By Nicolás de Cárdenas
The bishop of Santander, Manuel Sánchez Monge, has stated regarding the extraordinary events of Garabandal that “my position, like that of my predecessors, is that Rome’s assessment remains valid: ‘There are no signs of supernaturality.’”
In addition, he acknowledged that he contacted the San Pablo Center of University Studies (CEU) to express his displeasure because they had not consulted him before hosting an event of devotees of the alleged apparitions.
“I only let those at the CEU know, not Cardinal Osoro, that I did not like that they had not consulted me before authorizing that event,” the prelate told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency.
The bishop of Santander was addressing the controversy surrounding an event titled “Madrid with Garabandal,” which took place in the restaurant of a sports club near the Spanish capital.
The organizers, who had planned for the event to be held at the San Pablo CEU, announced the change of venue pointing out that it was “for reasons beyond the control of the organizers.”
Some information in the days prior suggested that the bishop of Santander had called the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Carlos Osoro, to put pressure on the CEU for the event to not be held at the university founded by the Catholic Association of Propagandists in 1933.
In a statement to ACI Prensa, the Archdiocese of Madrid denied its participation in this controversy and specified that “neither Cardinal Osoro nor anyone from the archdiocese has contacted the CEU or the organization in relation to this event.”
At the beginning of his address at the event on Garabandal, Jorge Fernández Díez, Spain’s former minister of the interior, made mention of the fact that the venue had been changed for reasons beyond the control of the organizers.
The causes for transferring the event, he said, “are the same causes that have been torpedoing for 61 years that the truth of what happened might be rigorously investigated.”
“We have the right to petition, to request, and to pray for a serious and rigorous investigation to be carried out out of respect for the faithful and out of respect for the Virgin,” he stressed.
‘Grave responsibility to study these facts’
Álvaro de Cárdenas, a priest of the Diocese of Getafe, present at the event, told ACI Prensa that “it’s a grave responsibility of the Church to study the events of Garabandal.”
In his opinion, “if the Church of Santander ignores its serious obligation, the Church of Rome should take on the investigation” in order to “rule on its origin” and offer a concrete response to the people of God.
Through the initiative Garabandal está vivo, more than 2,000 people have signed a petition that calls on the bishop of Santander to promote “a rigorous study under the light of the Holy Spirit of everything that happened in San Sebastián de Garabandal.”
What happened in Garabandal?
The alleged extraordinary events took place in the small village of San Sebastián de Garabandal between 1961 and 1965. There, four girls — Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli, and Maricruz — claimed to have witnessed apparitions of St. Michael the Archangel and the Virgin Mary.
Those events attracted crowds who claimed to witness the girls (around 11 years old) in ecstasy, levitating, and other phenomena.
The declaration of the bishop of Santander that in Garabandal “there are no signs of supernaturality” is the most explicit message that has been made from the Spanish episcopate in recent years.