11 Oct 2016

Re: Flee from ALL Novus Ordo Apparitions

 by Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi

Our Lady of Fatima
In the article, ‘Flee from ALL Novus Ordo Apparitions’, written and published by Malachy Igwilo, a Sedevacantist, we read the following (arranged and numbered by me):

1. “Apparitions are a hot topic among Traditionalists. I have, unfortunately, seen the exaltation of  private revelation over public revelation too many times to count. Rather than study what the Church teaches (in public revelation which ended with the death of the Apostle St. John in 100 AD), they seek to quibble over what Our Lady of (fill-in-the-blank) is alleged to have said to the seer (private revelation). Note well that the term "private revelation" has nothing to do with the number of people who witnessed the revelation, but rather that it never needs to be accepted as authentic, unlike the Deposit of Faith which comes to us from Christ and the Apostles (deemed "public revelation").”

2. “People who see authentic apparitions (i.e. "seers") are usually children, because of their innocence and due to the fact that visions usually occur in the saintly to whom God can act more directly on the soul as they have grown close to the Almighty”.

3. “I will attempt to demonstrate Church teaching on apparitions, and how we must not let devotion to them (even when approved by Holy Mother Church), obfuscate what is really of the Faith. The apparitions most talked about involve the appearances of the Mother of God, Mary.”

4. “My advice is to stay away from apparitions other than the nine approved by the Church since the 16th century and prior to Vatican II.”

5. “No one must believe in any apparition; even those approved by the Church. If you have a devotion to an approved apparition, please do NOT let it become some kind of "dogma," and do not waste valuable time and energy debating with others over the "true meaning." Instead, read the approved theologians and learn about what the Church really teaches, since we live in this time of near universal apostasy. As far as "new" apparitions, my advice is to stay away.”

6. “Rather than obsess over unapproved apparitions (and we have no hierarchy with authority to approve new apparitions since 1958 when the last pope, Pius XII died) stick to the nine major apparitions that have the solemn approbation of Church authority.”

Where does one start to refute all these nonsensical—if not diabolical—assertions? Of course there are some truths in the article (the false apparitions he listed for instance), but—just as the devil himself does—he mixes them up with pure lies. (See the entire article: Flee from ALL Novus Ordo Apparitions)

I will address all the above assertions, starting from number 6, then number 2, then number 3; then I will treat 1, 4 and 5 together because they are related.

Igwilo writes (in number 6 above): “Rather than obsess over unapproved apparitions (and we have no hierarchy with authority to approve new apparitions since 1958 when the last pope, Pius XII died) stick to the nine major apparitions that have the solemn approbation of Church authority.”

Rubbish! The Church is, first and foremost, a Church of God (a Church founded not by the apostles but by Jesus Christ Himself), not a Church of man. Therefore whenever there is any problem in the Church the number one person that would care most about the problem is God Himself. (See The Apocalypse Chapters 2 and 3. In Chapter 3 verse 15-16 for instance Jesus, intervening in the affairs of the Church just as He still does today, said to the Church of Laodicea, one of the early Churches established in the ancient city of Laodicea in the apostolic age: “...I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth”). God has been intervening in the happenings in His Church—sometimes even when the problem seemed less serious—from the first century till now (and we see the same intervention in the Old Testament). God often intervenes through His messengers—the seers or “prophets”. St. Paul tells us that the Church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, not just the apostles alone.  “Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.” (Eph. 2:19-20). Again, writes St. Paul: “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets....." (1 Cor. 12:28). The prophets are the seers and they play a very important role as well. It is quite stupid then, to pretend as if God has been silent over all the terrible errors and heresies that have engulfed the Church since 1958, and more stupid to say that even if God has been intervening we should just ignore Him because after all His message, unlike the Deposit of Faith which ended with the death of the apostles, is just private revelation and therefore mustn't be believed—which is exactly what Igwilo is saying.
Igwilo of course does this just to “protect” his Sedevacantist position which some of these apparitions seem to be threatening. He has actually been making a lot of unfounded and provocative (some in fact heretical) assertions for quite some time now but I've been ignoring him partly because he is terribly fanatical (which is un-Catholic) and partly because he dishonestly talks absolute nonsense most of the times. Consider the very title of the article itself, for instance. What does he mean by “Novus Ordo apparitions”? Does “Novus Ordo” have apparitions? Igwilo calls ALL the heavenly apparitions (particularly the true ones) “Novus Ordo apparitions” because none of these apparitions supports his Sedevacantist belief that all Vatican II popes are false popes, all Novus Ordo sacraments invalid and all Novus Ordo priests and bishops invalidly ordained. Hence he declares in the same article that all the miracles happening within Novus Ordo (in particular Eucharistic miracles) are fake. The man has been committing a lot of sacrileges against sacred priesthood and the sacraments and it’s just beyond the scope of the present study to go into all that. However, may I quickly remind the reader that to declare all the Sacraments of the Church “invalid” or a validly ordained priest “invalid priest”—as the Sedevacantists have done—is not just a sacrilege, it is also a heresy, similar to that of the Donatists in the fourth and fifth centuries, because the three sacraments that confer a character (namely Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders) cannot be repeated. This principle was already established with respect to the sacrament of baptism in the letter of Pope St. Stephen I to St. Cyprian condemning the latter’s practice of re-baptizing heretics when receiving them into the Church. This was also defined by the Council of Trent, which declared an anathema against those who maintained that the three sacraments that imprint an indelible mark (namely Baptism, Confirmation and Holy orders) can be repeated (Session VII, Canon 9, Denzinger [Dz.] 852). As far as Vatican II mess is concerned, the true position every Catholic should take at this critical time remains that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. All recent apparitions that warn of Vatican II errors are simply in line with Archbishop Lefebvre’s position. (See: Is Novus Ordo Missae Invalid? Must priests who come to Tradition be re-ordained?)

Again, Igwilo vomits (in number 2 above): “People who see authentic apparitions (i.e. "seers") are usually children, because of their innocence and due to the fact that visions usually occur in the saintly to whom God can act more directly on the soul as they have grown close to the Almighty”.

Nonsense! God can use anybody He chooses to use—anybody He chooses to use. God can act through anybody He chooses—anybody He chooses. The Scripture flatly runs counter to Igwilo’s nonsensical assertion:

“And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord), I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17; c.f. Joel 2:28).

Note: “...your young men (not just children!) shall see visions”; note also, “the last days”=Christian era. Even people who lack charity can also become God’s seers or prophets, as we see in the case of Jonah (Jonah Chapters 1-4) and as stated by St. Paul in First Corinthians 13. Hence St. Thomas Aquinas writes:

St. Thomas Aquinas
“For prophecy like other gratuitous graces is given for the good of the Church, according to I Corinthians 12:7, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit"; and is not directly intended to unite man's affections to God, which is the purpose of charity. Therefore prophecy can be without a good life, as regards the first root of this goodness (Summa Theologica, Q. 172, Art.4).

Hence, we hear Prophet Isaiah—sinful as he was—when he saw the Lord of host:

“Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) 

In fact, it seems most times it is even “unrighteous” and stubborn people that God uses (note also that our criteria for measuring who is righteous or not is radically different from God’s). The case of Saul (who was neither a child nor “righteous”) also comes to mind, as we read:

“And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked him letters to Damascus, to the Synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. ...” (Acts 9:1-5).  

Therefore, it is FALSE to say that “People who see authentic apparitions (i.e. "seers") are usually children, because of their innocence and due to the fact that visions usually occur in the saintly to whom God can act more directly on the soul as they have grown close to the Almighty.”

Again, Igwilo vomits (in number 3): “I will attempt to demonstrate Church teaching on apparitions, and how we must not let devotion to them (even when approved by Holy Mother Church), obfuscate what is really of the Faith. The apparitions most talked about involve the appearances of the Mother of God, Mary.”

Nonsense! True apparitions do not “obfuscate” but rather STRENGTHEN our Faith as Catholics; they show us the right path to follow when we are going astray.

Now numbers 1, 4 and 5 taken together: A private revelation never needs to be accepted as authentic, unlike the Deposit of Faith which comes to us from Christ and the Apostles (deemed "public revelation")”?

To start with, fundamental theology makes a distinction between “public revelation” – the saving Good News which is intended for the entire human race – and “private revelation”. The former is definitive, unsurpassable, universal, and “closed” in the sense of the absolute supremacy and permanent normative character of the Christ-event, which remains to produce new fruits of the Spirit in the Church. Public revelation is the Deposit of Faith (Depositum Fidei) entrusted to the apostles by Christ and handed down to the Church in the form of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. This kind of revelation ended with the death of the apostles, is protected by the charism of infallibility so the Church will not lose track of it, and must be believed by all the faithful. While no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, “private revelation” is deemed not only possible but plausible.  

“Private revelation” is the revelation or inspiration given by God to individuals for their own benefit or for the profit of others, as St. Paul tells us: “Now the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit.” (1 Cor. 12:7). Jesus’ or Marian apparitions are a species of private, not public, revelation. Private revelation is an intimate form of communication. It doesn’t reveal new things to the Church, rather all private revelation does is help to make public revelation “present” to us today, and help guide us in living out that public revelation. Unlike public revelation, no one is bound to believe in private revelation—BUT if a private revelation is authentic, then to withhold belief in it would be tantamount to turning a deaf ear to God—which is a sin. Such an act would result in the loss of spiritual goods, as St. Thomas Aquinas teaches: “prophecy, like other gratuitous graces, is given for the good of the Church.” (Summa, SS – 172, 4). God always has a purpose for whatever He does, and if He reveals something to us, we can be assured that He does so for our own good. Only a foolish man—and I wonder if Igwilo is actually one—would ignore what the infinite wisdom of God chooses to reveal.

An example of the benefits that have come to us through private revelation can be found in the spiritual goods the Church has received through these revelations over the course of nearly 2,000 years. To name just a few: most of the Religious Orders, which have benefited the Church so much and have produced so many saints, were founded by their respective religious founders through private revelation or inspiration; prayers innumerable, including the Holy Rosary, were given to us through private revelation; the sixteen different Church approved Scapulars, including the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel, have all come to us through private revelation; devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, have come to us through private revelation; the multiple chaplets, such as Our Sorrowful Mother chaplet, the chaplet of the Angels, etc., all came to us through private revelation. The Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel for instance is a chaplet resulting from a private revelation by the Archangel Michael to a Portuguese Carmelite nun Antonia d'Astonaco. Both the private revelation and the prayers taught by the Archangel in a vision were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851. The list goes on and on and is almost endless. Judging from these heavenly gifts alone, one can readily see how spiritually beneficial it has been to follow God’s guiding Hand through the medium of private revelation.

Our Lord Himself calls people who don't pay attention to the prophets "foolish", as we read in Sacred Scripture: "O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken." (Luke 24: 25).   

St. Thomas Aquinas points out that “God sends prophets to every generation, not to give a new doctrine but to remind the faithful what they must do to save their souls.” (Summa Theologica, Q. 174 Art. 6).

Similarly, even Vatican II peritus Prof. Karl Rahner didn't deny the fact. Rahner admitted that “anyone who absolutely rejects the possibility of special revelations offends against faith; and anyone who denies that they may occur even since the apostolic age offends against a doctrine which is theologically certain.” (Karl Rahner, Sacramentum Mundi, vol. 5, New York: Herder & Herder, 1970, 358.).

Rahner raises the question: From a theological standpoint, what is the “essentially different character” of private revelations which distinguishes them from the final and definitive revelatio publica? It seems inadequate to give the usual answer which is basically negative: that private revelation does not add to the deposit of faith, that it is not obligatory to faith, that at most it merits “human faith” and not divine and Catholic faith, and so forth. Rahner answered: Private revelations are “essentially imperatives showing how Christianity should act in a concrete historical situation”; they are “not new assertions but new commands.” (Rahner, Visions and Prophecies, trans. Charles Henkey & Richard Strachan (New York: Herder & Herder, 1963), 16, 20, 26.).

Private revelations are NOT NEW ASSERTIONS but NEW COMMANDS. Interesting. In other words Igwilo is saying (even emphatically): “No one must believe God’s new commands.

What quickly comes to my mind is the case of Zachary as recorded in the Gospel according to St. Luke. Do you remember that apparition—then “unapproved”—of the Angel Gabriel to Zachary? Do you remember Zachary’s punishment and why he was punished?  Well in case you don’t (I know Igwilo is bereft of biblical knowledge), I quote (the answer of Angel Gabriel to Zachary when Zachary DISBELIEVED the message of God that was given to him):
“And the angel answering, said unto him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God; and am sent to speak to thee and to bring thee these good tidings. And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.” (Luke 1:19-20).
Although this case does not directly apply to our situation, what is necessary to note here is the fact that Zachary was punished just for not believing a heavenly message. He was instantly punished for not believing a message (then “new”) that came from heaven—not even a command from God this time around but a promise that was made in his favour—namely that his “prayer is heard”, that Elizabeth (his wife) “shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John” (Luke 1:13).

If Zachary was punished just for not believing, how much more many people today who, like Igwilo, not only reject God’s commands but even go about talking absolute rubbish about them—about what they don’t understand?

The following extracts are taken from Karl Rahner’s thesis Visions and Prophecies:

“…..The possibility of private revelation through visions and associated auditory experiences is evident in principle for a Christian.  God as a free personal being can make Himself perceptible to the created spirit, not only through His works, but also by his free personal word. (p.13)………..Therefore, anyone who absolutely rejects the possibility of special revelations offends against faith; and anyone who denies that they may occur even since the apostolic age offends against a doctrine which is theologically certain. (p.16)

“…..[A]lthough they are “private”- [they] address the Church or major parts of the Church through the visionary: private revelations recommending a particular devotion, exhorting to penance, giving certain instructions, warning against certain doctrines, recommending a spiritual doctrine or manner of life, and so forth.  Without any doubt in the course of the Church’s history there have continually been private revelations of this kind, and they have exercised great influence.  They present not only psychological, but also theological problems.  Now when private revelations are discussed among Catholics it is usually in terms of the psychology of such phenomena and hence of the authenticity of the revelations and the truth of their content.  We would not contest or doubt the legitimacy of this approach.  We shall ourselves examine this problem at length.  Nevertheless, we feel that it is one sided.  It has to be complemented by a theological approach. (p.18,19) 

“[This is why the Movement of Divine Innocence has always followed the theological route.]

“…..[A]s the charism of the discerning of spirits in the Church is bound up with ecclesiastical authority, it does not follow apriori that God will impart the divine motion making known that He commands the Church, or parts of it, to do a certain thing in the changing circumstances of history, solely through members of the hierarchy.  In principle the Holy Spirit can act upon the Church through any one of her members to announce what He requires of her, what command He lays upon her for the moment.  It seems to us that this is the essence of post-apostolic, prophetic, “private revelations”.  God inspiring a member of the Church with His imperative for the Church in a concrete historical situation.” (p. 27)

Similarly, Father Paul Kramer writes, in his old article ‘Only She Can Help You’:
“By and large there seems to be prevalent an oversimplified understanding of the distinction usually made between 'public revelation' and 'private revelation'. The concepts are without doubt valid in themselves, but the terms are somewhat restrictive and awkward and tend therefore to lead to an incomplete understanding of the complexity of the subject matter that falls under these terms. 

“What is commonly meant by the term 'public revelation' is clear enough in so far as it has been well explicated by theologians. The term denotes the official body of sacred doctrine revealed by God to the Church for our salvation and set forth by the magisterium of the Church as divinely revealed and thus to be believed with the assent of Divine and Catholic faith. 'Private revelation', on the other hand, in a general sense customarily refers to revelations made to persons that are not strictly necessary for salvation and do not pertain to the Deposit of Faith and therefore are accordingly to be evaluated and believed on human faith if they are found to be worthy of belief. Such revelations generally are not binding on the conscience of the faithful since salvation does not ultimately depend on them. 

“However, the fact that they are not to be believed with the assent of Divine and Catholic faith does not necessarily mean that they are always and everywhere completely optional for the individual conscience to accept or reject. I remember reading a text of St. Alphonsus Liguori in which it is explained that when a person receives a revelation from God, that person is bound to believe and obey. The belief would not be an assent of faith, but the obligation to believe would be a moral obligation binding that person. When God speaks we have the moral obligation to listen, believe and obey even if the revelation does not pertain to the Deposit of Faith.” 
Father Kramer continues: “In the Message of Fatima Our Lady made specific requests: Some more or less general and others particularly targeting specific sectors and individuals. The context of the requests is not political or geopolitical but moral and spiritual; however, there is a geopolitical dimension that touches upon such issues as war, persecution of the Church, famine, oppression and the annihilation of entire nations. 

“The most basic and important request per se is that "people must stop offending God", because "God is already too much offended." There are two great consequences of sinful humanity's rebellion against God: Temporal punishment in this life such as war, famine and persecution of the Church; and eternal punishment --- "You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go."

“Our Lady states plainly that the primary purpose of Her requests is to provide a remedy in order to prevent souls from going to Hell, so She says, "To save them, God wills to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart." By establishing this particular devotion in the world, sinful humanity will undergo conversion and stop offending God. The benefits of such conversion will be both temporal and eternal: "If My requests are heeded Russia will be converted and there will be peace." There will be peace and tranquillity instead of war, destruction, hunger and oppression. The Church will be renewed in the splendour of her traditions, the nations will convert to Christ and His Church, while the financial and political domination of the powers of darkness --- i.e., the Neo-Pagan, Masonic 'mystery of iniquity' (2 Thess. 2:7) --- will be crushed under the heel of Her who is "terrible as an army set in battle array." (Canticle 6:3, 9) Thus, the damnation of a multitude of souls would be averted and their salvation secured --- accomplishing the principal mission and duty of the Church as expressed in its supreme law: "Salus animarum suprema lex" (Can. 1752). 

In order to bring it about that such benefits be merited, Our Lady has made particular requests, so that the efficacious grace to bring about global conversion and global peace can be secured; She has asked for the recitation of the Rosary, the devotions of reparation (specifically the Five First Saturdays devotions) to be promoted in the Church and practiced by the faithful. Sister Lucy, quoting Our Lady, stated that '' 'The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time all the bishops of the world make, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart', promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and world-wide reparation." "God", says Our Lady of Fatima, "is going to punish the whole world by means of war, famine and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father. To prevent it I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If they attend to My requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace. If not, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated." 

Today of course  we have seen those errors of “Old Russia” (i.e. Soviet Union) scattered all over the world (in the United States and other western countries. Note, as Father Kramer points out, that “the movement that led to the establishment of the USSR had already existed in Europe and America for a long time and its roots are historically traced back many centuries. Now, two decades after the formation of the constitutional democratic Russian Federation and the restructuring of the former Soviet Union into a Commonwealth of Independent States, that movement --- like a multi-headed hydra --- lives on even after the scheduled decapitation of one of its masked heads. That movement is in fact what St. Paul refers to as the "Mystery of Iniquity" (2 Thess. 2:7) which "already operates" among us.”).”        

“The modern phase of the progression of that movement has its origin in the emergence of the institution known as Freemasonry. Freemasonry is a religion, as is plainly admitted in the letter of excommunication of the Grand Lodge of Uruguay by the mother lodge of England.  What that religion consists of is described by Albert Pike in his magnum opus, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Freemasonry is described by Pike and all the authoritative writers of Masonry as 'the Ancient Mysteries'. What this term denotes is a syncretic amalgamation of the ancient pagan mysteries. The modern elaboration of the cosmology and metaphysics of the Masonic Ancient Mysteries is set forth in the philosophical systems of Spinoza and Hegel as is plainly evident in Pike's elaboration in Morals and Dogma, and the religious and mystical elaboration of the sect has been acknowledged by Masonic luminaries to be represented in the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The 'sacred scriptures' of Freemasonry are, as Pike declares in Morals and Dogma, the occult pseudo-Jewish pantheistic writings of the Cabala, and principally the Book of Zohar...”

But Our Lady will crush the Devil and his mystery of iniquity. He goes on:

Father Paul Kramer
“The radical incompatibility between the religion of both the Old and the New Testament on the one hand, and both the ancient mysteries of antiquity and the neo-pagan 'Ancient Mysteries' of Masonry on the other, is rooted in the essential opposition and enmity between "the Woman and Her seed" (Gen. 3:15), and the serpent and his seed. This statement is neither hyperbole nor allegory --- Pike explains in his official work on Masonry that Freemasonry is a solar cult, identifying the deities of ancient Egypt with those of Babylon and Canaan. The 'god' of Freemasonry is, as set forth in Masonic ritual and acknowledged by Pike, a mongrel deity known as 'Jabulon'. The name combines the Hebrew name Yahweh with that of Baal, thus establishing the pantheistic dualism that characterized the ancient religions, the gnosis that invaded and' infiltrated into Judaism and Christianity, and which in turn survived in such sects as Manicheism and Albigensianism (among others) and finally re-emerged again in modern times as the Sect of Freemasonry, where the mask of ancient Baal worship (i.e. Beelzebul, 'Prince of the Earth') is shed and the demonic visage of the 'prince of this world' (John 12:31) is revealed at its highest degrees in undisguised Luciferianism ---"Lucifer the Light-bearer," exclaims Pike, "Doubt it not!" .” (See Father Kramer’s article here: Only She Can Help You)

Father Nicholas Gruner, talking about the same Fatima apparition, writes (in his article, ‘The Church's Obligation to Believe and Obey Our Lady of Fatima’):

“The next theological position is that the Message of Fatima is not a private revelation, nor is it part of the Deposit of Faith, but it nevertheless carries with it the solemn obligation — before God and man — to believe it, to obey it as well as to defend it and advance it to the extent of our power and possibilities.

“Even if the previously outlined position that “Fatima is in the Bible” turns out not to be defined by a future Pope at a future date; nevertheless, we are still obliged to believe and obey the Fatima Message and requests.

“This third position is a clear answer to the false statement that “Fatima is only a private revelation”. As we shall see, this third position is based on Sacred Scripture and on right reason.

“It shows that those who claim, even people like Cardinal Ratzinger or Father Fox, that we (or the Pope or bishops and priests) are not obliged to believe and obey Our Lady of Fatima are clearly wrong.”

The fact here is that any message from God imposes an obligation upon us. We must believe it because it is from God. Hence St. Paul says: “Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophesy. But prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thess. 5:19-21).  Father Gruner quotes Bishop Graber of Regensburg, Germany, “who points out that there is a third kind of revelation and that is what he called "public prophetic revelation". And that is distinct from private revelation and distinct from the deposit of faith. Not to believe what God revealed just because “it is not...” is enough for God to send you to hell.” (See Father Gruner’s article: The Church'’s Obligation to Believe and Obey Our Lady of Fatima)

Also, even in the case of unapproved apparition which does not contradict but in fact promotes the Catholic Faith—which has important message for the whole Church we are also morally bound to believe and proclaim it. Hence, on the controversial Garabandal message, (which was endorsed even by Great Padre Pio): During his 2001 interview (published in The Fatima Crusader: Summer 2001, Issue 67) Father Gruner said, in one of his answers to his interviewer:   

“...But the fact is, cardinals and bishops opposing each other is mentioned in the 1963 version of the Secret published in Neues Europa. From the following account, we know that Cardinal Ottaviani encouraged the publication of that 1963 version when asked whether it should be published or not. We know that the Cardinal had a very dry personality and was pretty much indifferent to most apparitions. However, when asked by a priest in 1964 about whether the 1963 Neues Europa version of the Third Secret should be published, Cardinal Ottaviani exclaimed very emphatically, “Publish 10,000 copies! Publish 20,000 copies! Publish 30,000 copies!”

“Then we have the testimony of Father Malachi Martin telling us that the message of Garabandal contains the Third Secret or parts of the Third Secret. Malachi Martin, who knew the Third Secret because he read it himself, and who read the message of Garabandal, says that because the Vatican chose not to release the Third Secret in 1960, Our Lady appeared at Garabandal in 1961 and gave us the Third Secret. What is in the Garabandal message? The Garabandal message says, among other things, that many cardinals, bishops, and priests are on the road to hell and taking many more souls with them.”

Father Gruner was then asked by the interviewer: “But why should we talk about  Garabandal in The Fatima Crusader when it is not an approved apparition?”


Father Nicholas Gruner
“A very good, valid question. But I must point out to our readers that although the apparitions themselves are not approved, the Bishop of Garabandal — that is, the Bishop of Santander — said that the message itself is not contrary to the Catholic Faith, that there’s nothing in the message that could be taken as being contrary to the Catholic Faith. So, when you have Malachi Martin saying that the message of Garabandal contains the Third Secret or parts of the Third Secret – and he said that on the Art Bell Radio Show just before he died – and the message of Garabandal does say that many cardinals, bishops and priests are going to hell and taking many more souls with them, then it all ties in with everything else we know about the Third Secret – that one-third of the clergy (it may not only mean one-third of the Catholic priests but also can mean one-third of the bishops and one-third of the cardinals themselves) are working to undermine the Catholic Faith.”

Please note that our intention here is not to argue in favour of Garabandal or against it. The important point to note here, rather, is Father Gruner’s argument that there is nothing wrong about talking publicly about any unapproved apparition provided the apparition in question doesn't contradict the Catholic Faith.  
Also, for those who say we should stop talking about Fatima simply because it is not part of the “Deposit of Faith”—those who subtly attack Fatima even while masquerading as “children of Mary”, Cardinal Ottavianni’s words: “Publish 10,000 copies! Publish 20,000 copies! Publish 30,000 copies!” should equally be considered! (And in case you don’t know Cardinal Ottaviani, know him here: Modern History Sourcebook: The Ottaviani Intervention, 1969

Igwilo seems to believe that any message not yet approved by Rome is fake—or at least must not be believed and discussed. Hear him: “...we have no hierarchy with authority to approve new apparitions since 1958 when the last pope, Pius XII died...” Well in the message of Sister Josefa Menendez (not yet approved by Rome), we see Cardinal Pacelli (future Pope Pius XII) contradicting this mentality. In 1938 the substance of Josefa’s message, under the title of Un Appel à l’Amour, was published in Toulouse by the Apostleship of Prayer. Cardinal Pacelli didn’t just endorse Josefa’s message only, he wrote the very forward of recommendation in the form of a letter. Why did he do that?  Why did he support—even publicly—a message not yet “approved by Rome”?

The truth is this: It is wrong to say that Sister Josefa (for instance) hasn’t been approved by the Church simply because Rome hasn’t endorsed her. As Father John Flader said, “Sister Josefa and her writings have been approved by the Church and, what is more, her cause of beatification has been opened.” Of course what Father Flader means here is that the diocese of Poitiers, France, has opened the diocesan process for the cause of canonization of Sister Josefa (that was on November 30, 1948). The authenticity of Josefa’s account is attested to by her superior and her spiritual director Father Boyer, OP. And The Way of Divine Love, Josefa’s heavenly messages published in Milwaukee in 1972, bears the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur of that archdiocese. Strictly speaking, it is people like these—namely her spiritual director, her superior, and her local bishop, and NOT Rome—that are the key players as far as her “approval” is concerned. I will return to this point.

Private revelation, however, is not free from danger, for the devil is active in this arena too and has deceived many. To be free from being deceived therefore, it is necessary to distinguish authentic revelation (that which comes from God) from unauthentic revelation (that which comes from the devil or from man himself). But those who have the gift of discernment can always—by God’s enlightenment—discern. Some like Igwilo who think that this discernment must necessarily be done by Rome are greatly mistaken. Igwilo lists in his article only nine private revelations “ever approved” by Rome since the sixteenth century and then decrees that all the rest not yet approved must not be believed. It is simply not true that only nine private revelations have been approved by the Church since the sixteenth century. (See for instance, CATHOLIC CHURCH APPROVED APPARITIONS but don’t let Faustina and co to distract your attention. And What are the approved apparitions of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church?)

Now as for his belief in “Rome’s approval”, Igwilo fails to understand—in his massive ignorance—that the Church herself has no providential protection in the area of private revelation, to start with. When it comes to private revelation, the key player is the local bishop. If the local bishop does not approve, it is not good to say: let us wait for Rome to speak. Normally Rome respects the local bishop, and is highly unlikely to reverse his decision. Even if Rome did reverse it, we would have no guarantee because, as we said, the providential protection promised to the Church does not cover private revelations. God Himself made it so, and He knows the reason why He made it so. Now apart from the nine apparitions listed by Igwilo, there are simply many others that have been approved by bishops around the world. It is erroneous to say that they are false simply because they haven’t been approved by Rome, or that even if they are true they must not be believed simply because Rome hasn't approved them—the very impression Igwilo gives. In fact, whenever we say that the Church (whether Rome or a local bishop) has approved a particular private revelation what we are really saying is that that private revelation in question has been studied and found to be free of error and has something good for the Church. Because the message is coming either directly from God (who really owns the Church) or from the devil (who is an enemy of the Church), the Church’s duty is to pay attention and discern the message in question to see if it tallies with Her doctrine or not. If it doesn't, then the Church condemns it. But if it does—like in the case of Fatima for instance—then the Church has an obligation to obey precisely because the message is coming from God who is above all and owns all. Failure to obey on the part of the Church can bring terrible disasters to the Church and to the world (even as we’re now witnessing in the case of Fatima which has been ignored).

It is equally erroneous to say that some other private revelations not yet approved by local bishops are false simply because they haven’t been approved—the local bishops even in the approved ones could as well be in error because the same “providential protection” doesn't cover them. Moreover some bishops—many in fact—are pretty indifferent towards private revelations and can allow that to influence them while making judgement. 

As Rahner rightly stated:

…..[A]s the charism of the discerning of spirits in the Church is bound up with ecclesiastical authority, it does not follow apriori that God will impart the divine motion making known that He commands the Church, or parts of it, to do a certain thing in the changing circumstances of history, solely through members of the hierarchy.  In principle the Holy Spirit can act upon the Church through any one of her members to announce what He requires of her, what command He lays upon her for the moment.  It seems to us that this is the essence of post-apostolic, prophetic, “private revelations”.  God inspiring a member of the Church with His imperative for the Church in a concrete historical situation.” 

What does it mean to “discern?” The word “discern” has a Greek origin, meaning “to separate out” of the spirits. Discernment uncovers the deception that casts doubts on Catholic doctrines. It unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a 'delight to the eyes' and desirable, [Gen. 3:6] when in reality its fruit is death. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

“Discernment of spirits" is the term given to the judgment whereby it is possible to determine from what spirit the impulses of the soul emanate, and it is easy to understand the importance of this judgment both for self-direction and the direction of others. Now this judgment may be formed in two ways. In the first case the discernment is made by means of an intuitive light which infallibly discovers the quality of the movement; it is then a gift of God, a grace gratis data, vouchsafed mainly for the benefit of our neighbour (1 Corinthians 12:10). This charisma or gift was granted in the early Church and in the course of the lives of the saints as, for example, St. Phlip Neri. Second, discernment of spirits may be obtained through study and reflection. It is then an acquired human knowledge, more or less perfect, but very useful in the direction of souls. It is procured, always, of course, with the assistance of grace, by the reading of the Holy Bible, of works on theology and asceticism, of autobiographies, and the correspondence of the most distinguished ascetics. The necessity of self-direction and of directing others, when one had charge of souls, produced documents, preserved in spiritual libraries, from the perusal of which one may see that the discernment of spirits is a science that has always flourished in the Church.”(htmhttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05028b.htm).

Before I conclude, let us never forget that recent apparitions have repeatedly warned of the danger that faces humanity at this time, and implore the world to understand that man’s salvation is indeed at risk; that salvation is at risk not only for Catholics who mess up the Church but also for Protestants  and non-Catholics who reject the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In one of the messages (approved by the local bishop) Jesus said, for instance, “My Mother must be received; My Mother must be listened to in the totality of her messages. Man must discover the wealth that She brings the Christians...” 
See, for instance: New Officially Approved Marian Apparitions Come with Dire Warnings from Jesus Including Startling Prescriptions for Protestants and Evangelicals

In the message of Sister Ana Ali (approved by her local bishop) Jesus said: “I give my merciful warnings Myself and through my Most Holy Mother” (Divine Appeal 189, 26 July 1988). Again, “My Church will be obfuscated. The souls consecrated to me hurls torrents of blasphemies and lies against the Church. Many of them have rejected me and they only believe in malicious work.” (Divine Appeal 172, 29 June, 1988).

Anyone who calls himself a Catholic must therefore be worried about all these warnings. As we see in Cardinal Pacelli, future Pope Pius XII who, while serving as Vatican Secretary of State during the reign of Pope Pius XI—having certainly read the Third Secret of Fatima even before Sister Lucy committed it to paper, in his capacity as the pope’s Secretary of State—made the following astonishing prophecy about the coming upheaval in the Church:

Pacelli (Pope Pius XII)
“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology, and Her soul... I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.”
Pope Pius XII’s biographer, Monsignor Roche noted (in his Pie XII Devant L’Histoire) that at this moment in the conversation, according to a Count Galeazzi, ‘the gaze of the Pope, seen through the lenses of his glasses, became supernatural, and there emanated from his tall and slender body an irresistible mystical force.’ Monsignor Pacelli then said (in answer to an objection from a curial Cardinal):  

“A day will come when the civilised world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our Churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’’’ (Roche, Pie XII Devant L’Histoire, pp. 52-53 in The Devil’s Final Battle, Terryville, Connecticut: The Missionary Association, 2002, p. 34.).
To say the least, just as theologians have an obligation to believe more articles of the Faith, so do all who know of any true private revelation have a greater obligation to believe it, and to obey it.

In 1931, Sister Lucy was in Rianjo, Spain, praying for the conversion of Europe, Portugal, Spain, of Russia and the world, and Our Lord spoke to her as she was praying. He said:

“You console Me a great deal by asking Me for the conversion of those poor nations. Ask it also of My Mother, frequently saying, Sweet Heart of Mary, be the salvation of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the whole world.”

He dictated another prayer at the same time.

“By Your pure and Immaculate Conception O Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe and the entire world.”

After He dictated these two prayers, Our Lord then gave one of the most terrifying prophesies and rebukes that He has ever given in our time. He said:

“Make it known to My ministers that given they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, that they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”

What is Our Lord saying here? He says: “Make it known”. Make it known to whom? To “My ministers”. Which ministers particularly? To the bishops and to the Holy Father because it is the Pope and the bishops who have, like the King of France, been given a command to personally fulfil. “Make it known to My ministers, that given that they follow the example of the King of France ...” Who is the King of France that Our Lord is referring to? That requires a little explanation. The King of France referred to: Louis XIV, XV, XVI, and the Kings subsequent to them, even King Louis XVII, the poor young king.

In 1689, the Sacred Heart of Jesus gave a command to the King of France to consecrate France, not the world, not Russia, but France, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On the 17th of June, this command was given, and the Kings of France and their confessors thought they knew better than God and they chose to ignore the Sacred Heart.

The confessors in question were Jesuit confessors. The Jesuit order was particularly punished by its suppression 60 to 70 years after that because they did not obey the command of the Sacred Heart.

And what happened to the Kings of France? One hundred years later to the day, on the 17th of June, 1789, the king was stripped of his power by the Third Estate and four years later his head was chopped off on the guillotine. “Make it known to My ministers, that given they follow the example of the King of France, in delaying the execution of My command that they will follow him into misfortune. It will never be too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”

When Sister Lucy asked Our Lord in 1936, “Why will You not convert Russia without the Pope making that consecration?” Jesus answered: “Because I want My whole Church to recognise that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that later on My Church will extend Her veneration and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.” And Sister Lucy, upon receiving this reply, said “But, my God, the Holy Father probably won’t believe me unless You, Yourself move him with a special inspiration.” And Our Lord answered: “Pray a great deal for the Holy Father. He will do it but it will be late.”

Subsequent private revelations that have surfaced since then are all about the same Fatima Message—that is, they all merely confirm the message of Fatima which is yet to be obeyed by the whole Church. As far as these apparitions are concerned, most Sedevacantists I’ve encountered simply behave like Satan’s agents. They claim to be “children of Mary” even while forbidding their members from believing Our Lady’s heavenly messages or at least from taking them seriously—all in the name of being “faithful” to what is really of the Faith.”

If Igwilo doesn’t know anything about apparitions (and he certainly doesn't), he should meet those who know (and I personally know some, most of them even uneducated) to enlighten him instead of coming out publicly to talk rubbish and deceive people—which is unacceptable. 

See also: What about hell?


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