Pope Francis warned against the "spirit of curiosity" when attempting to find God and religious messages in outside forces, or trying to predict when Jesus Christ will return, reminding believers that the "The Kingdom of God is among you."
"When we want to be the masters of the projects of God, of the future, of things, to know everything, to have everything in hand … the Pharisees asked Jesus, 'When will the Kingdom of God come?' Curious! They wanted to know the date, the day… The spirit of curiosity distances us from the Spirit of wisdom because all that interests us is the details, the news, the little stories of the day," Francis said in his Thursday homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
Such a spirit, he warned, brings about dispersion and distances people from God. The Vatican leader further noted that Jesus himself warned against a worldly spirit of curiosity, as it causes confusion and impels people to want to feel that God is "here or there."
"[It] leads us to say: 'But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady.' And the Pope commented: 'But, look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.'"
Francis added that the Kingdom of God does come in a state of confusion, just as God did not speak to the prophet Elijah in the wind or in a storm, but spoke through "the breeze of wisdom."
"The Kingdom of God is among us: do not seek strange things, do not seek novelties with this worldly curiosity. Let us allow the Spirit to lead us forward in that wisdom, which is like a soft breeze," he continued. "This is the Spirit of the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus speaks."
In May 2012, the Vatican translated decade-old rules for confirming reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary in an effort to ensure that more discretion is used in such cases.
"Modern mentality and the requirements of critical scientific investigation render it more difficult, if not almost impossible, to achieve with the required speed the judgments that in the past concluded the investigation of such matters," the rules state.
The document was originally written in Latin by the Vatican in 1978, but until now had only been used by clergy and specialists, and was not made available to the general public.
The rules require "psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life … sincerity [and] healthy devotion" for those claiming to have seen a real apparition, while "evidence of a search for profit" and "psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject" as well as "psychosis, collective hysteria" would speak against the validity of such a vision.