuns and some others, most especially the Lipa clergy, obediently observed the ban, with the majority of faithful silently and perseveringly continued their devotion towards the Mediatrix of All Grace;
Whereas, on July 16, 1991 after 40 years of silence the Most Rev. Mariano G. Gaviola in effect lifted the ban and allowed the veneration of the Image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace for world peace;
Whereas, the fervor of numerous faithful from within and outside the Archdiocese of Lipa persevered and even increased all the more through the years while numerous miracles of physical and spiritual healing have been ceaselessly reported;
Whereas, increasing number of pilgrims heed the call of the Blessed Mother Mediatrix of All Grace by visiting the monastery, making penitential processions, offering daily prayers and Masses especially on first Saturdays and twelfth day of the month;
Whereas, the faithful seek the official guidance and assistance from the Church in deeper faith;
Whereas, the local Church of Lipa which will celebrate its centenary from April 10, 2010 to April10, 2011 looks forward to a renewal of faith and the increased missionary fervor with the help of Mary, the Star of Third Millennium Evangelization;
Whereas for the last one hundred years, regardless of the authenticity or non-authenticity of the Marian apparitions in the Carmel of Lipa, (it) is the most celebrated event recorded of this local Church;
Therefore, I, the undersigned Archbishop of Lipa, declare and publicly announce:
- That pursuant to the Instructions and conditions issued by my predecessor, the late Archbishop Mariano G. Gaviola, the decree of 1951 is hereby reversed;
- That the public veneration of the image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa be continued and made available for the prayer of the pilgrims for true peace in our nation and the sanctification of the clergy;
- That the contemplative and prayerful atmosphere of the Carmelite monastery as willed by the reforms of St. Teresa of Avila be properly maintained for the edification and spiritual growth of the pilgrims who join the prayers of the contemplatives of the said place;
- That all bans written or unwritten intended to curtail or diminish the devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace be lifted;
- Finally, that a new commission be formed to review the documents on the alleged apparitions of 1948 as well as to be able to compile additional documents from the period up to the present.
Given this 12th day of November in the year of Our Lord two thousand and nine.
Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D.
Archbishop of Lipa
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