‘Apparitions are Bible-based’ – Mariologist

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MANDALUYONG City, May 25, 2014—One of the Philippine’s foremost Catholic faith defenders maintained that Church-approved Marian apparitions, like the ones in Fátima and Lourdes, are grounded on Scripture because “Our God is a God who reveals”.

Lawyer Marwil Llasos, O.P., who is also a noted Mariologist, made this statement Saturday, May 24, in response to charges from anti-Catholic groups that Marian apparitions are unbiblical, if not outright “satanic”.

Llasos explained that it is necessary to make a distinction between “public Divine Revelation”, which is already complete, and “private, personal revelations”, which continue to this day and of which the Bible has something positive to say.

John 16:12-14 reads, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority… He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you”.

Also, in Acts 2:17-19, mirroring Joel 2:28, of the Protestant-produced Amplified Bible says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams … Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom] … And I will show wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and smoking vapor.”

Llasos detailed, “Public Revelation is what God has revealed to the whole Church for all times and places until Christ comes again to end world history…ßThe Church teaches that this public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle.”

He stressed that public Revelation is binding on the Church and individual Catholics.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) declares that “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ … Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.”

But Llasos pointed out that private revelations do not form part of what the Church refers to as Depositum Fidei (Deposit of Faith) which all the faithful must believe in order to be saved.

He said, “Private revelations are never judged necessary for the faith of the Church, or even of an individual Catholic. The Church’s approval does not mean that Catholics must believe them, but only that they are permitted to believe them because they do not conflict with any known dogma of the Church.”

Catholic apologist and Marian expert Atty. Marwil Llasos explains why Catholics believe in apparitions like the ones of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima, Portugal and Lourdes, France. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

Llasos further noted that Marian apparitions teach nothing new and that they neither add to nor detract from the Deposit of Faith, but that the Blessed Mother appears to remind the faithful about important things like going to mass, praying, fear of hell, among others.

“It is not a sin not to believe in Fátima, but with the graces in store, it is highly recommended to do,” he added.

He warned that Catholics should practice discernment when it comes to apparitions and other “signs”, avoiding the extremes of vain incredulity (uncritical acceptance) and cold disbelief (total skepticism).

We must let the Magisterium of the Church, our Mother, guide us, he said. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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