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Discernment of Private Revelation

Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?
An evaluation of the claimed messages and apparitions to Emma Guzman

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Emma Guzman claims to receive visions and messages from the Virgin Mary and from a number of Saints, especially Saint John the Apostle. She leads La Pieta Prayer Group. They run what is called 'Mother of Joy House of Prayer' in Constantia, New York.

False Vision of the Birth of Jesus

Emma Guzman claims that on December 25th, 1996, she was shown a vision of the Birth of Jesus ( However, the contents of this vision are contradicted by the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Saint Bridget of Sweden about the Birth of Jesus.

Emma claims that the place where Jesus was born "was like an old run down barn where animals lived." She claims that she saw Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus "encapsulated with bright light," after which, she saw Mary "took off her scarf from her shoulders and wrapped it around Baby Jesus."

Saint Bridget tells us, based on her visions from God, that the place where Jesus was born was a cave (Revelations of St. Bridget, p. 25). Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich repeatedly saw in her visions that the place of the Birth of Jesus was a cave. She described the cave in great detail, its appearance, its location, its use by shepherds of the area, and much more. She calls this place 'the Cave of the Nativity.' (Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary). Therefore, Emma Guzman's claim that Jesus was born in "an old run down barn where animals lived" is false.

Saint Bridget states that St. Joseph was not present for the Birth of Jesus. He prepared the cave, but then "he again withdrew so as not to be personally present at the birth" and that he did not return until after Mary had wrapped the infant Jesus in swaddling cloths (Revelations of St. Bridget, p. 25-27). Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich similarly says that Joseph made preparations for the birth, but then he withdrew to pray, so that Mary was alone with Jesus at the time of His miraculous Birth. Therefore, Emma Guzman's claim that Joseph was present with Mary when Jesus was born, so that all three were "encapsulated with bright light" at the birth, just before Mary wrapped the infant Jesus in a scarf, is false.

Saint Bridget states that the Virgin Mary had prepared in advance six special cloths with which to wrap the infant Jesus: two fine linen cloths, two woolen cloths, and two smaller linen cloths to wrap His head. Mary removed her own veil and mantle, which covered her head and shoulders, and set these aside, then she took out these other six cloths to wrap the child. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's description of the wrapping of the infant Jesus also states that Mary had special swaddling cloths to wrap the body of the infant Jesus. Therefore, Emma Guzman's claim that Jesus was wrapped with the 'scarf' that the Virgin Mary was wearing at the time is false. What mother, expecting a birth, would not prepare cloths or clothing for her infant, but would instead merely take a scarf from her head and shoulders to use? Even a sinful mother would make this type of preparation. It is offensive to claim that Mary did not prepare cloths for the infant Jesus, but merely used a scarf that she was wearing.

Emma claims that the three kings were present at the time of the Birth, to offer their gifts. She claims that "the black king was pouring myrrh," which she describes as a type of fragrant oil.

According to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the Christmas star appeared to the three kings as a sign in the sky at the time of the Birth of Jesus. They understood that a remarkable King had been born. And it was then that the three kings (the three magi or wisemen, as they are called) began their journey, which took about one month (Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chapter XI). Therefore, Emma Guzman's claim that the three kings were present at the time of the Birth of Jesus is false.

According to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, the three kings had different skin colors, one was a brownish hue, one a darker brown, and one was light-skinned. This latter king was the one who brought the myrrh, and the other two kings brought gold and incense. Therefore, Emma Guzman's claim that "the black king" brought the gift of myrrh is contradicted by a more reliable source.

More importantly, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes myrrh as a plant, not an oil. The king who brought myrrh brought the actual plant, not an oil. Therefore, it would not be possible for any of the three kings to be "pouring myrrh" as Emma Guzman claims.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich: "After him came Theokeno, the white-skinned one and the oldest. He was very old and heavy and was not able to kneel down; but he stood bowing low and placed on the table a golden vessel containing a delicate green plant. It seemed to be rooted; it was a tiny green upright tree, very delicate, bearing curly foliage with little delicate white flowers. It was myrrh. His gift was myrrh, because it symbolizes mortification and the overcoming of passions…." (Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 160 ebook version).

This myrrh given to Christ as His Birth symbolized His later Passion and death: "After the Apostles had gone away, the women continued their preparation of the body for burial. They laid bunches of myrrh in the arm-pits and bosom, and filled with it the spaces between the shoulders and round the neck, chin, and cheeks; the feet, too, were completely embedded in bunches of herbs. Then they crossed the arms on the breast, wrapped the holy body in a great grave-cloth, and wound it round with a band fastened under one arm so that it looked like a child in swaddling-clothes." (Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p. 226 ebook version).

In conclusion, there are numerous factual errors in the brief set of claims make by Emma Guzman about the Birth of Jesus, supposedly based on a vision from God. Her entire description, almost on every point, is contradicted by the descriptions given by Saint Bridget and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. Therefore, Emma Guzman's claimed vision cannot be from God.

Alleged Messages from John the Apostle

10/28/1995 alleged message of John, the Apostle and Gospel writer: "Little children of me, not every spirit believe ye, but prove the spirits if of God, they are because many false prophets have gone forth into the world…. Every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ in the flesh having come of God, is. Every spirit which not confesses Jesus of God, not is, and that is the spirit of anti-Christs…. Ye of God are children of me and have overcome them, because greater is the one in ye, than the one in the world. We of God hears us, he who is not of God hears not us."

Saint John the Gospel writer certainly could express himself eloquently, even when he was in this life, for His Gospel is eloquent and profound. And now that he has the Beatific Vision of God, his use of language must be perfectly eloquent and filled with knowledge and wisdom. But the above quote, supposedly from him, shows a severe inability to express even one coherent sentence in English. This is characteristic of messages from fallen angels, for they have no grace, no faith, and they do not have any human language as their natural speech. Furthermore, the message is nothing but a rephrasing of verses from the Letters of John. A supernatural message from Heaven would not be needed to badly rephrase what is already in the Bible. Again, this is characteristic of false private revelations; they take verses from the Bible and rephrase them in order to make the messages seem genuine, but the rephrasing shows no understanding of the meaning of the verses.

10/4/1995 John: "If you say, 'I love God,' and you hate your brother, your neighbor, I will tell, you are a liar…. For this is the command, those who love God must love their brothers and neighbors."

Most of this message is merely odd re-phrasing of verses from the Bible. The messages of false private revelations often take passage from the Bible and rephrase them, in order to sound more genuine. But in this case, combining brother and neighbors does not make sense. The commandment to love your neighbor as yourself uses the word 'neighbor' to refer to all persons. Similarly, other passages use 'brother' to refer to all persons. So saying that you must love your brothers AND neighbors does not make sense, since either one of those words is used to indicate all persons; they are not two separate groups.

10/20/1995 John: "My children, I write always, don't be sinners. Anyone that talks about a sinner and teaches sinners to sin, is himself a sinner, even if he doesn't actually commit the sin. If you do not do either one of these, you are not a sinner."

Notice the awkward use of language, and the simplistic and superficial expression of ideas. The claim that some of us are not sinners is false; we are all sinners. The claim that 'anyone that talks about a sinner' thereby sins is false. Obviously, teaching sinners to sin would be a sin, but merely talking about a sinner is not a sin. If the real John the Apostle were to give a message from Heaven, it would show the profound yet subtle wisdom of God. But this message, and many others like it, are at best superficial, and at worst false teachings.

There are a number of other messages which also take passages from the letters of John in the New Testament and rephrase them. These messages imply that John the Gospel writer and Apostle was the same John who wrote the letters of John. The problem with this claim is that many Biblical scholars believe that the letters of John were not written by the same John who was an Apostle and Gospel writer, but by another John, called John the Presbyter or Elder, who was a priest, but not an Apostle or Gospel writer.

"The Elder to the Elect Lady, and those born of her, whom I love in the truth…." (2 John 1:1). The messages to Emma reference this verse by using the phrase "the chosen lady, whom I love truly." Other messages also reference the letters of John, all while claiming to be messages from John the Gospel writer.

The description given of the physical appearance of John in the vision is also of John the Gospel writer, who was the youngest of the Apostles: "St. John appeared to me as a very young man, in his twenties." ( Yet the John who wrote the Letters is a different John, one called the Elder; he was an older man who was a priest, not the young man who was an Apostle.

Superficial Teachings

Taken as a set, these messages present a very simplistic and superficial representation of the Catholic Faith. There is no theological depth, no profound insights, no subtleties of distinction, no true wisdom. These messages as a whole do not express, nor even hint at, the breadth and depth of the fullness of truth found in the teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium. True messages from Mary or from any of the Saints would certainly show the profound yet subtle wisdom of God. But these messages never show any of depth or subtlety of understanding; all that is said is superficial.

The Language is not Heavenly

The messages of false private revelations are often characterized by worldly or odd language, awkward phrases, and improper grammar. This occurs because many false private revelations are from fallen angels, who do not have any human language as their native speech. But messages of true private revelation from the Virgin Mary do not show this type of inept expression of language because Mary has the Beatific Vision of God. She cannot err in any way, not even in language or expression. The fact that some of the messages are translated into English from other languages is not sufficient to explain all of the language problems. Some of the messages are given in English, and for those that are not, translation error cannot explain every oddity of expression, nor the theological errors, nor the superficial nature of the content.

An Error about Guardian Angels

02/01/1997: "Tonight, I am sending you, your guardian angels."

Jesus said that our guardians angels are continually before the Father in Heaven: "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." (Mt 18:10). Each person's guardian angels is also continually interceding on his or her behalf before God.

So this message cannot be true, which claims that Mary said she would send to particular persons their guardian angels 'tonight'. It does not make sense to speak as if guardian angels are only assisting us from time to time, or as if the guardian angels are not continually looking upon the face of God the Father in Heaven.

An Error about Miracles

08/09/2006: "Your prayer is a miracle, my children. You are here praying together and that is a miracle."

It is not true that merely praying is itself a miracle. Neither is it true that a group of persons praying together is a miracle. Only the supernatural acts of God are miracles. Our acts are not miracles. The Virgin Mary would not make this type of basic theological error.

An Error about Mary's Title

The Virgin Mary is correctly called the Mediatrix of grace, because she has the role of assisting Christ in all that He does for our salvation, including His role as Mediator. She is also the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and so she assists the Holy Spirit in dispensing grace. However, she is not the Mediatrix of all graces. Mary cannot mediate grace between the Divine Nature and the human nature of Christ, for that would violate the perfect union of His two Natures (called the hypostatic union). And she is not the Mediatrix of the graces that she herself receives, since then she is the recipient. Some false private revelations claim that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces.

However, this claimed private revelation distorts this title further, by changing the word Mediatrix to Mother.

7-8/09/2007: "I am the Mother of All Grace(s)."

It sounds nice to say that Mary is the Mother of all graces, but what does that mean? She is the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God. She is our Mother. But she is not the Mother of grace. A person can be a father or a mother to another person, but not to grace, which is a quality in the soul, not a being. It does not make sense to say that Mary is the Mother of grace. The gift of grace is an effect in our souls caused directly by God. To say that Mary is the 'Mother' of grace is nonsensical; it is theologically incoherent.

Exaltation of the Visionary and the Messages

These messages frequently mention individual persons by name. The visionary Emma is often mentioned and complemented, with the claim that she is an 'instrument' of the Virgin Mary. Other persons within this group, those who believe and assist Emma Guzman, are also mentioned and complemented by name in the messages. This approach is typical of false private revelations. The messages shower the visionary and supporters with complements, in much the same manner that a con artist will shower his mark with complements, so as to more easily deceive.

The members of this group exalt Emma Guzman. At one point, she claimed to be suffering scourges on her back, like Jesus during the Passion, and so her followers were touching her back, and kissing her back. They claim that Emma is saving souls by her sufferings. They claim that fragrance emanates from wounds in Emma's back.

28/03/1997: " 'Every scourge you got on your back saves many lost souls.'… Emma felt the graces from her back so we all touched it. I kissed it and we put our religious articles on her wounds. The fragrance was so beautiful."

These messages treat Emma as if she were an object of worship. Her followers are treating her as an object of worship, as a substitute for Jesus the Savior. This type of exaltation of a visionary is indicative of false private revelation. The Virgin Mary does not lead the faithful to worship a visionary. True private revelation never leads its recipients even to venerate a visionary or locutionist. Only false private revelations have this type of exaltation and false worship.

Another message ( claims that Jesus sent 12 persons to pray with Emma and to focus on what would be happening to Emma. The same message claims that Emma was wearing the crown of thorns. She did not see a vision of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns, as many Saints have seen, but rather she herself wore the crown of thorns. Instead of a vision of Jesus suffering for our salvation, she herself is claimed to be suffering in order to save souls. Emma Guzman is presented as if she were a substitute for Jesus, as if she were to be followed and worshiped, as if she had her own 12 apostles.

The messages of Emma Guzman promote herself and her own messages, encouraging listeners not to be skeptical about the messages.

29/06/1998: "Don't focus on your skepticism or worry who is right or wrong. Always listen to my messages, because if you follow my messages, you follow the word of my Son Jesus."

This message does not direct listeners to Sacred Scripture or to the teaching of the Church, but to the messages themselves. These messages become the word of Jesus, instead of Scripture, for those who follow Emma Guzman. In addition, this encouragement not to worry about who is right or wrong in effect asks them to blindly follow the messages. This approach of blind trust is not found in true private revelations.

Signs and Wonders

Signs and wonders sometimes accompany these apparitions and messages to Emma. Although many of the faithful assume that such signs are proof that an apparition is genuine, in fact fallen angels are capable of producing various types of signs, lights, images, sounds, wonders, and apparent miracles, by using their natural ability as angels, called preternatural abilities. Jesus warned us not to be deceived by such false signs:

{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.

Saint Paul also warned us not to be deceived by "every kind of power and signs and false miracles" (2 Thess 2:9).

The signs and wonders associated with this claimed private revelation to Emma Guzman include apparent wounds on her body. This type of false stigmata is known to occur in other false visionaries, such as Christina Gallagher, Marisa Rossi, Julia Kim (Youn), and others.

Sometimes the signs and wonders are odd and not particularly Christian in nature, such as this claim ( that "multicoloured sparkles appeared in her socks… In the morning, the sparkles had moved from inside the socks to the outside." Sparkles on socks is not a miracle from God, nor a sign from Heaven. This is the type of empty but showy sign that is indicative of false private revelation. Similarly, her website states: "On multiple occasions Emma's body has been covered with multi-colored glitter." Again, this is not the type of sign or wonder associated with Saints or with true private revelation.

Writing without Free Will

Emma: "And I felt the inspiration to write something and started to move my Hands. And after I wrote something, which I didn't even know what I was writing, St. John told me that Our Lady was coming to visit us today." (

When God revealed Divine Revelation, in Sacred Scripture, He did not use any of the sacred authors as mere physical objects (like a pen or a pencil). He did not cause them to write without knowing what they were writing. Rather, he made use of them as true authors (cf. Vatican II, Dei Verbum, n. 11), so that they understood what they were writing and they freely chose to write what they understood to be true. The Holy Spirit inspired the sacred authors by His grace, so that their writings would include all those things and only those things that God willed. But He never acts contrary to, or without the full cooperation of, the intellect and free will of the author.

Similarly, when God reveals a private revelation, He does not use a visionary or locutionist as mere physical object (like a pen or pencil). He does not cause them to write without knowing what they are writing. When a visionary claims that someone controlled her hand, so that she writes without knowing what she is writing, this is the work of fallen angels. Neither God, nor the Virgin Mary, nor anyone in Heaven would take control of a person to act through that person, without that person's knowledge and free will. To do so would be a sin.

Eschatological Errors

14/08/1996: "Please stand firm because the great apostasy is spreading everywhere…. The great tribulation is here…. The great chastisement is here in this world…."

Notice the date on the above message: 1996. As I write this article in April, 2010, it is now more than 13 years since this claim was made and the tribulation has not yet begun. It could not possibly be the case that the 'great tribulation' which is also called 'the great chastisement' has occurred but no one noticed. Although every year in this world contains many sufferings, nothing as severe as Sacred Scripture describes of the tribulation has yet occurred.

The great apostasy is an event predicted by Scripture to occur during the tribulation. The sin of apostasy is the complete abandonment of the Christian Faith. The great apostasy is an event whereby most Catholics leave the Faith; they commit the sin of apostasy. Obviously, this event has not yet occurred.

08/12/2006: "I am asking my children to be prepared and to be purified for His second coming."

Now is not the time of the Second Coming of Jesus. The tribulation has not yet begun, and when it does begin it is divided into two parts. The first part and the second part are separated, in the view of many scholars, by a lengthy period of time. So, since the tribulation has not yet begun, this generation is not the generation who will see the Return of Jesus. Also, in my study of claimed private revelations, I have noticed that only false private revelations (identified because they teach serious doctrinal errors) claim that Jesus is returning for this generation. None of the true private revelations make such a claim.

Therefore, the above message claiming that the great apostasy and the great tribulation were occurring in 1996 is a false message, which cannot possibly be from God, or the Virgin Mary, or from Heaven at all.


These messages contain a number of doctrinal errors, as well as eschatological errors. The rest of the messages contain only a superficial presentation of the Catholic Faith. Emma Guzman's vision of the Birth of Christ is contradicted by the visions of Saint Bridget and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. The messages exalt this visionary and her adherents to the point of venerating and even worshipping her. The signs and wonders accompanying these apparitions can be explained by the actions of fallen angels. In particular, the 'sign' whereby something or someone took control of her hand, and wrote a message without her knowledge or choice, so that she was used like an object, not a person, indicates the action of fallen angels, not God.

Therefore, in my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian, the messages and claimed private revelations to Emma Guzman are not true private revelations from Heaven, but are false messages and false signs from fallen angels.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
April 10, 2010

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