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Sound Familiar? Take Three

Flagrante Delicto

As we noted in the article Fool me once, shame on you..., our research of Mary apparitions has revealed that that the claiming of messages from Mary, as the pretended Prophetess Gianna Sullivan is doing, is hardly original and is apparently big business!  We save a discussion of the fact that this is Gianna's second time around at claiming Mary apparitions  for a later article. Suffice it to say, the Church investigation of her first go around, in Scottsdale Arizona, resulted in the same conclusion as that reached here in Emmitsburg, and that reached in the church's investigation of Mary Ann Van Hoof, detailed below.

Necedah, Wisconsin

Necedah Shrine (officially "Queen of the Holy Rosary, Mediatrix of Peace Shrine" [1]) is a Marian shrine located in Necedah, Juneau County, Wisconsin, in the Diocese of La Crosse. On November 12, 1949, Mary Ann Van Hoof (1909-1984) reported to have received a vision from the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her various visions, Van Hoof said she was told to "bring the truth to people" through prayer and the Rosary. The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the shrine, and put Van Hoof under interdict.

Visions

Van Hoof reported that she received nine visions between November 2, 1949 and October 7, 1950. Pilgrims reportedly saw Van Hoof in a state of religious ecstasy[1]. The messages were recorded on a tape recorder, and written in long hand by at least two people[1]. Some messages were repeated word for word, but in most cases Van Hoof was inspired by her own language[1]. There were 100,000 people attending the vision on August 15, 1950, and witness accounts vary significantly. Many messages were given at home[1].

Van Hoof said that she suffered the Passion of Our Lord on the Fridays of Advent and Lent.

Van Hoof reported she was told in a vision that the most perfect way of offering mass is the Tridentine Mass approved by Saint Pius V and the Council of Trent for the Latin Church. [2] She was reportedly told that the Novus Ordo Mass developed in the Vatican shortly after the Second Vatican Council is watered down[2]. Believers believe in modest dress, not talking with the priest before Mass, only priests should distribute Holy Communion, not taking communion by hand, and oppose numerous other changes which were implemented, in some parts of the world, in the years after Vatican II[2]. Given their later association with married Old Catholic clergymen it appears however that the shrine group has no problems with a married priesthood.

Believers are building a new "House of Prayer" at the spot of the visions.

Interdict

Van Hoof and her followers were put under interdict by the Roman Catholic Church as the Catholic Church considers the visions of Mary Ann Van Hoof of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be false, and Bishop John Patrick Treacy (1948-1964) of the Diocese of La Crosse had ordered the Necedah Shrine to be closed in 1950, long before the liturgical changes and uncertainties in the Church arose. Van Hoof and her associates did not obey these legitimate orders, however. Bishop Treacy's successors refused to recognize the shrine. Bishop Frederick William Freking (1964-1983), Treacy's immediate successor, excommunicated Van Hoof and anyone else associated with her shrine, precipitating her final schism with the Roman Catholic Church.

Criticism

According to one critical website, Van Hoof was brought up as a spiritualist, and her first husband was a divorc, which would have been illegitimate and invalidating under church doctrine, as would her subsequent divorce of her first husband, and remarriage to Ted Van Hoof, as well as her third marriage to her final spouse, Ray Hirt. In the first and third cases, there may have been no marriage certificate. [4]

This did not stop Mary Ann Van Hoof and Myrtle Sommers from maintaining and recording disclosures from a traditionalist Marian apparition manifestation at the site. In the Library of Congress, there are two volumes listed as credited to the Queen of the Holy Rosary Mediatrix of Peace Shrine which were dated until 1978. However, as their website notes, it still maintains some commemorative and merchandising services.

Unity Publishing, an orthodox and non-schismatic conservative Roman Catholic organization, noted that other people associated with the shrine have had other difficulties and legal procedures started against them. In 1987, Old Catholic priest Father Garry McLaughlin, a clergyman associated with the shrine, was convicted of mail fraud. David Schott, another married Old Catholic priest of the shrine, was later convicted of paedophile offenses against an eleven-year-old boy. With the alleged assistance of Shrine personnel, he escaped custody. Harry Binkowski, another Shrine acolyte, shot and killed Tommy Huber, an associate. The police were called, and Binkowski, an apparent survivalist, was shot dead. It was later learnt that he had amassed considerable armaments in his on-site dwelling: [1]

As for the content of the alleged revelations, there are repeated references to imminent Chastisement, a thermonuclear World War III, Soviet submarines, and accusations that the mainstream Roman Catholic hierarchy and Papacy have been subverted (allegedly even already before the controversial Second Vatican Council and its chaotic aftermath). According to Unity Publishing, the shrine associates claim that a spaceship will transport "the faithful" to an underground civilization, "Middle Earth", at the end of the world.[2].

Since 1975, the shrine has disaffiliated itself from mainstream Roman Catholicism, affiliating itself instead to an Old Catholic, conservative schismatic organization, the American National Catholic Church. Former Old Catholic Archbishop Edward Stehlik, who had previously presided at the shrine, was married twice beforehand. According to Milwaukee media cited on F. John Loughlan's website [3], he misled others about a faked former past as an ordained Roman Catholic priest and a Discalced Carmelite monk. He later attempted to become an Episcopalian priest, and also asserted that he was gay.

Fidelity Magazine, a Roman Catholic periodical, quotes one of Van Hoof's messages, in its February, 1989 Issue as detailing that the devotees of the Necedah Shrine would be spared Armageddon when, right before the world's doom, a 1,200 year-old man named Joe will come in a spaceship to save them.

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

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