Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth


``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


 

Marian Apparitions
Deemed "Worthy of Belief"


The Church takes Marian (and other) apparitions quite seriously, and only after great care and study deems a particular apparition as "worthy of belief." There are only a very few apparitions of Mary that have been given this status. In any case, no Catholic is ever bound to believe in any Marian apparition --- even those deemed "worthy of belief."

Until and unless a given claim of a "Mary sighting" has been studied and approved by the Church by being given the status of "worthy of belief," it should be ignored or, at least, approached only with great caution; the Evil One is the father of lies and can use the apparently miraculous to deceive. Read on to find out more about some of the approved apparitions: Mary's appearing to Juan Diego in Mexico, to St. Catherine Labouré in Paris, to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, and to the 3 shepherd children at Fatima.

[Note: No matter what you may see in your diocese's newspaper and otherwise orthodox Catholic websites and media outlets, the apparitions at Medjugorje have not been approved -- quite the opposite! While some truly wonderful Catholics have had nice experiences there and may have even experienced something at least preternatural and which may have seemed miraculous, great and scandalous controversy surrounds the whole Medjugorje phenomenon, including allegations of profit-mongering, money-laundering, out and out lying and hoaxes, and even that some of the messages attributed to the Virgin were heretical, for example, her saying that "all religions are equally pleasing to God." A 1985 statement made by the bishops' conference of Yugoslavia asserts that there is "no evidence whatsoever of supernatural phenomena at Medjugorje" and that the visions are the "fruit of fabrications, fraud, and disobedience to the Church." 
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Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Good Success
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Our Lady of La Salette
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Knock
Our Lady of Fatima



Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Date: 9-12 December 1531
Place: Tepeyac, Mexico
Visionary: Juan Diego

In 1531, a poor, 57-year old widowed Indian named Juan Diego, né Cuauhtlatoatzin, meaning "Eagle That Talks," saw a vision of Our Lady, clothed with the sun. She told him that she was the Mother of the True God and asked him to have the Bishop build a church at the site she appeared. The Bishop did not believe Juan Diego, but the latter kept going back to the Bishop in total persistence. The Bishop asked for proof that what he was saying was true. The Virgin appeared to Juan again and told him to return the next day (12 December) for the proof the Bishop wanted.

Now, Juan's Uncle, Bernardino, was seriously ill at that time, so Juan went off to find a priest for him instead of going to where Our Lady had appeared. She appeared to him anyway (also simultaneously appearing to Juan's Uncle and curing him through the power of God) and told him to go to the top of a hill. When he did, he found Castilian roses blooming in the winter frost. These he gathered up into his tilma (cloak) and went to see the Bishop. There, he opened his tilma, revealing the flowers -- and an image of the Virgin "imprinted" (not painted; noone can explain the original image aside from reference to the miraculous) on the cloak itself, the popular image we know today and as seen at left in the picture. That tilma, made of a peasant-quality cloth, should have fallen apart around 20 years after the apparition if it is made like the typical tilma of the time, but it and the miraculous image it bears remain today -- perfectly intact, with no signs of decay (if it is made of hemp, it would last longer).

Mary's title with regard to this apparition comes from her having used the Aztec Nahuatl word, coatlaxopeuh, which means "Who Crushes the Serpent." The word when pronounced sounds much like "Guadalupe," a village in Spain.

Because of her appearing to Juan Diego and the existence of the miraculous tilma, millions of Indians converted to Christianity from the barbaric Aztec religion that involved human sacrifice; Mexico became a Christian nation.



Our Lady of Good Success
Date: very early 17th c., first approved 1611
Place: Quito, Ecuador
Visionary: Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres

The story of Our Lady of Good Success is a most fascinating one -- and incredibly important and timely, as many of the prophecies of our Lady and our Lord given to Mariana pertain explicitly to the 20th c. and thereafter.

Mother Mariana was a Spanish Conceptionist nun, blessed with the charismata of discernment and prophecy, who ran a convent in Quito, Ecuador. First, Our Lady told her to make a life-sized statue of her holding the Infant Jesus under the title "Our Lady of Good Success." The statue was begun by a local sculptor, but was miraculously completed in 1611 by the Archangels.

Our Lady told her that at the end of the 19th Century and especially in the 20th Century, Satan would reign almost completely by the means of the Masonic sect. She told Mother Mariana that this battle would reach its most acute stage because of various unfaithful religious, who, "under the appearance of virtue and bad-spirited zeal, would turn upon Religion, who nourished them at her breast."

"During this time, insomuch as this poor country will lack the Christian spirit, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction will be little esteemed. Many people will die without receiving it - either because of the negligence of their families or their false sentimentality that tries to protect the sick from seeing the gravity of their situations, or because they will rebel against the spirit of the Catholic Church, impelled by the malice of the devil. Thus many souls will be deprived of innumerable graces, consolations and the strength they need to make that great leap from time to eternity..."

"As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and profaned in the fullest sense of the word. Masonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the objective of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin, encouraging the procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church. The Christian spirit will rapidly decay, extinguishing the precious light of Faith until if reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs. The effects of secular education will increase, which will be one reason for the lack of priestly and religious vocations..."

"The Sacred Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed and despised. ...The demon will try to persecute the Ministers of the Lord in every possible way and he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation, corrupting many of them. These corrupted priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will incite the hatred of the bad Christians and the enemies of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church to fall upon all priests. This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous sufferings to the good Pastors of the Church...."

"Moreover, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which, acting thus to snare the rest into sin, will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women, and in this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent."

"But know, beloved daughter, that when your name is made known in the 20th century, there will be many who will not believe, claiming that this devotion is not pleasing to God...A simple humble faith in the truth of My apparitions to you, My predilect child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls docile to the inspirations of grace, for Our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not, or self-satisfied with empty knowledge..."

Our Lady said, "...the secular Clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to obtain. How the Church will suffer during this dark night! Lacking a Prelate and Father to guide them with paternal love, gentleness, strength, wisdom and prudence, many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger. This will mark the arrival of My hour."

"Therefore, clamor insistently without tiring and weep with bitter tears in the privacy of your heart, imploring our Celestial Father that, for love of the Eucharistic Heart of my Most Holy Son and His Precious Blood shed with such generosity and the profound bitterness and sufferings of His cruel Passion and Death, He might take pity on His ministers and bring to an end those Ominous times, sending to this Church the Prelate who will restore the spirit of its priests."

She predicted a truly Catholic president of Ecuador who would dedicate that country to the Sacred Heart and who would be assassinated by Masons (this happened during the presidency of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, 1821-1875. Read more here).

She predicted that the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility would be strictly defined and declared dogma (these happened in 1854 and 1870, respectively).

She predicted that a Pope would be a prisoner in the Vatican and that there would come to pass "the unjust usurpation of the Pontifical States through the iniquity, envy and avarice of an earthly monarch" (these things happened in the 19th c. during the pontificate of Blessed Pope Pius IX).

Another prediction yet to come concerns the statue shown above left. The Infant Jesus part of the statue isn't original: a Conceptionist sister hid the original statue during a revolution and died before revealing where she'd secreted it. Our Lady told Mother Mariana that the original statue would be found after the restoration of the Church had begun.

Mother Mariana predicted the day and exact hour of her death (she died at 3:00 P.M. on January 16, 1635). After death, her body remained flexible and lovely. A blind girl was cured at Mother's wake when a flower that encircled Mother's head was touched to her eyes.

In 1906, Mother Mariana's casket was opened and her body was found to be incorrupt, exuding the fragrance of lilies. One may view it by visiting the convent in Quito.


Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Date: 1830
Place: Convent on Rue du Bac, Paris, France
Visionary: Sister St. Catherine Labouré

On the night of 18 July, 1830, a "child" (angel?) awakened Sr. Catherine Labouré in her Parisian convent, telling her to go to the convent's chapel. There she saw Mary, who told her she was going to give her a mission.

On 27 November of that year, Catherine saw a vision of Mary holding a globe that, Mary told her, represented the world -- especially France, a country whose faithful had recently suffered horrible persecutions in the Revolution's Terrors and was still going through "Enlightenment" perfidy. The vision changed to Mary standing on a globe, rays of light streaming from her fingers, enframed in an oval frame inscribed with the words, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." The whole vision "turned" showing the back of the oval inscribed with the letter "M" entwined with a Cross, and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded with thorns, the latter pierced with a sword. 12 stars circled this oval frame. Mary told her to strike a medal in this form, and that all who wore it after having it blessed would receive graces. This medal, seen below, has become one of the most commonly worn sacramentals in the Western Church and is known as the "Miraculous Medal."

St. Catherine Labouré's body remains incorrupt to this day.

Front of the Miraculous MedalBack of the Miraculous Medal


Our Lady of La Salette
Date: 19 September 1846
Place: La Salette, France
Visionary: Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud

Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud were to children from Corps, France, near the town of Grenoble in the southeastern part of France. When Melanie was 14, and Maximin was 11, they were watching cattle in a pasture when they saw a globe of light that "opened" to reveal a most beautiful woman, clad in long dress and apron, with a shawl that crossed in front and tied in back. Around her neck was a Crucifix that depicted the instruments of the Passion, and on her head were a cap and roses. She sat on a rock with her face in her hands weeping.

The Lady said that unless the people repented of working on Sundays and of blasphemy, she'd be forced to let go her Son's arm because it had grown so heavy. She said that crop blights and famine would follow if her wishes weren't heeded. She then told each of the children a secret.

Maximin's secret as written down by him at the Bishop's palace on 3 July 1851, and delivered to Pope Pius IX:

On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady.

I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:

"If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later.

France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.

Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.

Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.

All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."

Maximin Giraud

(She told me to say it some time before.)

My Most Holy Father, your holy blessing to one of your sheep.

Grenoble, July 3,1851.

Melanie's secret as written by her on 6 July 1851 in Corenc, at the Sisters of Providence, and delivered to Pope Pius IX:

J.M.J.

secret which the Blessed Virgin gave me on the Mountain of La Salette on September 19, 1846

Secret.

Mélanie, I will say something to you which you will not say to anybody:

The time of the God's wrath has arrived!

If, when you say to the people what I have said to you so far, and what I will still ask you to say, if, after that, they do not convert, (if they do not do penance, and they do not cease working on Sunday, and if they continue to blaspheme the Holy Name of God), in a word, if the face of the earth does not change, God will be avenged against the people ungrateful and slave of the demon.

My Son will make his power manifest! Paris, this city soiled by all kinds of crimes, will perish infallibly. Marseilles will be destroyed in a little time. When these things arrive, the disorder will be complete on the earth, the world will be given up to its impious passions.

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will not be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.

The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ.

A famine will reign at the same time.

After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.

[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible.

Lastly, hell will reign on earth. It will be then that the Antichrist will be born of a Sister, but woe to her! Many will believe in him, because he will claim to have come from heaven, woe to those who will believe in him!

That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.

My child, you will not say what I have just said to you. (You will not say it to anybody, you will not say if you must say it one day, you will not say what that it concerns), finally you will say nothing anymore until I tell you to say it!

I pray to Our Holy Father the Pope to give me his holy blessing.

Mélanie Mathieu, Shepherdess of La Salette, Grenoble, July 6, 1851.

J.M.J.+

After this, the story gets confused and controversial, just as did the secrets told at Fatima (see below). Some years later, after having read a lot of "end of the world" literature, Melanie wrote a much longer version in which she said that part of what Our Lady told her was that Rome was to become the seat of the antichrist. This is how the secret was published in 1879, with an Imprimatur from the Bishop of Lecce, Italy:

The Message of Our lady of La Salette:

"Mélanie, what I am going to tell you now will not always be a secret; you can publish it in 1858.

"Priests, my Son's ministers, priests, by their evil life, by their irreverences and their impiety in celebrating the holy mysteries, love of money, love of honor and pleasures, priests have become sewers of impurity. Yes, priests call forth vengeance, and vengeance is suspended over their heads. Woe to priests, and to persons consecrated to God, who by their infidelities and their evil life are crucifying my son anew! The sins of persons consecrated to God cry to heaven and call for vengeance, and now here is vengeance at their very doors, for no longer is anyone found to beg mercy and pardon for the people; there are no more generous souls, there is now no one worthy of offering the spotless Victim to the Eternal on the worlds behalf.

"God will strike in an unparalleled manner. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God will exhaust His anger, and no one will be able to escape so many evils at once. The heads, the leaders of the people of God, have neglected prayer and penance, and the devil has darkened their minds; they have become those wandering stars which the ancient devil will drag with his tail to destruction. God will permit the ancient serpent to sow divisions among rulers, in all societies and in all families; both physical and moral punishments will be suffered. God will abandon men to themselves and will send chastisements one after the other for over 35 years.

"Society is on the very eve of most terrible scourges and greatest events; one must expect to be governed by a rod of iron and to drink the chalice of God's wrath.

"Let not my Son's Vicar, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX leave Rome after the year 1859; but let him be steadfast and generous, let him do battle with the weapons of faith and love; I shall be with him.

"Let him beware of Napoleon; his heart is double, and when he will want to be both Pope and emperor at the same time, God will soon withdraw from him; he is that eagle who, desiring always to rise, will fall on the sword he wanted to use to force the peoples to exalt him.

"Italy will be punished for its ambition in wanting to shake of the yoke of the Lord of lords; thus she will be handed over to war; blood will flow on all sides; Churches will be closed or desecrated; priests, religious will be driven out; they will be put to death, and to a cruel death. Many will abandon the faith, and the number of priests and religious who will separate themselves from the true religion will be great; even Bishops will be found among these persons.

"Let the Pope beware of miracle workers, for the time has come for the most astonishing wonders to take place on the earth and in the air.

"In the year 1864 Lucifer, together with a great number of devils, will be loosed from hell; little by little they will abolish the faith, and that even in persons consecrated to God; they will so blind them, that without a special grace, these persons will take on the spirit of these evil angels; a number of religious houses will lose the faith entirely and cause many souls to be damned.

"Bad books will abound over the earth, and the spirits of darkness will everywhere spread universal relaxation in everything concerning God's service: they will have very great power over nature; there will be churches to serve these spirits. People will be transported form one place to another by these evil spirits, and even priests, because they will not have lived by the good spirit of the gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. The dead and the just will be made to rise."

[Mélanie interpolated here: "That is to say, these dead will assume the prospect of righteous souls who once lived on earth, in order to seduce men more easily; these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing other than the devil under these faces, will preach another Gospel contrary to that of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of heaven, if these be not in fact the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear joined to their bodies."]

"There will be extraordinary wonders every place because the true faith has been extinguished and false light illumines the world. Woe to the princes of the church who will be occupied only with piling up riches upon riches, with guarding their authority and lording with pride!

"My Son's Vicar will have much to suffer, because for a time the Church will be handed over to great persecutions: it will be the time of darkness; the Church will undergo a frightful crisis.

"With God's holy faith forgotten, each individual will want to direct himself and rise above his peers. Civil and ecclesiastical authority will be abolished , all order and justice will be trampled underfoot. Only murders, hatred, jealousy, lying and discord will be seen, with no love of country or family.

"The Holy Father will suffer greatly. I shall be with him till the end to receive his sacrifice.

"The wicked will make a number of attempts on his life without being able to harm him; but neither he nor his successor will see the triumph of God's Church.

"Civil governments will all have the same objective, which will be to abolish and make every religious principle disappear, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritism and vices of all kinds.

"In the year 1865, the abomination will be seen in the holy places; in the convents the flowers of the Church will putrefy, and the devil will establish himself as king of all hearts. Let those who are at the head of religious communities be on their guard concerning the persons they are to receive, because the devil will use all his malice to introduce into religious orders persons given to sin, for disorders and love of carnal pleasures will be widespread over the whole earth.

"France, Italy, Spain and England will be at war, blood will flow in the streets; Frenchmen will fight Frenchmen, Italian with Italian; then there will be a general war which will be appalling. For some time God will no longer remember France or Italy, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no longer known. The wicked will unleash all their malice; even in homes there will be killing and mutual massacres.

"With the first lightning blow of His sword, the mountains and all nature will tremble with dread, because the disorders and crimes of men are piercing the vault of the heavens. Paris will be burned and Marseilles swallowed up; a number of large cities will be shattered and swallowed by earthquakes; all will seem lost; only murders will be seen, the clash of arms and blasphemies heard. The righteous will suffer greatly; their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise to heaven and all God's people will ask pardon and mercy and will ask my help and intercession. Then Jesus Christ, by an act of His justice and His great mercy toward the righteous, will command His angels to put all His enemies to death. At one blow the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all men given to sin will perish, and the earth will become like a desert.

"Then there will be peace, the reconciliation of God with men; Jesus Christ will be served, adored and glorified; charity will flourish everywhere. The new kings will be the right arm of Holy Church, which will be strong, humble, pious, poor, zealous and imitative of the virtues of Jesus Christ. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and men will make great strides in the faith, because there will be unity among Jesus Christ's workers and men will live in the fear of God.

"This peace among men will not last long: 25 years of abundant harvests will make them forget that the sins of men are the cause of all the woes which happen on earth.

"A precursor of the Antichrist, with his troops drawn from many nations, will wage war against the true Christ, sole Savior of the world; he will shed much blood and will seek to annihilate the cult of God so as to be regarded as a god.

"The earth will be struck with plagues of all kinds;" [Mélanie added here: "Besides pestilence and famine, which will be widespread"] "there will be wars up to the last war, which will then be waged by the ten kings of the Antichrist, kings who will all have a common design and will be the sole rulers of the world. Before this happens, there will be a sort of false peace in the world; people will think only of amusing themselves; the wicked will indulge in all kinds of sin; but the children of Holy Church, children of the true faith, my true imitators, will grow in the love of God and in the virtues dearest to me. Happy the humble souls lead by the Holy Ghost! I shall battle along with them until they reach the fullness of maturity.

"Nature begs vengeance on account of men, and she shudders with dread, awaiting what must happen to the crime-stained earth.

"Tremble, earth, and you who profess to serve Jesus Christ, while interiorly you adore yourselves, tremble; for God will hand you over to His enemy, because the holy places are in a state of corruption; many convents are no longer houses of God, but pastures for Asmodeus and his own.

"It will be at this time that the Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will be in communication with the ancient serpent, master of impurity; his father will be a bishop (Ev.). [We spell out the word "bishop" here. In the French text appear only the first two letters of évèque, the French word for bishop, but there is little doubt that this is the word they stand for, because in Mélanie's first draft of the message the whole word is spelled out.]

"At birth he will vomit blasphemies, he will have teeth; in a word, this will be the devil incarnate; he will utter terrifying cries, he will work wonders, he will live only on impurities. He will have brothers who, although not incarnate devils like himself, will be children of evil; at the age of twelve, they will be noted for the valiant victories they will win; soon they will each be at the head of armies, assisted by legions from hell.

"The seasons will be changed, the earth will produce only bad fruits, the heavenly bodies will lose the regularity of their movements, the moon will reflect only a feeble reddish light; water and fire will lend convulsive motions to the earth's sphere, causing mountains , cities, etc., to be swallowed up.

"Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.

"The demons of the air, together with the Antichrist, will work great wonders on the earth and in the air, and men will become ever more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants and mend of good will; the Gospel will be preached everywhere, all peoples and all nations will have knowledge of the Truth.

"I address a pressing appeal to the earth: I call upon the true disciples of the God living and reigning in the heavens; I call upon the true imitators of Christ made man, the one true Savior of men; I call upon my children, my true devotees, those who have given themselves o me so that I may lead them to my Divine Son, those whom I bear as it were in my arms, those who have lived in my spirit; finally, I call upon the Apostles of the Latter Times, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in contempt of the world and of themselves, in poverty and humility, in contempt and silence, in prayer and mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering, and unknown to the world. It is time for them to emerge and come enlighten the earth. Go, show yourselves to be my dear children; I am with you and in you, provided your faith is the light enlightening you in these evil times. May your zeal make your famished for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. Do battle, children of light, you, the few who see thereby; fir the time of times, the end of ends, is at hand.

"The Church will be eclipsed, the world will be in consternation. But there are Enoch and Elias, they will preach with the power of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted; they will make great progress by virtue of the Holy Ghost and will condemn the diabolical errors of the Antichrist.

"Woe to the inhabitants of the earth. There will be bloody wars, and famines; plagues and contagious diseases; there will be frightful showers of animals; thunders which will demolish cities; earthquakes which will engulf countries; voices will be heard in the air; men will beat their heads against the walls; they will call on death, yet death will constitute their torment; blood will flow on all sides. Who could overcome, if God doesn't shorten the time of trial? At the blood, tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent; Enoch and Elias will be put to death; pagan Rome will disappear; the fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities; the whole universe will be struck with terror, and many will allow themselves to be seduced because they didn't adore the true Christ living in their midst. It is time; the sun is darkening; Faith alone will survive.

"The time is at hand; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of the kings of darkness. Here is the beast with its subjects, calling itself the savior of the world. In pride he will rise skyward to go up to Heaven; he will be stifled by the breath of St. Michael the Archangel. He will fall and the earth -which for three days will be in constant change- will open its fiery bosom; he will be plunged forever with all his followers into hell's eternal chasms. Then water and fire will purify the earth and consume all the works of men's pride, and everything will be renewed; God will be served and glorified."
As to the second version of the alleged secret, the Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say:
A lively controversy followed as to whether the secret published in 1879 was identical with that communicated to Pius IX in 1851, or in its second form it was not merely a work of the imagination. The latter was the opinion of wise and prudent persons, who were persuaded that a distinction must be made between the two Mélanies, between the innocent and simple voyante of 1846 and the visionary of 1879, whose mind had been disturbed by reading apocalyptic books and the lives of illuminati. As Rome uttered no decision the strife was prolonged between the disputants. Most of the defenders of the text of 1879 suffered censure from their bishops.


Our Lady of Lourdes

Our Lady of Lourdes
Date: 1858
Place: Lourdes, France
Visionary: Bernadette Soubirous

At age 14, the poverty-stricken, asthmatic Bernadette Soubirous saw a vision of a beautiful Lady in a grotto on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, France. Though Bernadette was despised, disbelieved, and harrassed by local French authorities, crowds began to gather when news spread and when she wouldn't recant the story of her vision.

On 25 February, Bernadette was told to dig in in the earth, which she did to much mockery, but there, the healing waters of the now-famous Lourdes shrine were discovered where the Lady had appeared, and on 25 March, the Lady of the vision announced that she was the Immaculate Conception and that a church should be built at the site. Bernadette became a nun at Nevers, France and, suffering much from physical ailments, died young. Her body remains incorrupt at her convent to this day. St. Bernadette's story can be seen in the 1943 movie, "The Song of Bernadette," starring Jennifer Jones, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Saint.


Our Lady of Knock
Date: 21 August 1879
Place: Knock, Ireland
Visionaries: 15 people

Our Lady appeared in the rain outside Saint John the Baptist Church, Knock, County Mayo, Ireland with St. Joseph at her right, and with St. John the Evangelist at her left. They appeared in a blaze of light and all dressed in white. Mary wore also a golden crown with a golden rose at her brow, and St. John wore a mitre as a Bishop would. Mary stood praying with her eyes and hands raised toward Heaven. Behind them all was an altar with a Cross, lamb, and adoring angels.

The vision was first seen by a woman who'd gone to lock up the church and who ran into a friend. They saw what they thought at first were statues, but wondering at them and moving closer, they saw they were alive and were very much Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John! Others came, and altogether, the vision was witnessed by fifteen people of various ages and both sexes, and lasted two hours. The vision was followed by miraculous healings.

 


Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima
Date: 1917
Place: Fatima, Portugal
Visionaries: 3 children -- Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco

In the Spring of 1916, on the back edge of WWI, before the Russian Revolution and when the world was beginning to spin even more wildly out of control, an angel appeared to 3 shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal. The angel, who called himself the Angel of Portugal, appeared three times, taught the children various prayers and entreated them to penance and to offering sacrifices to the Lord.

After these 3 appearances, a lull of 8 months went by. Then, in 1917, when Lucia was 10, Francisco was 9, and Jacinta was 7, Our Lady appeared to the children, asking them to return to that site on the 13th day of each month for the next 6 months. (She would come 6 times to all the children, and also later  to Lucia alone.)

During the first apparition (13 May), Our Lady answered questions from the children about their fates. She said that they would all go to Heaven (but Francisco would have a few Rosaries to say first). She told them that of two of their friends who'd died, one was in Heaven and another was in Purgatory. She then mentioned the war in Europe and told the children to pray the Rosary for peace.

During the second apparition, she told the children to pray what has become known as the "Fatima Prayer" during their Rosaries. When asked, she said that Francisco and Jacinta would be in Heaven soon, but that Lucia would stay to help bring people to Christ.

During the third apparition, three secrets were given to the children.

First, they were shown a vision of Hell.

Second, they were told of the "errors of Russia" and how they would spread throughout the world unless the world mended its ways. To that end, she called for penance and said that Russia should be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and the Bishops in union with him, and that the faithful should receive Communion of reparation in atonement for the sins of the world on the first Saturday of each month (the "First Saturdays" devotion). If these things aren't done, Russia's errors would spread, the Church will be persecuted, various nations will be annihilated, and the Holy Father will have much to suffer. She said, though, that in the end, her Immaculate Heart would triumph.

Lucia, warned by her Bishop that the apparitions could be demonic, asked the Lady if she would tell them who she was and if she would perform a miracle to help prove to others that the visions were real. The Lady said she would.

During the 4th apparition, Our Lady gave the children instructions concerning the chapel which was to be built and reassured them of the miracle that would take place.

During the 5th apparition, she said that the promised miracle that all could see would take place during her next visit (on 13 October).

During the last apparition common to all the children, crowds gathered; around 70,000 people sloshed through the mud caused by the heavy rains that had fallen all night to see the promise fulfilled. Mary referred to herself as the "Lady of the Rosary," mentioned again the chapel that would be built, and said the war would end soon. Suddenly, the dark clouds that obscured the sky parted, revealing the sun as a softly lit disk of spinning silver or an opalescent pearl shade. Thousands and thousands saw the sun spin, dance, throw off many different rays of color -- red, yellow, purple, blue light coloring all they saw. Some swore they saw the sun crashing toward the earth. Even secular newspapers reported what happened with the sun and that one could witness the phenomenon without hurting one's eyes. People who'd gone to the site to mock the children and the faithful found themselves in tears, staring at the sky in amazement, converted to Christ. Then Our Lady disappeared, and St. Joseph, holding the child Jesus, appeared to the children, blessing the world by signing the Cross in the air. This apparition went away, and then Christ and Mary (as Our Lady of Sorrows) appeared, Christ blessing the world as his step-father had done. Then Our Lady appeared alone again, only to Lucia's eyes, as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. After the miracle of the sun, the crowds saw that the muddy, wet fields and their clothing had dried.

Francisco and Jacinta died very young, as Our Lady said. They were beatified in 2000. Lucia joined the Carmelite Order as a nun where, as of 2002, she still lives. In 1944, Our Lady appeared again to Lucia and asked her to write down the Third Secret given to her at Fatima -- but not to reveal it until 1960 because "it will be much clearer then."

1960 came and went, but the secret was not revealed; instead, Sr. Lucia was ordered to never speak to anyone about Fatima.

In the year 2000, the Vatican released its version of the "Third Secret"; that text appears below. The official interpretation of this "Third Secret" is that it referred to the assassination attempt on John Paul II's life in 1981 and that all of its relevance is in the past.

THIRD PART OF THE “SECRET”
AS RELEASED BY THE VATICAN, MAY 2000

"I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: "Penance, Penance, Penance!"

"And we saw in an immense light that is God: "something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it" a Bishop dressed in White "we had the impression that it was the Holy Father."

"Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way;

"Having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.

"Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspergilium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."


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