Bayside also has some unique elements to it, such as the insistence that Pope Paul VI was murdered or kidnapped in 1972 and replaced by an actor who had plastic surgery and a coming "Ball of Redemption", a comet that will strike New York City, and belief in the Rapture.
After spending several days mired in these messages, I cannot but conclude that they are complete hogwash. The Bayside Apparitions are a hoax. Here are some reasons why I have come to this conclusion:
All religions have a place in heaven?
"For My Father's House, My Son has repeated over and over: remember always that My Father's House-there are many rooms in the Mansion, signifying faiths and creeds. However, the Eternal Father, the Beatific Vision, is reserved for the Roman Catholic following. This it has been deemed by the Eternal Father since the beginning of time."
(Our Lady of the Roses (Blue Book), the “messages” of Bayside,
published by Apostles of Our Lady, Inc. Lansing, MI, 1993, p. 81.)
Here the visions clearly state that, although Catholics have a special place in heaven, other "faiths and creeds" also go to heaven. This is clearly heretical.
False prophecy about the Ball of Redemption
“Our Lady” of Bayside, June 18, 1988: “Do not be affrighted, My child; you must see this, for it is important. Within this century this Ball will be sent upon mankind… It is almost too late… a Ball that is fast hurtling towards earth! It will be here within this century, if not sooner.” (Our Lady of the Roses (Blue Book), p. 108.)
Note the Ball is said to be sent "within this century." This prophecy was given in 1988. Therefore, the fact that by 2000 this had not yet happened proves conclusively that this is false. We should always remember Deuteronomy 18: "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing follows not, nor comes to pass, that is, the thing which the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him...a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death" (Deut. 18:22, 20).
Televisions are sinful?
“Our Lady” of Bayside, Sept. 27, 1975: “I have, many times, cautioned you, and all My children, against the use of the diabolical machine, your television. There will be no excuses for having these in your presence.”
(Our Lady of the Roses (Blue Book), the “messages” of Bayside, published by Apostles of Our Lady, Inc. Lansing, MI, 1993, p. 86.)
This is absurd. Obviously televisions can be used in sinful ways - but are they really diabolical? According to Bayside, we can have absolutely no televisions. There is "no excuse", not even watching pious or faith building movies or programs? Clearly the Bayside people themselves don't believe it since the Our Lady or the Roses website sells Bayside DVDs. This teaching directly contradicts the teaching of the Second Vatican Council document Inter Mirifica on social communication, which states:
"Among the wonderful technological discoveries which men of talent, especially in the present era, have made with God's help, the Church welcomes and promotes with special interest those which have a most direct relation to men's minds and which have uncovered new avenues of communicating most readily news, views and teachings of every sort. The most important of these inventions are those media which, such as the press, movies, radio, television and the like, can, of their very nature, reach and influence, not only individuals, but the very masses and the whole of human society, and thus can rightly be called the media of social communication. The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men's entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God... support should be given to good radio and television programs, above all those that are suitable for families. Catholic programs should be promoted" (Inter Mirifica, 1-2, 14).
Maybe our Lady did not mean to condemn television absolutely; if not, the words are sloppy and imprecise, as it says there is "no excuse" for ever having a television. Mary here says the television is of diabolical origin; the Church says they were made "with God's help." The messages conflict at worst and are ambiguous at best.
Falsehoods about Paul VI
"Your Father, in the eternal city of Rome, Pope Paul VI, your Holy Father, is a blessed man, for he carries his cross. Your Holy Father is a blessed man, for he shall be martyred."
- Our Lady, June 18, 1977
Paul VI was not martyred; he died naturally in 1978. Another false prophecy. This seems to contradict a prophecy made two years earlier which stated that Paul VI had already been replaced by an "impostor" look alike, one of Bayside's most notable and bizarre aspects:
"He is not able to do his mission. They have laid him low, My child. He is ill, he is very ill. Now there is one who is ruling in his place, an impostor, created from the minds of the agents of satan. Plastic surgery, My child--the best of surgeons were used to create this impostor."
- Our Lady, September 27, 1975
"The appearance in public is not Paul VI; it is the impostor pope. Medication of evil has dulled the brain of the true pope, Pope Paul VI. They send into his veins poison to dull his reasoning and paralyze his legs. What evil creature have you opened the doors to the Eternal City and admitted?"
- Our Lady, September 27, 1975
"In the city of Rome there will be great confusion and trial. Satan, Lucifer in human form, entered into Rome in the year 1972. He cut off the rule, the role of the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI."
- Our Lady, September 7, 1978
So was or was not Paul VI replaced by an impostor in 1975? The 1975 apparitions say so, but the 1977 apparition speaks of him as still in power and warns of his impending martyrdom, which did not happen. They could perhaps say that he was secretly murdered or poisoned to get him out of the way, but that would not be a martyrdom. Regardless, this stuff about Paul VI being replaced with an impostor is, in my opinion, nonsense.
Falsehoods about John Paul II
“Our Lady” of Bayside, June 18, 1988: “Please, My children, pray for your Holy Father, the Pope. You must not lose him, for the one who comes after him will destroy if he can – he will attempt to destroy Pope John Paul II.”
(Our Lady of the Roses (Blue Book), p. 108.)
Pope Benedict XVI has come after John Paul II. Benedict has not tried to destroy John Paul; on the contrary, he has beatified him and is pressing for his canonization. This prophecy was clearly false.
"Pray for your Vicar (Pope John Paul II). There will be another attempt upon his life. Pray for your Vicar. Do not judge him by the medias, for he is a good man, with a heart that is soft, and often he can be misled. However, he is a good man, and he is one who I keep now under My mantle for his protection. But We need your prayers, My children, your Masses and your sacrifices, if you want him to remain among you."
- Our Lady of the Roses, June,30, 1984
In 1984 it was predicted that there would be another assassination attempt on John Paul II. But there wasn't. Nobody every tried to kill John Paul II again after the first 1981 attempt. This is another false, unfulfilled prophecy. Granted, there were other alleged conspiracies to kill John Paul II, but nothing like a real attempt. One could always say that the attempt was thwarted by the prayers of the faithful - but then again, one can always allege that a purported judgment or calamity did not happen because the prayers of the people forestalled it. It is a perpetual out for these people whenever a prophesyed judgment does not materialize.
"When Pope John Paul II is removed, the Church shall be divided among itself. United it will stand, divided it will fall."
- Our Lady, March 18, 1983
simply has not happened. The Church is more united now under Benedict
XVI than it was in the 80's under John Paul II. The 80's were the nadir
of the Church's unity - things have gotten much better, not worse, since
the death of John Paul II.
False rapture doctrine
Most troubling is that the Bayside apparitions promote the false Protestant "rapture" doctrine, which is clearly a heretical teaching that no Catholic ought to hold.
"Remember, without prayers and atonement, the world will become devastated. The Third World War will leave no earth upon the land. There will be no earth, there will be no human beings; but a grouping would have been taken up into Heaven, My child and My children, to await the terrible devastation that falls upon mankind." - Jesus, May 28, 1983
""I give you great grace of heart, My children, to know that many shall be taken from your earth before the great Chastisement.... Many of your news medias shall state that they have been carried off by flying saucers. Oh no, My children! They were carried off into a supernatural realm of the Eternal Father to await the return of My Son upon earth." - Our Lady of the Roses, December 7, 1976
This is the Protestant rapture theory plain and simple - a group of elect taken away from the earth prior to the second coming. And by the way, someone should tell the Virgin Mary that the plural of media is media, not "medias."
Communion in the hand errors
I have to be clear here: I totally am against communion in the hand and have written about this many times. It is a practice that dissolves the boundary between the laity and the clergy and opens th door to too many potential abuses. But it is not an absolute evil. The apparitions say some things about this that cannot be true:
"Pastors, no hands other than those consecrated by a legally-ordained priest shall give the Host to others." Our Lady, August 21, 1975
Okay, first, it is bishops, not priests, who ordain other priests, so Mary really needs to get her ecclesiology straight, but anyhow-
"Communion in the hand has not been, and will not be accepted by Heaven. This is a sacrilege in the eyes of the Eternal Father, and must not be continued, for you only add to your punishment when you continue on in the ways that have been found to be unpleasing to the Eternal Father." - Our Lady, June 30, 1984
Communion in the hand has not been accepted by heaven? That is funny, since it was practiced for centuries in the Early Church. While communion in the hand might not be prudent, it is too much to say it is not accepted by heaven. In the Early Church and for the firsts several centuries of Christianity communion was given in the hand. This was the practice of all the great saints of the Early Church, including the apostles. Over time, the church in the Middle Ages changed the discipline to prevent certain abuses and safeguard the dignity of the sacrament, as it was their right to do. This was the discipline until the modern Church restored the practice.
Now, we might rightfully debate whether or not this was a good idea, but how can our Lady say communion in the hand cannot be accepted by heaven when it was the practice in the universal Church for the first six or seven centuries? We even have a saint, St. Tarcisius, who was layman that was martyred while trying to take communion to someone else - i.e., while holding Holy Communion in his hand.
Also, although restoring communion in the hand in the modern age may not be prudent, none of the accepted rites or disciplines or the Church can be positively harmful or diabolical in and of themselves. They might be bad ideas; they might lend themselves to abuses, but in themselves they cannot be harmful if they are authorized by the Church. Otherwise, the Church would be promoting something that was sinful through its rites, which can never be the case. Otherwise, the role of the Church as the dispenser of God's graces is nullified.
"Loss" of baptismal identity?
Bayside seems to teach that one can lose one's baptismal character and identity as a Roman Catholic:
"I ask you all not to abandon My Church. Do not judge My Church by the priest, for in his human nature he can err. But I assure you I am using him, as a legally ordained priest, to bring you My Body and Blood. Do not go seeking elsewhere, for you will lose your baptismal right, and you will no longer be accepted as a Roman Catholic, and you will not enter into the highest place of Heaven, the Kingdom of Paradise." - Jesus, October 6, 1980
Now, this is kind of ambiguous, I grant. Perhaps it means that by leaving the Church you lose sanctifying grace, and that would be acceptable. But it does not say that. It says leaving the Church causes one to lose their "baptismal right" and no longer be viewed as a Roman Catholic. If taken literally, this would be problematic.
The teaching of the Church is that baptism confers and indelible mark or character that can never be effaced, no matter what sin or apostasy the person commits. Grace may be lost, but the character of baptism may never be lost. Once a Catholic, always a Catholic - perhaps a bad Catholic, perhaps a fallen away Catholic, but always a Catholic. This is another example of the imprecise language rampant in the Bayside apparitions that detracts from their credibility.
In many places, the apparitions suggest that the antichrist will be a pope:
"The Rock has always withstood the test of time. But one will be entered into the House of God, and woe to man when he places him upon the Seat of Peter, for then the Great Day of the Lord shall be at hand." - Our Lady, March 18, 1974
Now I know this is contested and I am not 100% certain on this, but it seems to me that most reputable theologians do not believe the antichrist will be a Pope. It would mean that the promise given to Peter that the Gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church would be compromised; how could it not be if the source of the Church's unity was the antichrist? The antichrist as Christ's vicar? The Fathers of the Church do not ever suggest that this is possible; the antichrist is seen as a false prophet, as a political leader, but never as the pope himself. I would say this teaching is very troubling and will cause the faithful the mistrust and suspect the papacy rather than listen and be taught by it.
Bayside also teaches that the antichrist is currently living and walking around. One of Veronica's messages delivered by our Lady:
“There is not much time left, My child, to gather the
sheep. Know that the Antichrist, the Antichrist, My child, is walking upon your
earth. He goes and follows wherever there is darkness." -Our Lady to Veronica, Dec. 28th, 1974
He must be getting old - this prophesy was delivered in 1974, thirty-four years ago. So according to Bayside, the antichrist will take the Seat of Peter and was alive and walking around in 1974.
Names of Guardian Angels
In Catholic spirituality, it has traditionally been seen as dangerous to call on the names of angels other than those specifically mentioned in the Bible; simply because our private revelations are not infallible, and you never know who or what you are calling on. Yet Bayside seems to direct Christians to call on mysterious angels that we know nothing about:
"You must ask your guardian angel to ever guide you upon your way. You will also inform Tomdarius that he must keep pure and holy thoughts in his mind. Yes, call upon Tomdarius, My child. You must keep pure and holy thoughts in your mind. My child, this will be a secret for you, Tomdarius, and the soul he guards." - Our Lady, May 15, 1976
This is not heretical as much as reckless and dangerous. No spiritual director would tell you to call out an unknown angel by name like that. Only Michael, Raphael and Gabriel should be addressed by name since they are the only names we know. Who is Tomdarius? Is he an angel? A demon? Should we call out to something when we don't know what it is? There is a good reason that the Church's cultus of saints and angels consists of those who have some sort of formal recognition of being part of the City of God.
"Back in 1970, when Our Lady started Her work here, She assigned special archangels to us.... Every one of the close workers has been given the name of his archangel. And I was assigned one of the highest archangels with Michael--Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, and his name is Tusazeri. And we've had other archangels that were given to workers.... But we had Sactorius, and of course there's Tomdarius.... It sounds very, very strange: Sactorius, Tomdarius, Razene, Rientre, and I can't remember them all now." - Veronica's commentary, 1974
"There is no reason to fear, My child, for you have Creazuus now with you and Tuzaseri." Veronica - Oh! Creazuus? Creazuus. Oh, Creazuus is the angel guardian given to my son Raymond while he was here on earth. "Our Lady, thank you. Thank you, Blessed Mother."
- Our Lady, March 18, 1974
This is all very questionable. Creazuus? Tuzaseri? Who knows what these things are. And if they were revealed to Veronica by heaven, why can't she remember their names, as she says above? I have never heard of legitimate seer or visionary forgetting part of a message from God.
Sometimes, the angels in apparitions behave frivolously:
"Yes. There's Tomdarius, Tusazeri--he is my guardian angel, but he's quite a clown. He likes to circle around. And right now he's turning and spinning again. He always does that when he sees me; he turns and spins. And now also, there's Razene, and Nadina, and many others." - Veronica, October 1, 1988
One of the judgements on whether or not an apparition is true, according to spiritual masters, is "Do we find that the dignity and seriousness which become the Divine Majesty?" What is the purpose of this frivolous description of an angel
acting like a clown? When an apparition behaves like this, it suggests
it is not legitimate (see here
for an earlier post on criteria for judging private apparitions).
Another question in evaluating an apparition is: "Have the sovereign pontiffs and the bishops believed this to be so, and have they assisted the progress of the work?" In other words, whether or not a bishop/bishops accept the apparitions is not just a reflection of their personal sentiment, but is actually a judgment of whether the visions are valid at all. In this both Bayside and Medjugorje share something in common, as in both cases the adherents of the vision blatantly disobey their local bishop's requests that the alleged apparitions not be promoted. Bayside's followers profess obedience, but in practice they are being disobedient:
"For to whom much is given, much is expected; and discipline and obedience means suffering and sacrifice. Unquestioning love, unquestioning obedience, that is the only way to Heaven
." - Jesus, May 30, 1981
Unquestioning obedience. Yet the local bishop has directed people to stay away from Bayside prayer vigils and events and has asked the faithful not to disseminate the writings or messages of Veronica. From the bishop's directive
"No credibility can be given to the so-called "apparitions" reported by Veronica Lueken and her followers...Because of my concern for their spiritual welfare, members of Christ's faithful are hereby directed to refrain from participating in the "vigils" and from disseminating any propaganda related to the "Bayside apparitions." They are also discouraged from reading any such literature. Anyone promoting this devotion in any way, be it by participating in the "vigils," organizing pilgrimages, publishing or disseminating the literature related to it, is contributing to the confusion which is being created in the faith of God's people, as well as encouraging them to act against the determinations made by the legitimate pastor of this particular Church (c.212, para. 1)."
Bayside proponents have countered that the process the bishop has used was improper and therefore his decision is invalid. Whether or not this is the case, it does not justify disobedience. If they really have a case that their bishop acted against canon law, the Bayside proponents should appeal to Rome and in the meantime be obedient until directed otherwise. To just state, on one's own authority, that the process the bishop used was flawed and then continue in disobedience is a big warning sign.
When Our Lord said "he who hears you hears Me", He was not instructing his followers to "hear" that which "pleased them" - but to be obedient to lawful authority (even if those in lawful authority were sinners - even mighty sinners) in matters of Faith and Morals, such as alleged apparitions. Bayside is bunk. Medjugorje is bunk. Garabandal is bunk.