Please note that "unapproved" in this connection means "unapproved by the Universal Church" - some of these, including Amsterdam and Akita, have received forms of local episcopal approval - this is not necessarily the same as approval by the whole Church though. These two are classed as "controverted" in this section rather than unapproved.
Details of Recommended Books
1978 Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith document on apparition discernment
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New: Dialogue Ireland is an independent Trust promoting awareness and understanding of New Religious Movements and cultism, at the service of the churches, religions and Irish society.
This section of the site looks at unapproved apparitions and the ways in which they differ from those which have been approved by the Church.
The following passage from St Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin indicates the correct attitude that should be taken towards unapproved apparitions. Although he lived before the era of the major modern approved apparitions, beginning with Rue du Bac, and he is here dealing with the difference between false and authentic devotion to Mary, his words can still be applied to the problem of apparition discernment.
"...it is all the more necessary to make the right choice of the true devotion to our Blessed Lady, for now more than ever there are false devotions to her which can easily be mistaken for true one. The devil, like a counterfeiter and crafty, experienced deceiver, has already misled and ruined many Christians by means of fraudulent devotions to Our Lady.
"Day by day he uses his diabolical experience to lead many more to their doom, fooling them, lulling them to sleep in sin and assuring them that a few prayers, even badly said, and a few exterior practices inspired by himself, are authentic devotions.
"A counterfeiter usually makes coins only of gold or silver, rarely of other metals, because the latter would not be worth the trouble. Similarly, the devil leaves other devotions alone and counterfeits mostly those directed to Jesus and Mary ... It is therefore very important, first to recognise false devotions to our Blessed Lady so as to avoid them, and to recognise true devotion in order to practice it." (nn. 90-91)
If we mentally substitute the word "apparition" for "devotion" in the above passage, we can have a good idea of how important it is to differentiate between true and false apparitions, and also see how there must be many reports of false apparitions in circulation today.
Thus this section of the site deals with those apparitions and other phenomena which, for whatever reason, can be regarded as unapproved. This includes apparitions such as Akita and Betania, because although they have apparently gained the support of the local bishop, this support has not been translated into the approval of the Universal Church - individual bishops are not infallible.
Part of this section deals with false visions which have followed recognised apparitions, as was the case at Lourdes, Knock and Beauraing. However, this section deals mostly with those apparitions and other "mystical" phenomena which have not been approved. This is not to suggest that they are all necessarily false, although undoubtedly a good many are.
Attention is focused on those apparitions which seem to have had a significant impact in that they still attract support, or which, by very reason of their notoriety, have important lessons to teach us about the discernment of genuine apparitions.
Thus this section will look at alleged apparitions such as those at , Montichiari ("Rosa Mystica"), Necedah, Garabandal, San Damiano, Bayside, Betania, Medjugorje, Surbiton (Patricia/Divine Innocence), and Scottsdale, amongst others.
Amsterdam and Akita are regarded as "controverted" apparitions, for the purposes of this section, since although they have receivied local episcopal approval, there are certainly legitimate concerns about them which need to be aired.
This section will also look at individuals who claim to be the recipients of "mystical" experiences such as visions and locutions, including Fr Gobbi, Christina Gallagher, Patricia de Menezes/Divine Innocence, the Little Pebble, Vassula Ryden, Maria Valtorta and Luisa Piccarreta.
False Popes and Sedevacantists also find a place here.
Where these have been explicitly rejected by the Church the reasons for this rejection will be examined, and in addition, the content and activities of these visions and visionaries will be investigated in the light of the approved Marian apparitions.