Thursday, August 09, 2007
THE APPARITIONS BUSINESS
Rick Salbato, at Unity Publishing, has written a newsletter describing the problems associated with Vassula Ryden and her millionnaire promoters. It's worth a read just to see how this business works. A false seer is just as useful as a legitimate one when dollars are at stake. Anyone who follows apparitions
should read this article.
Given the promotion of alleged seers by Aharon Yosef/Athol Bloomer that I have recently blogged, and given his claim that he is obedient to the magisterium, the last portion of the article will be reproduced here:
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
The Congregation for the Docrine of the Faith has received various questions about the value and authority of its Notification of 6 October 1995, published in (L’Osservatore Romano on Monday/Tuesday, 23/24 October 1995, p.12), regarding the writings and messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden attributed to alleged revelations and disseminated in Catholic circles throughout the world.
In this regard, the Congregation wishes to state:
1. The Notification addressed to the Pastors and faithful of
the Catholic Church retains all its force. It was approved by the competent authorities and will be published in Acta Apostolicae sedis, the official organ
of the Holy See, with the signatures of the Prefect and the Secretary of the Congregation.
2. Regarding the reports circulated by some news media concerning a restrictive interpretation of this Notification, given by His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect in a private conversation with a group of people to whom he granted an audience in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 10 May 1996, the same Cardina Prefect wishes to state:
a. as he said, the faithful are not to regard the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations;
b. these meditations, as the Notification explained, include, along with positive aspects, elements that are negative in the light of Catholic doctrine;
c. therefore, Pastors and the faithful are asked to exercise serious spiritual discernment in this matter and to preserve the purity of the faith, morals and spiritual life, not be relying on alleged revelations but by following the revealed Word of God and the directives of the Church’s Magisterium.
Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states:
1. The Interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the "abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books" and determined that --- after the relevant censures were lifted --- the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals.
2. In should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, Canon 623 #1 of the current Code remains in force: "the Pastors of the Church have the … right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch upon faith or morals be submitted to their judgement".
3. Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, and , in particular cases, to the judgement of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The University of Dayton Marian Center has posted the criteria for discerning apparitions on their website. In brief, the criteria, according to the website are:
Norms for Discernment
1) The first norm for evaluating miraculous events is that there be moral certainty, or at least great probability, that something miraculous has occurred. The commission may interview the visionaries, call other witnesses, visit the site of the events.
2) The second norm deals with the personal qualities of the subjects who claim to have had the apparition; they must be mentally sound, honest, sincere, of upright conduct, obedient to ecclesiastical authorities, able to return to the normal practices of the faith (such as participation in communal worship, reception of the sacraments).
3) A third category deals with the content of the revelation or message: it must be theologically acceptable and morally sound and free of error.
4) The fourth positive criterion is that the apparition must result in positive spiritual assets which endure (prayer, conversion, increase of charity).
These four criteria may also be restated in a negative way. There must be no doubt that what is occurring is truly exceptional and beyond human explanation. There must be no doctrinal error attributed to God or to the Blessed Virgin Mary or some other saint. The third negative criterion is that there must be no hint of financial advantage to anyone connected with the apparitions, nor must any of the visionaries be accused of serious moral improprieties at the time when the visions were being received, nor may there be evidence of mental illness or psychopathic tendencies.
One does not simply go off and have an apparition or a locution or some other supernatural phenomenon and then start promoting it in a prophecy blog. There is a Church-governed discernment process. The governing bishop must be involved.
Apparently there is big money in apparitions, and inevitably the money will draw unscrupulous persons into this lucrative field. Even in situations where there is no money involved, the claimant may simply be wrong in his claim that he has experienced supernatural phenomena. Then, too, Satan is always lurking and seeking ways to deceive. In this climate of "supernatural" events proliferating, let the faithful beware and seek first the approval of the Church before endorsing and promoting seers.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!