Introduction to
Apparitions of Mary

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Contents

Introduction

Guadalupe, the Reformation, and Secularization

The Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Catholic Revival

Lourdes and Darwin's theory of Evolution

Pontmain and Knock Apparitions

Fatima and the Russian Revolution

Beauraing, Banneux, and the rise of Nazism

Conclusion

Introduction

This booklet looks at the nine major Marian apparitions that have occurred during the last five centuries or so, and which the Catholic Church has decided to accept as authentic.

It relates them to secular happenings, exploring the idea that they parallel important "revolutionary" events in modern Western history, such as the Reformation, the French and Russian Revolutions, and the rise of Nazism.

It is argued that the major modern apparitions of the Mother of Jesus, as approved by the Catholic Church, and particularly Fatima, are not random or historically inconsequential events, but actually seem to follow a preordained plan.

Thus they have a crucial importance if we are to understand the events of the last five hundred years which have so shaped the modern world. The cumulative effect of these revolutions has been the development of the present immoral and unjust world-wide civilization, which has been aptly described by the Pope as a "culture of death."

However, there is a remedy to all this evil and that is acceptance of the teaching of the Church, particularly as it is expressed in the message of Fatima. The power of this message is evident in the huge changes that have taken place in Russia and its former satellites since the collegial consecration carried out in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.

Russia has not yet been converted but it is evident that the power of communism has been largely broken. This evil though has been replaced by another in the form of a global atheistic ideology, one based on materialistic evolution, which threatens to destroy any remnants of Christian morality.

In answer to the threat represented by these successive revolutions, Mary has repeatedly appeared and asked for repentance, a turning away from sin, if the most awful disasters are to be avoided. As the spiritual Mother of mankind she cannot stand idly by and watch humanity destroy itself through sin and selfishness.

Her apparitions have played a large part in the major Catholic renewals of recent centuries, and if the message of Fatima is heeded then the Church can again experience a renaissance. As the details of the Fatima message make clear, this is necessary if we are to have true peace in the world.

This booklet also explores some interesting typological affinities between the Marian apparitions and incidents found in the Bible. That is it looks at the idea that each of the apparitions has a biblical type, a symbolic representation, in the same way that many of the incidents in the Gospel accounts of Jesus have an Old Testament type to which they correspond.

An example of this is the typological identification made between Abraham's son Isaac, who carried the wood for his own sacrificial fire on his back, and Christ, who carried the cross on his back to Calvary (Gen 22:1-19; Jn 19:17).

These typologies mainly concern biblical types of Mary identified by the Church Fathers, and found between the books of Genesis and Ezekiel.

Looking at the historical processes which have led to the modem world, in the light of the Marian apparitions, we can say that the Protestant Reformation represents the crucial break in the ideal and reality of Christendom, with Guadalupe in Mexico, in 1531, being Mary's response to that particular revolution.

The events connected with Catherine Labouré and the miraculous medal at Rue du Bac in 1830, which coincided with the Paris Revolution of that year, happened in the aftermath of the French revolution.

Likewise, the apparition at La Salette in 1846 took place shortly before the European revolutionary outbursts of 1848, while Lourdes in 1858 occurred just a year before the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species, an event which represents the beginning of the modern atheistic intellectual revolution.

The apparition at Pontmain in France, in 1871, took place at the time of the Franco-Prussian War, while the apparition at Knock in Ireland, in 1879, fortified the Irish in their struggle against religious and social oppression.

The apparitions at Fatima in Portugal, in 1917, took place just as the Russian Revolution was unfolding, while those at Beauraing and Banneux, in 1930s Belgium, happened just as Hitler was coming to power in Germany.

The above nine major apparitions, which are generally recognized as the most important Marian apparitions, have all enjoyed various degrees of Church recognition. In most cases this has included Episcopal sanction, liturgical grants, the building of a basilica, and Papal approval, as well as continuing large scale pilgrimages.


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