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The case of Angelique Caruana

I would like to pass some comments about what had been said during the TVM programme Xarabank of February 1 in regard to the ongoing debate about what is happening at Borg in-Nadur and also about the alleged apparitions of Our Lady as expounded by Angelique Caruana. The programme was interesting and very informative and it created the feeling that when one comes to discussing such matters it is not easy to express oneself especially if one lacks the proper background of the whole situation. It is right that the Church takes time to express itself about such "phenomena" especially if the time spent is used to understand what is really happening and what is the truth.

Unfortunately, I cannot be satisfied with how this "phenomenon" was tackled in this programme and also in the preceding programme which was aired on May 18, 2007 about the same alleged happenings, as some of the participants came to hasty, negative conclusions without any professional, psychological or theological verification. There were persons who, although having no way of making an unbiased conclusion, were still ready to judge and contest those who were trying in a professional way to unravel the situation and reach a just conclusion. I strongly feel that this is sheer immaturity, which is also dangerous to listen to.

A good example of such immaturity was clearly evident when from the very beginning of the programme there was consistent pressure on Fr Elias Vella OFM Conv. to say if the Church approved the work which he has done as an exorcist on the person of Mr Caruana, on his house and on the statue which is said to have shed human blood. One might have been given the impression that what Fr Vella was doing had not been sanctioned by the Church authorities and consequently this exorcism was of his own personal volition and as a result he was just expressing his own personal views.

It is important to clarify the situation in order to clear any misconceptions which might have been created in this programme. First and foremost, Fr Vella was personally appointed by his Excellency the Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca as President of the Diocesan Commission about the occult and satanism which the Church felt appropriate to set up on April 13, 1995. The official decree issued by and signed by Archbishop Emeritus Mrg Mercieca says: "The commission was established to study occultism, spiritism and satanism from a theological standpoint and take also into consideration natural phenomena pertaining to psychology, psychiatry and parapsychology which could help authentic discernment".

Further to this, one should mention Canon 1172 of Canon Law which declares that "No one may lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local Ordinary". Therefore, whenever Fr Vella exercises his work in regard to such phenomena he is not only doing it with the Church's approval but any opinion he presents is a professional one and not his own, as what he is doing is nothing but the onerous work which the Church authorities have given him.

The Church gave him this ministry to fulfil in a professional way and so that his advice will be professional as expected of him. The above-mentioned canonical document also says that: "For a good and authentic understanding of these phenomena, the Holy Spirit's intervention is surely necessary but we must include the contribution which the natural sciences and especially psychology, psychiatry and parapsychology could give; for this reason exorcists should keep a continuous dialogue with the experts in these fields".

To tell the truth one has never seen such things happening in a programme like Xarabank. In the programme aired on February 1 we had Fr Vella and psychiatrist Mark Xuereb using their professional "tools" to deeply study this case so that in the end truth will prevail.

I say thank you to both and to all those who are helping out in this case. We need persons like them. I promise my prayers and hopefully those of the readers so that through them and the Church's judgement, the truth may be known.

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