Garabandal – A Caution
..Garabandal – A Caution
From 1961 until 1965 there was a series of events in the northern Spanish town of Garabandal, which some have believed are due to appearances of Our Lady. With no intention of casting aspersions on the integrity of those involved in the events at Garabandal, it is appropriate to list 5 important reasons for rejecting the alleged apparitions as spurious.
1. When the children first saw the apparition they were up screaming all the following night. They claimed it was because they h.ad seen hell. But Heaven does not inspire us to be lying awake and screaming. When the children at Fatima saw hell, Our Lady prepared them for it with the promise that they would personally be going to Heaven, and they saw the vision for only an instant. They were sobered but always at peace. Peace is a mark of Heaven, agitation of hell.
2. There was too much of walking backwards, ‘ecstatic falls backward’, and the like. “Backward” has always been understood as a trademark of the evil spirit. Defenders of the Garabandal Apparitions have been quick to point out that, during the ecstatic falls, the girls’ clothing was never disarranged immodestly. Suffice it to say that even the devil, whose overweening pride and arrogance traps him at times in the grossest blunders, would not have made such an elementary blunder against establishing credibility for the apparitions..
3. The children were encouraged by the apparition to hold up pebbles from the road for ‘her’ to kiss, and these were then passed round as blessed objects. This is contrary to all of Catholic tradition. Why did they not distribute blessed medals, rosaries or scapulars? The distribution of blessed pebbles does nothing to edify the practice of blessed sacramentals; rather it tends to undermine it.
4. The priest who allegedly was granted a preview of The Miracle died the following day. The children were informed that he had ‘died of joy’. They were later told that, after the Miracle and the Sign, that his body would be found incorrupt. This was a lapse of prudence on the part of the apparition – because his body was exhumed ‘to find out how he was getting on’ and his body was indeed corrupting. Some of the more stalwart defenders of the Garabandal Apparitions maintained that his body would be found in-corrupt after the Miracle. I personally say, this strains credulity too much. There have been over 200 Catholic saints whose bodies have remained in-corrupt, but never one whose decayed body was restored. Even fully in-corrupt saints whose remains have been desecrated have never had their bodies miraculously restored.
5. At the last appearance, the Archangel Michael allegedly delivered the message instead of Our Lady because, he said, Our Lady was too upset to carry it to the children. Is this in character with the Mary of Scripture and the constant tradition and experience of 2000 years? She who was not “too upset” to meet her Divine Son on the Way of the Cross, and to stand at the foot of the Cross for three hours when all the other disciples had fled – except for John, who came back and remained – would she be too weak to face a parting interview?
The occurrences at Garabandal unquestionably surpass the ordinary course of even.ts, and must be classed as either preternatural or supernatural. The possibility must be considered that it was due to the intervention of the devil. It is well known that the victims of diabolical intervention are often innocent victims, with no more weight of sin than perhaps the average mortal. If the children were trapped in this kind of intervention it in no way implies that they called on the devil or were willing accomplices.
What then was the purpose of the Garabandal apparitions?
The proximity in geography to Fatima, and in time to the expected publication of the third Secret of Fatima and the opening of the Second Vatican Council, suggests that the primary purpose of Garabandal was to distract attention from Fatima and especially from the Third Secret, which had been awaited with great anticipation for many years, and whose suppression was not explained in any satisfactory way. It may be recalled that the area around Lourdes was beset by false apparitions immediately after the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to Bernadette. The devil’s tactic is to distract attention by throwing up a multitude of red herrings.
In the present decades there has been a veritable explosion of alleged apparitions and other preternatural and supernatural manifestations. In such a time, the prudent Christian will concentrate on the approved 19th-20th Century apparitions of La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima. These contain all we need for practical guidance through the extremely trying phase of history that we are living through.
[And even as regards La Salette – please be aware that only the very first message from the children has been approved by the competent Church authorities. The girl Melanie wrote much in later life, embroidering the original narrative. These writings have been condemned by the Church, and even placed on The Index of Forbidden books].
One last thing: According to Garabandal, the Blessed Virgin Mary has promised that she will one day restore the sight of the blind man Joey Lomangino. This is to happen on the same day as the promised “Great Miracle.” Joey Lomangino is now 86 years old. If this man dies without having his sight restored to him, then this is absolute evidence of the falsity of these apparitions. The Garbandal people will probably try to wriggle out of it – say that the promise was of spiritual, not physical sight, or perhaps say that he recovered his sight secretly hours before death or something like that. But if we see that sort of mental legerdemain, it will be a pretty clear sign about Garabandal, though perhaps not the sort its enthusiasts were hoping for.
Long Live Our Lady of Guadalupe!