The Blessed Virgin reaffirmed at Garabandal the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church just as they were about to come under attack.
All of the Church recognized appearances of the Blessed Virgin in the first half of the twentieth century were timed to historical events. Our Lady appeared at Fatima in 1917 during World War I (1914-18) and said that the war would soon end, but that if mankind did not amend its ways, a second and worse one would come and that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world. Our Lady's last appearance at Fatima occurred one month before the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (November 1917) which gave birth to one of the greatest scourges of human history, atheistic communism.
Lesser known appearances of Our Lady in Belgium at Beauraing (1932-33) and Banneux (1933) also had historical significance. It was in 1933 that Adolf Hitler established in Germany a dictatorship whose aggression would initiate the Second World War (1939-1945).
The Blessed Virgin's appearances at Garabandal from 1961 to 1965 also coincided with a significant event which although not political, was nevertheless historical in the life of the Church: the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). What occurred in the aftermath of this Council can hardly be described as changes in practice, discipline, liturgy, art, architecture and music reshaped the familiar landscape. of traditional Catholicism. The extent of the changes often finds expression in the phrases "pre-Vatican II" and "post-Vatican II" even though Pope John Paul II has vigorously opposed the notion that the Council was meant to be a point of departure from all that preceded it.
In his opening address to the Council on October 11, 1962, Pope John XXX stressed that there should be a "renewed, serene and tranquil adherence to all the teachings of the Church in their entirety and preciseness, as they still shine forth in the acts of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council." What actually happened during and immediately after the Council hardly conformed to Pope John's words. Father Joseph Pelletier summarized the situation: "Though in preparation for some years before the Council...the storm only manifested itself in a serious way during the Council. That storm grew in fury during the Council and in the first few years after it."
In the upheaval, what previously would have seemed unthinkable for Catholics, happened. The sacred teachings and practices of the Faith came under fire. Core beliefs such as the existence of hell, purgatory, angels, Original Sin, and even the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist have challenged as well as the need for private confession. Attempts were made to suppress devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
But, as Father Pelletier pointed out: "God anticipated all this and gave the remedy to His Church through the apparitions of Garabandal. The messages received through these apparitions gave us the answer to the problems that began to beset the Church. God through Mary, His messenger, was telling us to maintain our traditional belief and devotional practices in regard to all these things."
What follows are some of the beliefs and practices that have been challenged and how Our Lady responded in advance at Garabandal.
Hell: While hell is seldom if ever preached today in the majority of churches, the Blessed Virgin did not hesitate to make reference to it at Garabandal. In her second Message of June 18, 1965, delivered by Saint Michael on her behalf to Conchita, Our Lady said: "Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them." If there is any doubt that perdition refers to hell, here is the Webster's Unabridged description: Perdition: 1. a state of final spiritual ruin; loss of the soul; damnation. 2. the future state of the wicked. 3. hell.
In that same Message, Our Lady again alluded to hell when she said: "You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation."
Another reference to hell was made on January 1, 1965, during an apparition at the Pines, when the Blessed Virgin told Conchita that Catholic Christians do not think enough about life after death, about heaven and hell.
Picture: Jacinta in ecstasy in 1962 holds up religious articles for the Virgin to kiss.
Purgatory: (See Garabandal and Purgatory 2)
Angels: A university student once asked Padre Pio: "Does God exist?" The Padre responded with a question of his own: "Are you crazy?" To ask a religious consecrated to God and especially someone who frequently saw Jesus and Mary and spoke almost daily with his guardian angel, the question must have seemed ridiculous. Equally absurd would it have been to ask the visionaries of Garabandal if they believed in angels since they not only were seeing one on a regular basis but frequently received Communion from him. And although invisible to onlookers, the Hosts they received were real Hosts which they could taste and swallow.
The importance of St. Michael the Archangel appearing at Garabandal is of such significance for our times that it will be treated separately in a future issue.
Original Sin: At Garabandal, the Blessed Virgin reaffirmed the existence of Original Sin. On March 31, 1962, Mari Loli's mother, Julia, gave birth to Lupita, sister to the visionary on the upper floor of the inn which served also as their dwelling. Mari Loli entered into ecstasy on the ground floor and was heard to say: "Ah! Is it a little sister? What, so little and sin already in her?" She then came out of ecstasy. A priest present at the time asked her what she meant. She answered: "I saw sin in the soul of my little sister."
On another occasion, Conchita related the following. A young woman was holding a three month old baby in her arms. The visionary spoke of the baby to the Blessed Virgin who said the infant was in the state of sin. Out of ecstasy Conchita commented: "I don't know what it means, but if the Blessed Virgin said it is so, then it must be so."
She went up to the young woman and told her: "The Virgin told me that the baby is in the state of sin." The mother answered: "It's true. The baby has not yet been baptized." Soon afterwards, the child did receive the sacrament of Baptism. This incident had an influence on the young visionary in later life, since Conchita always insisted on having her children baptized the first Sunday after their birth.
Confession: At Garabandal the Blessed Virgin reinforced the importance of personal confession. When interviewed in April of 1983, visionary Jacinta Moynihan was asked: "Did the Blessed Virgin ever speak to you about the Sacrament of Reconciliation?" She replied: "Yes she did. Now there are people who want to do away with it, but the Virgin said it was muy importante
from Garabandal Journal Nov-Dec. 2002
By Mark Regis