The option of believing in the Marian apparitions

Im confused by this. This Church is saying that one may believe them, but that it is not necessary to do so. If it is not necessary to believe in the approved Marian apparitions (eg. Fatima, Guadelupe), doesnt that mean that the Church doesnt believe them to be true apparitions? If they are true shouldnt they be formally recognised?

Why would God give the Church an unclear message?

The Church’s message IS clear about approved apparitions – approval means there is nothing contrary to the faith and it is SAFE to believe in it/them if you chose to.

See this Q&A from Ask an Apologist area on the topic:

The silly nonsence of people seeing Mary in everything is not only an embarassment to Catholics, but unfortunately gets associated with all Christianity as well. I wish RCC officials would denounce these embarassing incidents that are a stumbling block to any normal person from taking the faith seriously.

I have seen two of these absurd supposed visions. In one Mary appeared in a salt stain on an overpass. In the other she was in the discoloration of the tinted glass of an office building. People gathering with candles, selling tapes, and worshipping a window discoloration proves the stereotype of Christians as being gullible fools.


How does an apparition being classed as safe for Catholics to believe in mean that they were real? I could say I saw an apparition (from a saint or the Blessed Virgin) and declare I heard a message about the Church that are in line with her doctrines, but that doesnt mean I really saw an apparition.

How do we know the messages (if they were fake) that they werent made to be conservative deliberately (to appear real)?

Approved apparitions can safely be believed to not have been faked or due to naturally occurring events. It is generally not easy to get an apparition/apparition site approved by the Church as there are as many safeguards against being tricked into approving a manufactured event as humanly possible. Your example of claiming to have seen something and hearing something would probably not stand up to investigation.

We’re talking about CHURCH APPROVED Apparitions.

No. You’re not forced to believe in any individual miracle as an article of faith. If someone gets healed, or claims to have been healed, the Church does not FORCE you to accept it, or else expel you. It doesn’t work like that. Only the basic formal doctrines of the church HAVE to be accepted by believers.

The church says “This apparition or this miracle has been investigated and shows all the signs of being a true miracle, worthy of belief.” You are not forced to accept that individual miracle, but the Church has told you that it has been investigated and is considered genuine.

the Church does not pronounce on apparitions, the Church pronounces on private revelation allegedly received during such events. Since nothing new can be added to public revelation, which closed with the death of the last apostle, any such heavenly messages or locutions claimed by anyone, even a saint, are private revelation, and if true, apply to the person or persons, time and place, whom the heavenly personage is addressing. If the Church after due examination finds the messages support existing doctrine and do not contradict Divine Revelation, doctrine, teaching and practice of the Church, she will permit the faithful to attend to the message, but will not order any general acceptance of the message, because there is no need to do so, as the message only iterates what is already part of revelation and doctrine.

The teaching authority of the Church can definitively teach that an alleged doctrine contained in a claimed private revelation is false; this implies necessarily that the claimed private revelation itself is false. A true private revelation would be from God or from Heaven, and God cannot say anything false, nor can anyone with the Beatific Vision of God in Heaven say anything false (for they see with their whole selves the Truth that is God).

However, strictly speaking, it is the temporal authority of the Church that passes judgment on a claimed private revelation.

A condemnation by the Church of a claimed private revelation that teaches heresy or false doctrine can be certain, with a certitude that is proximate to the certitude accompanying the true doctrine that is contradicted by the claimed private revelation.

An approval by the Church of a true private revelation can never be as certain as a false one that contradicts the Faith, because even if a set of claimed messages of private revelation contain no specific doctrinal errors it still could be invented and not truly from God and Heaven.

This is not the type of apperitions we are talking about. K? We are talking about Mary actually standing there talking to people, stuff like that. Read up on things like Fatima, Guadalupe etc.

The only thing that is approved about any type of private revelation is whether or not it contradicts public revelation which stopped at the death of the last apostle. No apparition may ad or change anything about the deposit of faith.


This isn’t a fair comment. As mentioned above, there is a HUGE difference between apparitions like Fatima, where prophecies came true and over 70,000 people, including many journalists, witnessed public miracles, and seeing a salt stain on an overpass, which is very unlikely to be given anything resembling credibility by the Catholic Church. There are very few apparitions of Mary and Jesus that have actually been sanctioned by the Catholic Church. Further, if it can be proven that an apparition is indeed false, the Catholic Church generally DOES denounce it.

Why would God give a message to the Church that would not be clear to the Church (or maybe cause divisions)? Why would the Blessed Virgin give a message to the Church, if the message would not be accepted as official revelation to the Church?

God would not do that.

It is theologically certain that God does give private revelations to some persons, because many Saints and some Popes have claimed that they have received private revelation, and the Church has confirmed the holiness of these Saints. They could not be lying or mistaken. Also, the sensus fidelium has widely approved of certain claimed private revelations, such as Fatima and Guadalupe. The temporal authority of the Church has permitted pilgrimages to sites of private revelation such as Lourdes and Fatima, and Popes and Bishops have made such pilgrimages.

Therefore, some claimed private revelations are true.

Belief in any particular claimed private revelation is not required, but the belief that no private revelation ever occurs would seem to be contrary to at least the temporal authority of the Church, for this authority has approved of Saints who claimed private revelation, and this authority is led by Popes, a few of whom claimed to have private revelations.

It is also theologically certain that some claimed private revelations are false, in as much as some of these contain teachings that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Faith.

  1. Why could they (saints) not be mistaken? They are only human.

  2. How can you say that some revelations are true, but even those ones are not required to be believed in? I can’t believe God would give a message to someone, that would only be a suggestion.

Probably all the Marian revelations have caused some division. Otherwise, we would be treating them like additional scriptures. I mean, besides God who would be more better to provide revelations than from the Mother of God.

If the Church had no doubts they would fully endorse an apparition wouldnt she?

Why would the Church treat anything like ‘additional scriptures’?

The Church does with Tradition.

Do you think Our Lady would be saying something that is not important? She couldnt help but speak the truth.

The thing that you have to remember is that a private revelation is, first and foremost, a private revelation. Which means that it is specifically a message for the one(s) who receive it directly.

An approved private revelation is one in which the Church has found the message may enhance the spiritual lives of other people (therefore, one may have a devotion to–say, Our Lady of Lourdes), but since we are neither Bernadette nor other individuals of Lourdes in the 19th century, we are not obliged as St. Bernadette was. On the other hand, if that particular apparition does nothing for you spiritually, you are not obliged to make any recognition of it (other than not denying it)–at least, unless you happen to attend a parish named Our Lady of Lourdes, in which case you’re going to probably encounter more than average devotion to that particular apparition. (The same goes for any other approved apparition, just change the names to Fatima/Jacinta, Fernando, and Lucia; or Guadelupe/Juan Diego; and so on.) For these people, belief in the apparition was not an option; for everyone else, it is. Like the Rosary–no one is OBLIGED to say the Rosary (at least, prior to joining a Confraternity, but such action is voluntary itself, and failure to say the Rosary even then isn’t a sin), but millions have found it enhances their spiritual life.

An on-going thing is not going to be approved. No one outside the one receiving that vision should maintain any sort of devotion to it. A false apparition should not have a following at all.

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