I have been studying and writing about claimed private revelations for many years. Some claimed private revelations are true. We know this because many Saints had private revelations, and because certain apparitions are thoroughly approved by the Church and by the sensus fidelium: Fatima, Guadalupe, Lourdes, and others.
Other claimed private revelations are false. We know this because some private revelations teach grave heresy and other doctrinal errors; some private revelations falsely accuse one Pope or another; some encourage the faithful to distrust and flee from the Church. We know that some claimed private revelations are false because the Church has condemned some visionaries and their alleged messages.
In my study of claimed private revelations, I’ve compiled a list of ones that I believe are true and others I believe are false: Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?. Many of the listings have articles explaining why the claimed private revelation is true or false.
My conclusion, after many years of study, is that most of the claimed private revelations in the world today are false.
What is the source of these messages? There are three possible sources:
(1) fallen angels (aka devils),
(2) the claimed visionary is lying,
(3) the claimed visionary is mentally ill.
By far, the most common source of false private revelation is fallen angels, who appear to the visionary under the guise of an angel of light (a holy angel), or under the guise of Jesus or Mary or a Saint or God. The devils are permitted by God to offer this deception to humanity for a few reasons. Many Catholics continually commit one mortal sin after another, without repentance. Many Catholics have lost the true faith, preferring instead to believe whatever they wish were true. God has given the faithful a fair number of true private revelations, which have been ignored by most Catholics. Our sinfulness, failure to repent, and our lukewarm reaction to all the blessings that God offers is what causes God to permit false private revelations.
Promotion of False Private Revelation
False visionaries would be able to do little harm, if it were not for the large number of Catholics who accept and promote these messages, despite their conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. May God punish those Catholics who spread false private revelations. For they are literally spreading the messages of devils.
How well do you know Jesus and Mary? If you cannot tell the difference between the words of Jesus and Mary in a true private revelation, and the words of devils pretending to be them, then you do not know Jesus or Mary very well.
Many Catholics are not qualified to judge which claimed private revelations are true and which are false, because they have a poor understanding of Church doctrine, and have not studied claimed private revelation. Some Catholics are misled by false private revelation because the messages are concerned with eschatology, and they have not studied that subject area. And yet these unqualified persons go online and promote false visionaries, with their diabolical messages, causing grave harm to many souls.
Why are they fooled into thinking that a false private revelation is true? It’s very simple, really. They have a poor understanding of the Catholic faith. They have not learned the teachings of the Church, so that they could recognize doctrinal errors in the claimed messages of a visionary. Then, too, they have lived worldly and sinful lives, without repentance. They have many unrepented mortal sins in their lives, which they incorrectly or disingenuously claim are not sins. Their understanding of the Gospel is superficial, at best. They judge the things of religion by comparison with the impoverished and distorted version of Catholicism in their own lives, hearts, and minds.
So when a false visionary offers messages of claimed private revelation, which present an impoverished, distorted, superficial, and worldly version of the Gospel, they immediately recognize a version of Catholicism similar to the faulty version in their own lives, hearts, and minds. So it just seems right to them. They find no doctrinal errors in the messages, because they don’t really know the doctrines of the Church. They fail to see that the false visionary is self-exalting, because they are the same. They have little familiarity with Scripture, so they don’t see that these messages contradict the Gospel message. They have many unrepented mortal sins in their lives, so they cannot tell the difference between true messages from Jesus and Mary, and false messages from visionaries led astray by devils.
And they are uncorrectable. In their pride, they exalt their own ignorant opinions above everything else.
The opposite problem also occurs, though it does less harm. Some Catholics publicly condemn true private revelations, such as Medjugorje and Garabandal, due to their ignorance of Church teaching. They read dozens or hundreds of messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary, and yet they do not recognize her profound and subtle understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For they talk about religion all day long, but they do not really know Jesus or Mary or the Church.
Certain online discussion groups are known for promoting claimed private revelations, with very little discretion. The leaders and members of this type of group are incompetent in discerning true from false private revelation. And therefore they end up promoting many false private revelations, and their harmful messages. May God correct them. (I cannot correct them. For in their pride, they treat me with contempt, denigration, and ridicule.)
Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.