DAILY CATHOLIC   TUESDAY   February 23, 1999   vol. 10, no. 37


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Private revelation doesn't always need to be private!

          Ah the archives! Just as the Vatican has its Archives, so also the DAILY CATHOLIC has its archives containing all the issues of this publication since its inception as a daily back on November 1, 1997. This allows readers to review past articles over that time and one of the most popular continues to be our editorial CATHOLIC PewPOINTS of May 13 and May 14 last year in which we printed the purported Prophecies of Saint Bernadette part one and Prophecies of Saint Bernadette part two that were supposedly found in the basement of the Vatican in December 1997 by a Father Antoine LeGrande, a researcher on Lourdes. The account of this was first published in the Weekly World News, one of those questionable secular tabloids you find in the supermarket checkout stands. It was sent to us by a source at the Holy Family Ministry in Ohio and we printed it in a two part editorial coinciding with the 81st anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima because of its significance. Naturally then, as well as several times during the year, we received and continue to get beaucoup e-mails on this subject. So many ask if it is authentic. Folks, we have exhausted all sources in finding the source! We have sent out many inquiries, but no substantial proof has been forthcoming as of yet. The tabloid is very protective of its names and sources and short of a subpoena, there's nothing we can do to corroborate their claim. That is why we referenced the Weekly World News as the source when we first printed it last year.

          What it comes down to in the test of authenticity is to watch what progresses this year to see if the prophecies will be fulfilled. Considering the tone, content and the course world events have taken, they sound like they are from the Blessed Virgin and coincide with earlier messages imparted to Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the simple, naieve French peasant girl who lived along the sewer-ridden Gave River in 1858 when Our Lady first appeared to her. No one believed her then and, we suspect, that same skepticism still exists today. We could fall back on the oft quoted statement by Pope Urban VIII that "In cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe, for if you believe and it was proven true you will be happy that you have believed because our Holy Mother Church asked it. If you believe and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true because you believed it to be true." But we have not been able to prove the veracity of that either. Did he say it, and if so, when? If anyone out there knows, we'd love to hear from you. We do know that printing private revelations not yet approved by the Church is in total accord with the Church as long as it does not contravene faith and morals per Pope Paul VI's directive to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 58.1186 of October 14, 1966. This Congregation today is the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples under the Prefect Cardinal Josef Tomko.

          What would greatly help those who have been struggling with whether the Prophecies to Saint Bernadette have any merit, is to put it all into context. Just as one can take anything out of context in the Bible, so also one can do the same with private revelation. That is why we encourage readers to study the similarity of the messages with much of what was imparted to Father Don Stefano Gobbi and Saint John Bosco as well as the messages of La Salette, Akita and other apparitions in the latter part of this century. We say this because those two consecutive day editorials in May were prefaced by three months' worth of material in our weekly megafeature on the Church today - Where is Holy Mother Church Heading as we near the Millennium? which is carried in every Thursday issue of the DAILY CATHOLIC. For reference we refer you to February 12th, installment fifty-eight; February 19th, installment fifty-nine; February 26th, installment sixty; March 5, installment sixty-one; March 19, installment sixty-two; March 26, installment sixty-three; April 2, installment sixty-four; April 16, installment sixty-five; April 23, installment sixty-six; April 30, installment sixty-seven and May 7, installment sixty-eight. This should help all better understand the purported messages to Bernadette in the context of what Our Lady is referencing and why.

          The key, however, as we have communicated to so many, is not to worry whether they are authentic or not, but to live the messages Our Lady asks which entail conversion of heart in turning back to God through Faith, reconciliation, penance, fasting, the sacraments,living and evangelizing the Word of God and being obedient to His Holy Church. The rest really isn't relevant. The important thing to remember is Prayer is the only answer to fulfilling God's Will! That's why Our Lady repeats over and over and over: "Pray! Pray! Pray!" Too many try to interpret messages and messengers without a proper perspective compass. Too many take things out of context or go by their opionions of mind rather than by their hearts and souls. They can't see the trees through the forest because they're too busy chasing messages and messengers without truly hearing what Heaven is trying to convey. They want the sensational and consequently make things too complex while overlooking the obvious and the simplicity of the messages which must be totally Scripture-based and in accord with Church teaching. There is nothing new in private revelation, only a contemporary twist, so to speak, on Divine Revelation to help us better understand.

          For that purpose we have published over the past nine plus years, in conjunction with the Medjugorje Messages, the Messages to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart always after they had been submitted beforehand to a wise and holy priest for his discernment. All messages have also been submitted to the bishops of the particular See to which Cyndi was obedient to while she was receiving these private revelations from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother between 1990 and 1995. While a few were questioned by her bishop in Arkansas, after meeting with him, he agreed that they were in accord with Church teaching and Sacred Scripture and, in no way, contravene faith and morals. He stopped short of approving the Messages in the first stage because, after all, what ordinary wants to get involved in private revelation? The mounds of paper work and headaches of filing with the Vatican are more than most bishops want to handle. That is one reason you have so few messages or messengers under investigation. Some bishops are open to private revelation but ask that we check with each parish pastor if we're going to distribute the messages in his parish. Such was the case with Bishop Robert Brom in San Diego and Bishop Charles Grahmann in Dallas. Other bishops don't want to deal with private revelation at all, opting to ignore the whole concept in hopes they just go away. It's the ostrich syndrome.

          There are, sadly, a few bishops which we fortunately have not come across personally, who will not allow any private revelation to be promulgated in their dioceses unless they have been fully approved by the Church. That leaves Guadalupe, Rue de Bac, Lourdes, La Salette and Fatima as "sure" things but greatly curtails others which all play a part in the great tapestry God has woven in these two centuries by sending His very Own Mother. This episcopal refusal can surely harm the Medjugorje movement as well as other messages that merely complement Divine Revelation. Sadly too many priests and bishops, as well as the laity, fail to realize that much of the Church's structure, devotions and Religious Orders grew from the seed of private revelation. That is not conjecture, but rather fact! Check the Lives of the Saints, Documents of the Church as well as the History of the Church, the Popes and origins of Religious Orders and it's there in black and white. What if all purported private revelation had been suppressed until after the Church formally approved it? First of all, how would Heaven's words ever be promulgated? Secondly, the Church would not be as rich in tradition as she is and there'd be a lot fewer religious - practically none! For that reason, as well as the articles prefacing it all in February, March, April and early May on signs and messages leading up to our May editorials, we went ahead and published the purported Prophecies of Saint Bernadette last May. Are they authentic? Time will tell, but not to publish them would have been a disservice to our readers. After all, private revelation doesn't always need to be private!

Michael Cain, editor

February 23, 1999      volume 10, no. 37
Today's Catholic PewPoint Editorial


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