May 27, 2003

Dear Believers of Our Lady of Emmitsburg

I read today a release from Rev. John Lombardi, Chaplain of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg. As it was a public release, it is therefore quite in order for me to respond but as politely as possible to ensure an acceptable measure of decorum in my missives. In a long article, replete with cathechismal irrelevancies, he once more parrots the already criticized so-called negative elements, cited by the Commission of Inquiry. To quote him: They include the return of Jesus as a child; a questionable coming reign of chastisement; a supposed universal revelation of everyones soul before the Second Coming; the possibility of spurring excessive attachment to the supernatural. All these elements are contrary to Catholic Faith and doctrine.

Are they really? Certainly not to any intelligent Catholic who knows his Bible and Marian history. But what more must I do? It is so boring to be repetitive. Our Lady of Emmitsburg never talked about her Son Jesus returning as a Child, walking the Earth. She spoke about the Eucharistic spiritualreign of the Child Jesus. To quote the actual text: It will not be His final judgment and coming but this next era will be the Covenant of our two hearts, a Eucharistic spiritual reign where the Child Jesus will usher in a kingdom of peace.Indeed, the Philippino Catholics would fully understand this. They have a great devotion to the Covenant of the Two Hearts and to the Child Jesus (Santo Niño). In fact, several mystics have seen the Child Jesus emanating from the Eucharist. To me, it is most likely about a forthcoming renewal of adoration of and communion with Jesus in the Eucharist, which has been put aside in and put to the side of many churches in America.

Re a coming reign of chastisement, so many messages of Our Lady over the decades have warned about holding back the hand of her Son. In Fatima, she talked about a chastisement when she prophesied a World War II, if men did not convert. In more recent times in Akita, Japan, in 1973 she was quite precise: If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the Flood such as one will have never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part in humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. (This indeed was the case in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 with US- made atomic bombs). The only arms that will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by the confreres&

The apparitions of Our Lady of Akita were officially approved by Bishop John Ito, Bishop of Niigata, Japan about ten years ago. Interestingly, and I am not drawing any conclusions, the statue of Our Lady in the convent in Akita wept for the first time on January 4, 1975, the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton!

Three times I have been to the convent of the Handmaids of the Eucharist in Akita, where the messages were given and on one occasion I spent two days with those holy nuns and was given a religious souvenir by the blessed visionary Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, who also suffered greatly from disbelief in her authenticity. And so, prophecy has come to pass and cardinals are now opposing cardinals, bishops opposing bishops and priests opposing priests.

Thirdly, with respect to the revelation of the state of everyones soul before the Second Coming, how is that contrary to Catholic Faith? Is there something in the Bible which teaches that there can never be such a thing? Have we gone back to sola scriptura? It was certainly mentioned in the apparitions of Garabandal. I must however admit that the apparitions of Garabandal have not yet been approvedbut neither have they been officially disapproved by Rome.

But what is most interesting is that the Commission of Inquiry was also very critical about the death of all fish, as prophesied by Our Lady of Emmitsburg in July 19, 1989. This was conveniently left out this time by Fr. Lombardi, most likely because of the UPI, Reuters and CNN releases two weeks ago which reported that a global survey spanning nearly half a century revealed a 90 per cent plunge population of large ocean fish from tuna to cod. With their numbers decreasing by as much a 80 per cent in 15 years, the depleted communities could crash delicately-balanced ecosystems with unknown worldwide consequences. By the way, Our Lady never talked about the death of all fish.

As I have said before, and I will say it again, I am tireless and will repeatedly correct any misinformation about Our Ladys messages. So said, Fr. Edward OConnor, CSC, who appeared before the Commission of Inquiry in favour of Gianna Talone-Sullivan, speaking on behalf of Frs. Joseph Ianuzzi, who has a doctorate in Mystical Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and Robert Faricy, Marian author and Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome, wrote to Cardinal William Keeler on October 7, 2002, saying: It is our impression that the Commission has made some very serious errors. It attributes to Mrs. Talone-Sullivan statements not contained in her messages, distorts the sense of statements that were in them, and finally attributes to certain points an emphasis that is completely lacking from the text. Isnt this the distorted version which was sent to Cardinal Ratzinger? But we still have not seen the wording of the letter from the Cardinal!

As a consequence of all this and many other things, I strongly believe that there should be a Commission of Inquiry into the Commission of Inquiry. I also do not believe that the expertise, qualifications and spirituality of the three-member Commission of Inquiry is in any way superior to that of Fr. René Laurentin, a world-renowned Marian expert, Fr. Robert Faricy, Fr. Joseph Ianuzzi, Fr. Edward D. OConnor, CSC, Marian theologian of Notre Dame University and author of several Marian books, Fr. John Wang, MAT, PhD,JUD and Fr. Oliver P. Mohan, OMI, who all believe in the apparitions.

Finally, as I have said before, this is where I am unbending. The Commission of Inquiry must explain to the Catholic world why they have totally disregarded Fr. Laurentins panel of scientific experts from France and the United States who have confirmed that Gianna Talone-Sullivan is in ecstasywhen Our Lady appears. But the Church must render unto science what is sciences. In fact, Pope John Paul II has recently said: Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science of idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world, a world in which both can flourish& Such bridging ministries must be nurtured and encouraged.

May I now beseech all of us to pray to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and also to offer one Mass for the intention of achieving the stamp of authenticity on the apparitions of Our Lady of Emmitsburg.

Soon I will relate to you the interesting story of Melanie Calvat, the visionary of La Salette.

Dr. Courtenay Bartholomew