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The Pope is mysterious. We don't know from one day to the next what he might say, which has added excitement, for sure, to the papacy. He has rattled the cages of traditionalists (saying they're "living in the past"), conservatives (saying there's too much emphasis on abortion and gays), internet bloggers (excoriating them for belligerent, carping tones that "lack courage"), the rich (for not sharing money with the poor),  those who have material gains through dishonest means (the Church doesn't want their donations), the worldly (for being, well, worldly), "adolescent progressives," dioceses for being too bureaucratic, parishes for not reaching out to laity, and even some of those who follow Marian visionaries. He said atheists can get to Heaven and that folks should fight evil according to how they define good and darkness.

Let's stay for a moment on the seers.

Last week, the Pope cited the danger of too much "curiosity," noting that it impels us to want to feel that the Lord is here or rather there, or leads us to say: “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady.” The Pope commented: “But, look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.”

Such responses to these situations, he affirmed, “distance us from the Gospel, from the Holy Spirit, from peace and wisdom, from the glory of God, from the beauty of God.”

Coming less than a week after news that the papal ambassador to the U.S. has for now closed down public apparitions by a visionary from Medjugorje (at the request of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), it naturally made some wonder if the Pope himself was alluding to the famed but as yet unapproved (currently under study) site in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Three of the six seers still receive apparitions every day. (In accordance with the Church, we'll use the adverb "allegedly.")

Was the Pope referring to that reputed site, or to a number of other alleged seers and locutionists who regularly -- some daily -- likewise dispense messages (especially on his native continent of South America)?

Also interesting: what is a "curiosity"? In the Bible, one might cite examples of any number of curious things, from fish with coins in their mouths or earthbound manna and a rod that comes to life and healings with mud and crowing roosters and quakes at the moment of Crucifixion and that star above Bethlehem and a voice from a light and the visions of Ezekiel and a healing by simply touching the fabric of His robe and the demons in swine and a pillar of light to guide folks and: well, the list goes on.

There is stigmata. There have been levitating saints. There have been miraculous statues fully approved by the official Church (including one from Medjugorje). How to discern them?

Fascinating times! Hold on to your seat. Many cages are being rattled. Many need to be rattled. We all can use that rattling from time to time.

God bless our Pope.

But we would like to add this:

There certainly are many Church-approved apparitions and messages that speak or spoke specifically (see: Kibeho, Rwanda; see Fatima; see the Miraculous Medal, the anniversary of which is this month; see Akita, Japan; see Champion, Wisconsin) about the future. We are a prophetic Church. Prophecy is described by Scripture as a major gift of the Holy Spirit. There are "apocalyptic" images such as those in the Fatima secret.

In so many messages -- "alleged" and otherwise -- we keep hearing the same theme: time is short. The Blessed Mother can not forever hold back the "arm of her Son."

It's a message, however, that is currently preached only to the "choir."

Marian folks hear such missives time and again (and again)...

Obviously, the Blessed Mother wants others -- wants everyone -- to hear it.

Not the end of the world, but purification; the Spirit works that way; there are signs in every age.

This is where the Church enters.

The Vatican has one of the world's loudest "megaphones." It has the ear of the media. This Pope is particularly newsworthy. He has been remarkable. He says to evangelize.

Perhaps Rome can take just one approved revelation -- say, Kibeho (where Mary said her dire warnings pertained to all nations, from this apparition sanctioned at the Vatican itself) -- and bullhorn her urgent missives from there to the entire world?

That too would cause a stir.

It might also cause a huge effect.

It seems to be, dear Church (everywhere), what she clearly intended.


--Michael H. Brown

[resources: Fear of Fire and Our Lady of Kibeho; also: Michael Brown retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina: afterlife, spiritual; warfare, family healing]

[photo above left from the Miracle Hunter website]

[see also: Pope: beware the 'spirit of curiosity']

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