Garabandal's First Winter
that mysteries be fulfilled,
and seeds take root,
and grow strong under the ground,
to develop in such a way
as to bring forth fruit later on.
It appears that God also had His winter plans for Garabandal . . . Under the frigid inclemency of the wintry season, He aimed to give silent root to the many things that He had sown. In this way, through a period of tests and week after week of lethargy, He protected and favored the slow germination that would bring forth the most luscious fruits. The appearance of the meadows in winter is bleak; but that is the time when mysteries are accomplished in the womb of mother earth.
With October 18th, 1961 began the first winter in the history of the great events of Garabandal, a winter which goes beyond the simple meteorological extent.
The icy wind of disillusion from October 18th had cut down and scattered many enthusiasts and well-wishers of Garabandal. And now the publication of a new «Nota» from the bishop of Santander arrived with telling effect.
The chief Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, Bishop Doroteo Fernández, with a precipitation that we are not able to explain and which history will judge, immediately made the feeling of the Commission his own, and spread it to the four winds through a «Nota Oficial» published in the Boletín del Obispado in November:
Most beloved sons:
It has been some time since you were told what our attitude must be in the face of the public rumors that attribute to the Most Holy Virgin certain marvelous events, especially revelations, apparitions, oral locutions, and other more or less extraordinary signs.
We (1) would like to see in all of you the highest discretion and prudence with which the Church judges the supernaturalness of such phenomena. Powerful is the Lord, Who gives us revelation when it pleases Him to manifest Himself, and speaks to us when it is in accordance with His goodness. But it would be a great lack of wisdom in us to accept every wind of human opinion as coming from the Lord. When God wishes to speak, He does it in terms that are clear and unequivocal. When He wishes to tell us something, His words do not allow tergiversation (evasion) or obscurity. And it is the Church founded by Jesus Christ — not by public opinion, and much less by any particular person — that is competent to judge definitively on such allegedly supernatural events. Let no one arrogate and attribute to himself functions and powers which God has not entrusted to him, for such a one would be a usurper and an intruder.
In what concerns the events that have been happening at San Sebastián de Garabandal, a town in our diocese, you should be told that in the fulfillment of our pastoral duty and to avoid the unfounded and bold interpretations of those who venture to give a definitive judgment where the Church does not believe it still prudent to do so; also to guide souls, we have to come to declare the following:
1. It is clear that the above-mentioned apparitions, visions, locutions and revelations up to now cannot be presented or held to have a serious foundation for truth and authenticity.
2. Priests should absolutely abstain from whatever would contribute to create confusion among the Christian people. Thus they should cautiously avoid, as far as it depends on them, the organization of visits or pilgrimages to the place referred to.
3. Priests should instruct the faithful with wisdom and charity concerning the true feeling of the Church in these matters. They should make them understand that our faith does not require such aids of supposed revelations and miracles to maintain it.
We believe that God has revealed Himself to us and that the Church teaches us: in this category belong the clear and authentic miracles of Jesus Christ. He gives them to us as a proof of His doctrine, to which there is nothing more to add. If He — by Himself, or by means of His Most Holy Mother — wishes to speak to us, we should be attentive in listening to His words and saying like Samuel: “Speak Lord, your servant hears."
4. Priests likewise should instruct the faithful that the best disposition for hearing the voice of God is a perfect, complete and humble submission to the teachings of the Church; and that no one can hear with fruit the voice of God in heaven if he rejects with pride the doctrine of Mother Church, who welcomes us and sanctifies us on this earth.
5. As for you beloved faithful, do not allow yourselves to be seduced by any wind of doctrine. Hear with submission and trust the teachings of your priests, placed at your side to be teachers of the truth in the Church.
I know that you have been impatiently waiting, and that confusion has burdened many minds in the face of the events that have recently occurred. I would wish to bring to your conscience the peace and tranquility that is the basic foundation of a calm and rational judgment. Let no one take away the precious gift of peace that rests in God and “do not be alarmed, either by the spirit, or by words, or by writing," as St. Paul said to the Thessalonians.
Having these our sentiments, most dearly beloved sons, let us hope that the Virgin, whom we hail under the title of Sedes Sapientiae — Seat of Wisdom — will enlighten us to know everything that is useful for the glory of her Son and our salvation.
1. The use of the word we in place of I is what could be called an authoritarian plural or a royal plural. Up until recently it was the standard form used, almost obligatory, in documents from the ecclesiastical hierarchies. I point this out, since readers may wonder at the use of the expression.