notes on apparitions
2. A proliferation of claimed apparitions featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, has occurred over the past two centuries.
3. The preponderance of known claimed apparitions of Mary seem to have occurred to Catholics or to people within Catholic influenced cultures.
4. The Catholic Church has never formally requested or required of those who wish to consider themselves Catholic that they should believe in any claimed apparition of Mary or of anyone else.
5. The most significant claimed apparitions of Mary, and therefore the ones most worthy of investigative scrutiny, in my opinion are: The Rue De Bac (Paris France 1830's), La Salette (France 1848), Lourdes (France 1850's), Champion Wisconsin (USA), Pontmain (France 1870's), Knock (Ireland 1870's), Fatima (Portugal 1917), Beauraing, Banneux, Harlem (Netherlands 1950's), Syracusa (Sicily 1950's), Zeitoun (Egypt 1960's and 1970's), Akita (Japan 1970's), Kibeho (Rwanda Africa 1980's), and Medjugorje (1980's to present day).
6. The claimed apparitions at Garabandal in Spain in the 1960's are also worthy of study with a weather eye on the possibility of fraud or of little girls self hypnotising. Any lessons learned from Garabandal should be borne in mind in the consideration of other apparitions involving small children or teenage girls.
7. The possibility of a supernatural causality, (either in the form of presence of the forces of good or the forces of evil), should not be ruled out in any genuine enquiry into any claimed apparition.
8. The Catholic Church has recommended,with greater and lesser conviction, various apparitions as worthy of belief. As previously stated the Church has never demanded or requested of its adherents that they believe in any claimed apparition.
9. I use the phrase "greater conviction" and "lesser conviction" to differentiate the Church's recommendations of different apparitions. The "recommendation with greater conviction" would arise where a broad coalition of senior figures within the Church have pronounced positively over many years on a particular apparition. This has happened at Lourdes and Fatima.
10. The "recommendation with lesser conviction" in my view correctly describes positive recommendations of an apparition which have largely stemmed from a single local Bishop with a possible vested interest in promoting the apparition as genuine. This has happened at Harlem in the Netherlands, at Akita and at Champion Wisconsin in the USA. Both Harlem and Akita feature a claimed manifestation of Mary under the title Our Lady Of All Nations. Although the recommendations of both have come from local Church investigations, they may still be genuine as may the claimed apparition at Champion Wisconsin. But the possible lack of objectivity of a local endorsement should be taken into consideration in any investigation.
11. Apparitions involving just one claimant might be more easily faked than apparitions involving groups. Two such apparitions are Lourdes and the Rue De Bac. Lourdes has been accompanied by many reports of miraculous healings which are an important part in any consideration of the claims from that site.
12. Among the most interesting claimed group apparitions for me are Pontmain and Beauraing.
13. Fatima should be the starting point for any assessment of the proliferation of apparitions for the past two hundred years.
14. Fatima is of vital interest to any investigator because at one point during the series of claimed apparitions, tens of thousands of people claimed to have witnessed the sun dancing around the sky and rushing towards the earth.
15. Among the attested witnesses of the claimed solar event at Fatima, were atheists and reporters for the communist newspaper O Secolo.
16. The massive amount of supposed eye witness testimony affirming that some sort of extraordinary solar event occurred at Fatima during a claimed apparition of Mary by three children in October 1917, makes this the primary apparition of the past two hundred years.
17. If Fatima is fake, I'm inclined to think they're all fake.
18. If Fatima is truly an intervention by Mary, through the grace of God, some of the other claimed apparitions may be real.
19. The Catholic Church remains reluctant to issue a final opinion on the ongoing claims of apparitions from Medjugorje.
20. The Catholic Church has refrained from making any statement on the claimed apparitions at Zeitoun in Egypt which are alleged to have taken place from 1968 to 1971, and to have been witnessed by tens of thousands of people. The attestation for Zeitoun is interesting though not as formidable in an evidentiary sense as Fatima. The claimed events at Zeitoun involved bright light phenomena and an apparent human figure walking on the curved domes of a church building. The events took place at night. It would be necessary for any investigation to eliminate the possibility of a contrived light show being used to deceive the supposed tens of thousands of witnesses. If this possibility can be excluded, Zeitoun becomes very interesting indeed. The Catholic Church has chosen not to comment on Zeitoun out of respect for the Egyptian Coptic Church. In the event that the Egyptian Coptic Church unifies with the Catholic Church, we could expect a Catholic Church opinion to be published on the claimed events at Zeitoun.