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Manfred Hauke: The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions (Chapter 9 from "Introduction to Mariology")

Manfred Hauke: The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions (Chapter 9 from "Introduction to Mariology")

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Overview of the Church's theology, pastoral principles, and history regarding apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Excerpt from Prof. Manfred Hauke's "Introduzione alla Mariologia". Authorized translation by Richard Chonak, 2010.
Overview of the Church's theology, pastoral principles, and history regarding apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Excerpt from Prof. Manfred Hauke's "Introduzione alla Mariologia". Authorized translation by Richard Chonak, 2010.

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11/06/2012

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INTRODUCTION TO MARIOLOGYManfred HaukeChapter 9The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions
[Author’s note: The original source for this text is
Manfred Hauke, Introduzione alla Mariologia(Collana di Mariologia 2), EuPress FTL, Lugano (Switzerland) 2008, 303-329.
We thank EuPress FTLLugano for granting us permission to publish this translation. We have added some bibliographicalinformation for English-speaking readers and some updates, especially about the recognition of theapparitions of Le Laus (1664) by the diocese of Gap in 2008 and the commission of the Holy Seefounded in 2010 to prepare an intervention about the phenomenon of Medjugorje.]
1.Theological locus of the phenomenon
We will now discuss apparitions of the Mother of God in close connection with the theme of mediationstudied in the previous chapter. Jesus Christ reveals his mission as mediator in the ministries of king, priest, and prophet. Mary also participates, in a manner consonant to her, in the prophetic function. Therole of a prophet is that of communicating a divine message received by means of a revelation. The prophetic charism, carried out by men and women, is distinct from the sacrament of Orders and presupposes a special intervention of the Holy Spirit.
1
Such interventions of the Spirit require our respect: “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophesy” (1 Th. 5:19 f.) In the New Testament, the prophetic charism of Mary is manifested above all in the
Magnificat,
as Irenaeus of Lyons affirms.
2
Ambrose, commenting on Mary’s consciousness of her own salvific role, affirms that the BlessedVirgin “was not unaware of celestial mysteries.”
3
Marian apparitions form a part of the prophetic phenomena that have accompanied the journey of the people of God since the beginning of its history. The book of Proverbs puts it thus: “Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint” (Prov. 29:18). Prophecies do not end with the revelation of JesusChrist, which was completed with the end of the apostolic era, but are a typical trait of the Church thatwill remain until the Parousia.
1cf. J. S
CHARBERT
,
 Propheten
, in ML 5 (1993) 323f.2I
RENAEUS
,
 Adv. Hær.
III, 10, 2 (SC 211, 122). On the patristic aspects of the title “prophetess” used for Mary, see A.G
RILLMEIER 
,
Maria Prophetin. Eine Studie zur patristischen Mariologie,
in Geist und Leben 30 (1957) 101-145.3A
MBROSE
,
 In Luc.
I 61 (CSEL 32, 74). On the prophetic charism in Mary: L. S
CHEFFCZYK 
,
 Prophetin,
in ML 5 (1993)324f.; C
ALERO
(1995) 91-97; C
OLZANI
(1996) 240-242.
 Hauke: The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions
1
 
The messages communicated, however, have a diverse locus: revelations called “private” run distinctfrom “public” revelation.
4
 “Public revelation”, or “Revelation”
tout court,
indicates a message destinedfor the entire Church of all times; it is a content divinely revealed and proposed by the Church to thefaith of her members. (Revelation coincides therefore with the term “dogma”, in which the
revelatiodivina
and the
 propositio ecclesiæ,
the authoritative presentation mediated by the Church, cometogether.) To explain the completeness of revelation, the
Catechism of the Catholic Church
(CCC) citesa text of St. John of the Cross: God “has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son.Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ, and by living with thedesire for some other novelty.”
5
The term “private revelations”, on the other hand, denotes messages destined for one person or for agroup (or even the entire Church) in a particular situation. The adjective “private” does not imply a purely personal interest which does not involve the ecclesial community, but only distinguishes thesemessages from general revelation. “Between the two realities there is a difference not only of degree but of essence.”
6
Prophecies after the apostolic era are given “not to promote a new doctrine of thefaith, but for the direction of human acts.”
7
Private revelations recognized by the Church are propheticevents that help us “to understand the signs of the times [Lk. 12:56] and to find, by means of them, theright response in faith.”
8
Since the distinction between “public” and “private” does not appear to be very useful in respect toapparitions that have an incisive message for the entire Church (such as Guadalupe, Lourdes, andFatima), more recently a distinction has been proposed “between
 foundational 
revelation and
 particular 
revelations, which continue according to the diversity of times and places.”
9
It is the task of ecclesiastical authority to evaluate the credibility of a prophecy, including that of aMarian apparition. The classic position of the Church in this regard was expressed by ProsperoLambertini, later Benedict XIV († 1758), in his work on processes of beatification (and canonization):“To such revelations, even if approved, we neither should nor could give an assent of catholic faith, butonly of human faith, according to rules of prudence which discern if the aforesaid revelations are probable or worthy of pious belief.”
 Pius X also reminds us in his encyclical against Modernism,citing a decree from the Congregation of Rites: “These apparitions and revelations have neither beenapproved nor condemned by the Holy See, which has simply allowed that they be believed on purelyhuman faith, on the tradition which they relate, corroborated by testimonies and documents worthy of credence.”
“Ecclesial approbation of a private revelation contains three elements: the relevant
4cf.
ATZINGER 
(2000) 32-36.5J
OHN
 
OF
 
THE
C
ROSS
,
 Ascent to Mount Carmel,
II, 22: CCC 65.6
ATZINGER 
(2000) 32.7T
HOMAS
A
QUINAS
,
STh
II-II q. 174 a. 6 ad 3. cf. CCC 67: “Through the ages there have been so-called ‘private’revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church.... It is not their role to ‘improve’ or ‘complete’ Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live us more fully by it in a certain period of history.”8
ATZINGER 
(2000) 36.9L
AURENTIN
,
 Apparizioni,
129.10
 De servorum Dei beatificatione
2,32,11, cited in D
E
F
IORES
,
Maria
(1992) 354. Also in this sense R 
ATZINGER 
(2000) 34f.11P
IUS
X,
 Pascendi
(1907) (EE 4, n. 244).
 Hauke: The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions
2
 
message does not contain anything contrary to faith and good morals; it is licit to publish it, and thefaithful are permitted to give adherence to it in a prudent manner.”
 Nevertheless it is plausible to speak not of “catholic faith”, but of “divine faith” for the bearer of the prophetic charism, faith which clearly recognizes the authenticity of the revelation communicated(which may regard only an individual’s destiny.) For someone who is not himself a bearer of thecharism, the act of assent appears as human faith, which may reach to a moral certainty.
According toa more daring position, the assent can become one of ecclesial faith, connected to a “dogmatic event”,when a seer is canonized or when a Marian shrine arising from an apparition is involved, such as withcertain obligatory observances in the universal liturgical calendar. “Dogmatic events” are realitiesconnected to an infallible intervention of the magisterium, such as a canonization (which obliges theentire Church to celebrate a saint) or the orthodoxy of a universal liturgical feast. For this reason sometheologians even defend the possibility of a faith as a “theological virtue” for those who encounter a prophetic revelation.
In the opinion of this author, it does not make sense to attribute theological faith in the strict sense to anevent which does not form part of the Revelation completed with the apostolic era. Instead the questionof “ecclesial faith” can be raised on the basis of the feast of Lourdes, present in the universal Churchwith reference to the aforesaid apparitions (February 11), since the time of Pope Pius X (1907), untilthe liturgical reform of Paul VI (1969), in which the feast
 In apparitione B. Mariæ Virginis Immaculatæ
became the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes; in this memorial, the apparitionsare mentioned only in the second reading of the Office of Readings.
Even in the case of Lourdes, as itwere, the Church does not formally propose the authenticity of the apparitions as “revealed by God.”The true and proper object of the cultus
(obiectum cultus absolutum)
is the Immaculate Conception,while the apparition is considered an incidental object of devotion
(obiectum occasionale)
.
The charism of prophecy relates to the content of Marian manifestations. As regards their form, wemust differentiate apparitions proper from visions. The term “apparition” points to the objectivity of theevent in its visible manifestation (objective aspect), while “vision” describes the reality on the part of the seer (subjective aspect). “By apparition is meant the extranatural manifestation, perceptible either  by the external senses or by the imagination, of an object that seems present.”
“Vision”, in contrast, inthe sphere of the mystical, indicates the supernatural perception of an object that is naturally invisibleto the eye. This perception may be a “corporeal vision” (that is, a perception in the visual sense),“imaginative” (sensible representations limited to the imagination), or “intellectual” (a perception bythe understanding without sensible impressions or images.)
An apparition is perceived by sight or at
12
ATZINGER 
(2000) 35, with reference to E. D
HANIS
,
Sguardo su Fatima e bilancio di una discussione,
in La CiviltàCattolica 104 (1953) II 392-406 (397).13cf. V
OLKEN
, ch. III, 3,3.14In this sense, following Balic and Rahner: L
AURENTIN
,
 Apparizioni,
132-134.15cf. F. C
OURTH
,
Marienerscheinungen und kirchliches Amt,
in Z
IEGENAUS
,
Marienerscheinungen
(1995) 183-198 (187f);
ECKINGER 
(2004) 209f.16cf. Z
IEGENAUS
,
Mariologie
(1998) 370, with reference to C. T
RUHLAR 
,
 Principia theologica de habitudine Christiani erga Apparitiones,
in AMI,
Virgo Immaculata
XVI (1956) 1-17. See also P
IUS
X,
 Pascendi
(1907) (EE 4, n. 244).17C.P. P
AOLUCCI
,
 Apparizioni,
in L. B
ORRIELLO
 
et al.
(eds.),
 Dizionario di mistica,
Vatican City 1998, 146f. (146).18cf. V. M
ARCOZZI
,
Visioni,
in B
ORRIELLO
(1998) 1271. See also R 
ATZINGER 
(2000) 36f.; P
ERRELLA
,
 Apparizioni,
65-71.
 Hauke: The prophetic role of Mary in apparitions
3

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