November 21, 1987
INSTRUCTION ON THE APPARITIONS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN IN FINCA BETANIA
Archbishop Pio Bello Ricardo
A Letter by Archbishop Pio Bello Ricardo, Bishop of Los Teques
This year we are celebrating as a Marian year due to the happy initiative
of Our Holy Father Pope John Paul II, is an appropriate occasion
to emit the present Pastoral Instruction on the apparition of Our
Blessed Virgin Mary in Finca Betania.
Pio Bello Ricardo Bishop of Los Teques Los Teques, November 21st
Description Of The Events
Finca Betania is a farm located at twelve kilometers from the town
of Cua, on the left side of the road which unites this town, that
belongs to the geographical region of the Valleys of the Tuy river,
and the village of San Casimiro in the State of Aragua. Finca Betania
belongs therefore to the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, and to
this Diocese of Los Teques in the District of Urdaneta which belongs
to the State of Miranda. In this farm, there is a brook that runs
down the slope of a hill that is near the old and modest farm house.
At the foot of the hill the brook forms a small cascade. Along the
course of the brook the dense vegetation forms a tunnel. The apparitions
have taken place in this vegetal tunnel.
The first apparition took place on March 25th of 1976. This apparition
was seen only by one person, Mrs. Maria Esperanza Medrano de Bianchini;
though others, approximately eighty, present that same day saw something
like a cloud coming out of the hill, light phenomena and movement
of the sun. This same person, Mrs. Bianchini, continued having apparitions
in the same place during 1976 and the next two years. Besides her,
very few people have declared to have seen the apparition during
that period; yet, I received testimonies from people who had witnessed
phenomena as: fog that comes away from the hill, brilliant light,
intense fragrance of flowers, songs of an invisible choir, playing
of lights and movements of the sun, etc.
A pious and religious group began developing a movement of piety
and religious formation, centered in Finca Betania. They attended
Betania in small groups to pray and meditate especially on weekends
and religious holidays. The Bishop of the Diocese at that time,
Monsignor Juan Jose Bernal, allowed some liturgical acts at the
place. He administered sacraments himself specially in the favor
of peasants of the neighboring small villages. During this period
no formal ecclesiastical investigation took place concerning the
previous events, the apparitions and occurrences.
This situation limited to a small group of people, changed in the
year of 1984. On Sunday, March 25th of 1984, approximately 150 people
got together in Finca Betania in order to attend a field mass at
noon. After this liturgical act took place in the old sugar mill,
the attendants moved to the porch of the farm house in order to
have lunch and rest. Meanwhile some children were playing in the
leveled area by the cascade. Suddenly, they saw Our Lady over the
cascade. It was a very short apparition. They ran immediately to
tell the others who were 150 meters away.
They all hurried to the place of the apparition. They were talking
about what had happened when the Virgin appeared again and all the
people who were present were able to see Her. During that same afternoon
She appeared seven times, each time for 5 to 10 minutes, except
for the last time, at dusk, when She appeared for approximately
half an hour. Naturally, the news was spread among relatives and
friends of the people that were present that day. The number of
people coming to Finca Betania has been increasing especially on
weekends. There has been no predictable chronology of the continuing
apparitions though they have more frequently occurred on Saturdays,
Sundays, and on Our Blessed Lady's holidays. The apparitions were
numerous during the years of 1984, 1985. During the years of 1986
and 1987, less apparitions occurred.
That same week which began Sunday, March 25th of 1984 the first
witnesses spontaneously came to the Diocesan Curia in order to present
to me their written testimonies and an oral account of the events.
I received them and questioned them with kindness and broadmindedness,
though I had an interior attitude of doubt and skepticism as it
is normal for anyone who has had a theological and psychological
formation and knowledge of the history of the Church. Even though,
due to the quality of the informants and the information they were
presenting, I judged the case had to be seriously investigated.
To this end I convoked all the witnesses and protagonists; not an
easy task, as many of them lived in different cities and out of
the jurisdiction of the Diocese.
Due to the circumstances of number and dispersion of the witnesses
and the continuing of the phenomena, I decided to undertake the
investigation personally. This made it easier to make appointments
with the possible informants. Something that would have been very
difficult to do if I had given this task to a commission. This option,
obviously obliged me to dedicate a lot of time to this business,
around four hundred to five hundred hours; but I could calmly question
approximately two hundred protagonists and collect, study and file
381 declarations. Some were collective declarations. The total number
of people that signed these declarations was 490.
In order to examine this kind of phenomena I followed the classical
criteria of the Church. I was interested in determining the credibility
of the witnesses, their conditions as human beings, as Christians,
their sincerity, their common sense, their capacity to reason, their
sense of criticism, and their emotional balance. Once the credibility
of the witness was established, I tried to decide how much the witness
could be influenced by collective or personal suggestion.
I examined the spiritual and/or psychological effects on the people,
as well as the behavior of the people attending the site of the
apparitions and especially the characteristics of the group that
since the first apparition began developing into a spiritual movement.
During my "ad limina" visit in September of 1984 I was
received at the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
I left there a provisional report of the events and was given a
document for my private use which was elaborated by the Sacred Congregation
in 1978, with the rules and procedures I needed to follow in order
to judge the supposed apparitions or revelations. With satisfaction
I could verify that the investigation I had done up to that moment
fitted with the criteria and procedures pointed out in that document.
Since then, I certainly took them as my working guide.
Characteristics Of The Apparitions Identification
In other apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin Her figure could be easily
identified for She always presented Herself in the same way, same
features, same clothing; whose replica was copied on statues and
paintings. In the present case, Our Lady has presented Herself in
different ways, therefore the descriptions vary but are always related
to the different Marian devotions; She is most commonly seen as
"Our Lady of Lourdes", (because she is seen with a white
dress and blue waistband, some say that she extends her arms out
as welcoming or saluting, and with a veil through which you can
see Her hair) or as "Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal"
(probably for the position of Her arms and the rays of light coming
out of Her hands).
Though these descriptions are the most common, there are other descriptions
of the way She has presented Herself that are similar to the way
She has appeared in other places. People have interpreted this circumstance
as a teaching from Our Lady, as if She wanted to point out that
even though She has different titles for Her different apparitions,
She is only one and unique. Here, since Her first apparition She
presented Herself as Reconciler of Nations and this is the title
or devotion through which She is known and venerated in Betania.
Very few people have declared they have had any kind of oral communication
with Our Lady or have received any kind of teachings, messages or
advice. Generally in all the interrogations or declarations people
have only declared to have seen her. According to the communications
that have been received during the apparitions, Our Lady refers
The Renewal Of Faith, as specially urgent in a world where so many
deny God or despise the supernatural or live their lives setting
aside God and spirituality.
Deepening In Faith, through reading and meditating the word of God
in Sacred Scriptures.
Conversion from sin to all full Christian life.
Apostolic Commitment, as a consequence of living a renewed and profound
Call To Prayer as communication with God and specifically for the
Church, for priests, for religious vocations, for the conversion
of sinners, for peace in the world and for the impending risks that
Frequency Of Sacraments, specially the sacrament of reconciliation
and Holy Communion.
Solidarity, as a call to charity, specially with those in need,
the poor, the abandoned, the sick; insisting on a brotherly coexistence
and participation in the sense that each one should share with others
all he has.
Number Of Visionaries
In other cases the apparitions have been seen by very few privileged
people. In this case the number of visionaries since the 25th of
March of 1984 is very numerous. That day in particular more than
100 people saw the seven apparitions: at least 108 testified that
same day with their written signatures. From that day on the visionaries
multiplied. It has been common that in a group of people, only some
can see the apparition. The 25th of March of 1984 was an exception
to this. It has also been common for some people who on some occasions
saw the apparition, present during others, didn't have this privilege.
Considering the oral and written testimonies, the information received,
the fact that people present in the apparitions are dispersed in
different cities and that it is very difficult to summon them all;
I estimate that this moment five hundred to one thousand people
have seen the apparitions. (1987)
Quality Of People
What has been usual in the apparitions of Our Blessed Virgin is
that those privileged with the apparition besides being very few,
were poor, not educated and generally children or very young people.
In this case, there are of course; poor, not educated, but there
are also many middle class professional people as: Doctors, Psychiatrists,
Psychologists, Engineers and Lawyers. There are also numerous college
students from the different Universities in Caracas. There are children
and adults, teenagers and elderly people, nuns, although the great
majority are lay people.
As I pointed out before, the apparitions have not had a predictable
or announced chronology, nor an established frequency. Though generally
they have taken place on Saturdays, Sundays or on liturgical Marian
Holidays, they have also taken place unexpectedly during the other
days of the week.
In relation to the chronology; on numerous occasions, the expectations
of the people who came to the place on the belief that because it
was a day of Marian Holiday they would see the apparition, were
frustrated. On the other hand apparitions have taken place unexpectedly
as on 1984, day in which the main purpose was to celebrate a field
mass on the farm, and to enjoy a nice day on the margins of a beautiful
river and a nice rural landscape. In numerous declarations, many
people have mentioned as a relevant fact that their experience was
a totally unexpected surprise. The cases of people who have seen
the apparition against all expectancy have not been few, nor the
number of people who have gone to Betania for simple curiosity,
on a weekend picnic, or with great skepticism or scorn, and have
seen the apparition. I have also seenthe cases of people who attended
the place because they had to take a relative or accompany a friend
or a member of his family but with no religious faith and have see
the apparition which transformed them.
Sense Of Reality
It is classical in other apparitions for the visionaries to fall
in the psychological state of mystical trance or ecstasy. During
the interviews and the examination of the written declarations,
I tried to determine if there was any loss of the sense of reality
during the apparitions. I didn't find this phenomenon. Of course,
the visionaries get very excited; but with the exception of very
few that faint as a consequence of the emotion, most of them keep
their sense of reality during the apparition: they make comments
and compare their appreciations of what they are seeing, they even
try to find natural explanations (as reflections of light, tricks,
suggestion, etc), until they are convinced that these arguments
do not explain the realism of their vision. At the most, some indicate
they have become absorbed in thought during the apparition. This
characteristic made my investigation easier because I could do without
the technical examination of the supernatural character or purely
psychological of the state of ecstasy, limiting my survey to the
determination of the credibility of the witness and the value of
Along the course of the apparitions, phenomena that were present
during the first three years of the apparitions are: fog that seems
to come out from the trees at the hill; intense luminosity that
brightens the hill; profusion of flowers that cover it, especially
roses; invisible choirs; the water of the cascade acquiring the
perfume of roses; movements of light and movement of the sun, etc.
These phenomena have taken place before and after the apparitions,
and sometimes without them. A great number of witnesses have seen
these phenomena without seeing the apparition.
I could verify that the reunions in Finca Betania are acceptable
from the religious point of view. They are serious gatherings, centered
in the prayer of the Rosary, the Stages of the Cross and other prayers
and sacred songs. The public is respectful and orderly except for
the normal playfulness of children. There have been cases of exaggerated
emotionality and hysteric reactions, but in general the environment
has been moderately balanced. There has been no commercialization.
No sales of religious objects. No stands for refreshments nor food,
therefore people that come have to bring the necessary equipment
for the day.
The effects have been good and some excellent. Those who assist
receive a strong injection of faith and spirituality. People who
never prayed are getting used to praying the Rosary. People who
didn't attend the Church now do so regularly, go to Confession and
Communion. There have been remarkable conversions. It has been comforting
to hear confessions at the place. I have noticed that all the people
interviewed had a good disposition to what the Church should decide
officially and accept that the Church would have the last word on
the matter. All of them have experienced an interior change towards
God and towards living a more Christian life.
Declaration And Judgement
Since the beginning of my investigation I realized this was not
another case of craftiness, collective suggestion or a promotion
on the interests of a person or of a group of people, but that I
was dealing with something serious that had to be investigated carefully.
Relatively soon in the course of my investigation I acquired the
certainty that the character of the phenomenon was supernatural.
Still, I decided to delay any explicit declaration, following the
prudent praxis of the Church in these matters, until I could enlighten
my appreciation with the following declarations, measure the spiritual
effects achieved and finish the critical following of the religious
movement produced by the events. I judge the appropriate time has
come to make my judgement on the events public.
In consequence, after studying with determination the apparitions
of our Blessed Virgin Mary in Finca Betania and after assiduously
asking our Lord for spiritual discernment: I declare that to my
judgement these apparitions are authentic and of a supernatural
character. Therefore, I approve officially that the place where
the apparitions have taken place should be considered as sacred,
as a site for pilgrimages, as a place for prayer, meditation and
worship; where all liturgical acts can be celebrated especially
the Mass and the administration of the sacraments of Reconciliation
and Holy Communion, always according to the laws of the Church and
the rules of the Diocese for a Conjoint Pastoral guidance.
Sense And Evaluation Of This Declaration Competence
It is the competence of the Diocesan Bishop to watch and intervene
in order to judge, especially in the cases of supposed apparitions
or revelations that take place in his Diocese. This competence is
derived from the hierarchical institution of the Church and it has
been expressly declared by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith when naming the rules that must be observed in such
As I will mention in a later paragraph this declaration does not
have the magisterial value that it would have if it would refer
to the contents of faith from the public revelation God has given
to His Church through the Sacred Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition.
These contents are of divine faith and when being explained or declared
by a Magisterial authority are of ecclesiastical faith: those who
don't accept them sin against faith rebelling against God and the
The present case is a religious event that is admitted by human
faith founded on the testimonies of witnesses and on my own testimony,
this last one obviously specially authorized by the condition of
pastoral guidance that belongs to a Bishop. Not to admit it, does
not constitute a sin against faith. Still, anyone who acts in such
a non-believing manner must, examine his underlying motivations:
is it prudence or a reasonable sense of criticism, is it a biased
attitude of systematic negativism before all the supernatural? An
attitude that is the consequence of a naturalistic and scientific
mentality of those who do not admit things that are not the result
of a reasoning approach, mathematical calculations or laboratory
experiences. The skeptic attitude of those who do not admit the
possibility that God can communicate freely with His creatures and
make visible the invisible realities.
With these statements I do not intend to affirm that all and each
one of the apparitions that have taken place in Finca Betania are
authentic. As happens in similar circumstances, here there also
have been cases of simple hallucinations incited by expectation,
suggestion, emotionality and even psychological unbalance. Worthwhile
mentioning at this point is the fact that during the investigation
of the apparition of Our Blessed Virgin in Lourdes, apparition repeatedly
studied and acknowledged, pseudo-visionaries were detected and discharged.
In my investigation in the case of Finca Betania, I have also found
a few cases in which I was inclined to believe and interpret as
fantasies and discharge them as not valid testimonies. I have judged
therefore, that the presence of these cases, on one side expected,
didn't lessen the validity of the appreciable volume of the numerous
testimonies to which I do grant credibility.
Public Revelation And Private Revelation
Faith is based upon Revelation. Throughout the years it was God's
will to communicate with humanity through special people privileged
by Him to this effect. In order to preserve the multiple truths
taught in this way, He brought up writers who under the motion of
divine inspiration wrote the Sacred Scriptures. This is therefore
the fountain from which we can drink the water that sprang from
the spring of Revelation. At the end of this process of salvation,
God the Father sent us His Son, Jesus Christ, the incarnated Word.
In Him the divine Revelation culminates and is made perfect. Jesus
Christ, in His times, entrusted the Apostles as His authorized witnesses,
to spread the total content of the Revelation. This testimony was
gathered and kept in the books that constitute the New Testament
and by His fellow contemporaries in what is named the "Apostolic
The contents of the Sacred Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition
contain God's Revelation and we must accept them with the same faith
we worship God Himself. This is what it means in theology when it
is said that these contents are "of divine faith". On
the other hand, Jesus Christ, when He founded the Church, appointed
the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, as the authorized
Magisterium. Doing this He entrusted them the contents of Revelation
in order to keep and give them the authorized interpretation.
When the Magisterium of the Church intervenes in the field of Revelation
to interpret, specify, explain it, etc.; being instituted by Jesus
Christ and given the virtue of the Holy spirit, it has the charisma
of magisterial authority; therefore its intervention should be accepted
by all faithful Christians as the content of Faith and its rejection
is a sin against Faith. The contents in this way taught by the Magisterium
are known in theological terms as of "catholic" or "ecclesiastical
faith". The divine Revelation culminates in Jesus Christ. As
said in the II Vatican Council: "He with His presence and manifestation,
with His words and actions, signs and miracles, above all with His
death and glorious resurrection, with the coming of the Spirit of
truth; completes all the Revelation and confirms it as a divine
testimony..., therefore another public revelation should not be
expected before the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ Our Lord"
(Dei Verbum 4).
In relation with the interpretation of the Revelation the Council
affirms: "Tradition and Scriptures constitute the sacred depository
of God's word trusted to the Church. The job of interpreting accurately
the word of God, oral or written, has been given only to the Magisterium
of the Church, which exercises it in the name of Jesus Christ"
(Dei Verbum 10). The previous explanation does not imply that since
the death of the last Apostle, the communication of God with man
ceased, or that after Jesus Christ all revelations are impossible.
That would contradict the history of the Church in which yes, there
are many cases of pseudo-visionaries and false revelations, but
there are also numerous visionaries, apparitions and revelations
that fulfil the conditions that the theological critique requires
as signs of authenticity.
It implies on the contrary, an important difference. The Revelation
contained in the Sacred Scriptures and in the Apostolic Tradition
has, we can say, an institutional character. It is in this sense
when theology refers to it as "public" Revelation. Any
other revelation even though its purpose is the spiritual well-being
of the community, will be referred to as "private" revelation.
What Jesus Christ entrusted to the Magisterium of the Church was
the "public" Revelation and as I indicated before, when
the Church intervenes, it is an obligation for the faithful to accept
Its decisions as of "Catholic" or "ecclesiastical
On the other hand, when the Church intervenes in "private"
revelations, It does so in order to determine its compatibility
with the "public" Revelations. As a consequence, if It
finds that the "private" revelation contradicts the "public"
Revelation It declares it false, as God cannot contradict Himself.
If It finds agreement in both It allows the "private' revelations
to be admitted. Generally the Church does not go further than this,
It does not proceed to make an assertive declaration on the supernatural
character of the "private" revelations. Still, though
less frequent, on finding sufficient reasons that give credit to
the supernatural character of a "private' revelation, the Church
can declare it as such. By doing it, It does not oblige the faithful
to admit this declaration as of "catholic or ecclesiastical
faith" but guides them prudently so that they can admit it
by human faith, with the warrant of a serious investigation and
the testimony of an ecclesiastical authority which emits the declaration.
This is the case of this document. If anyone is willing to study
the apparition in Finca Betania to form his own personal judgement
I would be glad to furnish all the documentation referring to it.
To this effect, I have taken the precaution of photocopying all
the declarations in order to preserve the originals as I consider
them as irreplaceable for their historical value.
Apparitions And Visions
Apparitions and visions can be referred to, as constants in the
history of salvation. Through them God gives the visionary, the
visible perception of invisible realities, as spiritual beings,
or of visible realities but of another time and place. Visions and
apparitions include some kind of message or teaching, generally
oral. This is what is ordinarily called "private revelation".
Although it is possible for this kind of revelation to take place
without an apparition or vision. Of course, an authentic vision
or apparition, though without a message, is a revelation itself,
while proving the existence of the supernatural by making visible
To admit or not to admit the possibility of visions and apparitions,
depends on one's position concerning the possibility that realities,
which are beyond the material field of positive methods of investigation,
could exist and be perceived. Who believes in God also admits that
God can communicate with the beings He created. This possibility
of course, does not guarantee that a concrete phenomenon is a communication
with God. It is necessary to critically analyze each phenomenon
in order to guarantee it as a supernatural occurrence. The existing
difficulties to reach this analysis is not cause to say they are
not valid, thus reject their authenticity "a priori" or
to adopt a systematically negative or skeptical attitude.
The apparitions and visions related in the Sacred Scriptures are
numerous both in the Old and New Testament. Hence, they are confirmed
in their supernatural authenticity by divine inspiration and by
the Magisterium of the Church. From the Church's patristic origins
to our days there have been numerous apparitions which have turned
the history of the Church. These apparitions form part of the charismatic
dimension of the Church which is conjugated with Its ministerial
dimension, though we have to mention that the ministerial dimension
is a charisma in itself.
As the II Vatican Council expresses in its constitution "Lumen
Gentium", N. 12: "The Holy Spirit not only sanctifies,
guides the nation of God through the sacraments and ministry, and
adorns it with Its virtues; but also distributes grace, even special
grace, among the faithful of any kind or condition, distributing
Its gifts to each one as It pleases (1 Cor 12, 11), with which It
enables them capable and ready to comply to diverse works and duties
that are necessary for the renovation and greater edification of
the Church". And as for the extraordinary gifts, It observes:
"The judgement over the authenticity and over their reasonable
exercise belongs to those who have authority in the Church, those
who have the responsibility above all, not to suffocate the Spirit
but to test it all and keep what is good (cfr Tes 5, 12 y 19, 21)".
The above text gives us an insight to understand the meaning that
visions, apparitions and private revelations have in the life of
the Church. They belong to Its charismatic dimension, and constitute
a demonstration that Christ is present among us until the consummation
of the centuries (Cfr Mat 28, 20), and that the Holy Spirit, soul
of the Church, acts on It and gives It life. In some cases to enlighten
and to guide a specific person; in others to promote a certain style
of spirituality or a certain form of pastoral action; or to renew
and up to date evangelic lines that routine has made ineffective,
or inconsequence has segregated; or towards the solution of a crisis
or the acceptance of a historical challenge. As Pope Pius XII wrote
in his encyclical "Mystici Corporis": "Christ always
oversees His Immaculate wife (His Church) exiled in this world,
with special love, and when seeing It in danger, He Himself or through
the angels or through Her to whom we implore as Succor of the Christians
and through the heavenly advocates; delivers It from the waves of
the storm, and calming the sea, He comforts It with that peace that
goes beyond all senses." In this frame of mind we can understand
the providential purpose the apparitions of Our Lady have, since
the day in 1830 in Rue du Bac, Paris, and all the following apparitions
up to our days. It is typical of this last century and half for
man to believe he is self-sufficient, that he is able to fulfill
himself and solve all his problems through science, technology,
social and political experiments, human creativity; without the
help of God, as well as denying all interference of transcendental
and supernatural factors in human life.
Therefore, the Blessed Virgin, who advances in the pilgrimage of
faith loyally accompanied Her Son even to the Cross (Lumen Gentium
56), who preceded the Church being "an example for the Church
in faith, charity and of perfect unity with Christ" (Lumen
Gentium 63), and that as Mother of Christ is united in a special
way to the Church the Lord constituted as His Body" (John Paul
II, Redemptoris Mater 5): She accompanies the Church in Its pilgrimage
through this period of faith and atheism "in which Our Blessed
Virgin Mary continues to precede the Nation of God (Redemptoris
Mater 6), and "continues being the Star of the Seas for all
those who persevere in the path of faith" (ibid 6). In this
way, we can conclude that God wanted Mary, our Mother in faith,
who kept loyally the teachings of the divine mysteries (Cfr Luc
2, 19 y 21), and whose visit to Elizabeth was the first evangelization
on the mystery of Christ (Cfr Luc 1, 39-45); to visit the Church
in these later times as evangelizer in a period when faith is in
Reconciler Of Nations
When Our Blessed Virgin appeared at Finca Betania She presented
Herself as "Reconciler of Nations". In the next paragraphs
I'll be giving clues to understand the theological meaning of this
title. Our Lady, Her person, Her priorities, activities are essentially
centered in Christ, have sense in Christ and for Christ. Jesus Christ
is our only Redeemer and Mediator, as categorically affirms Saint
Paul: "There is only one God and only one mediator between
God and men, Jesus Christ, also a man, who submitted Himself as
rescue for all" (1 Tim 2, 5-6). Even though, "the only
mediation of our Redeemer does not exclude, but raises in His creatures,
diverse types of cooperation that come from the only source"
(Lumen Gentium 62).
Pope John Paul II applies this doctrine to Our Blessed Virgin: "The
teachings of the II Vatican Council present the truth about the
mediation of Mary as a participation of this only source that is
the mediation of Christ Himself" (Redemptoris Mater 38). Being
Mother of Christ, Mary is Mother of the Church that is Body of Christ;
but also deserves this title for Her actions on behalf of the Church:
"Conceiving Christ, gestating Him, feeding Him, presenting
Him to the Father at the temple, suffering when Her Son was dying
on the Cross; She cooperated in a very singular way with the masterpiece
of Our Savior with obedience, faith, hope and fervish charity, for
the purpose of restoring the supernatural life of the souls."
(Lumen Gentium 61).
The Blessed Virgin is therefore collaborator of Christ and His plan
for Redemption. And this cooperation didn't end on the Cross, She
was given by Her Son as Mother of the newborn Church "- there
is your Mother-..." Her maternity remains in the Church as
a maternal mediation" (Redemptoris Mater 40). "Mary's
maternity endures unceasingly in the economy of the grace... until
the perpetual consummation of all the chosen" (Lumen Gentium
62). On the other hand, Redemption can also be proposed as Reconciliation
of men with God and of men within themselves. Saint Paul densely
expresses it in his letters to the Romans and Ephesians: "We
have been reconciled with God through the death of His Son"
(Rom 5, 10). "He is our peace, from two nations He made one,
demolishing the wall that opposed them... to create in Himself,
from two, one new man, making peace... giving death to enmity in
Himself (Ef 2, 14-16).
Being Our Blessed Virgin collaborator in the plan of Redemption,
She must logically be considered as collaborator in this Reconciliation.
This is the position that is understood and proclaimed in the title
of "Reconciler" or "Mother of Reconciliation".
This condition of collaborator in Reconciliation is not limited
to Jesus' life on earth but is prolonged in the history of the Church;
this idea is implied in Saint Luke's description of the Pentecost.
The effusion of the Holy Spirit takes place as a consequence of
the reconciliation of men with God and produces reconciliation of
men among themselves, symbolized in the rupture of the obstacle
of comprehension with the give of tongues (Act 2, 5-12). Specially
in this circumstances the Virgin is singularly mentioned as collaborating
with Her prayers. This Cooperation is prolonged indefinitely as
I mentioned in a previous text: "This maternity of Mary (-as
mediator-) in the economy of the grace endures unceasingly... until
the perpetual consummation of those chosen" (Lumen Gentium
Now, if there is something characteristic of this last century and
half it is violence, hatred and fighting of people and groups, of
social classes and nations, division of hearts and deeds, wars.
Initiatives towards peace and union have risen; and organisms and
actions have been planned. But these plans have been ineffective
because they only touch the surface of human life, and they don't
reach the deep dimension of hearts and souls, there where the seed
of hatred and division germinated as an effect of the original sin.
In the midst of the Church, an ecumenical movement has risen, for
the purpose of restoring the union of the believers in Christ. Still,
the same opposing movements that have been raised in the course
of centuries continue to be the wall for contraposition for this
ecumenical movement. Specially in this world and in the Church Our
Blessed Virgin appears as Reconciler Of Nations insisting on a spirit
of solidarity and mutual fraternal participation. A title that springs
from the theology of Mary's cooperation in Redemption and Reconciliation
and with a message of great sense of actuality.
Ending this Pastoral Instruction I thank the Lord for He has given
our Diocese and our Country the privilege of the visit of Our Blessed
Virgin; for in this period of our ecclesiastical history marked
with a new evangelization, She encourages us to a renewal and deepening
in faith, and to a projection of that faith into an integral conversion,
in prayer and apostolic commitment; because in this divided world
She has come as Reconciler Of Nations. Through the visit of Our
Mother, may the Lord grant us the effusion of His Spirit He granted
Elizabeth when Our Lady visited her. And if on that occasion Our
Lady proclaimed: "from now on all generations shall call Me
blessed because the Almighty has done wonders in Me" (Luc 1,
48-49); may Her intercession do wonders in the devotees piously
attending the place She has chosen to manifest Herself. Los Teques,
November 21st of 1987. Pio Bello Ricardo Bishop of Los Teques
Translation by: Movimiento Espiritual Betania (Betania Spiritual
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