Word about these “apparitions” pops up from time to time on my Facebook feed. People continue to disseminate the “messages” from something that was soundly condemned by the Church decades ago.
That may be one reason why the Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, last week issued the following statement:
Today, I write in order to dissipate any lingering doubts concerning the longstanding position of the Diocese of Brooklyn and the judgment of Bishop Francis J. Mugavero, Fifth Bishop of Brooklyn, regarding the alleged apparitions of Mrs. Veronica Lueken and the “Bayside Movement.”
The persistence of some in promoting these alleged visions and the person of Mrs. Lueken as a “visionary” has both defied the declaration made by Bishop Mugavero on November 4, 1986, and has remained a source of continued confusion and division among a number of the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens and beyond. Allow me, therefore, to reaffirm clearly that these supposed visions completely lack credibility, and the promotion or dissemination of these alleged apparitions has been done without ecclesiastical permission and in direct defiance of the legitimate Ecclesiastical Authority.
This judgment has been maintained over the course of three decades, due to the fact that the alleged visions contain serious theological errors and contradict both Sacred Scripture and the Magisterial teaching of the Church. Indeed, they are theologically problematic, and fail to meet the Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations, which were published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1978, and recently republished in 2011.
Indeed, Mrs. Lueken’s alleged visions are theologically problematic on numerous levels. They contain erroneous, and at times outlandish, claims about a variety of subjects including: the nature and identity of Christ, the identity and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Grace, the identity and mission of the Church, the Petrine Office, the Second Vatican Council, the Sacraments, and the last things. These supposed apparitions, therefore, lack any moral certitude, were reported with no docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, remain theologically and spiritually problematic, and have produced division and discord.
As a result, I reiterate the instruction issued by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero calling all clergy and faithful to refrain from any activities connected to the “Bayside Movement” or the alleged visions of Mrs. Lueken.
Furthermore, the faithful should not publish, disseminate, or distribute literature or other media surrounding these alleged apparitions, which continue to be produced and disseminated without ecclesiastical permission and cannot be declared free of doctrinal error. It is a source of concern that these alleged apparitions have been veiled by different names, especially “Our Lady of the Roses,” and have been connected to other authentic elements of Catholic devotional life. While these practices have led to confusion among some members of the faithful, they do not mitigate the substantive errors and suspicious claims contained in the alleged visions of Mrs. Lueken.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important part of our spiritual life and an essential tool on the path to holiness. Indeed, this devotion must be promoted and renewed in our homes, parishes, and throughout our Diocese here in Brooklyn and Queens. However, we must never forget that such devotion to the Blessed Mother remains authentic, inasmuch as it leads us closer to Christ and to His Church. Blessed John Paul II reminded us of this truth in his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, “The most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ. Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ.” Recalling my own episcopal motto, I pray that all of us will heed the invitation of the Lord to Behold Your Mother, and commit ourselves ever more deeply to an authentic and renewed devotion to Our Lady, who never ceases to lead us to her Son, “the way, the truth, and the life.