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Vatican Reformulated The Criteria For Evaluating Supernatural Phenomena

The Vatican has reformulated the criteria for evaluating supernatural phenomena. 

The Vatican's Canon Office has said that these criteria are no longer useful in the Internet age. 

The Vatican on Friday overhauled its process for evaluating apparitions such as messages from the Virgin Mary, crying statues and other purported mysterious phenomena. 

It clearly states that the existing standards are not useful in the Internet era.

The Vatican's Canon Office has made changes to the norms first issued in 1978. The Vatican said that these days, rumors about apparitions or the Weeping Madonna spread rapidly and would cause great harm if rumor-mongering elements sought to abuse people's trust to raise money. 

The new norms make it clear that abuse of trust held by people can be statutorily punishable. These criteria essentially redefine the Catholic Church's evaluation process for whether church authorities can declare a particular vision or allegedly divinely inspired event as supernatural. 

The Catholic Church has a long and controversial history with followers claiming to have experienced visions of the Virgin Mary, statues allegedly crying tears of blood, and wounds on the arms and legs similar to those of Jesus Christ. 

Church figures who have claimed to have experienced the wounds include Padre Pio and St. Francis of Assisi, although judgments about their authenticity have been confusing. 

The revised norms warn that those committing fraud on such counts will be held accountable, including statutory penalties.