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Home > Theology > The Future of the Church and the World > Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?

Tricks Used by False Private Revelations

I. Introduction

I myself have never received any kind of true or false private revelation. I've never had any kind of visions, or voices, or locutions, or apparitions, or messages, or anything else at all. My understanding of private revelation comes from my study of the Bible, of the Catholic Faith, and of various claimed private revelations.

When Moses and Aaron performed signs and wonders before Pharaoh, these were true miracles from God. Yet to a certain extent, the tricksters of Pharaoh, whom Pharaoh wrongly considered to be wise and spiritual men, could perform similar signs and wonders. What God himself did, through Moses and Aaron but in a truly miraculous manner, the false prophets of Pharaoh could also feign, using various tricks, but only up to a certain point.

{7:10} And so Moses and Aaron entered to Pharaoh, and they did just as the Lord had commanded. And Aaron took the staff in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and it was turned into a snake.
{7:11} Then Pharaoh called the wise men and the sorcerers. And they also, by Egyptian incantations and certain secrets, did similarly.
{7:12} And each one cast down their staffs, and they were turned into serpents. But the staff of Aaron devoured their staffs.

{7:20} And Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had instructed. And lifting up the staff, he struck the water of the river in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants. And it was turned into blood.
{7:21} And the fishes that were in the river died, and the river was polluted, and the Egyptians were not able to drink the water of the river, and there was blood throughout the entire land of Egypt.
{7:22} And the sorcerers of the Egyptians, with their incantations, did similarly. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had instructed.

{8:6} And Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
{8:7} Then the sorcerers also, by their incantations, did similarly, and they brought forth frogs upon the land of Egypt.

{8:17} And they did so. And Aaron extended his hand, holding the staff, and he struck the dust of the earth, and there came stinging insects upon men and upon beasts. All the dust of the earth was turned into stinging insects through all the land of Egypt.
{8:18} And the sorcerers, with their incantations, did similarly, in order to bring forth stinging insects, but they were not able. And there were stinging insects, as much on men as on beasts.
{8:19} And the sorcerers said to Pharaoh: "This is the finger of God." And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had instructed.

This article will discuss the methods used in false private revelations to produce false signs and wonders, and the limits of those signs and wonders.

Now it is clear from a close examination of the various false claimed private revelations in the world today that most of these alleged visions and messages come from fallen angels. And most of the claimed signs and wonders also come from fallen angels. However, some of these signs, and some of the messages, may be merely the work of deceitful human beings.

Fallen angels use their natural angelic abilities to perform false signs and wonders. Since angels can do things that human persons cannot do, and since they can act while unseen, it may seem that there are miracles at work, when it is only fallen angels performing false signs and wonders. So these are not true miracles of God. Both good and bad angels are created beings; they are a natural part of Creation. Only God performs true miracles.

II. The Abilities of Fallen Angels

A. Travel and Observation

Fallen angels are spirit only; they have no bodies. So they can 'travel' very quickly. Of course, upon arriving at a destination, they can be present there without being seen. They can observe what occurs in private and behind closed doors. They can then communicate this information to the false visionaries of false private revelation, making it seem as if these visionaries have knowledge from God.

An example of this is found in the claims of Christina Gallagher and her assistant, Fr. Gerard McGinnity. He reports that she could describe the events which occurred when he was alone in his room, thinking over a decision. Afterward, Christina called him on the phone and said that she saw him in his room on that occasion. She described the event as it happened, and what was on his mind. Because she correctly described what happened in the room (he had a book open, he was about to pick up the phone to make a call, but decided not to, etc.), Fr. Gerard is convinced that Christina is genuine. However, such ability is readily explained by the intervention of fallen angels, who could easily observe the events in that room and even know the thoughts going through this priest's mind (see below). Therefore, such a sign or wonder does not prove at all that a claimed visionary is genuine.

B. Communication by Thought

First, all angels have a natural ability to read thoughts and to communicate by thought. This is because angels are purely spiritual creatures; they have no ears or mouths or brains. They communicate by thought as part of their nature. Otherwise, they would have no means of communication at all. Now fallen angels generally retain all of the natural abilities of holy angels (except that the fallen angels lack grace and faith, and the guidance and help of God). Therefore, even fallen angels can read thoughts.

Second, each person has a guardian angel. It is well known among the faithful that one can communicate with one's guardian angel by thought (not solely by speaking out loud). Fallen angels also have this natural ability to communicate with human persons by thought. This natural ability was given to all angels before any angels fell from grace, so that they could communicate with one another and with the human beings that God knew He would later create. But fallen angels still retain this ability because it is a part of the nature of angels.

Third, all fallen angels are restrained by God, to some extent, from using their natural abilities to harm or to work mischief among human persons. Otherwise, because of the sheer number of fallen angels, we would be overwhelmed. However, God does sometimes permit fallen angels to use their natural abilities to do some harm, some of the time, as was the case with Job. Since all the natural powers of any fallen angel are limited by what God allows, fallen angels are also similarly limited in reading human minds and in communicating with human persons by thought. But as a result, some persons have incorrectly concluded that fallen angels cannot read minds or communicate by thought with humans at all, because it is clear that they cannot read minds in every case. But certainly they can read minds in many circumstances, God permitting.

Fourth, it is abundantly clear that many claimed private revelations in the world today are false. This is clear because some of the claimed private revelations actually state in their messages that there are false apparitions and messages in the world today. If there were no false apparitions and messages in the world, then the messages that say there are many false messages would themselves be false. So the statement must be true. But all of these claimed private revelations receive their messages and visions and locutions by thought and by the human imagination. Therefore, fallen angels can communicate in this way.

C. Affecting the Human Imagination

Saint Thomas Aquinas says that angels can affect the human mind: "I answer that, Both a good and a bad angel by their own natural power can move the human imagination." He cites the example of holy angels revealing things to Joseph and to the Magi by means of dreams.

The fallen angels responsible for false visions, apparitions, and locutions are able to read the human mind and its thoughts, and are able to speak to the human mind by thought. False seers are affected in their minds to the extent that they see things and hear things that are only in their own mind. They also find that their thoughts are responded to by the apparition/locution. So the fallen angels must be able to not only affect the human mind in order to display false visions and their messages, but they must also be able to read the thoughts of human persons, in order to know what to show them and how to respond to them.

In a human being, one who is open to influence from fallen angels, the fallen angels can produce false visions, appearing as if they were Jesus Christ, or the Virgin Mary, or one of the Saints. This is done by affecting the human imagination. They are able to present to the human imagination what seems like a vision or a dream in their mind, or what seems like an image before their eyes or sounds before their ears. They can hold an apparent conversation with the human person to whom they are appearing under the guise of Jesus or Mary or some other heavenly person. They can affect the imagination, so as to bring about locutions, and they can put an idea in a human being's mind, even without using words or images.

It is in all of these ways that fallen angels produce false private revelations in the world today.

D. The Ability to Lie

It should be obvious to any devout Christian that fallen angels have the ability to lie. But some Christians do not understand that fallen angels can lie even to the extent of saying that they worship God, of saying that they bow down before God the Father, of encouraging people to do good things (as a way to win their confidence), and of pretending to be God or Jesus or Mary or one of the Saints.

There is a dangerous false idea among many followers of false private revelation, that there is a certain way to test an apparition or locution, by asking the vision of Jesus or Mary to say something like, "I bow down and worship God the Father," or similar words. The idea is that fallen angels are unable to say such words of worship to God. But this idea is certainly false. Fallen angels are so devoid of conscience and of all that is good, that they can and will say anything at all, in order to deceive and harm human persons. Also, it is to be observed that claimed private revelations which are clearly false still pass this kind of test given by the claimed visionary.

E. The Ability to Affect the Natural World

Even though fallen angels are spirit, with no bodies, they have the ability to affect physical objects in the world. This is abundantly clear from Sacred Scripture.

{3:8} For she had been given to seven husbands, and a demon named Asmodeus had killed them, as soon as they had approached her.

The fallen angel called Asmodeus was able to affect the physical world to such an extent as to kill seven human beings. This can only occur if God permits it, but it is within the natural ability of angels to take a life. In the Book of Job, God permits Satan to do various harmful things by affecting the natural world, but God makes a point of setting the limit that he is not to kill Job. Therefore, it is clear that, if God had permitted it, Satan could even have killed Job.

{2:6} Therefore, the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but even so, spare his life."
{2:7} And so, Satan departed from the face of the Lord and he struck Job with a very serious ulcer from the sole of the foot all the way to the crown of his head.

In other afflictions that Satan brought upon Job, Satan was able to influence the Sabeans, and also the Chaldeans, to attack the servants and cattle of Job; he was able to bring down fire from the sky, so as to destroy men and beasts; and he was able to stir up a great wind, so as to collapse the house that Job's children were in (Job 1:14-19). Therefore, fallen angels can affect physical objects, and can influence human beings. So, it is clear from Sacred Scripture that fallen angels (and also holy angels) can affect physical objects in the world.

In addition to affecting the natural world so as to cause physical harm, fallen angels can affect the natural world so as to deceive, producing false signs and wonders. The false signs and wonders which fallen angels can cause are fairly extensive. Nothing truly miraculous is being done, but to the average devout Christian, it might seem miraculous. Examples are given in detail in another section of this article below. But to summarize, false signs and wonders include false Eucharistic miracles, weeping statues and image, appearance of blood, movement of objects, changes in local weather (wind and rains, etc.), manipulations of the body of the claimed visionary, lights and colors seen in the air or sky, false miracles of the sun involving motion and colors, sounds, photographic images that seem heavenly, etc. All such things are possible by the interaction of fallen angels with nature. Fallen angels can even hide an object from view, move it to a particular location, and then permit it to be seen (this is how weeping images and false Eucharistic miracles are generally accomplished).

F. The Ability to Afflict and to Heal

The faithful understand that fallen angels can cause diseases and injuries. This is clear from the above Biblical quotes showing that fallen angels can harm human beings, even to the extent of causing death. It is also clear from the many Gospel passages where Jesus heals the sick or injured by casting out a demon (i.e. a fallen angel). But many people do not realize that both good and bad angels have a limited natural ability to heal.

Holy angels have a limited natural ability to heal the sick or injured, by means of their ability to affect the physical world. This natural ability of angels is not miraculous, but is analogous to the abilities of a skilled surgeon or doctor. They can perform physical repairs on injuries, like a surgeon. They can perhaps kill viruses, bacteria, or cancerous cells. Of course, holy angels can also pray for someone, and so be assisted by true miracles from God.

{5:4} Now an Angel of the Lord was descending at times into the pool, and so the water was moving. And whoever had descended first into the pool, after the motion of the water, was healed of whatever infirmity held him.

But this ability, since it is natural to angels, is even found among fallen angels; even fallen angels can repair some injuries or cure some diseases of the human body, to a limited extent, just as human doctors can. However, such fallen angels are not assisted by true miracles of God in their attempts to heal, so their attempts are more limited than those of holy angels.

{13:3} And I saw that one of its heads seemed to be slain unto death, but his deadly wound was healed. And the entire world was in wonder following the beast.

In the book of Revelation, the Antichrist is mortally wounded. Yet somehow his wound is healed. And the foolish of the world become so amazed at this, and at the other great signs and wonders that he performs, that they begin to worship the Antichrist. Now the Antichrist is not in the world today, and he will not arrive for hundreds of years. But because the tribulation is divided into two parts, the first part being for this generation, false signs are permitted now, just as they will be permitted in the distant future during the second part of the tribulation and the Antichrist's reign.

Notice that fallen angels, in affecting the physical world, can to some extent cure an injury or a disease. Of course, it is very clear from the Gospels, where Jesus cures by expelling demons, that fallen angels can cause injury or disease, and that this is their preference. For they wish to do as much harm as is permitted to them. But they can and will heal, to a limited extent, if it will produce a greater degree of harm to the soul by leading many astray.

They can heal in a number of ways.
1. When a disease or injury is caused by a fallen angel, that angel may cease from afflicting that human person, so that the cause of the illness is removed. The person is then healed by a removal of the cause of the affliction.

2. They can deceive the human mind, so that a person thinks that they have an illness, when it is really only in their mind; then they remove that incorrect perception.

3. They can deceive the human mind, so that the person thinks that they are cured when they are not. The individual feels much better and may have a sudden freedom from pain. But like a drug that wears off, later on the illusion is gone and the individual realizes they have not been cured.

4. They can affect the human body to some extent, so that, in much the same manner as a skilled surgeon or doctor, they can improve a condition by physical intervention. This latter approach is limited by what God allows and by their natural abilities. They cannot affect a true miraculous healing.
In addition, some claimed healings associated with false private revelation are obtained without the help of fallen angels.
5. Some claimed healings are merely lies or distortions.

For example, a woman was terminally ill and she was said to be healed by visiting Christina Gallagher's house of prayer. But soon afterward the woman died. The explanation given by Gallagher and her supporters is that the woman was miraculously cured by visiting the house of prayer, but then, because she did not acknowledge the power of the house of prayer, God struck her with a second terminal illness. Obviously, the woman was never healed in the first place, though she may have been deceived into thinking that she was healed.

In another example, a woman had cancer and Christina Gallagher was praying for her healing. But the woman continued to see doctors and receive treatment; she was repeatedly in and out of the hospital for many months. Then, on one occasion, the doctors operated thinking that they would remove cancer from one particular location, but found during the operation that they were mistaken; there was no cancer in that one location in the body. Gallagher and her spiritual director claim that this was miraculous. But the woman continued to be ill from cancer and to receive treatment. It happens that sometimes doctors are mistaken. If it had been a miraculous cure, she would have become well. They claimed a miracle occurred, yet no one was healed; it was just a not uncommon medical error.

In another example, a young child who was ill with Wolf's Syndrome was said to have been sent home from the hospital to die because the doctors could do nothing. Then the child visited the site of Julia Kim's false private revelation in Naju, in South Korea. They claimed that the child was cured by this visit and was alive, healthy, and happy. However, Wolf's Syndrome is not generally fatal in childhood. It is a genetic disorder, so the doctors could not cure it, but neither was the child sent home to die. The child was not cured; they lied or were deceived.

6. Some healings are due to the natural ability of the human body to heal. When there are thousands of sick or injured persons visiting a site of false private revelation, a certain percentage of these are bound to be healed by the natural ability of the body to heal itself. Some of these persons will then attribute their healing to their visit to a site of false private revelation.

7. And since these persons wisely continue to see doctors and receive treatments, an additional percentage are bound to be healed by medicine. Then the unsupportable claim will be made that these persons were healed because they visited the site of false private revelation. Yes, the individual was healed, but it was by medicine and/or the natural ability of the body to heal.

8. Reports of persons who visited a site of claimed private revelation and were healed are reported and promoted. But those who were sick or injured, and who visited and were not healed are not reported. Reports of healings are spread widely and with exaggeration by supporters of a false private revelation, whereas any mention of those who were not healed is omitted. This greatly distorts the apparent healing ability of a site of claimed private revelation.
So there are many reasons why false private revelation appear to have healings associated with them.

G. Natural Intelligence

Both holy angels and fallen angels are highly intelligent and able to learn very quickly. They can learn human language and understand human customs, habits, and behavior patterns. Fallen angels are particularly clever and devious. However, due to a lack of grace, they make many more mistakes in their understanding than holy angels do. Thus, in a battle of intelligence the holy angels are stronger.

III. The Limitations of Fallen Angels

A. Limitations Set by God

Now just as God limited what the devil could do to Job, so also does God limit what fallen angels can do with human beings in general. Only certain few human persons are permitted by God to be deceived by fallen angels with false private revelation. The reasons that God permits fallen angels to practice this deception are manifold: it is partly because there is so much sin in the world, partly because the person being deceived has sinned (perhaps secretly), and partly because so many true signs and wonders have been given to the world, which have been ignored. But the full reason that God permits this deception is somewhat mysterious.

Fallen angels are not permitted by God to kill anyone they wish. They are not permitted to do as much physical harm as they wish. They are not permitted to give as many false signs and wonders as they wish. They are not permitted to read any human mind that they wish, nor to communicate with whomever they wish, nor to give false messages, visions, and the like to whomever they wish. These limitations set by God may be increased or decreased according to the times set by God. During the present time, God permits a certain increase in false messages to claimed visionaries, and in false signs and wonders. But this time period has its limit.

B. Natural Limitations

Angels have no natural ability to travel through time, nor to foresee the future. Also, fallen angels, lacking all grace and faith, have a very poor understanding of Scripture, except for what is very plainly stated. This is startlingly clear, even amusingly so, when fallen angels try to give messages to their false visionaries regarding the future, based on Bible passages. Such messages are absurd in their attempts at a genuine Christian interpretation of the meaning of the Bible for the future. It is not merely that the fallen angels want to give out a false understanding of the future. If they had information about the future, they would try to use it to draw in the faithful to the trap of false private revelations. (This is clear because of the various tricks that they do use to pretend to foresee the future.) But their utter lack of faith and grace prevents them from understanding the meaning of the Bible for the future. Thus the fallen angels do not know what the near or distant future will bring. There will be an Antichrist at some time in the future, and they know that much; but even Satan has no idea who this Antichrist will be or when he will arrive or even whether or not he is in the world today.

Angels cannot create something out of nothing. They cannot create a human soul. They cannot become incarnate. They cannot truly raise the dead, although they can make someone appear as if dead, by deceiving the senses, and then awaken them. They cannot possess someone who is in a state of sanctifying grace. They cannot harm the infallibility or indefectibility of the Church.

Fallen angels cannot understand the Catholic Christian faith, except superficially, because they lack faith and grace. They cannot effect a true miracle, but they can use their natural abilities to perform false signs and wonders which deceptively present themselves as if they were miracles. Despite the natural high level of intelligence of all angels, the intelligence of fallen angels is substantially harmed by their lack of faith and grace. This shows particularly when they try to feign messages from heaven discussing the Faith. Their messages can only present the Faith in a superficial manner, because a deep understanding of the Faith requires faith and grace. (They can, however, steal ideas and plagiarize paragraphs from true private revelation.)

Fallen angels do not have absolute knowledge of the past, but they can know certain things about the past by what they might learn and remember themselves, or what they might learn from other fallen angels or from observation of human persons.

Angels are not present in Place in the same way that we human beings are, for they, being pure spirit, have no physical nature. However, neither holy angels nor fallen angels are beyond the limits of Place and Time. An angel is present in a particular place by giving his attention to that place; this is analogous to the way that a human person might listen and look toward a somewhat distant location. Thus our Lord says that the guardian angels of little souls are always in the presence of the Father: "See to it that you do not despise even one of these little ones. For I say to you, that their Angels in heaven continually look upon the face of my Father, who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10). Yet these angels are still able to minister to the needs of these little ones, for they are present by their attention.

Now both holy angels and fallen angels can give their attention to more than one place at the same time, just as any human being can give his attention to more than one task at the same time. But this ability is limited. Even a holy angel cannot be present, nor can he give his attention, to every place at once, nor to more than a few places. Some have claimed that the Archangel Michael guards every Eucharist in the world, but this is not possible. Christ is God and so He can be present in every Eucharist in the world. But angels are not God, so they cannot be present in so many places all at once. Neither can the fallen angel called Satan give his attention to more than a few places at once. Although it is common to refer to any fallen angel as the devil or Satan, in truth, there are many fallen angels and most of the harm done in the world from fallen angels is done by fallen angels other than Satan.

Thus, fallen angels are limited by Place and by Time and by the fact that they are created beings with natural limits, and not gods. These limits mean that fallen angels are not responsible for every sin on earth. When a human person sins, it is often the case that there was no involvement by any fallen angel. Human beings are influenced in their free wills toward sin by the flesh (i.e. original sin's effect on our fallen human nature), by the world (the influence of human beings on one another), and by the devil (various fallen angels). But free will is capable of sinning, even without any temptation.

C. Conflicts with one another

There is order, harmony, obedience, cooperation, and love between the holy angels. They are united by their obedience to God and by their love for God, for one another, and for humanity; they carry out one harmonious purpose, which is the will of God. Not so the fallen angels; not so.

Among the fallen angels, there is disorder, conflict, disobedience, opposition, and hatred. The fallen angels do not love one another; they hate one another. They have no affection for one another. They are in a state of disarray and disorder. If Satan's kingdom is divided, then it cannot stand. But it certainly is divided, and so it certainly cannot stand.

The fallen angels who afflict humanity are analogous to the human criminals who afflict humanity. There are large criminal organizations and smaller ones. There are individual criminals acting on their own. There are small groups of just a few criminals. Alliances shift continually among them. They sometimes work at cross purposes. The compete with one another and may even fight with one another. There is no one criminal who controls all the criminals in the world and there never will be. Thus, even though Satan is the worst and most powerful of the fallen angels, he does not control all the fallen angels. Some fallen angels are under his direction, to some extent; but they are constantly slipping away from his grasp. Other fallen angels may come under his influence, and then later drift away. Like a powerful crime boss, he may be able to threaten almost any fallen angel into doing one thing or another, but they hate being controlled and will move away from him when an opportunity presents itself.

Satan is not a god; he cannot be present everywhere at once. He cannot keep track of every event on earth. He cannot keep track of every fallen angel under his influence. He cannot maintain control of all fallen angels all at once. Most fallen angels are not working under his direction, but are performing acts of hatred all on their own, or in various small groups.

D. How the Angels Fell

When the angels were first created, they did not have the Beatific Vision. They had a dwelling place in the heavens, but it was not the Heaven in Eternity with the Beatific Vision. For anyone who has the Beatific Vision cannot sin or fall from grace; and we know that many angels did fall.

Then God tested the angels, to see if they were worthy of Heaven, for no one can enter heaven except through the Son of God. So they were shown Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the Cross, suffering and weak and humiliated. And they were told to worship Him. Most obeyed, accepting this command out of faith and love and hope, not fully understanding its meaning. But many angels turned away from God because they refused to worship someone who was seemingly less then themselves. The reason that some angels refused to worship God-made-man is that human nature includes a physical part (the body), making human beings inferior to the angels, who are pure spirit. This refusal to worship Christ came from pride: so pride goes before a fall. They relied on their high intellect, which could not fully understand this mystery, rather than relying on grace and faith. Their pride in their own power caused them to reject Jesus Christ in his humility. So these angels forever lost the grace of God, becoming fallen angels (also called devils or demons). Then they were barred by God from the Heaven of Eternity and the Beatific Vision. But they were allowed for a time to roam the heavens and the earth. (When Scripture describes fallen angels as being in heaven, it means the heavens and the spiritual realm in general, but not the Heaven which is in Eternity and which includes the Beatific Vision of God.)

Only those angels who worshipped Jesus Christ on the Cross in faith and obedience were permitted to enter into the Beatific Vision in Heaven. Those holy angels can know certain things about the future, due to the benefits of the Beatific Vision of the all-knowing God. But they know these things not by their own natural ability, but in God and within the limits of their finite angelic nature. However, fallen angels cannot know the future because they lack the Beatific Vision. This conclusion is also abundantly clear from the many false private revelations which claim to make predictions of future events, but which are unable to do so in truth; they can only appear to do so by using various tricks, as described below.

Also, fallen angels have no natural ability to travel forward or backward in Time; they move through Time much as human persons do, one moment at a time, at the same pace continually, without control over Time. Holy angels can enter Heaven, which is beyond Time, and from Heaven they can re-enter Time at any point, God willing. But fallen angels are not admitted to Heaven.

IV. False Signs and Wonders Occur

Many of the faithful, including some priests, religious, and lay leaders, assume that all claimed private revelations are truly from Heaven. They do not evaluate each claim of messages from God, or from Mary, to determine if it is truly from God, or if it is from devils. But Scripture, and the Saints, and the Virgin Mary speaking through true private revelation, all teach that false signs and wonders can occur. Even the messages of false private revelation admit that some private revelations are false.

{24:11} And many false prophets will arise, and they will lead many astray….
{24:24} For there will arise false Christs and false prophets. And they will produce great signs and wonders, so much so as to lead into error even the elect (if this could be).

[2 Thessalonians]
{2:9} whose advent is according to the workings of Satan, with every powerful deed, and with deceitful signs and wonders.

Our Lady to Melanie at La Salette:
10. "May the Pope keep himself on guard against the performers of miracles, because the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air."

12. 'Bad books will abound on earth, and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God; they will have a very great power over nature: there will be churches to serve these spirits. Some persons will be transported from one place to another by these bad spirits and even some priests, because they will not be guiding themselves 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 revive.' [That is to say that these dead will take the appearance of just souls who had lived on earth, so as to better mislead men: these so-called resurrected dead, who will be nothing other than the demon under these appearances, will preach another Gospel contrary to the one of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of heaven, or they may also be the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if united to their bodies.] 'There will be in all places extraordinary wonders, because the true faith is dying out and because false light enlightens the world. Woe to the Princes of the Church who will not be occupied, except to pile riches upon riches, to safeguard their authority and to dominate with pride.'

[Melanie added the comment (in brackets and italics above) about the dead and righteous who will appear to be brought back to life. In a letter to Abbé Combe, the editor of the 1904 edition of Le Secret De Melanie, she states that she made this comment 'according to the Vision which I had in the moment that the very Blessed Virgin was speaking of the resurrection of the dead.' (Le Secret De Melanie, p. 29-30).]
Saint Irenaeus:
"And we must not be surprised if, since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray."
(Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter XXVIII, n. 2)
Saint Thomas Aquinas:
"I answer that, Some miracles are not true but imaginary deeds, because they delude man by the appearance of that which is not; while others are true deeds, yet they have not the character of a true miracle, because they are done by the power of some natural cause. Both of these can be done by the demons, as stated above."
(Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 178, Article 2)
Notice the extraordinary extent to which fallen angels ('bad spirits,' i.e. devils) can effect nature. In the words of the Virgin Mary to Melanie, they can even transport some persons 'from one place to another,' and 'will have a very great power over nature.' The kinds of alleged miracles, signs, and wonders associated with false private revelation are, in part, what Mary is referring to here. Notice that even some priests are involved in false miracles and extraordinary wonders. Clearly, one cannot tell which claimed private revelations are true and which are false by means of the alleged miracles, for the false miracles effected by the powers and the deceptions of fallen angels are extraordinary. Anyone who adheres to a claimed private revelation because of the signs and wonders will be easily led astray.

Now some of these quotes refer specifically to the Antichrist and to his ability to work false signs and wonders by the assistance of fallen angels. But fallen angels have had the ability to afflict humanity, to one extent or another, since the fall of Adam and Eve, and until the return of Christ. Also, the tribulation is divided into two parts, the first part for our generation and the second part for the distant future. The Antichrist is of the second part of the tribulation. But the first part of the tribulation also has false signs and wonders, as is known to occur today in association with false claims of private revelation. Such false signs and wonders are permitted to be multiplied in the present time period because the first part of the tribulation is near.

False signs and wonders offer the appearance of claimed miracles, but these are from deception and the workings of fallen angels, not from God. Therefore, any claimed private revelation cannot be ascertained to be true based on the claim that miracles, signs, and wonders are associated with that private revelation. This article will describe in detail some of these false signs and wonders, and how they are accomplished.

V. Claimed Predictions of Future Events

Fallen angels are trapped in Time. They do not know the future. So, within a false private revelation, they must use various tricks to seem to predict the future. In false private revelations, they pretend to be Jesus, or Mary, or the Trinity, or the Saints in Heaven, or holy Angels. But all those who are with God in Heaven can obtain knowledge of the future from God. For God know the whole future with an absolute certainty which takes into account all of our prayers, conversions, sacrifices, and free will decisions. But fallen angels know nothing about the future with certainty. Thus, the lack of true knowledge of the future is characteristic of false private revelations.

Yet most false private revelations contain claimed predictions of future events. This trick of pretending to predict the future is accomplished using a number of different techniques.

1. Predicted events averted through prayer

In this technique, a prediction is made of a future disaster, but at the same time it is said that if people pray and repent, then it can be averted. If it occurs, it is said to be the fulfillment of a prophecy, but if it does not occur, it is said to have been averted by prayer. The problem with this type of claimed prophecy is that no knowledge of the future is needed to make such a prediction; the prediction is deemed true if it occurs, and true but averted if it does not occur.

An example of this is found in the messages to Dory Tan of Marmora, Canada. There were numerous messages, supposedly from Mary, predicting dire consequences for the world because of the 'Y2K' computer problem. And when, in January of 2000, no such dire consequences occurred, another message was received saying that it had been averted by prayer.
Dory asks us why do we pray. We are praying to save the world. Because of our prayers nothing did happen. We should be thankful and happy that nothing did happen. Our Blessed Mother says that it was 100% in the human plan to permit the Y2K problems to happen, but through our prayers this did not happen.
In another example, Valentina of Sydney, Australia, predicted a 'wild storm.' When it did not occur, she claimed a message from an Angel saying to thank God that the storm had been averted:
An angel came, tall and slim with blonde curly hair to his shoulders and smiling with a leaflet in his hand and said, "See I bring you good news" it had writing of our Lord on it. Then he smiled and started singing, "Praise the Lord, people. Praise Him and thank Him for not sending the wild storm and be glad. Praise Him and give Him thanks every day." The angel smiled and said, "The people are angry with you because the storm didn't come. Our Lord sends me to give you this message." (23rd March, 1995)
Years later, another message explained that all such predictions are conditional (29th November 2002), as if any event, even if predicted by Jesus or Mary, may or may not occur. As a result, these false seers present their messages in such a manner that they never seem to be wrong. If anything they predict fails to occur, then they say that it was averted by prayer. The problem with this claim is that God is all-knowing, and Mary is in Heaven with God. So God would not give a supernatural private revelation predicting future events, all the while knowing that those events will not occur. Here is another example:
Nancy Fowler, 1994, Message 577:
Nancy continues to see visions of great waves.
She says, "I do not know what events will come to pass and which will not."
In this way, fallen angels can guess at various future events, and if they are mistaken in their guesses, subsequent messages merely say that it was averted by prayer. Here is a particularly clear example of this type of technique, from the messages of the so-called Jesus King of All Nations devotion:
"In answer to the prayers of the Devotion, Jesus averted a chastisement that He has prophesied. Jesus had prophesied a seaquake for Puerto Rico as a punishment for its sins. A seaquake is an earthquake below sea level that can cause devastating tidal waves and destruction. In response to the prophesy, high officials of the Church and the government of Puerto Rico turned to Jesus and personally prayed the devotional prayers for mercy and to avert the threatened chastisement." (Chastisements, p. 29).
Notice that the message says that Jesus himself prophesied an event, and then it did not occur. This is not possible because Jesus is no mere human prophet, but the Son of God. Jesus is God and He cannot prophesy something in vain. But such is the way with false private revelation.

2. Delay of predicted events

In this technique, the timing of a predicted event is said to be changeable, based on whether people sin or pray, more or less, as if God or Mary had no idea when this event would occur. This approach is often used with events that are certain to occur sooner or later, such as natural disasters, or events predicted in true private revelations, or events described in Scripture. If an event occurs, it is said to be the fulfillment of prophecy, but if it does not occur, it is said to be still in the future. The problem with this claimed prophecy is that no knowledge of the future is needed to make the prediction; anything that fails to occur, even if it was predicted to occur on a particular date, is said merely to be delayed.

For example, a message to Chris Courtis portrays God as if He does not know when the Antichrist will arrive:
"The anti-Christ is real and he shall come surely as is written of him, but the time when he shall come shall be at my disposal. I am warning you of this now because it is at My Will that he shall come. He shall come either now, or he shall come at the end of time. Either way, it is up to Me when He shall come, and from the looks of the way the world is going at this present moment, I am warning you that I am sending the anti-Christ as soon as possible since your sins are so severe and you will not listen and heed my many warnings."
Now the Church does teach that there will one day be a human being properly called the Antichrist. But the idea that the timing of this event is changeable, or that is unknown to God, is false. God is all-knowing. The above quote portrays God as saying that he will come now, or at the end of time, as if God does not know, or cannot decide, when he will arrive. In truth, God knows the whole future with absolute certainty, so God knows the time of the Antichrist's arrival. It is not uncertain or conditional. All conditions are taken into account within the perfect knowledge of God.

In another example, the messages of Julia Kim, when referring to future events also found in Scripture or in true private revelation (the tribulation, the Second Pentecost, etc.) use this same technique of claiming that the timing is not known because it can be delayed:
February 3, 1994
Depending on whether you accept my words well or reject them, the time of the Second Pentecost and Purification can be advanced or delayed.

June 13, 2000
Remembering that the time of purification can be advanced or delayed depending on your prayers of deep love, pray with the undefeatable weapon which I gave you … so that it (the time of purification) may come sooner than later.
On the contrary, God knows the whole future with absolute certainty, including our future free will decisions and our future prayers and sacrifices. Therefore, the exact dates of events such as the tribulation (i.e. the purification) and the Second Pentecost are known from all Eternity by God, and are also known to a great extent by Mary, who dwells in Heaven with God.

This technique is merely one of many ways that fallen angels can give messages referring to future events, while trying to hide the fact that they have no knowledge of the future. Since any event is said to be able to be averted by prayer, or delayed or advanced, any prediction which fails has a built-in excuse. Thus they can predict almost anything and claim that it is from Heaven.

3. Vague visions and predictions

These predictions of future events are often so vague and open to varying interpretation, that they can scarcely be said to be wrong no matter what happens. This is a very common technique in false private revelation. Often, what is predicted is some kind of disaster, but the location and timing and specific nature of the disastrous event is not given.
February 25, 2002 - message to Fr. Melvin Doucette
The Father: "Something special is going to happen this week."
But we are not told in any message what is supposed to happen 'this week.' No details were given about this predicted special event in advance, and afterward, nothing else was mentioned about this prediction. Now Almighty God does occasionally give true private revelations, but when He does so, it is not in order to say words which are so vague and empty of meaning as to be utterly useless. Anything utterly useless is not of God.

Here is another example of such a message from the Trust Prayer Group (of Shelton, CT):
March 4, 2007
Now this message claims some special mission by the Pope, but without any specifics as to what that may be. Then, whenever the Pope does anything at all, which by any stretch of the imagination might be considered a 'mission', this message can later be said to have predicted it. The message plays off of the likelihood that a Pope, any Pope, will do something that can be considered a mission. But notice that this prediction is empty; it is entirely devoid of any knowledge of the future. What is 'predicted' is so vague that almost any significant act by any Pope would fit the 'prediction.' This kind of prediction is not from God and not from Heaven.

Sometimes the vagueness is not necessarily a prediction. In fact, the reader cannot be certain if it is a prediction or not, because all that is described is a vision of images, without any explanation as to what it might mean. For example, Nancy Fowler of Conyers Georgia describes a vision:
January 1, 1994: "Nancy saw the face of a mean man with a drooping moustache. Nancy said that he had oriental features. She then saw a dragon-like creature. Nancy saw more oriental looking faces. She then saw a big eagle floating across the sky. The eagle was followed by a mean-looking man with oriental features. Nancy continued to see a series of visions, one right after another. She saw more mean-looking oriental faces. She then saw the dragon-like creature pursuing and devouring the eagle. The eagle then disintegrated into pieces and vanished from Nancy's vision. Nancy prayed to Jesus for help in understanding what she was seeing. Nancy then saw a white cross appear. Jesus said, 'Now precious daughter, that is all I wanted to show you.' "
So this vision was given over ten years ago, and since then no one, not even this alleged visionary, is claiming to know what it means, or when it will happen, or if it is even about the future. Nancy asked for an understanding of the vision, but she does not understand. Again, nothing that is useless is of God. Jesus would not give a supernatural private revelation in order to show a vague vision, nor to make vague predictions, which no one would understand.

Of course, for the fallen angels who make such vague predictions, there is a usefulness. If an event should happen to occur, just by chance, which is even remotely like the vision, a subsequent message can be given claiming that the vision was about that event. Thus it makes it seem as if the current event was predicted. But in truth the claimed vision is open to a myriad of interpretations.

On the other hand, if nothing happens which can be said to fit the vision, they can merely claim that it is still in the future, or that it was delayed or averted by prayer. Or that it was not even a prediction to begin with. This is a common technique used in false private revelation.

Another example is seen in the messages of Christina Gallagher. She claims a vision showing images of people in Muslim dress trapped under concrete ( There was no accompanying message giving any explanation of the vision. And no date or location was given. This could later have been interpreted to fit any number of a wide range of events: the collapse of a building, or a bombing, or a military strike against a Muslim nation, or an earthquake, or perhaps some other disaster. So then, when an earthquake occurred in Iran, it was afterward claimed that this vision predicted that event. Yet there was no mention of an earthquake, nor of a particular nation or area, nor of when such an event would occur, in the vision itself. And Iran has a history of earthquakes. The vision was so vague that it would be impossible for some event not to occur, sooner or later, which would fit this vague vision. Yet this is presented as if it were proof that her messages are true.

One more example of this technique should suffice. This one comes from Valentina of Sydney, Australia, who claims messages and vision from Jesus and Mary:
After awhile the Blessed Mother appeared.... She said to me. "Oh, my child, it is here! It is here! The first sign that was foretold and prophesied along time ago all through my children. It is here!" … And she raised her right Holy hand up and the vision came: When I saw this vision it took my breath away. It was magnificent, the beauty and the colors. I was ecstatic with joy and said, "Oh, my beautiful and Beloved Mother, I have never experienced such beauty." …. She said, "One more secret that I want to reveal to you, the most Holy Trinity decided that now is the time to give the world this sign. It is here!" (10th May, 1996).
Notice that this vision is presented as if it were of very great significance to the whole world, but it is nothing other than pretty colors in the sky. Supposedly, this was a very important sign for the whole world, yet this message was given over ten years ago. No such worldwide sign occurred. The vision is completely devoid of meaning. The Most Holy Trinity is Wisdom itself, and so the true God in Heaven does not give empty and meaningless visions. An empty vision such as this "…is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Macbeth, 5.5).

This technique of vague predictions or visions is often combined with other techniques.

4. Predictions of bad weather and natural disasters

This is a common type of prediction used in false private revelation. They predict events which inevitably will occur, sooner or later, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, or even relatively mild events such as unseasonable weather (warm weather in winter, or cold weather in summer) or increases in wind and rain. They predict earthquakes without giving a time or place; if they do occasionally give the location, it is a place which is prone to earthquakes. They predict volcanic eruptions without saying where or when. They predict floods or mudslides or wild fires, without a location or a time.

One particularly absurd prediction or 'sign' of this kind has been used by a number of different false private revelations. They give a message telling people to look up into the Heavens in November for a sign from God. Well, November is the month when the Leonid meteor showers happen every year. Some years it is more impressive, and other years it is some what disappointing, but it occurs like clockwork. And there are claimed private revelations which take advantage of this event, trying to trick people into thinking that it is a sign from God, so that the people will then put their trust in the rest of the messages.

All such events are bound to happen sooner or later. If an event happens sooner, they present the closeness of the prediction to the event as proof of its authenticity, as if to say, "See, the messages warned us just in time!" But if it is many years, even ten or more, before an event happens, then they present this distance in time as proof, as if to say, "See how far in advance the messages warn us!" And yet at the same time, if a prediction does not occur, they claim it was always conditional, or that it is delayed. No matter when an event occurs, they are amazed. And if it never happens, they credit themselves and their own prayers. Such self-deception is astounding.

Sometimes they don't even predict. They wait for such a natural disaster to occur and then they say something like: "See, it is a sign from God! Why are you ignoring these signs?" But in truth these are not signs. These are the ordinary events that happen on a more or less continuous basis throughout human history. There have always been such natural disasters and changes in the weather.

Notice how the method used to deceive also in itself reveals that they have no idea what will happen in the future. They know nothing at all about the future, so they have to wait until after event in order to give a message, supposedly from Heaven, about it. Now it is often said that the future is conditional, and so it does seems to us who are within Time. But Jesus and Mary are in Heaven, in Eternity, beyond Time and Place. They know the whole future with absolute certainty. But the fallen angels who present these messages, pretending to predict the future, are trapped in Time. They have no idea what will happen next.

Moses himself commented on this kind of prediction:

{16:28} And Moses said: "By this shall you know that the Lord has sent me to do all that you discern, and that I have not brought these things out of my own heart:
{16:29} If these men pass away by the common death of men, or if they will be visited by a scourge, of a kind by which others are often visited, then the Lord did not send me.
{16:30} But if the Lord accomplishes something new, so that the earth opens its mouth and swallows them whole, along with everything that belongs to them, and they descend alive into the underworld, then you shall know that they have blasphemed the Lord."
{16:31} Therefore, as soon as he had ceased to speak, the earth broke open under their feet.
{16:32} And opening its mouth, it devoured them with their tabernacles and their entire substance.

Notice what Moses says. Whoever predicts the kinds of events which inevitably occur sooner or later, such as common causes of death among men, or common afflictions, is not someone sent by the Lord. If even Moses were to make such predictions, he himself says that we would know the Lord did not sent him. Then notice the prediction that Moses does make: he predicts that the earth will suddenly open up, right at that moment, and swallow them alive. And so it does. He predicts a very unusual event, and its timing, with specific information about the event. Is it conditional? No. The earth itself opened up and destroyed the men who were rebelling against God.

But false private revelation is full of predictions of common events and scourges, with little, if any, specific information about what would happen when.

5. Predictions of common human events

Prediction of common or inevitable events is not limited to natural disasters. Many times the predictions of false private revelation will focus on common human events. They predict increases in sinfulness in the world. But who can say whether, from one year to the next, sin is increasing? There is serious sin every year. They predict wars and military conflicts, without any specific information. But wars and armed conflicts commonly occur from time to time in human history. Unless a message is specific as to time, place, and circumstance, it is the type of prediction found in false private revelation.

This technique is often combined with the technique of claiming that all predictions are conditional. So a war is predicted, without any specific information, or if a few details are given, we are repeatedly told that prayer can delay or avert or change the prediction. So, no matter what happens, it seems as if they cannot be wrong.

But true private revelation does not have this kind of prediction. It is true that Mary will sometimes speak to us from our point of view, warning us to repent and to pray fervently to avert the consequences of sin. Nevertheless, she herself, being with God in Heaven, is certain as to the outcome of every event. This certainty shows in the way that she speaks of the future in true private revelation. But discernment is needed to distinguish between this and the above techniques used in false private revelation.

6. Reinterpretation of a past prediction to fit a current event

Sometimes a false prediction clearly indicates one type of event, but when a different type of event occurs, the prediction is reinterpreted to fit the event that occurred. For example, this next message, which is from Vassula Ryden, clearly refers to a worldwide earthquake causing buildings to fall, and it is stated in apocalyptic terms, even referencing the famous Scripture passage: "But pray that your flight may not be in winter, or on the Sabbath." (Mt 24:20)
September 11, 1991: "the earth will shiver and shake - and every evil built into Towers will collapse into a heap of rubble and be buried in the dust of sin! above, the Heavens will shake and the foundations of the earth will rock! pray that the Father's Hand will not come down in winter; the islands, the sea and the continents will be visited by Me unexpectedly, with thunder and by Flame...."
How is this message reinterpreted? Vassula claims that this message predicted the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001. Yet the message contains no mention of planes, terrorism, New York, WTC, or any other specifics that would point to that event. Yes, the word "Towers" is in the message, but the later interpretation that this refers to the World Trade Towers is unsupportable. The phrase just before the world "Towers" says that the earth will shiver and shake, clearly referring to a worldwide earthquake as the cause of "Towers" collapsing; therefore, the claim that this refers only to two Towers in New York City does not agree even with the message itself. The rest of the messages is apocalyptic in nature, again, referring to the whole world, not to one part of one city. Yet this message has long been featured on the front page of Vassula Ryden's official website, with a photo of the World Trade Towers and with text which refers to "the shocking events of 9/11/01 in New York."

The above example of the disingenuous reinterpretation of a past message to fit a current event is an extreme one. There are other, more subtle examples of this. For example, the messages of the 'T.R.U.S.T. Prayer Group' very frequently predict unspecified major disasters. Then whenever any disaster occurs, the past messages are re-interpreted as referring to that specific event, and this despite the fact that the past messages are extremely vague about what they are predicting. Almost any disaster is interpreted to fit such vague past messages.

7. Educated guessing

In another example, claimed visionary Sadie Jaramillo describes a vision, without any message, showing a large explosion of light over a map of Africa (not over a specific nation in Africa). This vision occurred just before a major election, in a nation with two ethnic groups which have been in conflict, frequently violent conflict, for many years.
Visions and messages given to Sadie Jaramillo since July 2001:
Note: The first time I was shown an "explosion", was over a map of Africa a few months before the genocide in Rwanda. The Lord asked me to pray for the people there. A few months later, when the massacres began to happen and the news on television were showing where Rwanda was; I was astonished to see it was exactly where I had seen the "explosion" of light. The explosion of light does not mean that it will be an actual explosion. It means that something disastrous could happen there.
Several methods of deception are combined in the above 'vision.' First, the vision is vague: no words of explanation accompany it, no specific nation is stated or shown, and the explosion of light does not clearly indicate anything specific. Second, the vision is interpreted only after an event occurs in that region of the world; only then are we told that it is not an actual explosion; only then are we told the name of the small nation which supposedly was 'exactly' where the vision showed an explosion of light; only then are we told that the explosion of light represents some terrible event. The vision could easily have been interpreted as something good: an explosion of grace represented by light. Or, it could easily have been interpreted as an actual explosion. Third, and this pertains to the educated guessing method of deception, she was shown this vision only a few months before the genocide in Rwanda, but that genocide resulted from controversial elections, which were scheduled many months in advance; also, the tension between the two ethnic groups in that area of Africa had been going on for generations, and frequently broke out, historically, in violence. So the astute observer of such past events could easily make an educated guess that something significant would happen there. If it turned out to be peace, then the explosion of light could be interpreted as an explosion of grace, and the visionaries prayers would be credited. If it turned out to be any form of violence, the explosion would be interpreted as an outburst of violence.

Notice that the combination of these several methods of distortion are more effective than any one method alone: vague vision; educated guessing that something good or bad will happen in a particular place; and the interpretation of the vision is given only after the event. False private revelations often combine several different methods of deception in their messages; thus, they stand out from the true private revelations.

8. Distributed guessing

Now you may have noticed that the message above to Vassula Ryden was given on September 11th, 1991, which seems to support her claim that it refers to the events of September 11, 2001. However, Vassula had several messages every month from sometime in 1986 up to and beyond September of 1991. Nearly every day in the entire calendar of months and days of the month has at least one, and usually more than one, message. Add this fact to the disingenuous and unsupportable interpretation of the message, and it is inevitable that, when an event occurs on a particular day and month, that there will be some message whose interpretation can be distorted to fit that event and which was given on that same calendar day.

Furthermore, there are many false private revelations in the world today, many of which also have several messages each month over the course of a number of years. And these messages commonly predict nearly every imaginable disaster. So it becomes very likely that with any significant disaster in the world, there will be at least one false visionary who has a vague message given on that same month and day (in some other year) which can be somehow connected to the event. This is not a true prediction of the future. It is not providence. It is distributed guessing.

Here is a worldly example of distributed guessing. A dishonest company does a mailing of college football game 'prediction cards,' listing which team will win in particular games; this is presented as merely a sample of their predictive abilities, listing one game per week. Recipients are asked to subscribe to their weekly publication giving information about the teams and games, and listing predictions as to who will win (ostensibly to be used in illegal betting on the games). A particular recipient of this mailing checks the outcome of each game against the predictions, and finds that for the first four games on the list, all four are correct! Amazing! Or is it? What the company does is send out different sets of predictions: one set predicts that team "A" will win against team "B" in the first game, but the other set predicts that team "B" will win. Every possible combination of wins and losses for four different games requires only 16 different sets of prediction cards. One sixteenth of those receiving a mailing will find that every pick as to which team will win is correct: 100% accuracy. And a much higher percentage of prediction card will have 75% of the picks of winning teams correct; for those who want to use these predictions in sports betting, this still seems useful. But it is merely a result of having covered every possible outcome in one prediction or another. Not so amazing.

False private revelations use a similar technique. One false private revelation may predict, over a series of many messages, nearly every outcome that is imaginable and likely in the world. Sometimes information from current events is used in such predictions. Most of these predictions are never fulfilled, so they merely say that the disaster was averted by prayer, or that the prediction is still to occur. When, by chance, one of these vaguely predicted disasters or events occurs somewhere, it is said to be a fulfillment of prophecy. It seems amazing, but in fact this is merely the result of guessing, over a series of many messages, nearly every possible outcome.

This also occurs across different false private revelations. One claimed private revelation predicts peace and another predicts war. Since both possible outcomes are predicted, one or the other must turn out to be correct. One false private revelation makes a claim and another claims the opposite, so that persons of both opinions are led astray, and so that at least one false private revelation will turn out to be correct. It seems like a correct prediction, until you take into account all of the other guesses across many predictions and many different false visionaries.

9. Manipulated Outcomes

Sometimes a prediction appears to be fulfilled because the adherents of a particular claimed visionary attempt to make the prediction occur, or because fallen angels attempt to influence events to make an event occur.

For example, one of Christina Gallagher's messages (McGinnity and Gallagher, Out of the Ecstasy and Onto the Cross, 1996, p. 2) predicted that Fr. McGinnity would receive a large sum of money for a charitable cause. Later, someone gave him a large sum of money for a movie about the apparitions at Akita, Japan.

This is not an example of true prophecy, but rather a trick used by fallen angels. In this case, an event is predicted which fallen angels can be fairly certain that they can cause to happen. Fallen angels have some influence, over some human persons, to some extent. The prediction did not say what the sum would be exactly, or who would give it, or what the charitable cause would be. The fallen angels merely had to do find one or more persons, out of those persons they have some influence over, whom they could influence to give a large sum of money. This was an easy outcome to obtain since Akita is an approved apparition.

Fr. McGinnity then recounts another fulfilled prediction. A message through Christina said that he would travel to a far away nation and witness great poverty as well as the presence of the Virgin Mary. He was subsequently invited to go to South Korea to meet Julia Kim (who is also on my list of false private revelations), and he saw that many people in South Korea still live in a very primitive, poor state of life.

Again, this is not true prophecy, but rather a trick of fallen angels. As in the previous example, they predict something which they themselves can cause to happen in any number of ways. A priest who is interested in claimed private revelations might be invited to any number of areas of the world with both poverty and claimed apparitions (Africa, Korea, Eastern Europe, South America, etc.). The fallen angels merely had to influence someone to invite him to any one of these places; the prediction did not specify the location or date. Then, once he is there, he sees the poverty that can be found in many places in the world. He also tends to interpret what he sees to fulfill the prediction. The message said 'great poverty,' but South Korea is not really one of the poorer nations of the world. Yet he sees people living simple humble lives and he interprets it to fit the vague prediction. So it is with the other prediction that he would experience the presence of the Virgin Mary. Any claimed visionary, or a place of pilgrimage, or a shrine or basilica could be interpreted to fit this prediction. In this particular case, it was easy enough for fallen angels to influence a group of persons who were already under the influence of a false prophet named Julia Kim (who herself is plagued by fallen angels).

Another example is found in various messages from various claimed visionaries, which predict that shrines, or houses of prayer, or other buildings will be built as a result of the particular claimed private revelations. The adherents to such visionaries then donate money, try to convince the local Bishop to permit the building, and even at times establish such a shrine or house of prayer against the express wishes of the Bishop of that diocese. Then the establishment of the shrine or house of prayer is said to be a fulfillment of a prophecy.

VI. Other False Signs and Wonders

1. False Stigmata

It is certain that true stigmata occur, for a number of Saints have had the stigmata (the wounds of Jesus appearing miraculously on their bodies). Even St. Paul, in Sacred Scripture, describes this true sign:

{6:17} De cetero nemo mihi molestus sit: ego enim stigmata Domini Iesu in corpore meo porto.
{6:17} Concerning other matters, let no one trouble me. For I carry the stigmata of the Lord Jesus in my body.

However, not every true miracle of God is irreproducible by either the action of fallen angels, or the deception of human persons (or both working together). When Moses and Aaron displayed true miracles of God before Pharaoh, some of these were able to be imitated by the tricks of Pharaoh's magicians (and perhaps they also had the help of fallen angels). But then beyond a certain point, they could not imitate the miracles given through Moses. The stigmata is one sign which can be imitated by human deception and/or the powers of fallen angels.

One example of false stigmata is found in the false private revelation of Marisa Rossi.
Her claimed private revelation is certainly false, for the messages say that a priest named Claudio Gatti has been ordained a Bishop by the apparitions and messages themselves, not by any Bishop or authority in the Church. This priest was laicized for this claim by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II; he did not repent. And the visions and messages to Marisa Rossi continued to claim that Gatti is a Bishop, even though the Pope and then-Cardinal Ratzinger removed him from the clerical state. Such a claimed private revelation cannot possibly be true, yet the one receiving these messages has the stigmata. Therefore, false stigmata do occur in association with false private revelation.

Other false visionaries who have received false stigmata include Julia Kim of Naju, Korea; Christina Gallagher of Achill Island, Ireland; Giorgio Bongiovanni
(; Vassula Ryden (

This false stigmata can be caused by fallen angels (God permitting). The fact that fallen angels can cause wounds is clear from the Book of Job, where God permitted Satan to inflict severe wounds, of various kinds, on Job. Also, it is clear from Matthew 24 that God sometimes permits fallen angels to work false signs and wonders.

2. False Claims of Bi-location

Only God can perform the true miracle of a human person literally being physically present in two different places at the same time. This miracle is a sign that Time and Place are no obstacle to the power of God. Some few Saints have shown this sign. Fr. Sudac (the future Pope Raphael, also called the Angelic Shepherd) has shown this sign of true bi-location.

There are a number of different false versions of bi-location. First, there is the type spoken of by the Virgin Mary at La Salette:
12. '…the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God; they will have a very great power over nature: there will be churches to serve these spirits. Some persons will be transported from one place to another by these bad spirits and even some priests, because they will not be guiding themselves by the good spirit of the Gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God.'
In other words, fallen angels (spirits of darkness, i.e. bad spirits) will move some persons from one place to another, probably in a hidden manner, so that it may seem as if they could not possibly have traveled from the one place to the other by human means. Some may wrongly claim or conclude that this is bi-location. Some may try to deceive others into thinking this is bi-location. But it is actually the work of fallen angels using their natural abilities over the natural world to move objects or persons from one place to another. This false sign will seem miraculous to many; but it is a result of the natural powers of fallen angels, permitted to act more broadly than in the past because of the increase in sin in the world.

Another false version of bi-location is explained by the false visionary Christina Gallagher:
"When a person is experiencing bi-location (the ability to be in two places at once) what is actually happening is that the part of their soul that is in the Spirit of God is transmitted by the Spirit of God. I have experienced this on a number of occasions. There is no fear, only peace in that part of the soul transmitted by God. The part of the soul remaining in the body, however, endures the attacks of the evil one. When God is using the soul saturated in His Spirit, evil spirits assault the remaining part with the horrors of darkness to a tremendous degree."
Notice how this claimed bi-location differs substantially from the true bi-location of the Saints. Gallagher claims that part of the soul leaves the body and goes somewhere else, and that this constitutes 'bi-location.' What Gallagher describes is perhaps herself being deceived by fallen angels into thinking she is somewhere else. Notice also that she is always attacked by devils during this experience. This occurs because the experience is caused by devils, not by God. They are not satisfied with mere deception, so they also find opportunities for assaults 'with the horrors of darkness to a tremendous degree.' Gallagher even speaks as if attacks by evil spirits were a necessary or essential part of bi-location.

But in true bi-location the entire human person, body and soul, is in two places at the same time. Only a true miracle of God can accomplish this, and it is not accompanied by attacks from evil spirits.

3. Levitation and Manipulations of the Body

Fallen angels have the ability to move objects in the natural world, and they can also work false signs and wonders by manipulating the human body. One form of this manipulation is levitation, where the claimed visionary is lifted off of the ground. Other kinds of manipulations of the body are possible. Consider the following claim about Christina Gallagher:
On July 16, 1999, at her request, I drove my elderly mother from Limerick to the 'House of Prayer' in Achill Sound, Co. Mayo, a place she likes to visit usually on an annual basis. At approximately 2pm, I ushered my mother into the little chapel there and found a seat for her close to the sanctuary. As I turned to find a seat for myself, I observed that Mrs. Christina Gallagher, who was kneeling in front of the altar on our arrival, had suddenly stood up, and just as suddenly her hands jerked upwards in what I could only describe as a praying position.

With that, to my amazement, her whole body arched backwards with the curvature of her thoracic spine entering a forty five degree angle. With both knees slightly bent, the lower lumber region of her back and pelvis started to sway backwards and forwards. Thinking she was about to fall and crack her head off the floor, I leapt forward, and found to my amazement that her whole body seemed to be suspended as if in mid-air. Suddenly to my shock, her head and neck snapped back in a ninety degree angle, so that her face and head were now in a horizontal position to the ceiling of the chapel and appeared to be focused and concentrated on one area up there. In this arched, fixed position, which I feel no highly trained professional gymnast could achieve, her whole body, arms out-stretched upwards, started to sway, backwards and forwards. (
This kind of unusual manipulation of the body is accomplished by the action of fallen angels. Although God certainly has the power to act similarly, He does not do so because God is gentle and mild (just as was revealed in Christ Jesus). God would not bend the human body in such an unnatural and harsh manner. Although the person describing this scene was amazed, such sensationalist signs and wonders are not from God. Also, the mere manipulation of the human body is not strictly speaking a miracle; for a true miracle can be accomplished only by God. Since angels have the ability to move objects in the natural world, including the human body, and since angels are a part of creation, these acts by fallen angels may seem miraculous, but they are not.

4. False Claims of Infused Knowledge

I am surprised at how many people, even some who are knowledgeable about the faith, are fooled by this sort of claim. A visionary, such as Christina Gallagher, claims to have some special theological knowledge or understanding, not a message alleged to be from Heaven, but knowledge infused directly into the visionary's own mind, supposedly a gift to know without studying or reasoning. The mind is, in this claim, infused with knowledge directly from God.

In the teachings of the Catholic Faith, the human mind of Jesus Christ has 'infused knowledge,' because His human nature is united to His Divine Nature in one Person. His Divine Mind could therefore teach His human mind directly. (His human mind could also learn in the usual manner of human persons.) Infused knowledge is a necessary result of the Incarnation of God.

Now all the faithful have the help of God's grace, when they exercise their natural ability to reason concerning the things of faith. But this claim is very different from that ordinary grace. The visionary claims to know, without any reasoning or study, and also claims that this knowledge is directly infused by God. The implication is that this knowledge cannot be in error, and so is infallible. But even the Pope, when he exercises papal infallibility (a gift given only to the Pope), does not have infused theological knowledge; his infallible teachings are drawn from Tradition and Scripture by his mind's natural ability to learn and know and understand, but guided by God's grace so that he cannot, in any exercise of papal infallibility, teach any error. But this so-called 'infused theological knowledge' claims to exceed even papal infallibility, since no thinking or reasoning is needed, nor is Tradition or Scripture the basis for the knowledge. The Pope is limited to teaching infallibly only those truths found in Tradition and Scripture, using his natural reason enlightened by faith and grace. But the visionary who claims 'infused theological knowledge' claims a similar infallibility, but without any need for Tradition or Scripture or study or reasoning.

Do you really think that God would give of 'infused theological knowledge' to a claimed visionary, when God does not give such a gift even to the Pope? Does it make sense to you that God would give a gift to a visionary which competes with and claims to exceed the gift of Papal Infallibility given only to the Supreme Pontiff?

If a visionary teaches something based on 'infused theological knowledge' and the Church teaches the opposite, which will you believe? Christina Gallagher teaches from her 'infused theological knowledge' that Heaven will permanently cease to exist; but the Tradition, Scripture, and Magisterium of the Church teaches that, when Heaven and earth pass away, they will be replaced by a new Heaven and a new earth, which never cease to exist. You cannot serve two masters: you cannot believe in Gallagher's teaching based on 'infused theological knowledge,' and also believe in the teachings of the Church.

Now, since this so-called knowledge is said to be infused, no theological argument is offered to support what is said; there are no footnotes, no references to the writings of Saints, Blesseds, Fathers of the Church, Doctors of the Church, Popes, Ecumenical Councils, or the like. We are told that this is one of the signs that the visionary is genuine, yet the so-called 'infused theological knowledge', when examined closely, can be seen to be a mix of absurd pseudo-theological statements and ideas contrary to the teaching of the Church for the last two thousand years. And yet this is touted as a great gift given to a great visionary.

The trick used here is psychological. Once people have invested their time, money, and efforts in a claimed visionary, they have a tendency to believe whatever that visionary says, because it is human nature not to want to admit that you were wrong in supporting a person or an idea. The visionary takes advantage of this tendency by offering a continuous stream of signs and wonders and new teachings, so that the adherents are more and more invested in building their entire belief system around the visionary. Instead of pointing adherents to the teaching of the Church (found in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium), which would weaken the influence of the visionary, he or she claims to have infused theological knowledge, so that the teaching of the Church is no longer necessary. And once these adherents have invested everything in such a claimed visionary, they will be very strong supporters and very reluctant to believe that they made such a profound error in trusting such a false visionary so completely.

5. False Claims of Reading Souls or of Knowing Others' Thoughts

All angels, good and bad, have the ability to communicate by thought, and to read the human mind (to the extent permitted by God). St. Thomas Aquinas taught, in the Summa Theologica, that both good and bad angels can communicate with the human mind and the human imagination. This is within the natural ability of angels, though it may seem supernatural to us because it is outside of most persons' daily experiences.

The false prophet Christina Gallagher claims to be able to read people's souls. In this trick, the soul itself is not being read. This trick is accomplished by the assistance of fallen angels (i.e. devils). They read the mind of the person with whom Gallagher is meeting; they may even communicate with another fallen angel (perhaps one who has been pursuing and tempting this person). In this way, they find out this person's sins, even sins committed when no other human person could see. They communicate this to Christina Gallagher, and she presents it as if she were directly reading the soul. In order for God to permit such close cooperation between fallen angels and a claimed visionary, the claimed visionary must be very sinful and must have gone very far astray from the true path to God. Evil disguised as good is the worst kind of evil.

6. False Eucharistic Miracles

There are numerous false Eucharistic miracles associated with various false private revelations. Some of these are accomplished by human deception and some by the work of fallen angels.

Some examples of false Eucharistic miracles are found in the claimed private revelation of Marisa Rossi. She and a priest called Claudio Gatti (who claims to be a Bishop ordained directly by the apparitions themselves, but who was laicized by Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger) have claimed a number of Eucharistic miracles.

The one that they promote the most is called 'the announced miracle.' They gathered a group of people for this announce miracle, without saying in advance what the 'miracle' would be. The priest started the prayer service. Later, Marisa arrived with a large host already in her hands. She claimed to have received it supernaturally on her way to the service. That was 'the announced miracle.' Nothing else happened. They paraded the host around and prayed. They put the host on the altar and prayed some more. They claim this was a great Eucharistic miracle, but it was nothing other than human deception.

On other occasion, Marisa Rossi was praying before a crucifix. She claimed to see a host miraculously come out of the figure of Jesus on the Cross and fly through the air into her hand. But only she could see this. All anyone else could see was a host suddenly appear in her hand. This could easily have been accomplished by a simple trick. She conceals a host in her hands while she is praying with folded hands. Then she claims to see a host coming from the Crucifix and flying through the air. Then she opens her hands and shows the host which she had concealed. Not miraculous or supernatural at all.

The claims of Julia Kim of Naju, South Korea include numerous claims of miracles related to the Eucharist. Instead of going through each of the many claimed miracles related to the Eucharist, I'll categorize them into different types (though not exhaustively).

One type of false Eucharistic miracles involves the claim that the visionary sees something that no one else sees. For example, Julia Kim claims to have seen a host come out of a crucifix and fly through the air and then through a surgical mask she was wearing (not uncommon in that part of the world), into her mouth. But only she saw this claimed event. This claim is not a true miracle of the Eucharist because the Eucharist does not come from a statue of Jesus on the Cross; it comes from bread and wine consecrated by a priest at Mass.

Another type of false Eucharistic miracle involves hosts appearing out of nowhere or dropping out of the air. This false miracle can be performed by fallen angels, who can move objects from one place to another.

Can fallen angels move a consecrated host from one place to another? Yes, for when Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan, that most evil of fallen angels, Jesus was moved to a high mountain, to view the kingdoms of the world, and next to the parapet of the temple (Luke 4:4-12). So if God permits Satan to move Jesus in this way, then God may also permit a consecrated host to be moved by fallen angels. For all these false signs and wonders of every kind can only occur because they are permitted by God (due to the great number of sins in the world).

Fallen angels can hide objects, such as hosts, from view, and then drop them out of the air, permitting them to be seen. They can also move an object, unseen, to the mouth of a false prophet, and then permit the host to be seen, as if it had appeared there miraculously.

Alternately or in addition, fallen angels can affect the senses of various persons, and cause them to see what appears to be a host bleeding in the mouth of one of these false visionaries. In the case of Julia Kim, such hosts which seem to bleed only do so when in her mouth and are always consumed, so that there is no evidence of the deception. On some occasions, Julia Kim claimed that a host in her mouth grew in size and changed into a bleeding lump of flesh, which she then consumed with great difficulty. Such a claim is most probably due to a deception of her senses of feeling and taste, and a deception of what others seem to see (though it is possible for them to transport a lump of flesh from somewhere to accomplish the same effect).

Another claim, which I suppose is more or less a claimed Eucharistic miracle, involves blood appearing out of nowhere. Julia Kim claims that blood fell out of the air on to the ground, and that this blood was the blood of Christ. Fallen angels can accomplish this supposed miracle by merely moving and dropping blood from the air. However, God would never perform a true miracle whose aim was to drop the Precious Blood of Christ on the ground.

Similarly, fallen angels can make pictures and statues appear to weep blood. This is accomplished by moving blood, unseen, to the image or statue, and then permitting it to appear. The statue associated with Julia Kim sheds blood, but very profusely, with blood being emitted from the mouth and nose, as well as from the eyes; mucous and sweat are also said to come from the statue. The sign is clearly false because it lacks the humility and modesty and subtle wisdom of the Virgin Mary; it is sensationalism.

This ability to move objects, and to hide them from view while they are being moved, explains very many of the false signs and wonders associated with false private revelation.

7. False Claims of Special Protection

Numerous false private revelations claim to offer their adherents special forms of protection. So first they prophecy every imaginable kind of disaster, (natural disasters, wars and human conflict, the Antichrist, supernatural afflictions) and then they offer protection from what they prophecy. This claimed protection takes various forms.


Several different false private revelation claim that, during the tribulation, their adherents will not have to suffer with the rest of the Church and the world, because they will be led to special refuges where angels will hide them from the world and protect them from suffering. This claim is a modified form of the Protestant version of the rapture, in which the best Christians are removed from the world before the tribulation, so as to avoid suffering.

However, it is abundantly clear from Tradition, from Scripture, and from the teachings of the Magisterium, that the faithful are called to carry their crosses and to endure various kinds of sufferings. The Church, even in its holiest members, must suffer as Christ suffered. Some visionaries claim that, if you adhere to their visions, devotions, prayers, medals, visits to 'houses of prayer,' etc., then you will be protected from having to suffer during the tribulation. This claim is basically saying that if you follow them, you will not have to carry your cross. All such claims are false. The Church must suffer even as Christ has suffered. The Church must endure a kind of figurative Passion and Crucifixion, in devout imitation of the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ.

The Seal of the Living God

At least three (possibly more) different unrelated visionaries claim to have dispensed the Seal of the Living God described in the Book of Revelation. Each one claims that their set of devotions, or their house of prayer, is the source of this Seal.

{7:1} After these things, I saw four Angels standing above the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that they would not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree.
{7:2} And I saw another Angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the Seal of the living God. And he cried out, in a great voice, to the four Angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea,
{7:3} saying: "Do no harm to the earth, nor to the sea, nor to the trees, until we seal the servants of our God on their foreheads."
{7:4} And I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.

The Book of Revelation, in chapter 7, clearly states that the Seal is given out by angels. It is not given out by visionaries, nor is it obtained by visiting a particular 'house of prayer,' or by performing a particular set of devotions. Furthermore, the Seal is only given out after the events of chapter 6, which include the terrible events of the first six seals of Revelation. These six sets of events are so severe that they could not possibly have happened already and gone unnoticed. It is certain that these events of the six seals have not yet occurred (as I write this in 2007). Therefore, any visionary who claims to be dispensing the Seal of the Living God is a false visionary. The Seal is distributed by angels, and only after the events of chapter 6 of Revelation. The sole exception is that the Angelic Shepherd (Fr. Sudac, the future Pope Raphael) has already received the Seal on his forehead; it is the sign of the cross.

Christina Gallagher claims that visitors to her 'house of prayer' on Achill Island, Ireland, prior to July of 2001, received the Seal of the Living God which would protect them from the sufferings of the tribulation and of the Antichrist (whom she falsely claims is in the world today). She further claims that the Seal of the Living God is no longer being given out.

Claimed visionary Joyce Ann Wagner has stated that the Seal of the Living God is dispensed to those persons who visit her 'house of prayer' in Burbank, California

The messages to Wagner claim that this is the same Seal first given out by Christina Gallagher. But Gallagher does not support this claim; she ignores all other claimed visionaries. Wagner's supporters claim that a circle can, at times, be seen on some persons who have received the Seal (but most of the time it is unseen). Gallagher's supporters make no such claim about their reception of the Seal.

However, I tell you that such a mark can, like the false stigmata, be brought about by the action of fallen angels. And do you really think that someone can obtain the Seal of the Living God described in the Book of Revelation by calling a travel agent and booking a trip to a 'house of prayer'? This claim has no support at all in Scripture and is patently absurd.

Barnabas Nowye claims that the Seal is not given out by visiting a particular location or house of prayer, but by performing a set of devotions. He claims the Seal is given out only to devotees of his claimed private revelation, and that it must be renewed from time to time (like a driver's license, apparently).
"A devotee receives the seal by the arduous struggle to remain in a state of sanctifying grace, especially in the periods specified for the seal. Jesus instructed that the seal be distributed every Friday of the year between the seal hours of 12 to 3 pm, especially in the following periods:

* "Second Friday of December, continuing all Fridays of the month, till the first Friday of January.
* "First Friday of April, continuing all Fridays, till the first Friday of May.
* "Every Friday of the great month of July (The month normally devoted to the Precious Blood).

"Before receiving the seal, a devotee is expected to try to perform five consecutive months of Gethsemane Hours, where all the prayers dictated by Jesus are said. Then in a votive mass of the Precious Blood, the devotee is consecrated and through the blessings of the priest, a soul is sealed. Any priest can perform the special consecration dictated to Barnabas and the seal is received anywhere in the world. Our Lord instructed that the sealing mass be said on the third Friday of the month between the seal hours of 12 to 3 pm, if possible.

"It is also important for a devotee to renew their seal time to time. The renewal of the seal can be personally conducted every Friday in the seal hours. What matters is that a person should be in a prayerful and pious mood whether it is in a church or at home. However if one is at work, then Jesus simply asks that the person work in a spirit of mortification. A grand prayer group renewal can be conducted at an appropriate period in the periods specified. The formula for the consecration is found in the official prayer manual of the Precious Blood

"To avoid losing one's seal, one must try with all effort to avoid all occasions of sin. This is why it is important to renew one's seal from time to time. One must also remain faithful to the devotion."
There is no support in the Book of Revelation for this set of absurd claims. The Church has not approved of a 'sealing Mass,' nor are priests instructed by the Church to 'seal' someone in the manner Barnabas describes. The effort by the faithful to remain in a state of grace is required of all Catholics; it does not confer some special Seal.

Notice, too, how vague the requirements are, so that no one could say for certain who has received the Seal. This vagueness allows them to make all kinds of extravagant claims about protections and gifts given to those with the Seal. Then if anyone, in the circumstances of their lives, is not 'protected' in this special way, they can always claim that the person either never had the Seal, or that they failed to renew it. Such false claims of protection from suffering are an inducement to draw in unsuspecting souls in order to promote invented devotions and false private revelation.

Protective Medals and Prayers

The messages of some false private revelations are filled with dire warnings and urgent messages predicting every kind of disaster. They practice fear-mongering. Then they offer to assuage the fears of their adherents with various protective medals, such as the so-called Matrix medal of Christina Gallagher, and protective prayers, such as the 'Jesus King of All Nations' prayers (in the messages to two anonymous women). This is yet another psychological trick used in false private revelation. They instill fear, then they offer protection from what is feared in the form of medals and prayers which are specific to their claimed private revelation. In this way, they bind their devotees to their false claims every more thoroughly.

The so-called Matrix medal offered by Christina Gallagher is an empty devotion; it is devoid of theological content. Far from showing devotion to Mary, it shows devotion to Christina Gallagher. For no one but Christina Gallagher and her adherents promotes this devotion. And her official site states (correctly, according to U.S. copyright online records) that the Matrix medal is copyrighted. They therefore insist that no one sell it, except the houses of prayer set up by Gallagher:
"Anyone distributing Matrix medals or pictures of Our Lady Queen of Peace with tears or the book "Out of the Ecstasy onto the Cross" other than the five addresses on this site (Ireland, New Hampshire, Texas, Mexico, Kansas and Ohio) are not authorized by Christina Gallagher to do so. Please do not purchase these goods from any other sources. People in United States, Mexico, Australia and other places have violated the copyright. Our Lady has said that She desires the proceeds from Her Matrix medal to provide the upkeep for Her House. This medal is copyrighted."
Notice that the medal is a source of income ('proceeds') for the organization which promotes Gallagher as a claimed visionary. It is not viewed as a devotion given by God to the Church, but as the copyrighted intellectual property of Gallagher and her adherents. Even pictures of our Lady, portrayed as Queen of Peace and weeping, are considered their property, to be sold for proceeds. Such is not the case with true devotions.

The special prayers promoted by the 'Jesus King of All Nations' claimed private revelation are supposedly for protection "from severe storms and all forms of My Justice" (the Journal, p. 65). The messages of this claimed private revelation often predict severe storms and other natural disasters. Then they offer prayers related to the devotion for protection from what they predict. Notice, too, that the prayers supposedly offer the devotee protection from the Justice of God. This offer of protection is absurd because it claims to be an offer from God to be protected from God. And although many false private revelations treat the Mercy of God as if it were separate from and in opposition to the Justice of God, in truth Justice and Mercy are the same in God. The same protection from the Justice of God "is also to be granted to those who faithfully wear My medal." In other words, not only can you (supposedly) be protected from the Justice of God by a special prayer, but even by wearing a particular medal. The medal therefore nullifies the moral law, making the teaching of the Church on the necessity of avoiding sin appear useless; merely wearing a medal supposedly protects one from the Justice of God.

Many other claimed private revelation have special medals, statues, pictures, prayers, and devotions, which are intrinsically connected to the claimed private revelation, and which serve to strengthen the devotion of adherents primarily to the visionary and the claimed messages, not to God and the Church. Often these religions items must be purchased from an organization set up by the visionary, and at a cost that is above what is reasonable.

The supporters of Barnabas Nwoye, one of those visionaries who claim to offer the Seal of the Living God, hold "consecration" gatherings and they require each of those who attend to purchase an "Agonizing Jesus" crucifix for $50.00 each. Those who do not have money are still given a crucifix and required to pay in several installments by mail. Ask yourself, is this a true devotion, or a means to gather supporters and money for a claimed visionary's self-promoting organization?

Psychological Tricks

All of these false claims of special protection for the devotee of a claimed private revelation serve to make the devotee feel special: different from, and better than, other Christians. In order to keep the devotee adhered to the visionary, following the visionary rather than the Church, special devotions, prayers, medals, statues, and images are offered, each of which is specific to the visionary and their messages. This psychological trick serves to pull the devotee toward the visionary, and away from the Church, because the visionary is offering something that the Church does not offer.

8. False Guarantees of Eternal Life

What more can a false visionary offer, in addition to false signs and wonders, false teachings, protection from harm, and various invented devotions and prayers? One visionary, Christina Gallagher, even claims to offer the gift of eternal life. She claims that eternal life can be obtained by making a pilgrimage to her 'house of prayer' on Achill Island, in Ireland. The description of this alleged gift clearly indicates that the gift of Eternal life, obtained in this way, can never be lost.

This claim contradicts nearly everything that the Catholic Church teaches about salvation. The Church teaches that eternal life is gained by the Sacraments, by living according to the teachings and example of Christ, by avoiding serious sin (or at least repenting from any serious sins one commits). But Gallagher claims that one can receive the gift of Eternal life by merely calling a travel agent and booking a trip to her 'house of prayer.' This claim is heretical and schismatic. It nullifies the teaching of the Church on salvation, and it separates the devotees of Gallagher from the Church, since they think to obtain salvation apart from the Church and the Sacraments.

9. Persecution as Proof

False visionaries are often criticized for false claims, for messages contrary to the spirit of the Gospels, for failed or absurd predictions, for heretical teachings, and for drawing the unsuspecting faithful away from the Church. Cleverly, many visionaries present this 'persecution' as proof that the visionary is genuine. Any and all criticism is not replied to directly, but is treated prima facie as an unjust attack on a true servant of God.

In other words, the supporters of a claimed visionary begin by assuming that the visionary is genuine and that the messages are from God (or Mary or the Saints and Angels). Therefore, they conclude unreasonably that any arguments against the visionary are unjust attacks, and that any arguments against the messages of the visionary are arguments against the words of God, or of the Virgin Mary. Once the supporter has accepted the idea that the visionary is merely repeating the words of God and doing the will of God, no argument, even if firmly based on faith and reason, carries any weight. It is merely summed up as a persecution of a holy person.

When Vassula Ryden was criticized by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a document referred to by her supporters as 'The Notification,' this was portrayed by her supporters as if it were proof of her genuineness. Her messages (like those of many other false visionaries) conveniently predict persecution and rejection, even by Church leaders. So, when the Holy See criticized Vassula, it was and is viewed by her supporters as a fulfillment of prophecy, and therefore as further proof of her genuineness. This is clearly demonstrated and explicitly stated in an article by Fr. Robert Hughes:
5. This Notification is the fulfillment of a prophecy and not just a document.

a. Prophecy of January 18, 1991: "I Shall Have You Exposed as a Sign of Rejection, the Rejection for Unity..." "No, My Messages shall follow their course without you but you shall be tossed around. I shall permit your persecutors' defiled hands to strike you and mistreat you openly. I shall allow them to contradict you... and like crows ravaging the crop they will attack you. You will appear in their eyes as the loser because the wounds they will inflict on you will be impressive. "These wounds, My child, shall be given to you from within My House and by My Own, they will be given to you from Cain's clan. I will allow them to strike an innocent child, but their gladness shall turn into mourning. Yes, you will appear as the Loser My Vassula, but have I not appeared as the loser too? I appeared to have failed My Mission, I appeared in the world's eyes as the greatest loser ever. You are a sign given to them to arise questions that will be controversial."
Clever. They claim that any criticism, even from the Holy See, merely proves she is genuine. And if any Bishop speaks in her favor, this too is seen as supporting her genuineness. So whether a Bishop or Cardinal speaks for or against Vassula, it is interpreted as proof in her favor.

Now consider the case of Nancy Fowler of Conyers, GA. A claimed locutionist (whom Fowler refuses to identify) came to Conyers and rebuked Nancy in some way (Fowler and her supporters refuse to give details). All that we are told is that this person 'hurt Nancy.' This hurt was not physical injury, but, reading between the lines, clearly a verbal rebuke from a (perhaps true) locutionist to a false visionary. The incident is recounted in such a way in Fowler's book that we do not know who the locutionist is or what this person said. Thus, any rebuke of a claimed visionary is immediately assumed to be an attempt to harm the visionary and her mission from God.

Similar examples are found in the case of Christina Gallagher. This statement was posted on her official website:
Deceit and slander seem to know no bounds. When evil generates such a deep dark desire to destroy Mrs. Gallagher and Our Lady's House, and to descend to such despicable extremes to do so, it only demonstrates how greatly this work is dreaded and resented by the forces of evil. If it were not a work of Heaven -a battle for souls- it would surely sail unopposed on tranquil waters with neither trouble nor turbulence. Yet, those who make themselves the agents of such destruction need our prayers. Such horrendous attempts to malign and mistreat only show the enormous value of Christina's mission for in the Church's history the greatest works brought the most demonic attacks as with St. Pio, St. Joan of Arc, St. Louis de Montfort, St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Benedict.
(April 18, 2007,
Notice the fallacy in this argument. First, any arguments against Gallagher and her work are assumed to be evil, deceitful, slanderous, despicable, horrendous, etc. Second, the claim is made that any work not of Heaven would surely experience no troubles or turbulence. Both premises of this argument are false. An argument against a claimed private revelation is not necessarily evil. For it used to be the case, in causes for canonization, that someone would be assigned the task of arguing against the canonization, so that all possibilities would be considered. Therefore, an argument against a particular work, or a particular set of claims, is not necessarily evil. Furthermore, there have been many heretics, schismatics, and false prophets in the history of the Church. These persons certainly did often experience many difficulties as a result of their errors. So it would be false to conclude that the contradiction and controversy surrounding any visionary proves his or her genuineness.

The further claim that anyone who experiences such contradiction and controversy is just like the Saints is also false. The Saints experienced many difficulties, but so do ordinary Christians, and so do heretics, schismatics, and false prophets. The mere fact that an individual's claims meet with opposition does not prove that their claims are necessarily true. Both true claims and false claims often meet with opposition in this world.
Christina may feel it necessary to move to another country provided she survives and if her health permits. She is being hunted like an animal. Why have people a need to do this? Is it a need to take her life? Is it a repeat of the murderous cry: "Crucify Him, crucify Him?"
(April 18, 2007,
Notice how some visionaries exalt themselves on account of the criticism that they receive, saying that this is a heavy cross that they bear, presenting themselves as if they were Christ-like. In this manner, they dismiss all valid criticisms, whether from Church authorities or laypersons or theologians, as not worthy of any specific reply. All complaints and arguments are met with a flood of accusatory rhetoric, absent of any theological or reasonable basis.

10. Conversions as Proof

Many adherents of false private revelation point to the conversion back to the Faith, of themselves and of others, by means of a particular set of apparitions and messages, as proof that a particular visionary or set of messages must be from God. However, it is clear from my study of claimed private revelation that both true and false private revelations have true conversions associated with them. This occurs because God is merciful. God is willing to give grace for conversion, even to those persons who are mistakenly following a false visionary or a false set of apparitions and messages. Many of these adherents of false private revelation do not realize that they are following a false prophet, and therefore their culpability for this error is reduced. God generously gives such persons graces, despite, not because of, their error in believing a false visionary.

Since true conversions are found in association with both true and false private revelation, such conversions are not proof that a claimed private revelation is true. In fact, any sign or wonder which is found in association with both true and false private revelation cannot be used to distinguish between the two.

11. Signs and Wonders as Proof

Very many claimed private revelations make the argument that their apparitions, messages, and visionary must be genuine because there are various signs and wonders which 'prove' that this is the work of God. This argument is contradicted by the words of our Lady at La Salette, when warned us very clearly about extraordinary false signs and wonders:
12. 'There will be in all places extraordinary wonders, because the true faith is dying out and because false light enlightens the world.' (Le Secret De Melanie, p. 29-30).
Notice the reason why God permits these false signs and wonders: because of a decrease in true faith in the world. These false visionaries are false lights; they claim to be a light for the world, but they are false. Mary wisely warned us, very emphatically, about these false prophets.

In the Gospels, Jesus warned us about extraordinary false signs and wonders:

{24:11} And many false prophets will arise, and they will lead many astray.

{24:24} For there will arise false Christs and false prophets. And they will produce great signs and wonders, so much so as to lead into error even the elect (if this could be).
{24:25} Behold, I have warned you beforehand.

{13:22} For false Christs and false prophets will rise up, and they will present signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if it were possible, even the elect.
{13:23} Therefore, you must take heed. Behold, I have foretold all to you.

Since Jesus and Mary have both clearly warned us that false prophets will be able to display great signs and wonders, such signs and wonders are certainly not proof that a claimed visionary, or a set of claimed apparitions and messages, are true. Yet this is one of the most common claims made by the supporters of false visionaries. Many persons are led astray in this way: they witness or hear about great signs and wonders, and so they decide to believe whatever the visionary teaches, and to do whatever the visionary asks. Then, if anyone points out that the visionary's messages contradict Church teaching, they do not even consider the argument. Their hearts no longer seek truth; their minds are open only to the words of the visionary, not the words of faith and reason. Their only reply to any argument or criticism is that the messages must be from God because the visionary has shown great signs and wonders.

When I point out to such persons that Scripture teaches us that great signs and wonders will be associated with false prophets, and that some of the messages of a particular visionary are contrary to Church teaching, it carries no weight with them. Their belief system is no longer based on the teachings of Christ in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. Their belief system is based on blind trust in a visionary, merely because that person is able to present great signs and wonders. Yet all of these claimed signs and wonders are explainable (as presented in this article) as the work of fallen angels, of human deception, and as misunderstandings. Some of these persons have abandoned the Catholic Christian Faith entirely. They adhere to a new religion led by a visionary, based on a set of claimed messages from Heaven, with its own devotions, prayers, statues, images, medals, promises, and doctrines.

The Fruits of Private Revelation

The fruits of true private revelation are not signs and wonders. For Jesus and Mary both clearly taught that even false private revelation would have signs and wonders, even to an extraordinary degree. The fruits of true private revelation are the teachings, by word and example, of the apparitions and messages.

{7:15} Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
{7:16} You shall know them by their fruits. Can grapes be gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?
{7:17} So then, every good tree produces good fruit, and the evil tree produces evil fruit.
{7:18} A good tree is not able to produce evil fruit, and an evil tree is not able to produce good fruit.
{7:19} Every tree which does not produce good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire.
{7:20} Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

Many adherents of false private revelation will claim that their favorite visionary offers messages which are in accord with Church teaching. But this is true only at a superficial level. All false private revelations contain some truths and some agreement with Church teaching. They mix together truth and falsehood, in order to better deceive the unsuspecting faithful.

Some adherents of false private revelation are so poorly educated about the faith that they mistakenly think that a set of messages are compatible with the true Gospel, when in fact they are not. Such persons arrogantly rely on their own misunderstandings of the Faith. They refuse to accept a correction, or even to consider that they may be wrong, because of the exaltation of their own ideas and judgment above the teaching of the Church.

Other adherents, including some Bishops, priests, and theologians, mistakenly think that a set of messages are true private revelation because they have not carefully and impartially studied numerous different claimed private revelations. Some are fooled because they have understood the true Faith poorly, due to their own sinfulness and lack of piety. Some are fooled because they judge too quickly. Some are fooled because they rely on the apparent piety of the visionary and his or her supporters, rather than carefully examining the content of the messages. Some are fooled because they assume that conversions and signs and wonders are necessarily associated only with true private revelation. Some priests are fooled by their own desire for attention and self-exaltation, which they obtain by supporting and agreeing with the great crowds of foolish persons who are devoted to particular visionaries.

VII. Claims of Approval by the Church

The Catechism

The official Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses private revelation and its acceptance by the Church:
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".
(CCC, n. 67).
Notice that only some private revelations have been accepted by the authority of the Church, and that the Christian faith must reject any supposed private revelations which claim to surpass or correct the teaching of the Church. Thus, the Catechism teaches that some claimed private revelations are false, and that any attempt to surpass or correct the Divine Revelation entrusted to the Magisterium is a clear indication of false private revelation.

But the judgment as to which claimed private revelations are true, and which are false, is not left to the Magisterium alone. The sensus fidelium (the mind of the faithful) has a role in discerning which claimed revelations are in accord with the teachings of the Church, and which are not. Here the Church is instructing the faithful to ignore or reject any claimed private revelation which is incompatible with Church teaching.

Judgments by Bishops with Authority

Now some Bishops have set up commissions to study one claimed private revelation or another, and have reached a decision on the authenticity, or lack of authenticity, of a claimed visionary's messages. The Bishop who has the authority to make such a decision is the head of the diocese in which the visionary lives, or, in some cases, a group of Bishops from the nation where the visionary lives.

For example, the messages of John Leary were studied by a commission set up by the Bishop of his diocese. The commission and the Bishop concluded that his messages contain teachings incompatible with the Catholic faith, including writings against the office of the Pope. But Leary continues to prophesy, to travel giving talks, and to maintain a website with the same anti-papal messages remaining on it.

In another example, the Naju Commission was set up by the South Korean Bishops to investigate the claimed private revelations to Julia Kim of Naju, South Korea. They determined that these messages to Julia Kim contain teachings which are contrary to the teachings of the Church. But Julia Kim continues to prophesy, and her supporters are unaffected by this determination. They follow Julia Kim instead of the Church.

The false private revelation to Ida Peerdeman was disapproved by several Bishops in succession, each Bishop being the head of the appropriate diocese (in Amsterdam). But the most recent Bishop has given his approval. Since several Bishops rejected the claimed private revelation, and one has approved it, and each who rejected or approved had the proper authority to make such a judgment, it is clear that an individual local Bishop can make a mistake in this kind of judgment. Therefore, it still pertains to the sensus fidelium, and to the Magisterium of the Church as a whole, to discern a claimed private revelation. The decision of a local Bishop is not definitive.

When a Bishop of a different diocese (not the diocese in which the claimed visionary lives) expresses an opinion about a claimed visionary, or a set of apparitions or messages, this judgment is his own personal opinion, and it not an act of the temporal authority of the Church (unless he is part of an official commission of Bishops chosen to examine a claimed private revelation).

However, a Bishop of another diocese certainly can make an authoritative decision for the faithful in his own diocese. For example, the Bishop of the Austin Texas diocese refused to give approval to one of Christina Gallagher's so-called 'chain houses of prayer.' But she and her supports set up the house anyway, and they published a nasty attack on the Bishop because of his refusal to approve of the house of prayer in his own diocese. They listen to Christina Gallagher instead of the Bishops.

Tricks Used To Suggest Approval

On the other hand, some claimed visionaries have been using various tricks in order to suggest an approval from the Church which does not exist. For example, the book which promotes claimed apparitions and messages under the title of 'Jesus King of All Nations' states the following:
Bishop Enrique Hernandez Rivera, D.D. of Caguas, Puerto Rico said that he "recognized the need to foster more devotion to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, True King of All Nations." He wished us "all the best in your efforts of spreading the message of Christ to all who invoke Him by this title."
Notice that the quote from the Bishop is partial sentences; we are not given even one full sentence revealing what the Bishop said. Also, the quoted words make only general statements about the Gospel message and the devotion to Christ as King. These words do not constitute any kind of official approval, neither for these claimed private revelations, nor for the devotions specified by the claimed private revelation. Yet the Bishop's name is used in an apparent attempt to suggest approval.

In the case of Vassula Ryden, she continues to use a criticism of her by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a document entitled "Notification on Vassula Ryden" (6 October 1995), as a way to promote herself, as if this warning to the faithful about her false teachings constituted some type of approval. (The degree of skill required for this deception is astounding.) First, read this, the entire text of the Notification:
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Many bishops, priests, religious and lay people have sought an authoritative judgment from this Congregation on the activity of Mrs. Vassula Ryden, a Greek Orthodox residing in Switzerland, who in speech and in writing is spreading in Catholic circles throughout the world messages attributed to alleged heavenly revelations.

A calm, attentive examination of the entire question, undertaken by this Congregation in order to "test the spirits to see whether they are of God" (cf. 1 Jn 4:1), has brought out - in addition to positive aspects - a number of basic elements that must be considered negative in the light of Catholic doctrine.

In addition to pointing out the suspect nature of the ways in which these alleged revelations have occurred, it is necessary to underscore several doctrinal errors they contain.

Among other things, ambiguous language is used in speaking of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, to the point of confusing the specific names and functions of the Divine Persons. These alleged revelations predict an imminent period when the Antichrist will prevail in the Church. In millenarian style, it is prophesied that God is going to make a final glorious intervention which will initiate on earth, even before Christ's definitive coming, an era of peace and universal prosperity. Furthermore, the proximate arrival is foretold of a Church which would be a kind of pan-Christian community, contrary to Catholic doctrine.

The fact that the aforementioned errors no longer appear in Ryden's later writings is a sign that the alleged "heavenly messages" are merely the result of private meditations.

Moreover, by habitually sharing in the sacraments of the Catholic Church even though she is Greek Orthodox, Mrs. Ryden is causing considerable surprise in various circles of the Catholic Church. She appears to be putting herself above all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and every canonical norm, and in effect, is creating an ecumenical disorder that irritates many authorities, ministers and faithful of her own Church, as she puts herself outside the ecclesiastical discipline of the latter.

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.

Vatican City, 6 October 1995.
Notice that the above document clearly states that her messages contain several serious doctrinal errors, including errors on the doctrine of the Trinity. The CDF does note that there are some positive aspects to her messages, but this is the case with all false private revelation: they mix truth with falsehood. The CDF then instructs the Bishops not to permit the dissemination of her ideas in their Dioceses. Yet, amazingly, Vassula and her supporters have managed to use this Notification from the CDF (issued when then-Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect) to suggest approval some kind of approval from the Church and from the Pope. They do this by quoting an alleged comment by then-Cardinal Ratzinger: "the situation has been modified." They claim that this quote means that the Notification is now nullified.

However, the alleged comment by Cardinal Ratzinger was not published by the CDF. The Notification has not been formally withdrawn by the CDF, nor has it been superceded by a subsequent act of that office. It therefore remains in force. A comment in a private conversation does not have the force to nullify a formal written document of a Vatican congregation.

A further deception is found in Vassula's quote from Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb; her website very prominently lists him saying "what she says conforms to Gospel truth" along with a picture of him. But the date on the quote is February 1995, several months before the Notification of October 1995. There are no quotes from him after the Notification was issued. He retired in 1997, and he died in 2002. And, according to the Internet Archive at, the page about Cardinal Kuharic's comments was not added to the website until long after his death. So we have no way of knowing if he changed his position after the CDF issued its decision, or if his quoted comments are even accurately represented.

As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, Vassula Ryden has no local Bishop who can authoritatively decide for or against her claimed private revelation. This is perhaps one of the reasons that the CDF became involved. The CDF found that her writings contain numerous doctrinal errors; that finding has not been withdrawn or superceded. Therefore, the Church's position is not in her favor. Yet Vassula's website has an entire section called 'Church Position' and 'What does the Church say?', which quotes various Bishops (including an Anglican Bishop, a Lutheran Bishop, and a Greek Orthodox Bishop) saying generally positive things about her, and representing these quotes as if they indicate that the Church has taken a position in her favor. Photographs of Vassula standing next to various Bishops are found on this section of the site, again, suggesting an approval which does not exist.


Other ways that some claimed visionaries create the appearance of Church approval include: obtaining an audience with the Pope, giving the Pope a copy of their book, having their picture taken with the Pope. Audiences with the Pope are not reserved for heads of State; almost any ordinary Catholic, and even a non-Catholic, might obtain a brief audience with the Pope and might be able to give him a book or have a picture taken with him. So such a photograph does not constitute any kind of proof that the Pope approves of the claimed private revelation. However, some claimed visionaries use such photographs to promote their false messages.

Priests and Theologians

Most claimed private revelations can find some priests who will give their approval and support to the claimed apparitions and messages. In most cases, the priest who is said to have discerned and approved of the messages is someone close to the visionary; he is not at all impartial. Sometimes he himself has also received claimed private revelations, like those of the visionary whose messages he 'discerns and approves.' Often he is a priest chosen by the visionary (or chosen by the fallen angels who are giving these false messages to the visionary). He is usually someone who benefits from the approval of the visionary's messages by having a position of leadership among the visionary's followers. Such a claimed approval by a priest, who is often heavily involved in promoting the claimed private revelation of the very same visionary, does not constitute the approval of the Church. The lack of objectivity on the part of some of these priests is blatant and unrestrained.

Many claimed private revelations can cite one theologian or another who promotes and believes in their apparitions and messages. There are a few theologians who become involved in the subject of private revelation. Some few of these travel around, receiving praise from the adherents of whichever claimed private revelation they are promoting. They sometimes write an article or two praising the messages, or pretending to examine the theological content of the messages. Their lack of impartiality is seen in that they have met with the claimed visionary repeatedly, have attended the sites of the claimed apparitions, and have participated in the various prayer services or talks led by that visionary. Some of these theologians particularly favor any claimed private revelation which promotes Mary under the title of Mediatrix of All Graces. They are attached to that title, so they accept any claimed private revelation which uses the title. This kind of superficial examination and approval of claimed private revelation is reprehensible. These theologians could take a critical look at the messages of a claimed visionary, and could easily find numerous theological errors. Instead, they begin by accepting the claims, then they write whatever will support the messages without objective criticism.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are some theologians and commentators who will write against almost every claimed private revelation, again, without any objective or impartial evaluation of what the messages teach. They correctly condemn many of the false private revelations, but they also incorrectly condemn many of the true private revelations (e.g. Medjugorje, Garabandal, Fr. Gobbi, etc.). They begin with a very negative disposition toward any claimed and unapproved private revelation. They use every kind of excuse to argue against them, without true discernment of the good from the bad.

In summary, many false private revelations incorrectly claim that the Church has approved of their apparitions and messages, when in fact there exists no such approval. The approval of the local Bishop in charge of the diocese is a type of Church approval, but it is neither infallible nor irreversible. The more definitive approval or disapproval of a claimed private revelation lies in whether or not the Magisterium as a whole, and the faithful as a whole, find the teachings of a claimed private revelation to be in accord with Church teaching. This may take many years, even a few generations, to resolve

VIII. The Cult of Personality

Many persons have written to me complaining that I have listed their favorite claimed private revelation on my list of those that are false, and saying that, if only I would meet with their favorite visionary, then I would see how sincere and holy and loving and charismatic this particular person is. My reply to all such complaints is as follows. Most false prophets have a very charismatic personality. They are good with personal interactions. They seem very sincere. They may seem holy. People are attracted to them. And this has been true of false prophets of various kinds throughout history. Perhaps some of these persons seem sincere because, having been deluded, they are sincere; they sincerely believe in the errors which they propose; this has been true of heretics throughout the history of the Church. But sincerity is not truth.

So the personality of the visionary, and his or her apparent sincerity or holiness, should not be the basis for what a Catholic Christian believes. A Catholic believes in the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, and this is independent of particular personalities. If you like a particular priest, and he seems sincere and holy, and he gives inspiring sermons, but he also departs from the teaching of the Church, you should not follow him. You should follow Christ. The Apostles followed Christ, not because they liked His personality, but because they believed in His Teachings. If you make the mistake of believing what anyone teaches merely because they are very charismatic and personable, seem holy and sincere, then you are worshipping false gods.

Only God sees a person's soul. Only God knows which of the persons who seem holy actually are holy, and which are not. Only God know which of the persons who seem sinful and lost are actually lost, and which are not nearly as sinful as they seem. If you follow a visionary because they seem holy to you, then you are deluding yourself. You are setting up that visionary as a false god.

Claimed private revelation should be evaluated by comparing the content of the messages and apparitions to the teaching of the Church, and to the way of life of Jesus and Mary and the Saints. If a set of messages is incompatible with Church teaching and with the examples of Jesus and Mary and the Saints, then it does not matter how sincere or holy a visionary may seem to be, or how many great signs and wonders the visionary can display. If the messages contradict, undermine, claim to surpass, or are in any way incompatible with the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, then the messages are false and the visionary is false.

IX. Bait Used to Attract the Faithful

Why are so many of the faithful attracted to claimed private revelations which contain numerous elements incompatible with the Gospel message and the teaching of the Church and the example of Christ? The reason is that false private revelations use various kinds of bait to lure the faithful into their trap.

In some cases, the bait itself is a good thing. Some false private revelations attract the faithful by means of numerous messages speaking against abortion. The faithful are drawn in by this expression of the truth that abortion is evil, but then they are subjected to numerous other messages, not in conformity with the true Gospel. Some false private revelations use Fatima or other true private revelations as bait; then they try to associate their messages with Fatima, as if their false messages were merely an extension of those at Fatima. Some false private revelations lure the faithful with messages allegedly from various popular Saints, hoping to use the good devotion that many of the faithful have to particular Saints in order to deceive them into believing what is false. Some false private revelations rant against all the evils in the world, using the natural disgust that the faithful have for the many great evils in the secular world as a way to encourage them to cling to a set of false messages. Some false private revelations use a presentation of basic Church teachings to draw in the faithful, then they add in all manner of false and distorted teachings, as if the latter were a continuation of the former. Some false private revelations attract the faithful by giving new titles to Jesus or Mary. Sometimes these titles are correctly worded; other times these titles imply a distortion of doctrine. They use the devotion of faithful toward Jesus and Mary to draw them toward all manner of falsehoods and distortions. Some false private revelations use a distorted doctrine about Mary's role as Mediatrix to draw in the faithful by means of the devotion the faithful have to Mary.

In such cases, the false private revelation uses something good, such as some true teaching, or devotion to Jesus or Mary or the Saints, in order to convince the faithful to believe in all of the other claims made by the false private revelation. The cheese in a mousetrap may be real cheese, but the trap is also real. The mere fact that a claimed private revelation contains certain good aspects of the Catholic Faith does not imply that the claimed private revelation is true. All false private revelations contain some good and some truth, otherwise no one would be deceived.

In other cases, the bait itself is false or in some way spurious. Some false private revelations attract the faithful by means of the personality of the visionary, as if one's faith should be based on personality, apparent sincerity, and apparent holiness, rather than being based on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. Some false private revelations attract the faithful by means of popular false or distorted doctrines, for many of the faithful have been somewhat unfaithful in that they believe certain ideas contrary to the Faith. Many false private revelations uses signs and wonders, healing, and pretended predictions of future events, to try to convince the faithful to believe in a set of distorted and false messages. Some false private revelation promise various special gifts to the faithful for believing in their claimed private revelation. But the gifts are spurious and false, such as the claim to offer a guarantee of Eternal Life (apart from the Church and the Sacraments), or the claim to offer the Seal of the Living God from the Book of Revelation. Some false private revelations try to trap the faithful with psychological tricks, such as instilling fear and then offering empty promises of special protection.

X. The Building Blocks for a New Religion

The worst claimed private revelations not only use many various tricks (as described above) to deceive faithful Catholics, but they also offer so many new teachings, new devotions, new religious icons, new prayers, messages, signs, apparitions, and more, that the full measure of what they offer constitutes a replacement for true Catholicism.

Their set of messages from Heaven replaces the teaching of the Church; their messages, allegedly from Heaven, have become like a second Bible to them. They interpret the Bible, if they read it at all, in the light of the messages from their visionary, not in the light of Church teaching. If a message contradicts a clear and unequivocal teaching of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, they follow the message. If a message is incompatible with Church teaching, they ignore Church teaching. Their favorite private revelation is first, above all else.

They have houses of prayer to replace churches. They have prayer groups built around a particular claimed private revelation; their prayers come from claimed private revelation, not from the Church. Their houses of prayer and their groups are not under the direction of any Bishop in any diocese. They operate their houses of prayer and their organizations under the direction of the visionary, who has usurped the role of a Bishop.

They speak about their visionary is such exalted terms, and with such unshakeable certitude, that the word of the visionary is exalted above the word of the Pope. They treat their visionary like an idol to be worshipped. The words supposedly received by their visionary from Jesus are treated as if they were nothing other than infallible words directly from Jesus. (To the contrary, the Church teaches that even true private revelation to Saints is fallible, because it may have been misunderstood.) They even treat the visionary's own words as if these were the words of Christ or of Mary. Thus, they set up the visionary as a replacement for Christ. They would never admit this, but such is the case.

They only pray as the visionary and the messages teach them to pray. They follow new devotions, new prayers, and use new religious icons (images, statues, etc.) in place of the ones offered by the Church. They give Jesus and/or Mary new titles. They teach new ideas, distortions of doctrine which they treat like dogmas, even though the Church has taught no such thing.

They not only try to trick the faithful into believing a set of false messages and apparitions, they try to build a new religion which claims to be Catholicism, but which is in fact a severely-distorted, heretical, schismatic, false and perverse imitation of the Catholic Faith. They are building, in effect, a new religion.

To the contrary, here is what the Catechism says about such claimed private revelation:
The Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations". (CCC, n. 67).
This is an accurate description of several different false private revelations, which have become their own sect, apart from, and in opposition to, the true Catholic Christian faith.

These false private revelations seek to obtain and to retain devotees by replacing most of the elements of what the Catholic Church offers with their own version of each element. Slowly, by degrees, the adherent discovers that they are no longer believing what the Church teaches, but what the visionary teaches; that they are no longer being led by the Pope and the Bishops, but by the visionary and his or her spiritual advisors. Eventually, the unfortunate adherent to such false visionaries as these becomes so closely bound to a set of false messages, devotions, medals, prayers, and houses of prayer, that they have in effect completely departed from the true Catholic Christian Faith, without even realizing it.

The result is that the visionary replaces Christ and His Church. These adherents believe that what the visionary teaches must certainly be true, as if it were infallible, because it is said to be private revelation or infused knowledge from God. The visionary sets up 'houses of prayer' and prayer groups, which replace churches and parishes as centers of worship. The visionary invents new devotions, new prayers, and new religious medals, pictures, statues, all of which replace those of the Catholic faith. The visionary compiles a set of messages, which replace Scripture and Church teaching as sources of truth. Some visionaries even claim to offer the gift of Eternal Life, or the gift of the Seal of the Living God, or other special gifts. The end result is a new religion, with the visionary as Savior.

So, if you believe and follow any claimed visionary or prophet, and if you put their teachings and practices above the teachings and practices of the One Holy Catholic Church, then truly you have departed completely from the one Catholic Christian faith to follow a false prophet, and even a false god.

XI. Preparations for Schism

Could the situation be worse? Yes. Some of these visionaries offer messages, supposedly from Heaven, saying that evil persons who are unfaithful to Jesus Christ will take control of the Church, so that the 'true Church' will have to go underground, and will suffer persecution. They predict an imminent scenario where the leaders of the Church, including the Pope and the Cardinals and the Bishops are all said to have gone astray, even going so far as to claim that the Antichrist will become Pope, or that an evil man who assists the Antichrist will become Pope. (A few have even claimed that the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, is either the Antichrist or his evil assistant.) In this way, they prepare their adherents to be completely torn away from the one holy Catholic Apostolic Church, away from the true Body of Christ on earth.

These false private revelation have already sown the seeds of schism by means of this false prediction. They also predict persecution and rejection for their visionary. So when the Church, eventually and inevitably, rejects these false private revelations, the visionary can claim that this is merely the fulfillment of the prophecy that the visionary would be persecuted and that evil persons would take control of the Church. They can then take the final step in removing their adherents from the true Church and in setting up their own perverse version of the Catholic Christian faith, with their visionary as its head.

XII. How to Avoid Being Deceived by False Private Revelation

To avoid such deception:

1. Place the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium above all other teachings and ideas.
2. Place the leadership of the Pope and the Bishops above the leadership of all other persons.
3. Build your faith upon the beliefs and practices, and the prayers and devotions, of the universal Church, not of one particular group or individual.
4. Hold even the messages of true private revelation to be fallible, non-essential, and subject to correction by the teaching of the Church.
5. If you have an interest in true private revelation, pick only one or two which are very widely approved by the Church and the faithful, such as Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Guadalupe, Medjugorje, etc.
6. Never base your belief in a claimed private revelation on signs and wonders, nor on healings, nor on sensational messages, nor on promises of special protections and gifts.
7. God is no respecter of persons; neither should you put the personal charisms of a claimed visionary above the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.

8. And, finally, heed this warning from Sacred Scripture:

{1:6} I wonder that you have been so quickly transferred, from him who called you into the grace of Christ, over to another gospel.
{1:7} For there is no other, except that there are some persons who disturb you and who want to overturn the Gospel of Christ.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
April 27, 2007

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