Monday 10 October 2022

Apparitions of Mary Their Meaning in History - Donal Anthony Foley - CTS Christian Shrines

Apparitions of Mary Their Meaning in History
CTS Christian Shrines Series
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 1860820824 
ISBN 9781860820823 
CTS Booklet Do 662

I read and reviewed a different edition of this book back in 2006. The one I read back then was a reprint from Lifehouse Catholic Media, I believe, and I had picked it up at the back of a church or on retreat, I do not recall. It was a great read and I enjoyed it. But never really returned to it or looking deeper at books from either the CTS or Lighthouse. Since that time I have discovered the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society, I have read over 300 in the last few years. And I have read another dozen works from Foley’s masterful pen, both his non-fiction and fiction. I tracked down a newer edition of this book and gave it a reread, and this is a new review based on that reread. You can read the original review here. The description of this volume is:

“Many shrines throughout the world are associated with Mary, the Mother of God. What meaning do her apparently random apparitions have? This booklet sets out the links that exist between the nine major apparitions of Mary, accepted as authentic by the Church, and correspondingly important revolutionary events in modern Western history. Fascinating parallels are also drawn between these apparitions (Guadalupe 1531, Rue du Bac 1830, La Salette 1846, Lourdes 1858, Pontmain 1871, Knock 1879, Fatima 1917, Beauraing 1932 and Banneax 1933) and various biblical figures and events.”

The chapters and sections in this volume are:

Guadalupe, the Reformation. and Secularisation 
     The Reformation 
     The Apparition~ at Guadalupe - 1531 
The Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Catholic Revival 
     The French Revolution 
     The Apparitions at Rue du Bac - 1830 
     Jacob, Joseph and the Miraculous Medal
     La Salette Apparition - September 1846 
     La Salette and Moses 
Lourdes and Darwin's theory of Evolution 
     Bernadette and Lourdes - 1858 
     Moses and Bernadette 
Pontmain and Knock Apparitions 
     The Apparition at Pontmain - 1871 
     The High Priest 
     Knock Apparition - 1879 
     Fatima and the Russian Revolution 
     The Apparitions at Fatima - 1917 
     The Miracle of the Sun · October 1917 
     Fatima and Elijah 
Beauraing, Banneux, and the rise of Nazism 
     The Apparitions at Beauraing, 1932-33 
     The Eastern Gate and Beauraing 
     The Apparitions at Banneux - I 933 
     Beaurning, Banneux, and Nazism 

I highlighted many passages this time through this book. Some of them are:

“This booklet looks at the nine major Marian apparitions that have occurred during the last five centuries or so, and which the Catholic Church has decided to accept as authentic.”

“It is argued that the major modem apparitions of the Mother of Jesus, as approved by the Catholic Church, and particularly Fatima, are not random or historically inconsequential events, but actually seem to follow a preordained plan.”

“In answer to the threat represented by these successive revolutions. Mary has repeatedly appeared and asked for repentance, a turning away from sin. if the most awful disasters are to be avoided. As the spiritual Mother of mankind she cannot stand idly by and watch humanity destroy itself through sin and selfishness. Her apparitions have played a large part in the major Catholic renewals of recent centuries, and if the message of Fatima is heeded then the Church can again experience a renaissance. As the details of the Fatima message make clear, this is necessary if we are to have true peace in the world.”

“Bernadette’s later years were increasingly marked by sufferings, and thus she lived out the '"hard saying" she had heard from Mary: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the next.” She died on 16th April 1879, at the age of thirty-five, at the convent in Nevers, and was finally canonised in December 1933, becoming St Bernadette.”

“Pope Pius IX prophetically condemned communism and socialism in 1864, correctly foreseeing that they were capable of destroying the whole moral basis of society if implemented.”

“All of this seems to indicate that Pontmain has a very clear typological link with this particular biblical account, that of the high priest and the sanctuary in the desert.”

“In terms of biblical typology, Knock seems to be concerned with the urk of the covenant. A number of the Church Fathers have compared Mary with the ark, including St Hippolytus of Rome (d. 235), St Andrew of Crete, and St John Damascene. St Athanasius too compared Mary with the ark in very fulsome terms: "Truly, 0 noble Virgin, you are great above all greatness; who indeed can compare with your greatness; 0 dwelling place of the Word of God? With whom shall I compare you among all creatures? You are evidently greater than all of them. 0 Ark of the covenant surrounded totally and purely on all sides with gold! You are the Ark containing all gold, the receptacle of the true manna, that is human nature wherein the divinity resides.''”

“Fatima should be regarded as the most important Marian apparition of the twentieth century, if not the most important event in its own right, not least because of the tremendous "miracle of the sun" which was seen by a crowd of at least 70,000. Fatima also occurred just as the Russian Revolution was unfolding during World War I, a war that essentially resulted from the desire of Germany to have an empire of its own to match. if not exceed, the British Empire a desire spurred on by fear of being encircled by a newly industrialising Russia.”

“Given all this, it is interesting that there seem to be important links between the rise of Nazism and the apparitions of Mary at Beauraing and Banneux. Beauraing is a small town in the southern, French speaking, part of Belgium, and it was here that the Blessed Virgin appeared to a group of children between late November 1932 and January 1933. The five children came from the nominally Catholic Voisin and Degeimbre families.”

“On the evening of Sunday 15th January 1933, Mariette Beco, an eleven year old girl from Banneux a Belgian village fifty miles north-east of Beauraing, also saw the Blessed Virgin. This was only a few weeks after the events at Beauraing, and so there was some scepticism, but subsequent events were to show that this new set of apparitions would also be accepted by the Church.”

“Banneux was investigated from 1935 until 1937 by an Episcopal commission, after which the evidence collected was submitted to Rome. Meanwhile, growing numbers of pilgrims came to the shrine , and in May 1942 Bishop Kerkhofs of Liege approved the cult of the Virgin of the Poor. In 1947 the apparitions themselves received preliminary approval, with this becoming definite in 1949. Like the children at Beauraing. Mariette married and had a family, being, like them, content to remain in the background.”

“Mary revealed herself at Guadalupe as the new Eve, and at Rue du Bae as the Mediatrix of all Graces and the ladder of Jacob which unites mankind to God. At La Salette she came as a new Moses, warning humanity of the need for repentance. At Lourdes she proclaimed herself to be the Immaculate Conception, while at Pontmain and Knock she came as the new ark of the covenant. At Fatima, like a new Elijah, she again warned mankind of the dangers it faced, particularly the “errors of Russia,” and at Beauraing and Banneux appeared as the new “Eastern Gate,” the Virgin Mother of God, to beg for fervent prayer. These types arc not just pious titles but represent the truth of Mary's intercessory role, which in reality is almost infinitely greater. She is the spiritual mother of mankind, the mother of the mystical body of Christ, and thus she is the mother of every human being in the order of grace.”

I am very thankful I traced down and reread this volume. I have read much on Mary’s appearances in the 16 years since I first read this volume. And I have read most books by Donal Anthony Foley. Now I should note, the older edition of this volume that I originally read is labeled as part of the CTS Christian Shrines Series, which is one of my favourite series from the CTS. And this is an excellent read, either as a standalone volume, or as part of the series. Foley writes in an engaging manner. This volume is well researched and wonderfully put together. I can easily recommend this volume!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Christian Shrines series click here.

Other Books in the CTS Christian Shrines Series:
Message of Assisi
Message of Fatima
Message of Guadalupe
Message of Walsingham
Santiago: Santiago de Compostela - The Pilgrim Way of St James

Books by Donal Anthony Foley:
Apparitions of Mary (2006 Review)
Christian Living: The Spirituality of the Foyers of Charity
Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?
Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World
Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud?


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