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The Catholic Faith
and Special Revelations

When Our Lord asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" they answered, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." When He asked, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter gave Him the correct answer: "You are Christ, the Son of the living God," (Matthew 16:13-16).

We could ask ourselves similar questions about the special revelations from the Lord in places like Guadalupe Mexico; Lourdes, France; Fatima, Portugal; Naju, Korea; and elsewhere: "What are these special revelations? What are they for?" Some may say, "They are miraculous signs," others: "They are prophecies concerning the Church and the world," and still others: "People are being healed of their illnesses," or "They experience spiritual conversions." Those who have negative opinions may say, "They are superstitions," "They are cults," "They are for the fanatics and fundamentalists," or "They are not important. We’d better ignore them."

Before we can find the correct answer as to what special revelations really are, it would be helpful to review the basic teaching about human salvation, which is the core of the Christian Faith.

Because of the original sin committed by our first ancestors and our own actual sins, we humans faced the dire outlook of eternal separation from God. But the light of hope indicating the real possibility of salvation beamed on us when God the Son took human nature, was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered death under Pontius Pilate, offering up the perfect atonement for human sins to God the Father. Christ resurrected on the third day and, forty days later, ascended into Heaven, not leaving His followers as orphans, but sending the Holy Spirit ten days later, formally launching the Church on earth as His Mystical Body and His instrument of human salvation. He established both (1) the hierarchy of shepherds in the Church to look after the faithful and (2) the seven Sacraments in order to perpetuate His Presence and streams of His saving graces in the Church. Also, to protect His followers from errors and nurture them with His teachings, He entrusted to the Church all the divinely-revealed truths as the Deposit of Faith. This is the essence of God’s plan of human salvation that He established through the Son and accomplishes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because this is God’s plan, no one can alter it or add to it until its full completion.

The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and 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

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #66

This teaching that the revealed truths become more explicit over time does not imply that the contents of the truths can change or that their interpretation is left to the discretion of individuals or the inclinations of the times, as the correct interpretation of the revealed truths can only be obtained with the help of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to the teaching authority in the Church. Regarding special revelations (also sometimes called "private revelations"), the Church teaches as follows:

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept ‘revelations’ that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such ‘revelations.’

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #67

Now, based on the above Church teachings, we may answer the question about special revelations. First of all, it is clear that the messages and miraculous signs in special revelations are not intended to alter, improve or add anything to the contents of the existing Deposit of Faith. The only purpose of special revelations is to refresh and deepen people’s understanding of the divinely-revealed truths and help them adhere more faithfully to them in their lives. Therefore, authentic special revelations are not in competition with the Church, but only play the supportive role of making the Church more productive in sanctifying her members and evangelizing the world.

Especially in times like ours when people’s lives are so soaked in materialism and geared for material gains and our intellect is so limited to the level of our physical senses, our sensitivity to the supernatural reality from God tends to be feeble or almost non-existent. We have developed an almost total indifference to the supernatural truths and graces that have been available through the Church in her entire two thousand-year history. In such times, the heavenly messages and miraculous signs may have a powerful effect of waking us up to the supernatural inner reality hidden behind the visible signs and to its eternal value and beauty.

For example, Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist has always been taught in the Church, but many people especially in the modern times find it difficult to accept the supernatural reality of Our Lord’s Presence hidden behind the sacramental signs of bread and wine. In such times, miraculous changes in the Eucharistic species into flesh and blood can shock people’s minds to take the Church teaching on the Eucharist more seriously.

Likewise, many Popes and numerous Saints have clearly and eloquently taught the Blessed Mother’s essential role for human salvation, but many of the Church members in our times, who have been influenced by the liberal and Protestant errors especially since the end of the Second Vatican Council, do not know the truths about the Blessed Mother well and only give her a superficial devotion. In such times, special revelations can awaken us to the Blessed Mother’s essential role of assisting her Divine Son in human salvation (as Eve played the essential role of assisting Adam in his fall) and to our need for total reliance on and dedication to Our Lady as our own Mother and Queen. (For more information on this subject, please see another article later in this publication: We Must Restore Our Sense of the Supernatural.)

There also is nothing new about the messages in Naju regarding abortions. The Commandment banning murder has always been written in human consciences and was solemnly reconfirmed through Moses. Also, after the Blessed Virgin Mary was visited by Archangel Gabriel and conceived the Baby Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, she visited St. Elizabeth to assist her as she had already been pregnant for six months with the Baby John the Baptist. When the Baby John heard the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he leapt for joy (Luke 1:44). At that moment, the Baby John was cleansed of original sin by the grace from the Holy Spirit. This clearly shows that the babies in mother’s wombs are truly human persons. Their tiny size should not mislead anyone to speculate that they may be anything less. But many people ignore this fact and treat the unborn babies as if they were an unwanted, removable body part. The abortion rate is especially high in South Korea, North Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, as more than half of all pregnancies in these countries end in abortions. No wonder the Blessed Mother weeps tears of blood in Naju.

Thus, special revelations are not additions of any new teachings to the already-existing Deposit of Faith that Our Lord entrusted to His Church but are for the specific purpose of assisting the Church in the sanctification of her members and the evangelization of the whole world. Special revelations bear good fruit only when they lead people to become more loyal to the Church and her teachings, more diligent in assisting at Mass and receiving the Sacraments, more sincere in offering authentic devotions and prayers, more obedient, loving and supportive to the Pope, Bishops, and priests, and more charitable and forgiving toward everyone. If we are faithful to God’s Will in giving us the gifts of special revelations, we will bear abundant fruit for the Church thanks to them, as clearly seen in the massive conversion of millions of people in Mexico to the Catholic Faith and an end to the terrible idolatrous practice of human sacrifices thanks to the miraculous image and messages brought by the Blessed Mother through a humble servant of hers: St. Juan Diego.

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