the May Sept. 2007 Newsletter, p. 38, it was said that Card. Ratzinger
in June 1988 gave a definitive and positive judgment on the Akita
events and messages. The exact facts are the following:
1975, Bishop John Shojiro Ito flew to Rome, where he consulted
Archbishop Jean Jerome Hamer, O.P., the then Secretary of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, concerning how to
handle the Akita events. Archbishop Hamer told the bishop that
conducting an investigation and making a decision on matters of
this nature primarily belongs to the authority of the local ordinary
of a diocese where an apparition was reported to have taken place.
on February 27, 1978, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
laid down directives concerning criteria for discerning the supernatural
authenticity of reported apparitions after Pope Paul VI approved
the directives on Feb. 24. The document of the directives is entitled
"Normae Sacra Congregationis pro Doctorina Fidei de Modo
Procedendi in Dijudicandis Praesumptis Apparitionibus ac Revelationibus."
directives stipulate that the responsibility to intervene into
matters related to reported apparitions primarily belongs to a
local ordinary. Article 3 of the document says, ''Officium invigilandi
vel interveniendi praeprimis competit Ordinario loci." This
means that the responsibility and authority to investigate and
intervene primarily belongs to the relevant local ordinary. The
document is signed by both Cardinal Franjo Seper, the then Prefect
of the congregation, and Archbishop Hamer.
following year, Bishop Ito went to Rome again, holding consultations
with Cardinal Seper. The Holy See gave a copy of the printed document
to the bishop.
on April 22, 1984, Bishop Ito, following the Holy See directives,
issued a pastoral letter in which he declared that no one can
deny the supernatural character of a series of mysterious events
at a convent in Akita and solemnly declared that he has decided
to ''authorize the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Akita''
on the strength of his power as the local ordinary.
the pastoral letter, the ordinary described the messages of the
Blessed Virgin Mary of Akita for the Catholic Church, communicated
through Sr. Agnes Sasagawa. In it, Bishop Ito, a strong backer
of the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas, said, "It is impossible
to find in these phenomenon any element that is contrary to Catholic
doctrines and morals."
1987, Bishop Ito sent a letter to Pope John Paul II, along with
a copy of the pastoral letter. Then, he received a reply from
the Sovereign Pontiff in which the pope, acknowledging the receipt
of the bishop's letter, said that he forwarded the pastoral letter
to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.