ROME (AP) — The Vatican has taken the unusual step of suppressing a small Italian lay movement after determining that the presumed “revelations” that were the basis of its 1979 foundation were fake.
The dissolution of the Apostolic Movement, which is based in Catanzaro, Italy, and boasts a presence in several European and African countries, is the latest move taken by Pope Francis to crack down on local-level religious orders and Catholic movements. These groups were often encouraged under the previous two popes but in many cases have turned out to have serious governance, financial, sexual abuse or other problems.
In a joint decree, three Vatican offices — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Clergy and the Dicastry for Laity — ordered the dissolution of the Apostolic Movement and the distribution of its assets to charity.
It took action after concluding a six-month investigation into concerns about the legitimacy of the movement’s origins, doctrinal, disciplinary and governance problems, as well as the “profound divisions” its presence had created among the diocesan clergy, the decree said.
Fundamentally, the Vatican investigation determined that “the presumed revelations that gave origin to the Apostolic Movement through its founder, Ms. Maria Marino, are to be considered to not have a supernatural origin.”
The decree was dated June 10 and published this week on the website of the Archdiocese of Catanzaro, where the movement was founded as a private association of the faithful and received local diocesan approval in 2001.