"Messages from Heaven" DVD
by Bruce Douglas
(Ellington, CT USA)
QUESTION: I realize you folks are probably deluged with questions daily, but I was hoping that you could shed some light on this topic ("Messages from Heaven"- DVD) for me at your convenience.
I have a question that I'm hoping you can assist me with. I recently viewed this video entitled "Messages from Heaven", from Eternal Productions, debunking many of the Marian apparitions that have occurred over the centuries.
The film was biased and anti-Catholic in it's portrayal of these apparitions and of the Church's teaching and approval of these visions/visionaries. The protestant pastors involved in the film and narrating much of it, well, to be perfectly honest, have themselves "questionable" backgrounds as I later learned and researched - hence making their credibility suspect... I felt the film made a mockery of the Blessed Mother and the Church in general.
These apparitions were taken out of context both in the historical Tradition and Scriptural understanding as I see it. I have all the scriptural references these folks used to refute these apparitions, although somewhat convincing on the surface, personally, I just don't buy it. Hoping you can clarify at your leisure.
Thank you for your time.
May God bless you, Bruce
ANSWER: Dear Bruce, thank you for your question and for your insightful comments. We have not had the chance to view the film, but based on your comments above, since it was produced by Protestants, some of whom are rabidly anti-Catholic, the objectivity of the film can be immediately called into question.
When the Church investigates apparitions, it is usually and extremely long, detailed and tedious process. In fact, many times, it takes the Church decades to reach a conclusion. Morever, the Church usually takes a highly critical stand whenever there is a reported apparition. The Church, in this regard, can be characterized as extremely rigorous in its investigation of Marian apparitions.
In the cases where the Church has actually formally approved apparitions, you can be assured that this has been the subject of an intense investigation by various experts - including outside experts such as prominent psychologists who study the seer/visionary, etc.
Many approved apparitions are characterized by supernatural phenomena that simply defy scientific explanation. The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for example, are characterized by a miraculous "tilma" where the image of Our Lady is imprinted. The image of the Virgin in the tilma (a cloak/cloth worn by Juan Diego the visionary) defies scientific explanation. See this article for more details on this: http://www.all-about-the-virgin-mary.com/our-lady-of-guadalupe-science.html.
The apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, on the other hand, saw the documented miracle of the dancing sun that was seen by more than 60,000 people at one time. 1 person claiming to have seen the sun dance may lead one to question whether he/she was merely hallucinating. But 60,000?
The apparitions of Our Lady of All Nations, on the other hand, contained a prediction of Our Lady, initially sealed in an envelope. In this prediction, Our Lady foretold the exact date and time of the death of the Pope. Only God knows exactly when we die, so this was irrevocable proof of supernatural phenomena.
There are many other examples. For more information, you may visit the "Marian Apparitions" section of our website.