What are apparitions?
Some of us have heard rumours of the Virgin Mary appearing in places near us. I personally have heard such stories more than five times so far. These stories are usually thrilling especially to those who are not yet spiritually mature to be satisfied with the “silence” of God who speaks through the scripture, tradition and in a lively way through the Church. The problem, some of these stories have been tossed away at first glance at the effect or the message it brings.
Apparitions aren’t meant to be held as an article of faith as though one would be at risk of eternal damnation if they didn’t believe them. Apparitions fall under the category of “private revelations” no matter how public the apparition be. Because we are constantly at war with our fragile minds, an upset universe and an infernal kingdom sworn to destroy us we must be careful when we hear of a vision or some seers. We have to follow the Church’s directives and conclusions in discerning visions that are real and from heaven. Because determining if a vision is real or not isn’t just the issue, we have to also know if such a vision is from heaven or from hell. So it could take a really long time before the Church decides:
“… On the other hand, 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 (constat de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate) and that offered to the Ordinaries the possibility of authorizing or prohibiting public cult or other forms of devotion among the faithful” – Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or RevelationsAdvertisement
But, be patient and follow the directives of your bishop on such matters until the Universal Church makes an official declaration.
Steps in confirming an apparition:
“When Ecclesiastical Authority is informed of a presumed apparition or revelation, it will be its responsibility:
a) first, to judge the fact according to positive and negative criteria (cf. infra, no. I);
b) then, if this examination results in a favorable conclusion, to permit some public manifestation of cult or of devotion, overseeing this with great prudence (equivalent to the formula, “for now, nothing stands in the way”) (pro nunc nihil obstare).
c) finally, in light of time passed and of experience, with special regard to the fecundity of spiritual fruit generated from this new devotion, to express a judgment regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merit” – Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations
What Satan wants is disobedience:
The surest way to test a seer is their adherence to the Church’s decisions. It is also a way to test the faithful who believes a vision. If a person should hear the voice of Mary and that of their bishop, even Mary would expect you listen to the bishop first before her. This reason is why you cannot get the Pope to directly do something your local bishop can do. The Pope could do those things and even overturn his every judicial rulings but he ordinarily would not except in very extreme, extraordinary cases. The authority of the Church is exercised on earth but its effect towers high to heaven, so every Saint, Angel and even God Himself knows that you have to follow the directive you can immediately verify as authentic.
What the devil uses to tempt many acclaimed seers and their followers is disobedience. This I myself have witnessed with one brother in my former parish who was said to have special gifts. He went ahead to form a prayer group that revolved around him; started giving messages and performing exorcism etc. The Bishop called him to have a conversation in order to regulate his activities but he refused and left the Church. He started his own “church”, had many Catholics flooding to him. Until one day, we didn’t hear of him anymore. When I asked I was told that he was caught doing some voodoo with some “vulture”.
Well, I don’t believe such stories quickly or anything that tarnishes anyone’s image that’s why I am not mentioning names. However, the point is the Devil glories in making disobedient children out of us. Any message from heaven should bring more unity, more peace and more love.
Some apparitions concluded as fake:
Edson Glauber, Itapiranga, Brazil
One Edson Glauber claimed that from 1994 to around 2001 that the Blessed Mary, St Joseph and Jesus were appearing to him. Even though these visions were initially okayed by the local bishop at the time, however, the Universal Church declared these visions fake after extensive research and investigations. This decision was made in the February of 2017, that’s over 20 years after the initial alleged vision. The document also banned the spreading of any messages from the apparition.
Holy Love, Cleveland, Ohio
Holy Love Ministries was founded by Maureen Sweeney-Kyle, a mother of four who has claimed visions and messages since 1985. About twenty miles from downtown Cleveland is the Maranatha Spring where many claim to have witnessed several phenomena like signs in the sky, miraculous photographs, rosaries turning gold which is supposed to be some sort of sign to validate the site and messages. However, after careful examination, the local bishop, on November 11 2009, decreed that these apparitions were fake and not of supernatural origin. He strongly advised the faithful to distance themselves from the site and its messages.
Maria Divine Mercy, Dublin, Ireland
A woman who calls herself “Maria Divine Mercy”, who is said to be living in Dublin claimed a rather bold role in the salvation of Mankind:
Maria says the messages are also being given to help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ which will follow The Warning. . . .Advertisement
Maria was told by Jesus that she is the 7th Messenger, the 7th Angel sent to reveal to the world the contents of the Seals in the Book of Revelation which can only be opened by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. He will open the Seals and reveal, in advance, the contents. Maria has to publish them as each Seal is opened. He has told her she is the end time prophet.
Many of her sayings have been found to be in direct contradiction with the teachings of the Church and Catholic Theology. So, needless to say, the Church issued a formal declaration stating these apparitions are fake and not to be believed.
“Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wishes to state that these messages and alleged visions have no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic theology.
These messages should not be promoted or made use of within Catholic Church associations”
Mamma Ebe Gigliola Giorgini
The story concerns the sordid life of an alleged mystic and healer named Gigliola Ebe Giorgini, born in Bologna in 1934, who swindled donations from countless persons for a religious movement she founded called “La Pia Unione di Gesù Misericordioso” (The Pious Union of the Merciful Jesus). The movement was never recognised by the Catholic church. As time went on, this movement actually evolved into an unapproved religious order, with Ebe Giorgini as foundress becoming the “Mother” of the unofficial community, hence she became known as “Mamma Ebe” to her followers.
- Stigmata which was later discovered to be self-induced.
- False messages from heaven.
- Possession of secret properties, money and a yacht.
- False “Josephite” marriage; claiming God wanted her to marry a physician Gabriel Casotti (who later became a religious brother in the Community), but without any conjugal union like Joseph and Mary.
- False healings with husband, selling ordinary medicines at extraordinary prices.
- Extorting properties in exchange for “healing”
“The first arrest came on April 9, 1984 with charges of fraud and extortion. During the search of her properties, the police investigators discovered tens of thousands of dollars worth of gold jewelry, 32 fur coats, over a dozen real estate properties purchased thru her religious community “La Pia Unione di Gesù Misericordioso” along with a yacht. For this first conviction Mamma Ebe was sentenced to ten years, but was soon released thru an appeal”
“Another arrest came in January of 2004. This arrest came as part of corroboration of police investigations in Cesena, Forlì, Florence, Pistoia and Prato, coordinated by Italy’s Central Operational Service. On this occasion her husband, Dr. Gabriel Casotto was also arrested, along with three other members of Mamma Ebe’s religious community, along with 16 others who were placed under house arrest. In 2008, the Court of Forlì pronounced a ruling of fraud and malpractice in the medical profession” Read full story here
In June 2010 Monsignor Mansueto Bianchi, the Bishop of Pistoia (where the central mother house of the Mamma Eba’s community existed) affirmed:
“In a statement on February 2007, I myself warned everyone not to attend the environments associated with Mrs. Giorgini, reaffirming once again the total separation of the Church.”
Also, the Bishop of Pistoia went on to state:
“From an ecclesial point of view, this ugly story can serve to help us all in reflection on the true nature of a mature faith in Jesus Christ. Cunning charlatans, mediums and masqueraders have always inhabited the world, but incredibly we are living today in an era of secularism in which there are among us the most insidious enemies of Christianity, and it is up to us in the Church to fill the huge voids of despair and the fragility of many, with a credible witness with respect to the power of the true Savior, the only healer, Jesus Christ.”