This webpage provides a number of references to Roman Catholic Teachings as a tool to assist Spiritual Directors, local Churches, Dioceses and the faithful in the discernment of spirit. While other material may apply to individual cases, these are the basic teachings that should apply to each situation.
The main purpose of this spiritual work is to save valuable time that is normally required to find what follows:
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
III. CHRIST JESUS -- "MEDIATOR AND FULLNESS OF ALL REVELATION" [DV2]
God has said everything in his Word
# 65 "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son." [Heb. 1:1-2] Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:
In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty. [St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel 2, 22, 3-5 in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 179-180: LH, Advent, week 2, Monday, OR Advent, wk 2, Mon.]
There will be no further Revelation
# 66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." [DV 4; cf. 1Tim 6:1; Titus 2:13] Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries."
# 67 "Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church."
"Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain non Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".
# 801 "It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good," [LG 12; cf. 30; 1 Thess 5:12, 19-21; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici Laici, 24] so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good." [1 Cor. 12:7]
CONGREGATION FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH, S.A.S. 58 1186
Upon the approval of Pope Paul VI, on October 14, 1966, with the abolition of previous Canon 1399 & 2318 of the former Canonical Code, publications about new appearances, revelations, prophecies, miracles, etc., have been allowed to be distributed and read by the faithful without the express permission of the Church, providing they contain nothing which contravenes faith and morals. This means that no Imprimatur is necessary when distributing information on new apparitions not yet judged by the Church.
PLEASE NOTE: The 'conditional' abolition of previous Canon 1399 & 2318 has been the most abused and misinterpreted. It has opened the door for false prophets to print anything and everything, alleging permission is not required by the Church, therefore ignoring the words, "PROVIDING THEY CONTAIN NOTHING WHICH CONTRAVENES FAITH AND MORALS." Regarding this abuse, on November 4, 1986, Bishop John Mugavero of Brooklyn declared concerning the "Bayside Movement":
Those who persistently maintain that "no ecclesiastical permission is required for the publication or dissemination" of information concerning "revelations, visions or miralces," are erroneously interpreting the directives of the Holy See when they attempt to justify the publication of the propaganda literature on the "Bayside Messages."
In view of my declaration concerning the authenticity of the "visions of Bayside," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed that the principles governing the publication of such religious material still maintain authoritative moral value prohibiting the endangering of faith and good morals (Cf. Response of SCDF of June 14, 1966, in AAS 58, 1186).
As a result, those publishing and disseminating this propaganda literature are acting against the judgment of legitimate Church authority.
In view of these facts, it is of utmost importance that those who publicly release information related to new appearances, revelations, prophecies, miracles, etc... do so under the guidance of a qualified Spiritual Director to ensure that they will not become Satan's instrument of endangering the faith and morals of the faithful.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwawrdly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."
"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush."
"I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, beacuse apart from me you can do nothing."
1 Cor. 12:4-11
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses."
2 Cor. 11:14
"Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."
1 Thess 5:19-21
"Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good."
On the subject of charisms, the Council Fathers reminded the faithful to be open and attentive to the ways in which the Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church, this including the different forms of spiritual manifestations such as apparitions, private revelations, visions, etc...
Vatican II, Section 12: "It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the People, leads them and enriches them with his virtues. Allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. Cor. 12:11), he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church, as it is written, "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit" (1 Cor. 12:7).
Whether these charisms be very remarkable or more simple and widely diffused, they are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation since they are fitting and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be rashly desired, nor is it from them that the fruits of apostolic labors are to be presumptuously expected. Those who have charge over the Church should judge the genuineness and proper use of these gifts, through their office not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good. (cf. Th. 5:12 and 19-21)."
POPE JOHN XXIII
On the subject of authentic private revelation, at the close of the Marian Year on February 18, 1959, Pope John XXIII stated:
The Roman Pontiffs... "also have the duty, when after mature examination, they deem necessary for the common good of bringing to the attention of the faithful those supernatural lights which it pleases God to dispense freely to certain privileged souls, not for the purpose of presenting new doctrines, but rather to guide us in our conduct."
In speaking of Our Lady, Pope John XXIII also said:
"We exhort you to listen with simplicity of heart and honesty of mind to the salutary warnings of the Mother of God..."