UCA News



Updated: September 13, 1988 05:00 PM GMT
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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger´s remarks concerning the messages of the Blessed Mother Mary at Akita were only limited to a "no objection" to a 1984 pastoral letter by now-retired Bishop John Shojiro Ito of Niigata.

Bishop Ito clarified the point Sept. 6 in a telephone interview with UCA News and confirmed that he met Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican´s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome this past June.

Cardinal Ratzinger reportedly approved the veracity of Mother Mary´s messages at Akita, a northern Japanese city, during the June 20 meeting.

But Bishop Ito said the cardinal´s limited remarks only indicated that he did not object to the pastoral letter which the bishop wrote in April 1984.

Issued just before his retirement, the pastoral letter provided Bishop Ito´s own interpretation on the events at Akita.

The "extraordinary events" of Soekawayuzawaidai in Akita Prefecture began in 1973 when blood and tears flowing from a statue of the Blessed Mother Mary were observed by Sister Agnes Sasagawa of the "Seibi Hoshikai," a congregation which has diocesan approval, but still awaits recognition by the Vatican.

The phenomenon of the tears had been witnessed by hundreds of people on 101 occasions until it stopped in 1982.

At the request of the local bishop, the archbishop of Tokyo appointed a commission of experts, who in 1976 reported their conclusion that there was nothing supernatural about the "extraordinary events" of Akita.

A letter from Rome in 1981 supported the conclusion of the experts and reflected the same attitude, and silence was imposed on the subject.

Bishop Ito has expressed the view that that letter from Rome was based on some "misunderstandings" and a new commission was appointed later by himself.

However, members of the committees split in interpreting the facts and no official word has been received from the Vatican, where the reports of both commissions remain under consideration.


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