Cardinal Arinze on how to discern alleged apparitions and “seers”

“What are apparitions? Since many people are attracted by them, especially as this century and millennium are drawing to an end, not only in this country but also in other countries: Apparition, apparition, apparition; seer, seer, seer.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints can appear to anyone as Divine Providence may decide. And God can send visions or thoughts or locutions to anyone He wishes. If such apparitions or locutions are genuine, they are called ‘private revelations’. If they are genuine.
Public Revelation was concluded with the death of the last of the Apostles, Saint John. That means it’s already almost two thousand years minus one hundred when Public Revelation was concluded. If a private revelation is genuine, it will always be a confirmation of what is already in Public Revelation.
Only Public Revelation becomes an object of Divine Catholic Faith. That is what we must believe with Divine Catholic Faith — dogma. Only such does the Church demand that we all believe.
The Church never imposes belief in a private revelation, even when a private revelation is approved by the Church as coming from Heaven. Like Lourdes and Fatima. These are said to come from Heaven, but even than, the Church does not impose them as objects of Catholic Faith.
“It is very difficult to know in practice if that an apparition is really from God or if it is the fruit of somebody’s overfertile imagination, somebody’s pious ideas, somebody who does not distinguish between reality and dream, or somebody who has a type of journey. It is very difficult to know when they are a result of deceit of the devil.

“And even in a genuine private revelation, the seer can make mistakes in recounting or interpreting some of the details. This has happened even to saints canonized. They made a few mistakes in details, they were confused.
“‘In practice’. It means that we should test a reported apparition by such questions as the following:
Does it agree entirely with the revealed and Divine Catholic Faith?
Does it lead us to the center of our Faith, which is where Holy Scriptures is, and Sacred Tradition, and where the Pope and the Bishops are?
Does it lead us to obey the Pope and the Bishops?
If you said, ‘The private revelation told us not to mind the Pope and the Bishops’, we’d tell you, ‘It’s not from Heaven.
“It is therefore a mistake if a Christian now makes a reported apparition a central event in the Christian life or a test of those who are fervent Christians. If now you test people, ‘If you don’t believe in the apparition, you are not a good Catholic,’ you have the whole thing wrong.
“It is a negative sign when some Christians follow seers or visionaries, they follow them, they read daily their writings and utterances – but they won’t read the Gospels, they won’t read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, they won’t read the documents of the Pope – and they read the documents of the Seer/Visionary XYZ.
It is a very negative sign when some people disobey or ignore the Pope and the Bishops in union with him all in the name of a vision or an apparition. Christ told His Apostles, ‘Anyone who listens to you, listens to Me. Anyone who rejects you, rejects Me. And those who reject Me reject the One who sent Me.’
“Somebody asked me, ‘There is one apparition that is reported, are you going on pilgrimage there?’ I said, ‘Oh yes, I go on pilgrimage, but do you know where I go on pilgrimage? The Chapel. Where we have the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. Where we are not guessing, where we are sure! That’s my pilgrimage.’
“Please understand me. I do not say ‘Do not go to Lourdes, do not go to Fatima’. Those are certain. Jerusalem is where our Faith began.
“But there are some other places where we don’t know whether Our Lady was there or not. I don’t go there. They can do good to people, it doesn’t prove yet. We don’t know. Might be, might not be.
“It takes a lot of challenge – Years and Years – to know when they are genuine. Sometimes it takes fifty years, one hundred years.
“We don’t base our Faith on such because we have solid foundation for our Faith already. You want pilgrimage? Jerusalem! Of course.”

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Categories: False Mystics

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