The following is an excerpt taken from an article entitled "The Marian Era: An Analysis of Church-Approved Marian Apparitions" by David H. Stoeck. It has great relevance to our current confirmation status with the Our Lady of America messages given in 1956 and the current worldwide geo-political-religious struggles confronting us as faithful Christians. The continuity among the messages of La Sallette, Lourdes and Fatima runs directly through the messages of Our Lady of America. Christ wants the Church's victories to come through His Mother.
All photos are from Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN.
There has been a notable increase in reported Marian phenomena in our century. Since only a few of these reported apparitions are approved by the Church, it is useful to define what this approval means. Pope Pius X gave an explanation in his encyclical concerning Modernism:
In passing judgment on pious traditions the Church uses the greatest prudence . . . Even then she does not guarantee the truth of the fact narrated; she simply does not forbid belief
. . . On this matter the Sacred Congregation of Rites, thirty years ago, decreed as follows: “These apparitions and revelations [of La Salette and Lourdes] have neither been approved nor condemned by the Holy See. It has simply allowed that they be devoutly believed by purely human faith, according to the tradition which they relate.
It must be stated, however, that John Paul II has visited many approved Marian apparition sites; this makes a clear statement as to their credibility. He also encourages the faithful to visit these sites. Still, there are many unapproved apparitions being reported. At times, the information available concerning these events can be very confusing. When confronted with this, the faithful should keep in mind the declaration of the Church at the Fifth Lateran Council in 1516:
In response to such ‘prophetic preaching’, the Council forbade any preacher to speak about “the predetermined time of future evils, or the coming of the antichrist, or a definite day of judgment”. . . However, the Council kept open the possibility that God might, “by some kind of inspiration . . . reveal . . . things that are to happen in the Church of God in the future.” But, “. . . such claimed inspirations, before being made public . . . should be understood as reserved from now on to the examination of the Apostolic See.”
Pope John Paul II, as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, spoke these words during a visit to the United States in 1976:
"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully.
We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence . . . It is a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.
John Paul II is talking about Truth in Christ versus lies in Satan, the Father of Lies (Jn.8:44). He elaborates further in his encyclical letter The Splendor of Truth
. . . there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly . . . this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature.
The Pope spells out the consequences of this behavior in his encyclical letter The Gospel of Life
. . . when the sense of God is lost, there is also a tendency to lose the sense of Man, of his dignity and his life; in turn, the systematic
violation of the moral law, especially in the serious matter of respect for human life and its dignity, produces a kind of progressive darkening of the capacity to discern
God’s living and saving presence.
In other words, the more mankind removes itself from Christ, the more difficult it becomes to recognize the Truth. This error is the philosophy of relativism (as taught by Hume, Kant and Comte). A point may be reached where only God’s direct intervention or mankind’s descent into widespread destruction will open people’s eyes.
The Church, through approved Marian apparitions, and John Paul II are urgently calling the faithful to Eucharistic devotion, prayers of reparation, and heroic sanctity. The Rosary is the most efficacious prayer, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament. In addition, a veneration of “Our Lady of All Nations” is very important. Sr. Lucia of Fatima has stated that “There is one more condition — ‘the wearing of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.’” A wonderful promise associated with the Brown Scapular was revealed to Pope John XXII (1322). This Sabbatine Privilege requires an individual to:
1. Be validly enrolled in the Brown Scapular by a duly authorized priest and wear it in the proper manner;
2. Keep chastity according to the individual’s state in life;
3. Recite the daily rosary. Mary promised that whoever fulfilled these requirements would be released from Purgatory, by her, on the Saturday after their death.Healing water
, so wonderfully present at many approved Marian apparition sites, is a symbol of purity and cleansing.
We by our sacrifices and prayers can become living water for the Church. By learning the truths of our faith and communicating this to others combined with active prayer, we can heal the suffering Church. These efforts will follow the example of Our Mother, Mary, who has healed so many suffering souls through the miraculous waters where she has appeared.
We will do well to remember these words of Pope John Paul II: “. . . if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her
. . . I COULD SEE . . . THAT THERE WAS A CERTAIN CONTINUITY AMONG LA SALETTE, LOURDES AND FATIMA
. . . And thus we come to May 13, 1981, when I was wounded by gunshots fired in St. Peter’s Square. . . the assassination attempt had occurred on the exact anniversary of the day Mary appeared to the three children at Fatima in Portugal and spoke to them the words that now, at the end of this century, seem to be close to their fulfillment. . . Andre Malraux was certainly right when he said that the twenty-first century would be the century of religion or it would not be at all.”