10 – A Marian apparition = when Mary is reportedly appearing to a person (or several people) in order to give a supernatural message from God. Generally, the apparitions are given names based on the location of the appearances (e.g. Lourdes, France and Fatima, Portugal)
9 – No person is required to believe in any Marian apparitions. They are considered “private revelations”, even if approved by the Church as authentic. We are only bound to believe in public revelation that came from Jesus Christ and has been passed down to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition – preserved by the Magisterium of the Church.
8 – Catholics are still free to believe in Marian apparitions, even though not required to. The Church may decide that an apparition is worthy of belief, but whether an individual truly does so or not, is left up to the individual.
7 – An authentic Marian apparition will never add or detract anything from the deposit of faith. Part of how an apparition is judged to be authentic or not is dependent on the content of the reported teaching – does it maintain orthodoxy with the teaching handed down from the Apostles?
6 – Generally speaking it takes many years for the Church to make a decision on an authentic apparition. Many non-authentic apparitions are easier to spot, but the Church sees no rush to approve any apparition. The process normally starts at the Diocesan level and may never even make it to the Vatican.
5 – Millions of pilgrims visit apparition sites annually. The most visited site is Guadalupe, which receives over 10 million visits a year. Lourdes and Fatima are the next most-visited.
4 – Stoking the fires of devotion to a non-approved apparition might not be a prudent thing to do. Many good Catholics have a devotion to non-approved apparitions. There is a chance they might not be approved after the investigation is complete. If that happens, there are few good outcomes for the devotees. Some may believe either they believe the Church’s decision is wrong or their faith in the apparition isn’t valid.
3 – The purposes of apparitions is to enliven faith, for the purpose of conversion, and to give a needed message to God’s people. Mary is the great facilitator for the one mediator (her son).
2 – False reports of apparitions can be for a number of reasons. They might be because of hoaxes, a mentally-ill person, or someone might fool themselves into believing they are truly seeing/hearing something they are not.
1 – Devotion to Marian apparitions may help strengthen your faith. Millions of people have come to a deeper love of Christ through devotion to his Blessed Mother’s appearances around the world. They are great signs of God’s loving care for his people and can emphasize a point of faith the world needs to hear at this time.
MARY PRAY FOR US!
Marcel is a husband and father of five, serves on the pastoral council at St. Mary’s and is the founder and Executive Director of Catholic Missionary Disciples.