Ezkioga, Northern Spain
Don't forget all of the false apparitions of the early 1930's.
Recently Charlie Johnston came under scrutiny by the Archbishop of Denver, who advised "the faithful to exercise prudence and caution in regards to Mr. Charlie Johnston’s alleged divine visions and messages." The Archdiocese went so far as to declare: "Mr. Johnston will also not be approved as a speaker in the Archdiocese of Denver."
Mr. Johnston accepts the decision, laying some emphasis on the 'cautionary' tone regarding the prophetic dimension of his message, while noting that: "'They' explained that not being an “approved speaker” simply means I can’t use Church property in the Diocese as a venue." Essentially, that about covers it and allows Charlie to continue his work.
Archbishop Aquila's concern is expressed in this statement: "As has been demonstrated with other alleged apparitions, the danger exists of people placing greater faith in a prediction than in Christ’s words and promises."
I mention this precaution regarding Charlie Johnston after discovering there are still supporters and defenders of Vassula Ryden online, intent upon spreading her messages. Catholics have been warned several times since 1995 against her 'doctrine', as summed up at the end of this CDF Notification:
Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden’s activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas. Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden’s writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.I lifted that text from an excellent study of the self-proclaimed mystic, titled: Vassula Ryden - The Reasons for the Church's Negative Reaction, by Francois-Marie Dermine, O.P.. The article should be read in its entirety, it is very informative - not only regarding the Ryden case, but all such private revelations and apparitions which spring up here and there around the world, especially now while wars and rumors of war, and terrorism threatens from every side. Even priests grasp onto this type of phenomena in times of great stress, some claiming locutions themselves.
Vatican City, 6 October 1995. - Full text here.
Charity believes all things, hopes all things, but is not deceived. One must be careful. A kindly priest recently wrote a favorable piece on Vassula Ryden and her interview with the CDF, suggesting the problems pretty much have been resolved and any discernment is up to the local diocesan bishops. (Perhaps similar to how Aquila reviewed the Charlie Johnston case?) Yet the CDF Notification was not nearly as approving as the author of the post suggests here:
Following this successful dialogue, the Cardinal said that Vassula's answers were "a useful clarification" and insisted that her answers be printed in the books of her writings. - SourceThere are so many 'ifs, ands, and buts' regarding private revelations and their supporters, who frequently cling to this stuff as if it were dogma, disputing clear statements made by the magisterium against such things, while they in turn manipulate words and phrases to suit their particular cult. It seems to me worse today with media confusing remarks and statements made by the pope and bishops to suggest heresy and liberalism, opening the way for self-interested parties to bait ordinary believers into following dubious mystics, locutionists and seers.
Priests especially should be cautious, perhaps following the precautions of Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia:
“Conforming to prudence and sacred accuracy, people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were canonical books or decrees of the Holy See. Even the most enlightened persons, especially women, may be greatly mistaken in the visions, revelations, locutions, and inspiration. More than once the divine operation is restrained by human nature. For instance who could ratify in full all the visions of Emmerich and St. Brigid, which show evident discrepancies? I love very much the private revelations of holy persons, but never I accept them in full!" - Source
Faith is hard - the science of the Cross is tough going...
Even if an angel of light appears with a different Gospel - do not follow.