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Apparitions Statistics, Modern

Apparitions Statistics, Modern

Marian Apparitions of the 20th and 21st Centuries

A Directory of 20th- and 21st-century Apparition through 2011

The directory includes general information about the date the apparition occurred, its location, the number of people involved, and the decisions made (if any) by the Church about each apparition's approval/disapproval concerning faith expression and supernatural character.

Modern Era

The twentieth century has been rich in reported Apparitions of Our Blessed Mother. Apparitions of Our Blessed Lady have been reported on every continent on our globe. The seers have been people from many walks of life: men, women, and children. The locations where Marian Apparitions have occurred are numerous: large cities, remote areas, caves, churches, fields, homes, monasteries, and other places.

Church's Approach

"The Roman Catholic Church has prudently been cautious to approve, disapprove or condemn reported apparitions." In general, studied apparitions are classed as "not worthy of belief," "not contrary to the Faith," or "worthy of belief." The message of an approved apparition cannot have any content that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.

Supernatural Character

Prior to any classification, the local bishop appoints a committee to take testimony, investigate, study, and report its findings to the local bishop. On our Web page directory of Marian apparitions, we have two columns which pertain to the church's rulings for each apparition that we include in our list. One column pertains to the "supernatural character" of the apparitions. The approval of an apparition's supernatural character means that the case cannot be explained away due to an impediment in the visionary, nor as fraud, nor as a natural phenomenon, nor of demonic origin.


The column titled "Approval of Supernatural Character" is marked either "yes," "negative decision," or "no decision" depending upon what action the local bishop has taken for the specific apparition. A "yes" denotes that the bishop has concluded the apparition's character is supernatural. A "negative" decision denotes that there is some problem which the bishop has identified in the apparition and concluded that it does not have a supernatural character. A "no decision" is used to denote one of two possibilities. In one scenario, the bishop is either studying the case or he has studied the case, but the decision cannot be made until further analysis is completed. A second possibility, is that the Church has never begun to study the reported apparition.

Faith Expression

This for Marian apparition also has a column titled "Approval of faith expression (prayer, devotion) at site." This column is marked with a "yes" for cases where the local bishop has decided to encourage prayer and devotion at the site of a Marian apparition. Decisions about "faith expression" are made before the supernatural character of an apparition is decided upon. If the bishop should ever rule that the specific apparition is not of supernatural character, then of course, there would no longer be any devotion that is approved at that site.

Ecclesial Decisions

If the Church makes a negative ruling about a particular apparition, we are not to believe in that apparition. If the bishop makes a positive ruling about an apparition, we are not bound to assent to the apparition, but we cannot berate the messages nor the apparition once the Church declares it valid. The reader will find that in the majority of cases, the Church has neither taken action, nor made a final decision.

Statistical Results

A statistical analysis of the Marian apparition directory reveals the following results. During the twentieth century, there have been 386 cases of Marian apparitions. The Church has made "no decision" about the supernatural character regarding 299 of the 386 cases. The Church has made a "negative decision" about the supernatural character in seventy-nine of the 386 cases. Out of the 386 apparitions, the Church has decided that "yes" there is a supernatural character only in eight cases: Fatima (Portugal), Beauraing (Belgium), Banneux (Belgium), Akita (Japan), Syracuse (Italy), Zeitoun (Egypt), Manila (Philippines) (according to some sources), and Betania (Venezuela). Local bishops have approved of the faith expression at the sites where these eight apparitions occurred. Besides the eight approved apparitions, there have been eleven (out of the 386 apparitions) which have not been approved with a "supernatural character," but which have received a "yes" to indicate the local bishop's "approval of faith expression (prayer and devotion) at the site."

This introduction was written with the help of the following book:

Heintz, Peter. A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Sacramento: Gabriel Press, 1993.

This data about Marian Apparitions was compiled from the following sources:
Chiron, Yves. Enquête Sur Les Apparitions De La Vierge. Perrin/Mame, 1995.

Heintz, Peter. A Guide to Apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Sacramento: Gabriel Press, 1995

Hierzenberger, Gottfried and Otto Nedomansky. Erscheinungen und Botschaften der Gottesmutter Maria. Augsburg: Bechtermünz Verlag, 1997.

Explanatory Note:

The following criteria of approval are lacking specific observations given the little space available. The following needs to be kept in mind:

1) Approval of faith expression means that the local authorities have encouraged or at least tolerated the various manifestations of faith (prayers, mass, penance, conversions) occurring in conjunction with the alleged apparition. When explicitly approved, and known to us, the column bears the word "yes." The space remains blank when there was no answer available to us.

2) The designation "negative decision" in the column titled Approval of Supernatural character comprises both

- non constat de supernaturalitate, and
- constat de non supernaturalitate.

The second has final character, whereas the first (non constat) may have provisional character pending new results or the reopening of the case.

Download Directory (pdf)


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