Before hysteria sweeps the country about the Knock ‘miracle’ last Sunday, I feel I have to share with you a few issues surrounding the incident.
I was one of the many witnesses there, and observed what appeared to be the sun spinning, shaking and taking on a blueish colour at the same time as everyone else. However, after the incident I was left feeling unsettled and somewhat disturbed, something just didn’t ring true with my faith. I do not believe that what I witnessed was a divine miracle: an optical illusion - yes, of divine origin - no. I have a strong Catholic faith, visit Knock regularly and for this reason feel impelled to ask believers if they believe that any kind of clairvoyancy is forbidden by the Church - it breaks the first Commandment given by God to Moses.
Joe Coleman is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant / medium. Why would the Blessed Virgin Mary overlook this mortal sin to convey a secret message to him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church unequivocally states that “all forms of divination are to be rejected... the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums... contradict the honour, respect and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (CCC, #2116).
Claiming to be able to provide secret messages is typical of false private revelations - Joe Coleman stated before the Sunday ‘apparition’ that Our Lady told him she would make her biggest statement yet to be heard on Earth.
How strange it was that Our Lady ‘requested’ people to gather at 3pm in the grounds of Knock Shrine, the very time of the daily Mass celebrated there, and on that day, the Dominican pilgrimage to Knock. Why would she not have invited people to attend Mass first and then receive a message?
What effectively happened was that at 3pm there were two groups of people: one was celebrating Mass in the Basilica in Knock with the Dominican pilgrimage, the other was outside looking into the sky for a sign.
And while it was wonderful to see the crowds making their way to Knock, the other thing you have to ask is, was it for the right reason and will it bear good fruit? Will this event inspire them to pray the Rosary and read Scripture daily, attend Mass prayerfully and reverently, or will it cause them to become distracted with news of the next ‘sign’ or secret message from Joe Coleman?
Our faith is not a secretive one - the message is there for all. But the problem is that this kind of revelation is addictive, for all the wrong reasons. What will the next message be? Where will she appear next? In contrast, the simple message of the Gospels, which is to conform your lives to Christ every day in thought, word and deed, has a danger of appearing ‘boring’ - the society demanding instant gratification will instead be tempted to clamour for the adrenaline rush of signs and secret messages.
And ultimately, when the Church has to step in regarding such false revelations, what happens is that the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ is threatened - think Christina Gallagher and the House of Prayer in Achill.
While her messages began by appearing harmless and of possible divine origin, they soon became heretical (she promised eternal life to anyone who visited the House of Prayer and also undermined the doctrine of the Holy Trinity). When the Archdiocese of Tuam stepped in to clarify the Achill House of Prayer was not authorised by the Church, what we saw was an effective amputation of a section of the Body of Christ - previously faithful believers were lost to the Church along with Christina.
In Jesus’ own words: “False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” (Mk. 13:22).
The above article was submitted by a South Mayo resident, whose name and address have been supplied to the Editor.