Garabandal: response to concerns
(an interview with Marc Conza)
There has been a huge response to our recent article on Garabandal published by Catholic Stand. We have asked Marc Conza to assist with answers to some of the common queries. Marc was a close associate of the great apostle of Garabandal, Joey Lomangino. Beginning in 1985, he helped to promote the messages in Florida through Joey’s apostolate, “The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal”. Later, Marc assisted for a time at the Lindenhurst centre in New York and had access to the historical archival material collected from eyewitnesses to the apparitions. He went on to write about fifty articles for Barry Hanratty’s Garabandal Journal (the successor magazine to the publication originally founded by Joey himself).
The following interview includes a fascinating discussion on the "failed" prophecy regarding Joey Lomangino's eyesight, the nature of the Warning and how we will experience it, the denials by the visionaries, and more.
1. Marc, the so-called "failed" prophecy regarding Joey's sight has been a stumbling block for many people. As we have discussed, you are aware that Joey in fact sacrificed this cure back to God for the conversion of sinners. However, the unfulfilled prophecy seems like a disaster for Garabandal to many people. How do you look on it?
Well I knew it would be a blow for most believers in Garabandal who knew about Joey, but for me it was more about helping them to understand why Joey's passing was not a stumbling block to the authenticity of the apparitions. Because I knew him personally, and was with him so much, and watched how he went through life, I had always understood Joey's total commitment to Our Lady and the promotion of Garabandal. Believe me, there are amazing workers for Garabandal out there, and their zeal and their dedication to Our Lady is humbling to me, but to this day there is no equal to Joey Lomangino as an Apostle for Garabandal.
I also was familiar with the story of St. Bridget and the blind woman at this time, so it was no reach of the imagination to understand that Joey might have done something like this. But by the time of his passing, I had not seen Joey for many years, and although we kept in touch by letters, his letters to me had become shorter and shorter, and his signature deteriorated consummately as his health declined, until he could no longer communicate with me anymore. So, I had long accepted the very real possibility that he could actually die before the Miracle took place.
In fact, many years earlier, I think it was in 2004 or 2005, I had called in to the Drew Mariani show to address something that was being mentioned about Garabandal – I can't remember what that was at the moment – and Drew took the opportunity to put me on the spot and ask me what I would do if Joey Lomangino died before getting his eyesight back. I told him that would have no impact on my belief in Garabandal, nor would it detract from the authenticity of the apparitions.
I'm paraphrasing, because we are talking about a conversation that occurred at least 15 years ago, and I said what I usually said to people that asked me this: if Joey died beforehand, then either there was a very good reason for it according to the Will of God, or we didn't understand the prophecy correctly. And then I reminded Drew and his listeners that one of the precisions Our Lady made regarding the prophecies of the Warning and the Miracle was that just before they took place, something major would happen that would cause almost everyone to completely lose their faith in the apparitions. If in fact Joey did pass away beforehand, then that possibly could be what She was referring to. (I was only to find out later that what Our Lady was talking about in this particular precision had nothing to do with Joey, it involves something else. So the fulfillment of this precision still has not happened yet.)
Now, as soon as I learned from Barry that Joey had passed, I contacted Albrecht Weber, who lived in Germany, and with whom I had just begun collaborating on a project. He was the German apostle for Garabandal who wrote the book “Garabandal – the Finger of God”. He wasn't surprised at all when I told him the news, because he had known Joey had sacrificed his cure back to God. Of course, this was something that Joey would not have done without discussing it with his wife and sons first, and especially with Conchita, so they were well aware of it and had given him their blessing. Now, when Joey had actually done this – whether it was long before he ever got sick, or if it was during this illness - I don't know, and it's frankly none of our business. We tend to forget our place in the scheme of things, and think that we are privy to know everything about someone's private life when they are a public figure.
So Barry played it safe and recapped what has long been published about Joey's blindness and promised cure and posited, based on these facts, whether or not Joey's health could have interfered with his commitment to making those daily prayers which everyone believed constituted his part of the “bargain”, so to speak, with Our Lady.
I never saw it that way. It was obvious to me, even while Joey was alive, that those prayers he was given, which I refer to as “Joey's novena” for simplicity's sake, were meant to obtain for him the grace of complete reversion back into the Faith, and set him on the path that would eventually lead him to Garabandal where Our Lady would promise to cure him. Because, as Joey admitted, he was a lapsed Catholic at the time he had that first encounter with Our Lady when She gave him the prayers.
I have come to learn – often the hard way - that you have to take Our Lady at Her word. When Our Lady says something, she doesn't use one syllable more than She has to, and thus Her statements on anything are almost always short and concise, and every word in Her statements is carefully chosen and completely crucial. When She gave Joey those prayers, She began by saying: “Joey, do you want to see again?” But after She gave him the prayers, She never said: “...and you will see again.” She simply didn't say anything else. It’s not Our Lady's fault if we imply something to Her words that were never there to begin with.
So when we come to the moment in time where Our Lady told Conchita at Garabandal that Joey would be cured at the Miracle, I always thought of it this way: “Well at least Joey doesn't have the burden of saying all those prayers three times a day without fail anymore. His part of the bargain is done.” I always understood the prayers to be the means Our Lady needed Joey to commit to at the time so She could supply him with the graces his soul needed to get him back into practicing the Faith, to bring him to Padre Pio where Joey would make a firm commitment to live for God, and ultimately to lead him to Garabandal where She was waiting for him with the rest of what She had planned for him. That's it.
Our Lady never promised Joey the actual cure until he came to Garabandal. That is how I always saw it.
Nevertheless, for those who remain fixated over this being a “failed” prophecy, the best way to otherwise understand it is this:
Pretend Joey is still alive; Conchita announces the date of the Miracle; Joey stays behind while his family goes to see the Miracle; the Miracle takes place and the permanent Sign is left behind at the Pines; the world does not find out that Joey did not go to the Miracle and did not get cured until the next day when it hits the news.
Who, after all this has finally taken place as promised, is going to believe Garabandal is false because Joey made a choice of his own free will not to accept this gift when, for him, sacrificing it back to God was a greater gift? Do you think anyone is going to think that, simply because of the fact that Joey Lomangino chose to remain blind, even though the greatest Miracle in world history just happened on schedule and a permanent, visible, supernatural Sign now remains at that spot for all future doubters?
No one should be stuck on this point. The prophecy was meant for Joey only, and the timing of when he gave it back to Our Lady changes nothing. The prophecy was a conditional prophecy, not a fixed one, and has no bearing on the authenticity of the apparitions.
If some still can't bring themselves to believe this, then they either don't understand the Catholic concept of sacrifice and redemptive suffering, or they wish to find any excuse to not believe in Garabandal. And God gives them the free will to do that.
2. Almost sixty years have passed since the first apparitions. During this time there were some periods of great progress in disseminating the story of Garabandal and the messages, particularly during the golden years of Joey's apostolate. Recently, however, some people have expressed the opinion that Garabandal, in a sense, has "run out of steam". What is your opinion? Has the world turned its back on Garabandal and its call to repentance?
First of all, Garabandal has not “run out of steam”, we have. The biggest boon for Garabandal promotion has been the advent of the Internet, but, unfortunately, with that, has also come everything else that vies for our attention and muddles the information, or drowns it out completely for many people.
However, we had the release last year of the movie, “Garabandal – Only God Knows”, which is a professionally made film re-telling the story of the apparitions and the messages. The movie, which is in Spanish, and so beautifully done, broke theater records everywhere it was shown around the world for this type of film. The movie is now available on DVD and has English subtitles. The producers are also working hard to put out editions with the subtitles in other major languages so it can reach even more people.
On the heels of this wonderful film has come the superb documentary “Garabandal – An Unstoppable Waterfall”, which everyone can watch online. Both of these films have re-ignited interest in Garabandal again. As all of this is dovetailing with the increasing global instability of society as it heads toward its collision course with the Warning, Garabandal's relevance is being understood better now than ever before.
Remember, before the Church crisis became painfully public, critics, especially those throughout the hierarchy, attacked Garabandal for its criticism of many who occupied these positions and were guilty of what Our Lady charged. But now, in hindsight, nobody can deny that Garabandal, which took place in the early 1960s, was absolutely correct about this ecclesiastical crisis. So those who are getting a refresher course in the apparitions, and those learning about them for the first time, are going in with this knowledge fresh in their minds that wasn't available to the public before.
Now, regarding the world turning its back on repentance, well that doesn't really have to do with Garabandal. It has to do with the errors of Russia, which is the spread of Communism. The whole world and even the Church has been thoroughly poisoned with it, and that is why nobody seems to be repenting. They think there is nothing to repent from, that the way everything is now is the way its ultimately supposed to be, how God meant it to be. As if the Church and all Christ-ordered societies got everything wrong for the past 2,000 years until the present day and age. And now that all of our base animal instincts - that Christ taught us to control - have been given free reign, are being celebrated, and are even blessed – and I use THAT term loosely – by many in the Church, it is we who are looked upon as mad and disordered and out of touch with reality.
But this didn't just happen overnight. This has been a long time in the planning, and the infiltration was subtle in the beginning, and then became more and more overt. There have been many attempts to expose and stop this, but all those who tried were ruthlessly smeared, beaten down, or outright assassinated for their efforts. Their success depends upon our ignorance, and our keeping quiet when the truth is discovered. We have been totally gaslighted over the past one hundred years (if not more) as to what has really been happening, but it’s all starting to come out now.
The world is in for a tremendous shock when it realizes just how deeply it has been fooled all this time, and that history and current events are actually nothing like it has been programmed to believe. Everything that people thought they knew up to now about how the world and society works is going to be blown to smithereens.
The Church Herself is going to be broken wide open and every scandal that has come out of Her up to now will be nothing compared to what is yet to be exposed in the near future, and believe me, God is going to expose everything for the whole world to see. It’s the only way we'll believe it now, and it’s the only way to prevent this happening again in the future once the Church is returned to Her former beauty and glory, because He and His Mother have been telling us in great detail about it for the past 250 years, but no one listens to words anymore.
And then hopefully they are finally going to understand the true import of what Our Lord and Our Lady have been trying to tell them, and why this all could have been prevented a long time ago if we had just obeyed Them to the letter instead of mixing things up and doing things our way and expecting Them to honor these altered attempts by granting us the same promised results. And if they still don't see it and repent by then, well, once the Warning hits, the rest of the doubters will be convinced.
3. In an email to me, you mentioned that extraordinary grace will sustain people during the trauma of the Warning. Presumably, by the same grace, people will be made aware of exactly what is happening. Whether or not we ever heard of Garabandal, the Warning will still reveal to us completely the state of our souls and our need for repentance. If that is true, if the Warning itself contains all we need to know for our full conversion, does it really matter if the world is prepared in advance for the Warning?
First, I want to clear up a couple of current misconceptions about the Warning before I answer.
Number 1: the Warning is NOT going to be a collision of two stars. Conchita has explicitly said that she uses that as an example only, to help us understand how it will be something that ONLY GOD CAN DO, and that science will never be able to explain it away as a natural occurrence. Nevertheless, that has not stopped people from taking what Conchita said as actual fact and running it with it, and there is rampant speculation now that the Warning will happen in 2022 because astronomers predict a stellar collision somewhere deep in space around that time, and it’s going to be visible from the Earth, even in the daytime.
Number 2: the Warning is a chronologically fixed prophecy. That means that, before Garabandal, none of the saints who predicted it knew when it was going to happen, and thus it could have come at any time. However, once Conchita was given the date of the Miracle by St. Michael, that is when the Warning became fixed in time, since it has to occur sometime within twelve calendar months of the Miracle. So the information from alleged mystics out there that the Warning was supposed to happen by now but God has been delaying it out of His Mercy for us is completely false. It will happen on schedule, and not a moment sooner or later.
Now, moving on directly to your question.
God does not want people to love Him out of fear and terror. But He has tried every other available means and humanity as a whole just refuses to relent. Instead it continues on as though He either doesn't exist (atheism), doesn't matter (agnosticism), or doesn't care one way or the other (relativism). Yes, we have free will, and He respects that, but it is clear that if we continue to rely on ourselves alone that we are going to end up catastrophically, both in this life, and in the next. So He now has to do something shocking and drastic to make us see that clearly before we make that final, terrible choice.
The Warning, then, is God's final attempt at reaching us, by making it an event that no one can miss or avoid, and by making it so spiritually and physically jolting that we will never, EVER, forget it as long as we live. Our free will remains intact, and we will still be human with all the tendencies and frailties that we had before, but from that time onward, only someone with the arrogance and pride OF A FALLEN ANGEL would sin freely and grievously (mortally) after having had such an awakening.
Although the Warning will fill us with fear, panic, even terror for many, we have to recognize God's motivation for sending it is one of pure Love and Mercy. In the Warning, we are going to receive the kind of proof, grace, and basic insight that the people of all past generations right back to Adam and Eve wish they could have had. Catholics will come out of it with the proof of the Truth of their Religion, non-Catholic Christians will know the Catholic Church is the true Church, and non-Christians (Jews, Muslims, pagans) will understand Who Jesus Christ is. After the Warning, everyone will be turning toward Catholics for all the rest of the answers that inevitably come with knowing this basic Truth.
Now, in our prayers to the Holy Ghost, we say the phrase, “inspire in us a horror of sin”, do we not? Well, in the Warning we are not only going to see what sin looks like in all its horror, we are going to see firsthand what the accumulation of these sins (their number, type, and grievousness) does to our souls, which are made in the Image and Likeness of God.
Venial sins disfigure this Likeness of God. Mortal sins destroy It altogether. How each of us experiences the Warning will be unique, since our faults, frailties, and sins are unique to each of us. But the greater the number, type, and gravity of our sins at the time the Warning strikes, the greater the trauma it will be for us in terms of the suffering we will feel. You will get a clearer picture of what those sufferings will be like when you consider this: they will correspond to the punishment we would be receiving for those sins if we were in the other world instead of this one at that moment (Purgatory, in the case of venial sins, or Hell in the case of mortal sins).
In a normal traumatic situation, our minds and physical bodies are wired to lose consciousness when suffering becomes intolerable. But in the mystical situation of the Warning, God is going to override this shutdown and sustain us purely by His Grace so that we remain conscious and feel everything, even though it will be beyond what we would be capable of tolerating normally. This is why to everybody reading these words I can't stress enough, it will be bad enough for those who are in a State of Grace, but you absolutely do not want to be in a state of MORTAL SIN when this comes!
Although the Warning itself will not harm us, or kill us (by the Grace of God only), once it’s over, and we are out of its grip, how we deal with what we just went through will be different for everyone. For those of us who do not die from the shock of the experience, we will never forget the sight of our sins and what the actual punishment for those sins feels like for as long as we live.
For Catholics, the obvious remedy is CONFESSION. When we make a valid sacramental Confession, our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God, according to His Promises, and the Magisterial Teaching of the Church. We are not going to have “a life review”, or see all the sins we have ever committed in our lives. We are only going to see the sins we've accumulated on our souls since our last confession. However, keep in mind, that although the sins themselves are forgiven and absolved, the punishment for those sins remains until we make reparation for them. That is where partial and plenary indulgences (Church approved ONLY) come in. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM!
For those who are not Catholic, Our Lady said they should at least “repent of their sins”. Although they do not have the same assurances and graces that come from being Catholic and having Our Lord's Sacrament of Confession at their disposal, this at least has some value for them, otherwise She wouldn't have said it. For those who don't know Christ at all (non-Catholics and pagans), I imagine sorrow for their faults would somehow function in the same way. But in Confession, Catholics definitely have the greatest advantage, because our forgiveness and absolution are guaranteed according to Christ's promise, and we have the prescribed penances and all the indulgences available to help reduce the punishment due to those sins.
Conversely, however, Catholics will have the greater disadvantage over those who practice other religious when it comes to sins of OMISSION. Those of us who have especially neglected our Catholic obligations toward ourselves and to our family members will be in quite a particular pickle with this.
Have we raised our children properly in the Church, baptizing them, preparing them for Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and/or Holy Orders? Have we discouraged our sons and daughters from following a priestly or religious vocation? Have we disregarded all the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy when these opportunities presented themselves to us?
God doesn't miss a thing, but we as imperfect humans get caught up so much in worldly things that we neglect our spiritual lives, which are infinitely more important, because our life in this world is very brief, and temporary, but our life in the next world will never have an end. And in the Warning, He will show us not just our sins only, but the courses we took that led to those sins, and we will also see how each of our sins impacted the world and the Church. Nothing we do is personal only to us. Everything we do, whether good or bad, has universal repercussions.
4. People sometimes ask why the visionaries maintain such a strict code of silence. What are the reasons for this silence, in your opinion? Does it help or damage the cause of Garabandal?
The stance of the Garabandal visionaries is exactly what one would expect of genuine messengers of Our Lady. It is very important to remember that Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli (who is now deceased), and Mari Cruz are not living oracles. Once the revelations stopped for them, they returned to being just like everyone else. So unless they are quoting Our Lord, Our Lady, or St. Michael exactly, or directly referring back to something that was explained to them during the apparitions (such as a vision they were being shown), what they say does have some weight, of course, but we can't expect them to always repeat the words of Our Lord, Our Lady, or St. Michael verbatim if they are speaking “off the cuff”.
The girls remain imperfect instruments just like all the rest of us, and now, well over 50 years after the last apparitions, we cannot reasonably expect them to remember everything that was said when you consider there were somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 apparitions (at least). The girls are not supercomputers, and they will be the first ones to admit that. In fact, Conchita asks that we not press her now about certain topics from the apparitions, but to go by what she said in the early days when the information was fresh in her mind. She is, after, all 71 years old at the present time, along with Jacinta, and Mari Cruz is just a year younger.
Also, one would think that by now with all the books and articles published by Joey Lomangino's apostolate, which began immediately after the apparitions finished, and with Conchita, Jacinta, and Mari Loli directly verifying the information before it went to print, that people would protect this integrity. Instead, we see the opposite, just like with the Telephone Game that we were taught in grade school. So the visionaries are tired of being quoted incorrectly, or having things attributed to them that they never said in the first place, and so they prefer to avoid these situations altogether. Who can blame them? Everything they are allowed to say has already been said multiple times, it’s been published, and it’s readily accessible. Their decision to be left alone to enjoy their families like normal people should be readily accepted and honored.
Their quiet, unassuming lives living the Message of Garabandal and practicing their Catholic Faith with their families, completely out of the limelight and forgotten, is what we have seen time and time again throughout history with genuine seers of Our Lady. They stand in complete contrast to those who claim to be seers and make their presences known everywhere through conferences, speaking tours, books, websites, “healing” services, music CDs, and podcasts.
The visionaries of Garabandal have not made any money from the apparitions. In the early days, Conchita and Mari Loli were sponsored by donors to come to America to escape the notoriety of Garabandal, but both girls worked to pay this back. Once they were married, their spouses worked real jobs (and sometimes they did too if necessary) to support themselves. Where they are today was achieved by complete assimilation into society and their own hard work, nothing more. They have taken nothing for free.
Whenever they made a rare appearance in the media in the past, they paid their own airfare and accommodation, and never took the stipends offered by the companies sponsoring the appearances. If St. Bernadette or the children of Fatima lived and had their apparitions in our present times, they would be doing exactly what the visionaries of Garabandal have done. They live out of sight and unknown even to their neighbors. I think it is a beautiful gift from Our Lady that they have been able to enjoy their lives as wives, mothers, and now grandmothers, without having to deal with the aftermath of the apparitions. That blissful existence will soon be coming to an end for them once the Warning and the Miracle happen.
5. Another of the stumbling blocks to belief in Garabandal has been the historic denials of the visionaries. In the cases of three of the visionaries, these denials were later retracted. In a recent comment, you said that these denials do not damage the credibility of the apparitions but actually do the opposite. Can you elaborate on this?
The doubts and denials of the visionaries of Garabandal are the toughest subjects to understand if one is unfamiliar with genuine Catholic mysticism. Once you understand the purpose of them, why God and Our Lady permit them, in terms of the whole picture (because you have to look at Garabandal in its entirety, not in disassociated pieces) they make perfect sense theologically in proving the events come from God and not a diabolical or natural source.
In the case of Garabandal, they are actually an illustrative device employed by God to help us better understand the content of the overall Message. The confusion generated by the doubts and denials of the four girls, then, are a microcosm of what was (and still is) happening in the Church behind closed doors.
I know for certain that Conchita, Jacinta, and Mari Loli made a formal retraction of their denials with Santander, but that doesn't mean their doubts aren't still there. Conchita has said that, for herself at least, the doubts won't stop until the Miracle takes place.
Mari Cruz is a different matter entirely. Whether she made a formal retraction of her denials at Santander I am not one hundred percent sure at the moment, but as far as she is concerned, Mari Cruz' doubts are exceptional, beyond anything experienced by the other three girls, and there is a reason for this. Once in a great while she comes briefly out of her haze and admits to the truth of the apparitions, but for the most part she continues to steadfastly deny them.
Each visionary has a unique role to play, and each is called to a unique relationship with Our Lord and Our Lady. We have some insight into that with the other three girls. For example, all are deeply devoted to Mary, but Conchita has a deeper connection with Her than the others do.
Jacinta is the only one who had a vision of the Sacred Heart, and what does the Sacred Heart Devotion ultimately symbolize? A high degree of perfection, and special espousal with Jesus. Jacinta has more than once been reprimanded by Our Lady and St. Michael for her temperament, especially toward her parents, at the time of the apparitions, so it’s clear that Our Lord wants to specially transform this “diamond in the rough” into a perfect jewel through the furnace of His Sacred Heart.
Mari Loli is the only visionary who appears to have seen St. Joseph at Garabandal (on at least three occasions that we can pinpoint so far), so what did that mean for her? I'm not sure. Our Lady also gave her special insight to understand the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and told her that she would be a victim soul for priests, and that her life would be full of suffering.
But then we come to Mari Cruz. She had the least number of apparitions. They were over for her after scarcely more than a year after they started. But she also had a number of private apparitions, that is, in her home, or away from the village, where no one was even present, and she kept these to herself. We only know about some of them because a family member walked in on her and found her in ecstasy. If they had kept silent about it, Mari Cruz would never even have mentioned it. So nobody knows exactly how many apparitions she really had in that short time period.
And only days after her final apparition on September 12, 1962, while the apparitions were still in full swing for her three companions, Mari Cruz was already denying that she ever had any. And every time the others would ask Our Lady why Mari Cruz was acting like this, Our Lady would only smile without answering them.
I firmly believe Mari Cruz is the principal visionary of Garabandal, not Conchita. Yes, Conchita had the most apparitions, yes, she is the messenger and keeper of Our Lady's secrets, yes, she is the one who has to announce the Miracle, yes, she is the spokesperson for Garabandal, but those are just optics.
What is happening with Mari Cruz is something beyond all of this, something so much deeper and profound, and so necessary for the Church and the world to understand in order to correct its trajectory and regain its stability. Once that is recognized and understood, the rest of the pieces of the puzzle fall perfectly into place. All the questions about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Garabandal are locked inside the particular phenomenon of Mari Cruz.
6. Ed Kelly often remarks that the mainstream Catholic press, such as the National Catholic Register, seem to have great difficulty in covering any aspect of the story of Garabandal. This is despite the fact that Mother Angelica took a positive perspective on the visions. Why do you think that this is the case?
The short answer is that Garabandal has become so controversial, and so many myths about it exist, that no one wants to touch it. The long answer is that it is a vast and complicated enough subject in and of itself, but when you add the aftermath and all the fall-out it has produced, it has become a formidable topic to tackle, and, quite truthfully, for an investigative reporter, it’s exhausting.
As someone who has been involved firsthand in this since 1985, I have watched the progress of dissemination as it unfolded from the snail's pace print/analog of the past into the present instantaneous digital age. It was difficult enough to research and report on the events back then, when there was so much less extra baggage to sort through to get to the facts.
Now, however, with the Internet, it is nearly impossible to get accurate information unless one goes back to the original sources, and very few will take the time to do that. We have become a “retweet” society where we see something, don't bother to look deeper into it, and then pass it on, either taking it at face value that it’s true, or hoping that someone else will do the work to find out if something is true or not, and “get back to us on it.” We are very much an information-saturated society, and while the technology is fantastic in terms of making Garabandal known world-wide, the facts are being lost and the sensational aspects are being amplified instead, and not always properly or truthfully. A lot of it has been mangled in the process, and when the errors are pointed out Garabandal inevitably takes the blame for it.
Don't get me wrong, Garabandal is absolutely sensational, and God designed it to be, not only in order to get our attention, but also to comprehensively address the errors of our times, which are also sensational. However, the way our Apostolate has always presented Garabandal has been calm and orderly, with the sensational parts, not at all downplayed, but shown in their proper context and always as what they were meant to be, which is a spotlight on the urgency of the Message. We have always presented Garabandal as a comprehensive catechetical lesson in living a proper and holy Catholic life, not as a circus spectacle meant only to entertain us.
Also, although there has never been a lack of them in any age, in the wake of Garabandal there has been an absolute maelstrom of false apparitions and mystics like never before. Our Lady warned Conchita in December of 1962 that this would happen, and that God would permit them to allow the Devil to try to blur away and bury Garabandal, before God finishes him off. Many of these false revelations openly include Garabandal in their messages, and as they are discredited, Garabandal unfairly takes some kind of a hit also.
This scourge of false apparitions will end once the Warning takes place. But they are another big reason why mainstream Catholic media avoid the topic of Garabandal.
7. Some websites that deal with Garabandal devote considerable attention to possible dates for the Miracle. Others take the line that Pope Francis is not the legitimate successor of Peter and that his illegitimacy is somehow linked to the triggering of the "end times". Do you think that websites with such sensationalistic content contribute to bringing Garabandal into disrepute?
The most common misunderstanding of our day in terms of prophecies is that we are living in the “end times”. Even Catholics are swept up in this, and the false apparitions and mystics out there are making everything worse, and those websites that promote them compound the problem even further.
The biggest mistake that Catholics make is giving any importance at all to prophecies from non-Catholic sources, and I am going to be explicit here: protestants, Bible fundamentalists, Jewish rabbis, Mormons, new agers, pagans, the very lot of them. If you profess to be even nominally Catholic, please stop doing this. The harm you are propagating by giving them attention – no matter how sincere and accurate these sources may seem on their face – is tremendous.
While the Devil cannot penetrate God's secrets and know the future as He does, Satan and his followers can very easily “predict” future events that they themselves intend to bring about through their disturbance of nature, orchestration of current events, or the machination of the current power structures which they control. And having an intelligence far greater than ours, the devils know how to use “sleight of hand” to cloak things with an aura of mysticism that they know will hypnotize us even further into falling for their tricks.
Christ gave us the Magisterium for addressing both Public Revelation (Scripture & Apostolic Tradition), and Private Revelations (which are subordinate to Public Revelation) for this very reason. As soon as we look outside the Magisterium, we open ourselves up to diabolic confusion, because we are not the ones who are given ALL THE TOOLS NECESSARY to discern these things properly; only the Magisterium has them. If we try to “pray about it” or “discern” outside the teaching authority of the Church, we are going to be led astray just like the protestants who reject the authority of the Church and perennially misinterpret Scripture so terribly. None of these non-Catholic sources will ever see the Truth while their consciences are inveigled like this, and arrogantly believing that they can speak with authority about these things, they continue to fool themselves and their audiences also.
So websites, Catholic authors, and false “Catholic” mystics who imbibe these sources and incorporate them into their works are making a very grave mistake, and by repeating and promoting them, they are not only contributing to the overall confusion, they are opening up their audiences – especially those who really are Catholic - to all kinds of errors and heretical doctrines. So this brings me back to the biggest error of them all that I started with: that we are living in the “end-times”, that the Antichrist is alive, well, and ready to show himself, that Francis is the last Pope, and the second coming of Christ is around the corner. None of this is true.
We have to understand the difference between the LATTER DAYS and the END TIMES. “Apocalyptic” refers to the Latter days or times, and “Eschatological” refers to the end times, or the end of the world.
Scripture and Apostolic Tradition have given us a clear, although general, framework of prophecy that we can follow right up to the end of the world and the Second Coming of Our Lord. Garabandal fits perfectly inside this framework, and while it does not add anything new to it, it offers very specific precisions to keep us following the framework and not going “off the rails” by following the tangents the false prophets of our day introduce to us.
Conchita has been as explicit as possible in saying, “Our Lady said there would be three more Popes and then it will be the end of our times, but not the end of the world.” She also clarified this on several occasions. The exact words of Our Lady in Spanish were: “el fin de los tiempos”, “the end of the times.” This is Apocalyptical, not eschatological.
Garabandal, like Fatima, is an Apocalyptic apparition. It specifically, and in great detail, addresses our present day concerns and times.
Does this mean Our Lady didn't talk about the Antichrist or the end of the world at Garabandal? Yes, Our Lady did speak about these things, but they do not concern us, or our times, and thus they are part of the secret content that won't be clear until after the Warning and the Miracle.
Right now, we must concern ourselves with what is at hand: Communism, the Warning, and the Miracle.
To address your point about speculating on the date of the Miracle, I only want to say two things about that:
Yes, Conchita said Mass can be celebrated in black on that day, and yes, the priest can wear black on Holy Thursday, but what nobody is realizing here is that it is theologically impossible for the Miracle to take place on a Holy Thursday.
Therefore, there must be another occasion when a priest can wear black to celebrate Mass. Now since this is not obvious to us at this point in time, there must be another reason, obscured through the centuries that we have presently forgotten it, where black can be worn. I have no idea what it could be.
But we need to remember that the Miracle is also going to be revealing to us something else that we have forgotten over time: the true date of the martyrdom of St. Tarcisius. We have always celebrated his feast on August 15, but of course it is obscured by the greater Feast of Our Lady's Assumption on that day. At Garabandal, however, Our Lady tells us that August 15 is not St. Tarcisius' true feast day. The day of the Miracle is the true date. And only Conchita knows what that is.
With the above key points in mind, the Holy Thursday narrative needs to cease.
The second and last thing I want to say about the Miracle, is to bring to everybody's attention a very simple fact that they overlook when attempting to calculate its date. Other than Conchita, everybody else to whom she was instructed to tell either the date of the Miracle, or what the Miracle will be, has died. So I leave you determined Miracle detectives with some friendly but sobering advice: if you want to live to see the Miracle, I strongly recommend you leave the date alone.
Marc with Joey in Spain, Holy Week, 1993
A relatively recently published book on Garabandal is Ed Kelly's, A Walk to Garabandal: A Journey of Happiness and Hope
Some recommended Garabandal Websites:
http://www.garabandal.it. (a really well-organised site with a summary of the main events and messages, reports of eye-witnesses, official Church statements, etc. This site belongs to the Home of the Mother, the group that produced the recent film and documentary)
http://www.garabandal.us (the official website of the Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
https://motheofgod.com/threads/garabandal-info-answers.11105/page-171 (regularly updated site with lots of interesting historical snippets)