"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 [collective sense of the faithful] 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).

"It is not obligatory nor even possible to give them (private revelations) the assent of Catholic faith, but only of human faith, in conformity with the dictates of prudence, which presents them to us as probable and worthy of pius belief)" (Benedict XIV, De canon., III, liii, xxii, II).

How This Teaching Exalts Christ

Biblical Basis

"An wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign' (Matt. 12:38).

2 Corinthians 11:14

"Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good" (1 Thess. 5:19-21).

Early Christian Witness


"The vision which I saw, my brethren, was of the following nature . . . [An] old woman approached, accompanied by six young men . . . [And] she said to me . . . 'Lo! do you not see opposite to you a great tower, built upon the waters, of splendid square stones?' For the tower was built square by the six young men who had come with her. But myriads of men were carrying stones to it, some dragging them from the depths, others removing them from the land, and they handed them to these six young men. . . . [And the woman said:] 'The tower which you see building is myself, the Church . . . the tower is built upon the waters . . . because your life has been and will be "saved through water" [1 Pet. 3:20-21] . . . the six young men . . . are the holy angels of God . . . the other persons who are engaged in carrying the stones . . . also are holy angels of the Lord . . . [And] when the tower is finished and built, then comes the end" (The Shepherd 1:3:1-8 [A.D. 80]).

Justin Martyr

"For the prophetical gifts remain with us [Christians], even to the present time. And hence you [Jews] ought to understand that [the gifts] formerly among your nation have been transferred to us" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 82 [A.D. 155]).

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

"While he [Polycarp] was thus at his prayers, three days before his arrest, he had a vision in which he saw flames reducing his pillow to ashes; whereupon he turned to his companions and said, 'I must be going to be burnt alive.' . . . [After his arrest, the crowd called] loud demands for the Asiarch Philip to let loose a lion at Polycarp. However, he told them that the rules would not allow him to do so since he had already declared the beast-fighting closed; whereupon they decided to set up a unanimous outcry that he should have Polycarp burnt alive" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 5, 12 [A.D. 155]).

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

"Polycarp was . . . bishop of the Catholic Church at Smyrna, and a teacher in our own day who combined both apostle and prophet in his own person. For indeed, every word that ever fell from his lips either has had or will have its fulfillment" (ibid., 16).

Irenaeus of Lyons

"In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages and who bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God" (Against Heresies 5:6:1 [A.D. 189]).


"I, Pionius, have made a fresh transcript of [The Martyrdom of Polycarp]. I found them after Polycarp the Blessed had revealed there whereabouts in a vision, as I will explain hereafter. Time had reduced them almost to tatters, but I gathered them carefully together in the holy that the Lord Jesus may likewise gather myself amongst his elect into his heavenly kingdom. To him, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory forever and ever. Amen" (Martyrdom of Polycarp, copyist note 2 [A.D. 250]).


  1. All Catholic "Marian" appartions are of the devil.

    What is your basis for that assertion? Where does the Bible say that? Nowhere! That belief arises out of a prejudice against Marian apparitions, not out of Scripture. a priori rejection

  2. The Bible says that God once spoke to us through angels, but now speaks to us only through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). So God would never even allow angels to appear to us, let alone Mary or another saint!

    Hebrews 1:1-2 does not say that God only speaks through His Son, rather than through angels. The entire first chapter of Hebrews argues that Christ is greater than the angels; it does not at all imply that angels (or heavely saints, for that matter) will no longer appear to believers on earth. After all, the Book of Revelation (written after Hebrews) was transmitted by a series of angelic visions.

  3. The Bible nowhere says or even implies that a dead believer can appear to the living on earth.

    Moses appeared on the mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8), and many deceased righteous people appeared in Jerusalem after Jesus' resurrection (Matt. 27:52-53). Apparitions are definitely biblical!

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