Article misrepresented pope’s thoughts on Mary


To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the article “Visions of Mary can lead people away from God” (The Catholic Messenger, Nov. 21).  I felt the article greatly misrepresented Pope Francis’ comments on visions of our Lady.
I do not believe the statements Pope Francis made inferred in any way that visions of Mary lead people away from God. This would not make sense, especially since he recently consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, inviting representatives from Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe and other Marian apparition sites. When our Lord sends his Mother to us, it is to draw us back to him, not to lead us away from him.
For example, the Lord sent his Mother to Juan Diego in Mexico, and 10 million Indians were converted.  She appeared at Lourdes and Fatima, and tens of thousands have grown in their faith. Also, millions have returned to the faith, the sacraments, prayer and a closer walk with Jesus after being inspired by Our Lady’s alleged apparitions in Medjugorje, which are still being investigated by the Church.
I believe the pope’s comments were referring to those who focus too much on every claimed message and vision of Mary, without using proper discernment. If the visions only stimulate our curiosity without drawing us into a deeper relationship with Jesus, it is better to avoid them. If, however, we discern that they are drawing people closer to Christ and his Church, and opening them up to the Holy Spirit, it may be to our benefit to pay attention to them.  Healings, vocations and callings which serve to build up the Church have often come from those who listen to Mary’s call to conversion.
As our Lord says in Matthew 7:16: “You shall know them by their fruits.”
Sandi Hansen

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