Vatican’s Doctrinal Office: Don’t Promote Alleged Apparitions Connected to ‘Lady of All Nations’

A detail from a painting depicting the Lady of All Nations. Credit Judgefloro via Wikipedia

The Vatican’s doctrinal office has urged Catholics not to promote “the alleged apparitions and revelations” associated with the Marian title of “Lady of All Nations,” according to a Dutch bishop.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s appeal was announced in a clarification issued Dec. 30 by Bishop Johannes Hendriks of Haarlem-Amsterdam.

The clarification relates to the alleged visions which Ida Peerdeman, a secretary living in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, claimed to have received between 1945 and 1959.

Hendriks, who as the local bishop, is primarily responsible for evaluating the apparitions, said that he had decided to issue the statement after consulting with the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation, which guides bishops in the discernment process.

The bishop said that the Vatican congregation regarded the title “Lady of All Nations” for Mary as “theologically acceptable.”

“Nevertheless, the recognition of this title cannot be understood — not even implicitly — as the recognition of the supernaturality of some phenomena from which it seems to have come,” he wrote in the clarification, published in five languages on the website of Haarlem-Amsterdam diocese.

“In this sense, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirms the validity of the negative judgment on the supernaturality of the alleged ‘apparitions and revelations’ to Ms. Ida Peerdeman approved by St. Paul VI on 04/05/1974 and published on 05/25/1974.”

“This judgment implies that everybody is urged to cease any propagation concerning the alleged apparitions and revelations of the Lady of All Nations. Therefore, the use of the images and prayer cannot in any way be consi¬dered a recognition — not even implicitly — of the supernaturality of the events in question.”

Peerdeman was born on Aug. 13, 1905, in Alkmaar, in the Netherlands. She claimed that on March 25, 1945, she saw her first apparition of a woman bathed in light who referred to herself as “the Lady” and “Mother.”

In 1951, the woman reputedly told Peerdeman that she wished to be known as “the Lady of All Nations.” That year, the artist Heinrich Repke created a painting of “the Lady,” depicting her standing on top of a globe in front of a cross.

The series of 56 alleged visions concluded on May 31, 1959.

In 1956, Bishop Johannes Huibers of Haarlem declared that after an investigation he had “found no evidence of the supernatural nature of the apparitions.”

The Holy Office, the forerunner of the CDF, approved the bishop’s verdict a year later. The CDF confirmed the judgment in 1972 and 1974.

In his clarification, Bishop Hendriks acknowledged that “Through devotion to Mary, the Mother of All Nations, many faithful express their desire and their effort for the universal fraternity of mankind with the help and support of Mary’s intercession.”

He quoted from Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Fratelli tutti,” published Oct. 3, in which the pope wrote that “For many Christians, this journey of fraternity also has a Mother, whose name is Mary. Having received this universal motherhood at the foot of the cross, she cares not only for Jesus but also for ‘the rest of her children.’ In the power of the risen Lord, she wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent.”

Hendriks said: “In this sense, the use of the title Lady of All Nations for Mary is in itself theologically acceptable. Prayer with Mary and through the intercession of Mary, Mother of our peoples, serves the growth of a more united world, in which everyone recognizes themselves as brothers and sisters, all created in the image of God, our common Father.”

Concluding his clarification, the bishop wrote: “Regarding the mere title ‘Lady,’ ‘Madonna,’ or ‘Mother of All Nations,’ the Congregation generally is not opposed to its use, provided that this is clearly separated from the recognition of the alleged apparitions.”

“If the Virgin Mary is invoked under this title, pastors and faithful must ensure that all forms of this devotion refrain from any reference, even implicit, to alleged apparitions or revelations.”

Alongside the clarification, the bishop issued an explanation, also dated Dec. 30 and published in five languages.

In it, he wrote: “Devotion to Mary as the Lady and Mother of All Nations is good and valuable; it must, however, remain separate from the messages and the apparitions. These are not approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That is the core of the clarification which has come about in accordance with the Congregation following the recent appearance of various national and international reports concerning the veneration.”

The bishop said that he had issued the clarification as a result of conversations with CDF officials following the media reports and inquiries.

He recalled that the CDF had expressed concern in 2005 about the wording of an official prayer invoking the Blessed Virgin as Lady of All Nations “who was once Mary,” advising Catholics not to use the phrase.