In November 1974, when the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met for its annual Plenary Congregation, part of the discussion concerned problems relating to reported apparitions and revelations. New developments in theology and psychology prompted questions on how to evaluate claims of such events.
The eventual fruit of those discussions was a four-page document in Latin bearing the title "Normae S. Congregationis pro doctrina fidei de modo procedendi in diudicandis praesumptis apparitionibus ac revelationibus" ("Norms of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the Manner of Proceeding in Judging Presumed Apparitions and Revelations", hereinafter Normae Congregationis or NC). The document was approved by Pope Paul VI in February 1978 and was signed by Franjo Cardinal Seper and Archbishop Jérôme Hamer, then the prefect and secretary of SCDF.
The authority of private revelations is essentially different from that of the definitive public Revelation...Private revelation is a help to this faith, and shows its credibility precisely by leading me back to the definitive public Revelation.