A Vatican official has denied a document is being prepared about how to deal with alleged Marian apparitions and visions, such as those at Medjugorje.

According to some reports that have circulated in the last few days, Pope Benedict has instructed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to prepare a vademecum, or handbook, on the matter. It reportedly would require individuals who said they have experienced appearances or visions of the Virgin Mary to remain silent while their claims are investigated carefully by Church authorities.

The document was also rumored to specify that local bishops should set up commissions composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests to investigate the claimed apparitions.

But according to a Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith official who spoke with Register correspondent Edward Pentin, there is no truth to these reports. The official stated emphatically that no work is underway on a vademecum or on any other type of document regarding the question of how to handle claims of apparitions.

— Tom McFeely