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Truly “From Above?”

A Concerned Catholic 

I write these words as a concerned Catholic and one-time resident of Emmitsburg.  It is no small thing to have a local woman claim she sees the Mother of God.  It is also highly significant that this same woman claims that Jesus Christ and God the Father speak to her and wish that she write down their thoughts, word-for-word.  Like the Blessed Virgin, the Father and Son insist that Gianna Talone-Sullivan disseminate their messages word-for-word to the entire human race.  If true, this would represent a divine favor of unparalled proportions.  If false, however, the enterprise would threaten the spiritual well-being of anyone who associated himself or herself with it.

How can we know if an apparition is from God?  By the spiritual fruits that it generates, certainly, but more importantly by the application of certain objective criteria.  For Catholics, Jesus Christ speaks through his Church.  The Church founded on the Rock of Peter, which Jesus promised would never be vanquished by the forces of evil, is the ultimate arbiter of, “what is from God,” and what is not.  If the content of an apparition can be shown to contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church, that is a very good sign that the apparition is not “from above.”  Secondly, the apparition cannot contradict objective reality.  If a heavenly figure were to assert, for instance, that the moon is made of green cheese, or that Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States, we could safely conclude that the apparition is not from heaven.  God – or anyone sent in his name – would not blatantly speak an untruth, or try to make people believe things that are not true.  The third criterion relates to the consistency of an apparition.  Someone from heaven would never make an assertion, only to contradict himself or herself later on and behave as though the earlier pronouncement had never been made.

With this as background, we can now turn our attention to the messages of Our Lady of Emmitsburg.  The first thing that we notice, at least in the earliest years, is that the messages are highly sentimental and repetitive.  In and of itself, this would not necessarily be a problem.  Women speak to their children in sentimental tones all the time, especially when the children are very young.   Our Lady of Emmitsburg (OLOE) also exhorts her children constantly to place God at the center of their lives – a laudable aim, and one with which no Christian could find fault.  OLOE stated on Dec. 3, 1998, that our desires must “conform with the laws of Peter’s Church.”  She followed this up on March 11, 1999, by stating that our obedience to Jesus can be gauged by our obedience to “superiors, confessors, and spiritual directors.  Once again, no Catholic could take issue with this statement.

The following week, just to dispel any doubts that people might have been having, OLOE said that her words were “given to Me from God Himself.”  This assertion assumed greater importance in the year 2000 as OLOE’s tone became more ominous.  On Feb. 17 of that year, she claimed, “If the world continues to ignore the importance of prayer and moral ethics, and does not restore them to their rightful place, the world will suffer a tragedy of a world war as never witnessed before in history.” A bit more than eight years later later, on June 1, 2008, OLOE asserted instead that a celestial catastrophe was about to unfold, and that nearly all of earth’s inhabitants would be wiped out.  OLOE apparently forgot the war that she had authoritatively threatened in 2000, in spite of the fact that the human race had shown no signs of conversion in the interim.

In July of 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met at Camp David with President Clinton.  Simultaneously, representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches met on the campus of Mt. St. Mary’s College as part of an on-going dialogue.  OLOE pointed to these two events in her July 13 message and claimed, “My plan has begun with the gathering of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church officials, the leaders of the Arab and Jewish world, and the most powerful political leader of the United States and of the world at this Center of My Immaculate Heart."  First of all, the Camp David meeting did not encompass “the leaders of the Arab and Jewish world.”  Apart from President Clinton and his staff, only two Middle Eastern leaders attended with their aides.  Secondly, one must wonder at OLOE’s use of the word, “magisterium,” which in fact refers to the authority of the Catholic Church to teach in Jesus’ name, and not to any human beings; a function and not a person.  One would expect the Mother of Jesus not to make this sort of error.

Anyone who has followed the OLOE saga over the past ten years knows that in September of 2000, the Archdiocese of Baltimore put a stop to the Thursday night prayer services at St. Joseph’s Church in Emmitsburg.  This was followed up on June 7, 2003, by a published letter of Cardinal Keeler, to the effect that a commission of “recognized experts in theology, canon law, and the behavioral sciences” had examined the alleged supernatural experiences of Mrs. Sullivan.  The cardinal further stated that the commission’s report had been shared with the Holy See, and that he had received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the appropriate authorization to declare the alleged experiences of Mrs. Sullivan to definitely not be of supernatural origin (constat de non supernaturalite)

We know that Mrs. Sullivan continued to assert the reality of her experiences, resuming her public messages from OLOE on August 5, 2002.  She eventually began holding a monthly prayer service at a banquet facility to the south of Emmitsburg.  There, on February 5, 2006, OLOE claimed, “I assure you, my children, that you are not disobedient, not to the Church at all.  For I assure you, children, that there never was any written communiqué from the Holy See.  There has never been yet, up to this point.  Given that (a) the 2003 statement had been issued over Cardinal Keeler’s signature, (b) the cardinal claimed authorization from the CDF to declare the alleged visions non-supernatural, and (c) official communications from Rome are made in writing, OLOE was in effect calling the archbishop of Baltimore a liar.  She then asserted that, “What is necessary is for the Church to look to the people, for the people are the Church, the lowly, the humble and those in need.”  Coming so soon after the accusation that Cardinal Keeler had lied in his 2003 statement, OLOE was in effect claiming that Rome would be better served by listening to lay believers in apparitions, rather than to duly appointed successors of the Apostles.

Although February 11, 2006, was not a first Sunday of the month, and as such should not have merited its own OLOE message to the world, a message was released to coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  It was apparent that great offense had been taken among some believers with the anti-hierarchical statement of five days earlier.  OLOE now restated herself.  “Little ones, I do not want you to be concerned about my words to the world regarding the communication from the Holy See.  The fact of the matter is that there has never been such a written communication, and so the Truth must be made known.  For as the Mother of God, I must uphold the Truth; and at all costs, the Truth must be directed to God.  So please, do not be concerned.  God the Father will take care of all of this.”  In addition, OLOE claimed that she supported, “everything in obedience to the Hierarchy of the Church; but when there is error and when the ‘truth’ is not the Truth, then all must be revealed.

By this point, preparations were evidently afoot in Baltimore to publish a transcript of the actual letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and to mail Mrs. Sullivan a photocopy of the original.   The CDF letter, signed by then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, stated very plainly, “After a careful examination of the contents of the report and having taken into consideration all the aspects of the present case, this Congregation commends the work done by the commission, and considers that Your Eminence is in a position to conclude the matter with a decree of “constat de non-supernaturalitate” in reference to the phenomena in question.

The Catholic Review printed a transcript of the letter on February 23, 2006.  The typist inadvertently dated the CDF letter February 5, 2003, instead of February 15, 2003.  Otherwise, the Catholic Review transcript faithfully reproduced the original.  Mrs. Sullivan then sent word to her supporters via a distribution list run by Mr. Edmund Koenke, reassuring them that she had never seen the letter before getting a copy in the mail.  Furthermore, as regards the Catholic Review transcript, “This version is clearly and obviously not a copy/scan of the original document sent to me on February 13, 2006.  I had, as of yet, never seen this new version dated ‘5 February 2003.’  It is unclear as to the significance of these serious discrepancies.”

In truth, the only discrepancy between the content of the two versions had been the date.  Their texts were in perfect agreement.  In both versions, Cardinal Ratzinger himself commended the work of the commission – something he would not be expected to do if he were merely reminding the cardinal that the latter already had the canonical right to judge apparitions.  Fr. John B. Wang, one of Mrs. Sullivan’s principal backers immediately theorized that OLOE had really intended to say that the visionary had never been sent a copy of the letter in 2003.  Alternatively, it was asserted that the CDF had only reminded Cardinal Keeler that he had had the authority all along to issue a statement, or that perhaps the CDF had in fact concurred in the verdict, but that the archdiocesan commission’s original work had been biased and flawed.  But the uncomfortable fact remained that OLOE had not qualified her February 5 or 11 statements in any way.  She had asserted categorically that Rome had never issued any sort of written statement on the alleged Emmitsburg phenomena.

While OLOE frequently reminds her listeners of the terrible chastisements that await the unrepentant sinner, she exhibits a troublesome lack of knowledge of the immediate future.  She of course had no idea that a written statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith existed or that it would be released by the Archdiocese.  On July 13, 2000, a great “sign,” was predicted for October.  Earlier in April, she had predicted that throngs of people would soon be converging on Emmitsburg.  For their part, Emmitsburgers were told to be hospitable toward these visitors.  Given OLOE’s assurance that Almighty God Himself tells her what to say, one must wonder why He would have told her to foretell things that He knew would not ever come to pass.

For the most part, OLOE messages are a mixture of pious exhortation and reminders of the chastisement that await sinners who refuse to change their ways.  When OLOE has veered into actual theology, however, she has tended to become confused.  On August 3, 2000, OLOE spoke of her concern for children, and that they be allowed to grow in godliness.  She then made the astounding statement, “Every precious life created and born into the world is as pure as My Son is Pure  It goes without saying that newborn infants have never engaged in sexual activity, so we can safely exclude this meaning of the word “pure.”  The only other meaning that remains, especially with respect to Jesus is his sinlessness.  If OLOE had wished to affirm that all children are born “innocent,” she could well have done so.  But her choice of language here leads us to believe that OLOE forgot about the existence of Original Sin, with which all humans enter the world.  With the exception of Mary herself, no human has ever been born, “pure.”

On June 22, 2003, OLOE reminded her listeners, “Tribulation and turmoil continue to exist because of the free will of people and the division among even those who are Christian.”  Divisions among Christians indeed constitute one of the biggest barriers to effective witness in the world.  But it is the misuse of free will that causes tribulation and turmoil, and not the free will itself, which was intended by God.  OLOE’s choice of words is akin to asserting that there are many murders each year merely because of the existence of guns and knives.

On August 5, 2007, OLOE used the term, “permissive will” for the first time.  This is a theological term describing God’s unwillingness to interfere with our free choices, even when we choose badly.  God’s “permissive will” exists alongside his “salvific will” for all people, whereby He desires that all people be saved.  OLOE stated, however, “Oftentimes, my plan changes, although it will be fulfilled according to God's Divine Will.  It changes because you are gifted with a permissive will.  You have the freedom to choose.  God, in His Mercy and kindness, allows you to choose.  He does not force you.”  In effect, OLOE located “permissive will” in humans, rather than in God.  In his “reflection” on the August 5 message [now no longer posted online], Father Wang immediately located the “permissive will” in God where it belongs.  For good measure, Dr. Michael Sullivan reiterated that “permissive will” pertains to God in his opening remarks to the September 2, 2007 prayer meeting.  “’In the beginning’ there was God.  Later, the Archangel Michael was there.  The Angel of Light, Lucifer, was there.  Then there were Adam and Eve, sinless and pure. God's permissive Will then allowed man's free will to redirect the plan.”

Sometimes OLOE succumbs to the fervor of the moment and employs truly odd terminology.  On April 3, 1997, while talking of the heart of Jesus, she stated, “He is your Redeemer, and your sins have been vindicated.”  She probably intended to say, “Your sins have been forgiven,” or “Your sins have been wiped away,” but she said they were “vindicated,” which of course means “proven to be correct.”  On October 29, 1998, she remarked, “God is a God of Light, not darkness; and He invites all people to be children of His Light.”  So far so good.  But she continued by saying that some people find it “inconvenient” to love Him because, “They do not know how to relate to a translucent God …”  Apart from the difficulty of making the second idea flow from the first, OLOE is telling that God the Father has a body, that it occupies space, and that light beams can pass through it.

We know that Mrs. Sullivan claims to receive heavenly visitations from more than one person.  For a period of time in the 1990s, she says that Jesus revealed to her his “Hidden Life,” in other words the details of his childhood that the evangelists did not record in the gospels.  In evaluating these messages, we should be able to apply the same criteria outlined above.

This body of messages is highly sentimental, and consists largely of heart-warming anecdotes of family life in Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth.  Yet Jesus places the Pyramids of Egypt in Goshen and Raamses (Chapter 11), in the northeastern Nile Delta when in reality they are further south at Giza and Saqqara – destinations known to many a tourist today. Jesus claims (also Chap. 11) that the Holy Family sojourned in Cairo.  In fact there was no city of Cairo before 969 A.D. when it was founded by Muslims.  In Chapter 17, Jesus relates the joyful moment when St. Joseph gave him his first lamb.  “I then put my little lamb in the wooden wagon (made for me by My dad), and I strolled off pulling My wagon saying, ‘You want to go for a little ride, little one?’”  This is a heart-warming scene to be sure, but lambs cannot be separated from their mothers until they are weaned.  Weaning cannot occur before day forty-five of their age, or before they reach a weight of forty-five pounds, whichever comes first. Jesus makes no mention of a ewe as part of the gift, so we are left to imagine a boy of about six years of age who is able to lift a forty-five pound animal into a wagon and pull the creature effortlessly around in the yard.  In Chapter 21, Jesus describes the moment when St. Joseph offered a rocking chair to our Blessed Mother for her birthday – a chair he himself had just made.  Historians tell us, however, that rocking chairs were not invented until the 1700s, and did not come into wide use until after 1800.  Either St. Joseph was inspired to create something that no one would imitate for another seventeen centuries, or once again, Jesus spoke to Mrs. Sullivan in error.

Beginning December 8, 2005, Mrs. Sullivan began experiencing messages from God the Father.  OLOE prepared her for this experience by telling her she was about to hear something she had never heard before.  In these messages, which are delivered on the eighth day of each month, God the Father assumes a majestic tone, but is invariably upset that his human children pay him so little attention.  As is the case with the OLOE messages, the vast majority of those of God the Father consist of pious exhortations.  But, as is also the case with OLOE, when God the Father’s prose starts to soar too high, he lapses into theological error.  In his very first pronouncement, he describes the relationship between God and the created world.  “From the inception of time the Triune God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, gathered together.  In this meeting Creation unfolded; and the Eyes of this Triune Godhead, the Father, released a plan of Goodness and Joy, filled with all the good works that were to unfold in this Creation.”  In this truly stunning passage, God the Father informs us that the Three Persons of the Trinity were somehow initially disjointed, and came together “from the inception of time.”  In contrast, authentic Catholic teaching that says that God is eternal, in other words He predates “time” and has no beginning and no end (CCC, 213).  In addition, Mrs. Sullivan’s God would have us believe that the coming together of the Three Persons is what unleashed creation.  Perhaps this is some new explanation for the Big Bang?  Mrs. Sullivan’s God also informs us that the Father is the “Eyes” of the Godhead, implying that the other two Persons are not aware of what is going on until the Father informs them.

Speaking of the Blessed Mother on March 8, 2006, Mrs. Sullivan’s God revealed, “She was created from My Hand.  This soul's ‘fiat’ came into the world, and she devoutly gave her undivided attention with songs of prayer and praise and joyous exclamation to ‘Abba’, knowing that good fruit was about to unfold.”  Mary’s “fiat” therefore goes from being the freely-given assent she gave to the Angel Gabriel, to somehow being a property that her soul carried with it at her conception.

On January 8, 2007, God the Father was once more displeased that He was being ignored by the human race.   He declared, “Those who devote themselves in prayer, in charity, and in love and kindness are redeemed.  Those who displace and push Me aside, and who do not pay attention nor even care, acting as if another century or two or even hundreds of years will unfold before any happenings, are misled.”  In contrast, authentic Catholic teaching holds that the entire human race was redeemed by the blood of Jesus (CCC, 616).  Some people will then claim their inheritance by the way they respond to divine grace, but others throw it away.  But in saying, “Those who devote themselves in prayer, in charity, and in love and kindness are redeemed,” God the Father is embracing the condemned heresy of Pelagianism, which held that we earn our way into heaven through our own good works.

On April 8, 2008, God the Father informed the world, “Make no mistake about how precious is the soul that is within you, created from Me.  I am Who am, your Alpha, your Omega, the same Who was and Who is, forever!  Learn of Me!  Pray, accept your gift, and be humble.”  With these words, God the Father is making the astounding claim that each human soul is somehow a part of God – a concept St. Augustine himself labels as blasphemy.

The earliest of Mrs. Sullivan published supernatural experiences, dating from September 20, 1988, consist of a series of “inner locutions” wherein Jesus literally dictated lessons that he wanted shared with the world.  (Vol. II, 29; II, 49; IV, 29)  As is the case with much of what OLOE reveals, these lessons are highly repetitious.  Even more worrisome, lengthy passages appear in a tortured, fractured English, interspersed with still other passages that show greater effort at composition – all ostensibly authored by the same Jesus Christ and recorded verbatim by Mrs. Sullivan.

Even so, Jesus revealed on January 23, 1989, “The definition of the Trinity is the Father, is the Son and is the Holy Spirit, unified as One Body, living in three distinct Persons.”  Jesus repeats Himself in the next paragraph: “The symbol of the Trinity is a triangle. That symbolizes the flow from the Father to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, and back to the Father or to the Son, remaining as One Body.”   Orthodox Christian theology – of whatever variety – holds that Jesus is the only member of the Trinity with a body.  The other two members are pure spirit.  To say that they are somehow united in a body is reckless in the extreme.  They are in reality Three Persons in One God.  The Church elaborated this description centuries ago, and no one has ever been able to improve upon it.

On March 12, 1990, Mrs. Sullivan celebrated her thirty-third birthday.  Jesus paid her a visit, left her a message, and finished with, “Receive My blessings on this day of your creation into the world, your birth, and rejoice as you celebrate with My angels in holy song.”  One might expect that Jesus would know that the day of the visionary’s “creation into the world,” was the day she was conceived rather than the day she was born.  If Mrs. Sullivan’s “creation into the world,” only occurred on March 12, 1957, then the Catholic Church is in serious error when she opposes abortion.

Some of Jesus’ pronouncements to Mrs. Sullivan take on additional significance in the light of her future experiences with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  While Jesus acknowledges that Mrs. Sullivan is a member of the fallen human race, and on at least one occasion alludes to the “wretched” state of her soul (Vol 4:27), he allows himself to treat her as someone very special.  Explaining why Mrs. Sullivan had been chosen to relay his messages to the world, Jesus elaborated, “My people, I wish to tell you that I have not chosen this child [Mrs. Sullivan] because I love her more than you! There is no favoritism in My love. She seeks first the Kingdom of God. She brings to My Most Compassionate Heart daily prayers for you. She pleads for your salvation, and I listen to her. I listen to her because she listens to Me!”  (Vol. 1:62).

On October 30, 1989, (Vol 2:16), he remarked, “You do not know, child, the power you have been granted in your prayer.  I hear every word you pray, and respond.  I listen wholeheartedly to you, for you listen in obedience to Me.”  The following January 8, (Vol 2:35) Jesus stated plainly that if the entire human race were more like Mrs. Sullivan, we would all be better off for it. “I called all to be saintly in their ordinariness! This is also one of the reasons I have selected you through whom I speak My Lessons. If I listen to you and give to you in your ordinariness, would I not listen and give to all My people, if there is no partiality in My Love?”

February 1, 1990, (Vol 2:42) Jesus consoled Mrs. Sullivan by telling her he identified completely with people who doubted her truthfulness.  “Either My people were afraid that I was possessed by demons, they did not care, or they panicked to be in My presence, fearing that I would not heal them!  Do you know the ones who tore My Heart the most?  It was the same group of people that makes your heart bleed, the ones who do not care!”

On August 31, 1992, (Vol 4:87), Jesus reaffirmed for Mrs. Sullivan that he considered her an exemplar for the entire human race, as well as a key player in salvation history.  “You do not fear, Gianna, because you are procuring your relationship with Me through love of purity and a surrender to fulfilling daily functions in simplicity. This is My desire for all My people. Pass on the fundamental tools I have taught you about living in faith. Teach all My people as I have taught you. Every step all God’s people take under My command is victory.”

Early on, Jesus exhibited his anti-intellectual bias to Mrs. Sullivan.  “Many theologians gather and try to interpret My messages.  They cannot accept My words as being exactly as they are written.  If I say, "Love one another, and have mercy on one another," that is exactly what I mean!  A theologian will take that sentence and read into it various interpretations. This is the problem!”  (Vol 1: 21; December 22, 1988)  

On the twelfth of the next month, he added, “Your theologians will attempt to decipher this meaning, I assure you. They, instead, should pray for the discernment of My meaning in their lives (Vol 1:33).  As of the following August 8, Mrs. Sullivan was evidently still experiencing grief from people who claimed to know theology.  Jesus comforted her with these words, “Woe to those who discredit these, My words of truth—My priests, My nuns, My theologians, My lay people.  I tell you who have received the gift of My intellect: Beware that your pride in My knowledge does not deceive you or distract you. Pray for humility and self denial.” (Vol 1:74).

On March 4, 1990, Jesus pushed his anti-intellectual message even further.  The problem, as he described it to Mrs. Sullivan, was that people were dissecting his words rather than appropriating his message.  “My people look at My words, not at My message.  Here I am, dictating words of Truth and offering the keys to the Kingdom, and so many skeptics and scholars look at My words for errors instead of reading them with their hearts, seeking the message!” (vol 2:49)  One would think however that Jesus would have nothing to fear from anyone weighing his words for error.  As the words of God the Son, there would simply be no errors to discover.

Jesus does admit that the intellect has some role to play in understanding his message.  On December 18, 1989, he observed, “Come before My Blessed Sacrament and be intimate with Me.  Know the gift of your intellect was given from My Father.  Use it to know My Truth, that it is truly your Jesus speaking!  Do not allow the way of the world or evil to fog your intellect.  Come before Me, and you shall see clearly that My Father has allowed Me to speak to you.  You will no longer be apprehensive” (Vol 2:27).  But with this assertion, Jesus shows that he completely confuses the intellect with the act of faith.  According to him, the intellect is only useful in refusing to entertain doubts.  It is of no use in actually trying to pierce any mysteries.  This is disturbingly close to the condemned heresy of Fideism, which holds that the use of one’s reason is useless in trying to understand the faith.

If theologians are not fit to evaluate Mrs. Sullivan’s phenomena, and Jesus’ actual dictated words themselves cannot be studied, then how we are to know if Mrs. Sullivan’s reported phenomena are really from God?  Mrs. Sullivan assures us that Jesus wants his followers to live by the doctrine of his Church (Vol 2:27).  But if theologians are not supposed to doubt any of Mrs. Sullivan’s messages, no bishop (or pope for that matter) would ever be able to examine her phenomena objectively.  So where is the questioning soul to find reassurance? 

The ultimate answer is that Mrs. Sullivan’s apparitions claim to be able to vouch for themselves.  Jesus repeatedly reassures his listeners of the reality of his locutions, even though Mrs. Sullivan transmits both the locutions and their validation.  In other words, the “validation” is circular; it depends on no one “outside the loop.”  Following this line of reasoning, a woman whose son had the habit of telling outrageous stories would be absolutely obliged to believe them, just because he affirmed that his stories were true.

OLOE has engaged in self-validation before, notably after the July 13, 2000 predictions of impending catastrophic world events and of the great October sign.  The very next week, OLOE reassured her listeners, “Little ones, you are all scattering like frightened children.  I have told you that my humility and tears of love have held back the angel's sword and that I am determined to bring all My children safely to My Son; yet you receive my words with fear and judgmental and hardened hearts.  You do not need to be afraid but should be happy the Hand of God is upon you.”

On June 1, 2008, OLOE predicted an astronomical event that would result in the near-extinction of the human race.  Understandably much discussion ensued among the believers, and finger-pointing on the part of non-believers.  At the July 13th prayer meeting, the next one after the June message, OLOE once again reassured her flock.  “So today, I can tell you that true Charity will be precisely gifted upon those who are scorned, mocked, persecuted and laughed at.  Little ones, when something is real, you cannot stop God!  No judgment from men can impair or influence the Judgment of God.  You would only be fighting God.”  With just these four sentences, OLOE reaffirmed not only that she knew what she was talking about, but that she was accurately portraying God’s plan for the human race.

On one notable occasion, it was necessary for one of Mrs. Sullivan’s heavenly personages to come to bat, as it were, for another.  As we have noted, OLOE publicly proclaimed in February 2006 that Rome had never pronounced itself on the alleged Emmitsburg apparitions.  After her words were proven false by the subsequent release of the Roman text by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, none other than God the Father weighed in on March 8th to provide a character reference.  Without bothering to show how the Roman document could have existed and not existed simultaneously, God the Father changed the subject and claimed that what the doubters really wanted was to see Mary dead.

Children of humanity, do you think you really know who she is?  Do you really believe that you know her as I do?  If you knew her, then My Church would know her; and yet, she is willing to die for you to save you, present you and protect you.  You may think you know a person.  You may read and learn about the history of a person.  What have you read about her?  Do you know her, or do you only know about her?  I know her as she knows you.  There is no other purer being, besides my Son, who loves you so unconditionally that she would give her life for you. 

Be on guard against those who desire to celebrate in the death of someone so Immaculate.  Joy and Peace, silence and Love will tell you the Truth; and yet, she will continue to lay her life down unto death for you, only so that you may know fully the Truth of God my Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, born through her womb.  The Truth has to be made known.

God the Father also failed to explain how Mary could, “lay her life down unto death,” for the human race when, as Queen of Heaven, she is no longer capable of dying.

It is clear that Mrs. Sullivan will never accept a Catholic Church judgment on her phenomena unless that judgment is positive.  Her own apparitions and locutions assure her that her experiences are valid, and that she has been chosen by God to bring the world to repentance.  But those same apparitions and locutions contain serious contradictions of Catholic Church teaching.   It may be objected by Mrs. Sullivan’s supporters that human prophets do not have to be perfect in their written expression.  This is quite true, but the Church also teaches that in spite of the frailty of the human authors of Scripture, God prevented all of them from ever lapsing into error.  In contrast, with the Emmitsburg phenomena,, we have the repeated assurances of Jesus and Mary that Mrs. Sullivan is indeed doing a splendid job of relaying their messages.  If there are errors in the messages, it cannot be because Mrs. Sullivan misrepresented any of her “heavenly” visitors.  We have their word for it that Mrs. Sullivan always gets the story right.

It will also be objected by her supporters that the above examples constitute nit-picking, or that lapses in Church teaching, even if accurately depicted, only constitute a tiny part of Mrs. Sullivan’s messages.  To such people we would ask, “Should Catholic people not care if just one Church teaching is violated by a visionary?”  The same holds for objective error of historical or scientific fact, of which Jesus makes at least four in his “Hidden Life” messages to Mrs. Sullivan.  If “Jesus” made only one statement that was positively untrue, would that not be enough to conclude that a visionary or locutionist was not seeing or hearing the Son of God?

We probably will never know if Mrs. Sullivan’s ecstasies are self-induced, or the result of some condition in the brain, or if they are caused by some non-human agent.  After studying the issues outlined above, the one thing we can say with 100% certitude is that her experiences are not from God.

"No one can go off and start up his own church and call it Roman Catholic."

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