In 1879, at Knock, Ireland, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a private revelation. This apparition is well-accepted in the Church and has been approved by numerous successive local Bishops. I, too, believe that the 1879 apparition of the Virgin Mary at Knock, Ireland, is a true private revelation.
However, beginning in 2009, a Dublin-born man named Joe Coleman and other persons have claimed to have had new apparitions and messages from the Virgin Mary at Knock, Ireland, and in other locations. In my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator, the alleged private revelations to Joe Coleman and other claimed visionaries at Knock, Ireland in recent years are not true private revelations from Heaven.
A list of reasons and examples follows.
1. About the claimed visionaries
The main claimed visionary is Joe Coleman. These claimed private revelations are promoted using his name, and most of the messages and apparitions are claimed to have been received by him. The website knockapparitions.com promotes the claimed private revelations to Joe Coleman. On that site, he is described as "a working class uneducated Dublin man."
At least one message was received by another visionary, the now-deceased Keith Henderson.
Also, another person claims to be a visionary associated with Joe Coleman and Knock, Ireland. I received an e-mail (01 Nov 2010) from email@example.com signed by:
"Mary (cant give you my surname unfortunately)"
In this e-mail, she claims the following: "I am the second visionary. We both see Our Lady as well as her beloved son Jesus Christ."
The full text of her e-mail to me is here:
This claimed 'second visionary' who says her name is 'Mary', stated the following:
"We receive messages every month. From the beginning Our Lady asked that we publish them. Joe has gone public - I manage the website but have not gone public because I dont have the courage to tell you the truth…. Neither of us have ever read the Bible (because as Catholics for some reason it is not taught in schools - yes this is true). Yet the messages received all relate to biblical prophecies which did not make sence in the beginning. but now, of course, they do."
I've read thousands of messages from various claimed private revelations, many of them false. I am continually astounded by the number of false visionaries who put forward their own ignorance of the Catholic Faith and their own lack of a sound education in Scripture and theology, as proof that their messages must be true. They or their supports claim that being uneducated in religion implies that they did not invent these messages. However, the messages in question typically lack theological depth, contain numerous doctrinal errors, and present an overly simplistic view of whatever topic they discuss. Moreover, many false private revelations are from fallen angels, not from human deception, and so the alleged inability of the visionaries to invent false messages is not proof of authenticity.
Neither Joe or 'Mary' "have ever read the Bible." Joe is described by the website as "an uneducated man." The same website also contains an interview with Joe: "Have you read the Bible? No. Much to my shame…. I will never pretend to understand scripture teachings."
Mary was asked by our Lady to publish her messages, but she refuses to do so, because, in her own words, she doesn't "have the courage to tell you the truth." And Joe Coleman exalts himself as if he were a teacher of the Catholic Faith. He speaks to the faithful throughout the world making claims about what they should believe and how they should pray. Why is it that so many persons today, who lack knowledge of the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, and the Magisterium, nevertheless feel qualified to put themselves forward and teachers and leaders? This behavior is arrogance, not devotion.
The website (knockapparitions.com) states, about Purgatory, that "Joe was never sure about the existence of such a place as, like many people, didn't really believe it existed."
Here is a man who says that he has not read the Bible, a Catholic who did not believe in Purgatory. And he says about the tribulation: "As a Catholic I was not aware what the Tribulation meant because the Second Coming of Christ is not something that is actively preached by the Catholic Church."
And Joe Coleman is quoted in this news story, from the same website, as saying: "The prophesies given to me about The Second Coming of Christ are contained in the Bible I have been told. Yet I never read the Bible."
Why should the faithful of the Church listen to a man who preaches about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but has never read the Bible? And what basis did Joe Coleman use to determine whether his apparitions and messages are from Heaven or from fallen angels? His lack of knowledge of the Catholic Faith and of the Bible make him an easy target for fallen angels to deceive.
He claims to be ignorant of Scripture and of the Church's teaching on the tribulation, and yet now he is preaching to the whole Church, including Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and religious, what we should believe about the tribulation. He says that he has not read the Bible, and yet he also claims that his message from his own claimed private revelation is the same as what is found in Scripture. How would he know? He has not studied Sacred Scripture, has not read the Bible, is ignorant of the Church's teaching on the tribulation, has not studied Catholic eschatology, and only recently came to believe in such a basic Catholic teaching as Purgatory.
Furthermore, according to Mary, Joe Coleman and herself have both withheld certain messages and predictions from public knowledge, because they anticipate a bad reaction from people: "Visions have also been given to Joe about future events, places, cities, and islands whi will all be destroyed. In your writing you have been accurate in one you predicted but we have not gone public with those visions because they would cause tremendous distress to people." [She is apparently referencing my writings on eschatology when she says 'in your writing'.]
So both Joe and Mary believe that they are seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that she has told both of them to reveal these messages to the public. But Mary refuses to reveal any messages at all publicly. And Joe withholds certain messages or portions of messages because the messages might distress some people. They are both being disobedient to what they each believe is the words of the Virgin Mary, and they are being deceitful with their fellow Catholics by not releasing all of the claimed messages. Joe Coleman releases only select messages because a full disclosure of all messages would cause many more people to reject his claims of private revelation.
About the criticism that he has received (prior to my article), Joe Coleman says this:
"Since I went public with the apparitions many people who are well versed in the scriptures criticise me for this and pull me up on this. The snobbery I have witnessed by those well up on theological teachings, including the catholic media, is astounding. They deride me. They call me ignorant and insult me in other ways.This is how the priests during Christ's time on earth, I am told, treated Jesus himself. They scorned him. Challenged his beliefs and his views. Looked down on him."
In fact, Joe Coleman is ignorant of Catholic teaching. He admits that he has not read the Bible; this implies also that he has not studied the Bible. He admits that he did not believe in Purgatory until recently (2009). He admits that he was unaware of the Church's teaching about the tribulation. And yet now he puts himself forward as one who teaches about the tribulation and the end times, with the claim that this teaching is based on the Bible.
Many lay Catholics, and certainly the Bishops and priests and religious of the Church, have not only read the Bible, but studied the Bible for many years. More than a few Catholics have read and even studied eschatology over the course of many years. Many Catholics have devoutly learned and believed in all the teachings of the Magisterium, for many years. So it is not 'snobbery' to criticize Joe Coleman for his claims about the end times. It is not snobbery for someone who is well-versed in Scripture and eschatology to correct another person who is ignorant of these subjects. But it is absurd for someone who has not read the Bible and has not studied Catholic theology on the topic of eschatology to present himself as a teacher of the Catholic Faith on those topics.
Yes, faithful disciples of Christ have been insulted and scorned and derided. But unfaithful claimed disciples, as well as wicked unbelievers, also sometimes suffer insult and scorn and derision. So the claim that someone has been mistreated is not proof that he is a faithful disciple of Christ.
2. Disapproval of Church leaders
The Archbishop of Tuam diocese, Dr. Michael Neary, has authority over Knock, Ireland. According to the Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Neary spoke publicly in favor of the original apparitions at Knock (in 1879), calling the shrine a " 'much loved place of pilgrimage and prayer.' He said that the original apparition at Knock wasn't sought for or expected by the 'humble, honest people who were its astonished witnesses.' 'Their faith reveals the patience and humility that characterizes true belief.' "
But about the more recent claimed private revelations at Knock (those associated with Joe Coleman et al.), the Archbishop stated: "Unfortunately, recent events at the Shrine obscure this essential message. They risk misleading God's people and undermining faith. For this reason such events are to be regretted rather than encouraged…."
The officials at the Shrine of Knock have banned claimed visionaries Joe Coleman and 'Mary' and their followers from the premises. According to an email from Mary: "The Catholic Church have banned us from Knock in Co Mayo…." and they have been "banned along with all the genuine believers from entering the Catholic Church in the grotto at Knock…. "
And Joe Coleman said, in an interview shown in a documentary, "I am banned from Knock and from entering any one of their churches. They use security men to block me from entering."
And what is the response of these visionaries and their followers to a negative decision by the Bishop and by the officials at the Shrine? The website for the apparitions has a page describing their response:
"Call on Catholic Church to keep an open mind
"While it is understandable that the Church must keep an open mind on apparition claims - this question has to be asked. Why will the Catholic Church not follow procedure in the case of the recent apparitions predicted by Joe Coleman at Knock. Why have they decided to dismiss completely his claims without investigation?
"Why have they opposed him so strongly and patronised him in such an arrogant manner where they can tell him how he is 'allowed to pray'. In the case of any alleged apparition, Ecclesiastical approval occurs usually through the local bishop. But what if the local bishop won't even consider the possibility that an apparition is taking place? Or meet the visionary in question? All the Bishops in Ireland have been written to by Joe - none of them believe him NOR will they meet him. They have simply turned a blind eye.
"They did the same, of course, at the numerous apparitions which were subsequently approved and with Medjugorje which is only now under a final commission of investigation by the Vatican. As for the official approach that is expected of the Catholic Church when an apparition is claimed - what do they do? They are meant to offer NO public opinion - negative or otherwise until such time as a decision (sometimes as long at 57 years as was in the case of the Original apparition at Knock!) is made. In this case Joe Coleman has been dismissed by the Knock Shrine officials as a 'fraud'. Shame on them."
What kind of visionary allows his followers to openly insult and denigrate the Catholic Church? The above statement calls on the Catholic Church to keep an open mind, as if the Church needs to be instructed and corrected by them. The statement calls Church leaders who reject Joe's messages 'patronizing' and 'arrogant'. The statement specifically criticizes "All the Bishops in Ireland", as well as the officials at the Knock Shrine, who are in charge of the approved true private revelation at Knock in 1879.
But this is often the attitude taken by followers of false private revelations. They see the claimed private revelation as a basis for judging and correcting the Church. As a result, they never accept any Church leader's decision about their claimed private revelation. Anyone who rejects their claimed private revelation is condemned on that basis also. They treat their claimed private revelation as if it were a new foundation on which the Church should be based.
3. False Teachings on Eschatology
The main theme in the messages to Joe Coleman and 'Mary' is the claim that Jesus Christ is about to return for the general Judgment. The messages are concerned almost entirely with eschatology, much more so than most other claimed private revelations.
First, let's review the eschatological claims made by the visionary 'Mary'. In her e-mail to me, Mary said:
"the messages, are of huge significance for the world as the Second Coming of Christ is about to take place. No date has been given nor will it Our Lady says. But the time is very close now..... We have been given YEARS but not dates regarding the Second Coming. The Tribulation has already started. The second half starts at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 and will last four years until 2016. The 'Trinity Years' as the period was referred to by the Holy Spirit will last from 2013-2018 the sign of the beast 666. The first six relates to the one world economy. The second six relates to a new world leader - the anti-christ and the last six relates to the abolition of all religions into one new false religion. Reference was also made to the lifting up into the clouds but it was not clear. It seems to refer to the year 2013 but we are not sure."
a. She claims that the Second Coming of Christ is very close now, that it is about to occur.
b. She does not give a year for the start of the tribulation, but she says that it has already started.
c. She claims that the second half of the tribulation occurs from "the end of 2012/beginning of 2013" until 2016.
d. She claims that the 'Trinity Years' are 2013 to 2018 -- But the dates of "2013-2018" is likely a typographical error in the quoted e-mail. The website (which she claims to manage: "I manage the website") gives the 'Trinity Years' as 2013 to 2031, a period of 18 years.
e. She claims that, during the so-called 'Trinity Years', there will be one world economy, and the Antichrist will lead the world, and all religions will be abolished into one new false religion.
f. She mentions a 'lifting up into the clouds', which appears to reference the Protestant idea of a rapture. The website mentions that "The Rapture in the lead up to the Second Coming" is part of the content of Joe Coleman's messages. That same paragraph also contains text similar to Mary's assertions about the 'Trinity Years'.
g. She thinks that the Rapture will occur perhaps in 2013, but "we are not sure."
The above claims of the visionary 'Mary' about the timing of the tribulation and of the Second Coming cannot be true for several reasons.
First, many sources in Catholic eschatology describe the tribulation as divided into two parts. The secrets of La Salette to the visionary Melanie Calvat divides the tribulation into two parts: after a long series of afflictions, lasting "more than thirty-five years" (n. 5), there is a time of peace which includes "25 years of abundant harvests" (n. 21); only after these events (long after, as other sources tell us) does the reign of the Antichrist occur. Since none of the events described in the secrets of La Salette has yet occurred (as I write this in November 2010), the Second Coming of Christ cannot occur for this generation. Neither can all of the events of the tribulation be fit into the few years that she describes above.
Second, St. Caesar of Arles (469-543) also divides the tribulation into two parts, and he makes it clear that there are a number of generations from the start of the tribulation to its end, when the Antichrist's reign occurs. He, too, prophesies a time of peace between the first and second parts of the tribulation; during this time, the great Catholic monarch and the Angelic Shepherd reign:
St. Caesar of Arles: "When the entire world … shall have been a prey to the greatest miseries and trials, then the provinces shall be succored by a prince who had been exiled in his youth, and who shall recover the crown of the lilies. This Pope shall have with him, the Great Monarch, a most virtuous man, who shall be a scion of the holy race of the French kings. This Great Monarch will assist the Pope in the reformation of the whole earth…. after some considerable time fervor shall cool, iniquity shall abound, and moral corruption shall become worse than ever, which shall bring upon mankind the last and worst persecution of Antichrist and the end of the world." [Edward Connor, Prophecy for Today, p. 30.]
Notice that the Antichrist does not arrive during the first part of the tribulation, but only later: AFTER the first part of the tribulation, AND AFTER the time of peace when the great monarch and the holy Pope reign, AND AFTER some considerable time when iniquity increases. Only then does the Antichrist arrive and begin his reign of about 7 years. So it cannot be true that the Antichrist is in the world today. For more on this point, see this article:
Third, the book of the prophet Daniel, chapter 11, describes the time period from the reign of the great Catholic monarch, through several successive generations, to the time of the Antichrist. Again, all these events, again, cannot be fit into the several years claimed by the new visionaries of Knock.
Fourth, the eschatological discourse of Jesus (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21) also divides the tribulation into two parts. The brief time of peace between the first and second parts (as our Lady also stated at La Salette) is mentioned by Jesus in Mt 24:14: "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the entire world, as a testimony to all nations. And then the consummation will occur." So, again, we see that the whole of the tribulation cannot fit into the few years that the claimed new visionaries of Knock describe.
Fifth, the Book of Revelation describes the tribulation, over the course of many verses, as unfolding over a long period of time. All of those events cannot be fit into just a few years. And although the visionary 'Mary' claims that the tribulation is already underway, none of the events described by the Book of Revelation has yet occurred. But of course both she and Joe Coleman have stated that they have not read the Bible. They both seem to have no concern for the fact that their claims about the future contradict Sacred Scripture. And neither of them seems to have any interest in studying eschatology. The teachings of the many Saints and holy persons, throughout the history of the Church, who have written about the tribulation are of no interest to them.
Sixth, the Blessed Virgin Mary stated at La Salette that after the first part of the tribulation, there would be 25 years of abundant harvests, during a time when "The new kings will be the right arm of the holy Church" (n. 20). And yet the claimed visionary 'Mary' says that we are now in the first part of the tribulation (as Joe Coleman also asserts), and that "The second half starts at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013 and will last four years until 2016." These two visionaries are openly contradicting the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary at La Salette. For they deny that the first part of the tribulation lasts for "more than thirty-five years" (n. 5) and they deny a time of peace lasting about "25 years" (n. 21) prior to "some considerable time" when iniquity will increase, leading up to the second part of the tribulation.
Seventh, both 'Mary' and Joe make the contradictory claims (1) that the tribulation lasts only until 2016, but that (2) the Antichrist reigns for 18 years, from 2013 to 2031. And Joe's messages add the further contradiction (3) that the Antichrist reigns for 7 years. Now Catholic eschatology has traditionally considered the reign of the Antichrist to last for 7 years, based on the one week of years in Daniel (Dan 9:27). But no reliable sources in Catholic eschatology have attributed 18 years to his reign. Also, the tribulation reaches its height with the reign of the Antichrist, and so it cannot end prior to the end of his reign, as Mary and Joe both seem to hold.
Eighth, 'Mary' refers to the Rapture by the term 'a lifting up into the clouds', and Joe refers to the Rapture explicitly. Both claimed visionaries plainly believe in the idea of the Rapture.
Joe even seems to think that the Rapture will occur in 2013, for he makes this statement, based on his claimed private revelation, in the section marked as '2013'
"And they, his followers, will be taken up into the clouds at the great calling of the Trumpets."
But the Rapture is a Protestant idea, one that is contrary to Catholic doctrine. Again, the lack of a basic education in Catholic teaching is evident in the beliefs of these two claimed visionaries. The Protestants believe that Jesus suffered for us, and so we do not need to suffer; therefore, they believe that faithful Christians will be raptured (be taken away from this world) prior to the tribulation, so as to avoid those sufferings. But Catholic teaching is that we must participate in our redemption by Christ, and that part of our participation is in accepting the sufferings of this life. Therefore, the Church teaches that faithful Christians must suffer through the tribulation:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth…. The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection." (CCC, n. 675ff).
So the claims about the future made by these two new visionaries of Knock, Ireland (Mary and Joe) are contrary to Catholic doctrine and incompatible with the traditional understanding of God's plan for the future found in Catholic eschatology.
4. More False Teachings on Eschatology
Now let's take a closer look at some of the eschatological claims made by Joe Coleman, as presented by the website: knockapparitions.com
"The Second Coming of Christ, the time when he returns to Earth to Judge the Living and the Dead will happen but the world will experience turmoil as part of the end of times. Prayer will help avert much of the suffering ahead and faith will help save the human race from evil. And because God will not interfere with our free will it is really up to each and everyone one of us what we want to do with the information we are receiving in these messages. My job is not to convert. It's simply to let people know what these divine messages contain. The prophesies given to me about The Second Coming of Christ are contained in the Bible I have been told. Yet I never read the Bible."
First, it is not correct to portray God as refraining from interfering in our free will. For our free will is only free because God first gives us prevenient grace, so that our will can make truly free choices. And when we freely choose acts of lasting goodness, acts of love of God and neighbor, these acts are chosen in cooperation with grace.
Second, we are all in need of continual repeated conversion. It is foolish for him to say "My job is not to convert."
Third, he claim that the 'prophesies' in his messages are also contained in the Bible -- he has been told. Even at the point of his saying/writing the above quote, he has apparently not read what the Bible states on the tribulation and the end times. And yet he has written to all the Bishops of Ireland and he has announced his claims to the world publicly. And still he has not bothered to read or study Scripture on the same subject about which he teaches.
"Latest News 22nd August 2010
"People all over the world urged to prepare for Second Coming
" 'The Second Coming will happen as foretold. We just happen to be the generation that will witness it.' Joe Coleman August 2010"
The claimed private revelations to Joe Coleman revolve around the claim that the Second Coming is to occur very soon, for this generation. This is stated in various ways repeatedly in messages of claimed private revelation and in Joe Coleman's own assertions, throughout the website.
But as already shown in the previous section of this article, an imminent Return for Jesus Christ is not compatible with the teachings of Sacred Scripture on the end times, nor with the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the approved private revelations at La Salette, nor with traditional Catholic eschatology based on the understanding of many Saints and mystics throughout the history of the Church. In order to believe the claim of Joe Coleman that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will occur for this generation, we would have to disregard the teachings of Sacred Scripture, the words of the Virgin Mary at La Salette, and the teachings of Catholic eschatology as well. Joe Coleman has disregarded, or is ignorant of, all these sources. He has not studied the Bible, has not studied eschatology, and he makes no mention at all of any writings on the end times by any Saint or mystic. His ideas are based solely on his own claimed private revelation, very much apart from Catholic teaching and Catholic theology.
Joe Coleman's claimed private revelation does not give a date for the Second Coming, but certain years and ranges of years are given.
"Message about Tribulation
"From the Holy Spirit
"The tribulation has begun. The second half from midnight 2012 to 2016. The earth will witness major disasters. 2013 is of great importance.
"2013 - the two stands for Christ. The zero stands for the Father who has been taken off the earth and is not talked about anymore. He is not honoured and glorified the way He should. The Father is not being honoured, especially on the Sabbath. Remember, keep holy the Sabbath Day which is Sunday. Keep holy every day the Father has given us. Three is the Holy Spirit who is here to prompt the people to think of the Father. God the Father has a great love for all his children but they don't love him and this is very disturbing for Him. It hurts Him. Jesus Christ asks that we pray to Him and with Him. He will then call them his followers.
"And they, his followers, will be taken up into the clouds at the great calling of the Trumpets. The Father loves his people but the people don't love the Father.
"The Trinity years. 2013 to 2031 there are 18 years - 666. The first 6 stands for the uniting of the currency of the world. The second 6 stands for the presence of the Evil One in the world's leader. The third 6 stands for the uniting of all religions into one and removing all the teachings and theology of all the churches into one which is led by the Evil One."
There are numerous false claims in the above quoted message to Joe Coleman.
First, the above claim that tribulation has begun is false. The afflictions in the world in the recent past do not fit any of the severe afflictions described in the Book of Revelation. There have been natural disasters in recent years, but the tribulation is no mere set of natural disasters. Natural disasters have always occurred, from time to time and from place to place, in human history. There have been wars in recent years, but not a major world war. Even World War 2, a severe war, is not a part of the tribulation. The wars and other afflictions of the tribulation must be more severe than past serious afflictions in order to fit the description given in the Book of Revelation, and given by the Blessed Virgin Mary at La Salette, and given in the writings of various Saints and mystics.
In my opinion, the tribulation should be considered to have begun when the Warning of Garabandal occurs. As of this writing (November 2010), the Warning has not yet occurred, and so the tribulation has not yet begun.
Second, the claim that the second half of the tribulation is "from midnight 2012 to 2016" does not make sense. Midnight applies to a day, not to a year. But given the general time frame of 2012 or so, to 2016, there are not enough years to fit the second part of the tribulation. Even Coleman admits that the reign of the Antichrist is seven years. But there are not seven years from 2012 to 2016. Counting back seven years from 2016, gives us 2009 (or 2010, depending on how one counts). But it is already November of 2010 and the Antichrist does not reign over the whole world, as Sacred Scripture says that he eventually will, and as many Saints and mystics have described. His rise to power is what causes the worst part of the tribulation, just as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (CCC, n. 675-677). But on the subject of eschatology, Coleman entirely ignores Scripture, and the teaching of the Catechism, and the writings of the Saints and true mystics of the Church.
Third, the statement that the earth will witness many disasters is an empty claim. There are disasters in the world in every year. True prophecies are not vague statements that can be applied just as well to any randomly chosen year or set of years.
Fourth, the claim as to what the numbers in the year 2013 mean is patently ridiculous.
"2013 - the two stands for Christ. The zero stands for the Father…. Three is the Holy Spirit…."
We are not told why two should stand for Christ (two natures, perhaps, or Second Person), but in any case, there are very many years with the number two in them. It is absurd to claim that 2013 is a special year because it has a 2 or because it begins with a 2. There are 13 years prior to 2013 that begin with 2, and there are hundreds of years afterward that also begin so. Associating the number zero with the Father is offensive. Our God who is ALL is not represented by the number that is nothing. And again, very many dates have the number zero in them. Then the number '1' is completely ignored in this ridiculous explanation. And next we are told that "Three is the Holy Spirit." Is this because the Holy Spirit is the Third Person? But then why is the Father zero, and not '1'? And this despite the fact that the number 1 does occur in the number 2013. I have no sympathy for any Catholic who reads a claimed private revelation as completely foolish and nonsensical as this set of claims and thereafter concludes it is from God or the Virgin Mary.
Fifth, there are a few statements in the above quote that are not nonsense, such as that God loves us, that we should pray, that we should keep holy the Sabbath. But these assertions are superficial. Nothing more extensive or profound on these subjects is presented. And all the faithful already know these few basic concepts well. But all the false private revelations contain some truths, as bait for the trap, in order to draw in the faithful and make them think that the entire set of messages is from Heaven.
Sixth, the claim that "they, his followers, will be taken up into the clouds at the great calling of the Trumpets…." is essentially a claim that the Rapture will occur, and this is listed under the year 2013. But the Rapture is a Protestant idea, rejected by the teaching of the Catholic Church. A message of claimed private revelation which teaches the false doctrine of the Rapture cannot be a true private revelation from Heaven.
Seventh, a set of claims is made about "The Trinity years. 2013 to 2031 there are 18 years - 666." The number 666 is stated in the Book of Revelation. But there it does not refer to the Most Holy Trinity, nor to any set of years named (for some unknown reason) after the Trinity. Sacred Scripture states that the number 666 stands for a man: "For it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Rev 13:18). So the claim that it stands instead for a set of 18 years contradicts Sacred Scripture.
Eighth, a false claim is then made about the events during these 18 years:
"The first 6 stands for the uniting of the currency of the world. The second 6 stands for the presence of the Evil One in the world's leader. The third 6 stands for the uniting of all religions into one and removing all the teachings and theology of all the churches into one which is led by the Evil One."
This claim implies that those 18 years are the reign of the Antichrist. But elsewhere Coleman asserts that the reign of the Antichrist is 7 years, not 18. Furthermore, the same quote above has the second part of the tribulation ending in 2016, only three years into the time period when evil somehow pervades all religion and while the Antichrist is apparently still reigning. The three sixes are said to stand for three evils, but the first evil is merely a world currency -- perhaps not ideal, but also not one of the worst evils. The third statement is a long convoluted grammatically incorrect sentence. The sentence describes all religions being united into one; it is claimed that all the teachings and theology of all the churches are "removing…into one". Then the claim is made that this one religion is led by the Evil One.
So the claim is made, in Joe Coleman's messages, that there will be only one religion on earth, and that it will be led by the Evil One (the devil, or perhaps the Antichrist). But the Catholic Church teaches as a matter of faith that the one holy Catholic Church is indefectible, that it will never fail, never disappear from the earth, and, just as our Lord taught, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." The above quoted message of claimed private revelation to Joe Coleman openly contradicts this teaching. His claim on this point is a heresy.
5. More Errors about the Church
The messages to Joe Coleman contain serious doctrinal errors about the Church. As has been already shown above, Coleman's messages claim that there will be one world religion led by the Evil One, implying that the Church will either cease or will be taken over by the Evil One. This type of error on the subject of the Church continues in the messages quoted below.
"Message about Antichrist 13 Feb 2010
"Pray my most Holy Rosary so that the Antichrist will not win over my children. For he, the deceiver, is here on earth. He is very powerful, very dangerous, very cunning, very charming, very deceitful. He is in my Father's house on earth..
The term "my Father's house" refers to the Church. The above message claims that the Antichrist is in the Church on earth at the present time. Is he in the Church in the sense of being a believing and practicing Catholic Christian? Obviously not, since the Antichrist is an exceedingly wicked man who rejects Jesus Christ (1 John 2:22). The implication is that the Antichrist is, according to this message, a leader in the Church. But if Coleman has studied Catholic eschatology, or had studied Sacred Scripture, he would know that the Antichrist is never portrayed as a leader within the Church, but rather as someone who attacks the Church and attempts to destroy Her. The Antichrist wants to be worshiped as if he were a god; he does not want to be a leader in the true Church of Jesus Christ.
"Message about visionaries
"My son desires to make himself known soon, here on earth. He will walk again. The return of Our Saviour will not, and must not, and cannot be prevented. For it is written in my father's book. The Antichrist laughs when my priests do not listen to my seers. My child, a great darkness is descending over my church all over the globe."
This message continues the above-discussed error of portraying the Church as if She were a lost sinner in need of guidance from visionaries, rather than the sole ark of salvation, the Body of Christ, and the Teacher of Truth. It is claimed that a great darkness is descending over the Church worldwide. But in truth the Church is the Body of Christ, in which the Holy Spirit dwells unceasingly. And in truth, God's grace is poured out upon the Church in such abundance that this grace cannot fail to bear fruit in innumerable holy souls, sanctified by the Blood of Christ. And yet the messages of Joe Coleman portray the Church as falling into darkness and error, especially the supposedly great error of rejecting Coleman's messages. The Church is portrayed as if She errs grievously whenever the priests or the Bishops do not believe whatever Joe tells them. This type of arrogant exaltation of a claimed private revelation above the treasury of truth in the Church is typical of false private revelation.
This next message takes this attitude of criticizing the Church for rejecting Joe's claimed private revelation to new heights of absurdity, by claiming that all the claimed private revelations in the world and their visionaries must unite, as if only they can enlighten, lead, and save the Church.
"Message about visionaries
"My dear child tell my priests if they do not heed my messages they will be taken out of their authority. They must be exposed now before they can do more damage to my church. My beloved children must be protected at all times. My beloved workers, my visionaries, my seers throughout the world must be given recognition by the church. They must be respected and listened to for they were given many graces and many gifts from the Holy Spirit to do their work for God the eternal father. Soon my beloved seers, my messengers, my visionaries, my healers will be brought together. My light workers will all merge as one in the battle against the deceiver. Rome must welcome them with open arms. This my dear child will happen soon. Rejection against my seers is a sin against God. The church on earth fears losing its power to my messengers of light"
Notice the severe denigration of the entire Church, whenever there is any conflict or merely a lack of response with respect to claimed visionaries. The message portrays the Church as if She should subject herself entirely to various claimed messengers and visionaries. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says the opposite:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: "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 fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations"." (CCC, n. 67).
The claimed private revelations of Joe Coleman are not in agreement with the above official teaching of the Catholic Faith on the subject of claimed private revelations. He would exalt claimed private revelation above public revelation and the authority of the Church. The Catechism gives private revelations, if they are truly from God, only a subordinate role within the Church, and never the role of surpassing or correcting the Sacred Deposit of Faith.
And here is what Pope Benedict XVI recently wrote on private revelation:
"The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of the one public revelation: the latter demands faith; in it God himself speaks to us through human words and the mediation of the living community of the Church. The criterion for judging the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ himself. If it leads us away from him, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, who guides us more deeply into the Gospel, and not away from it. Private revelation is an aid to this faith, and it demonstrates its credibility precisely because it refers back to the one public revelation. Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals; it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones. It can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Th 5:19-21) and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory. In any event, it must be a matter of nourishing faith, hope and love, which are for everyone the permanent path of salvation." (Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 30 Sept 2010)
But the messages to Joe Coleman are not in agreement with the above description of the role of private revelation. His messages present themselves as obligatory; whoever rejects them is said to sin against God. The quote above from Pope Benedict clearly places private revelation, the ones that are truly from Heaven, as nevertheless subordinate to public revelation (Tradition and Scripture) and subject to Ecclesiastical approval. But Coleman has not bothered to read and study Sacred Scripture. And instead of allowing the Church to judge his claimed private revelation, he and his messages judge the Church, severely criticizing any Bishops or priests who dare to contradict or merely to ignore him.
The messages to Joe Coleman are not orientated toward Christ, they do not lead the faithful closer to God. Instead, they are orientated toward the exaltation of the claimed private revelation to Joe Coleman, and other claimed private revelations, as if salvation were not from the Church, the one ark of salvation, but from visionaries and their messages.
Below are two more examples of this type of error in Coleman's messages.
"message February 22 2010
"All my father's priests, bishops, cardinals must come together. They must listen to my seers. They must heed my messages. They must respond to my father's call for conversion and unity among all nations. They are not responding the way God wants them to. They know the way and the how to respond. My heart bleeds for my church. My church must be respected. But respect must also come from my church. The foundations have been rocked and will continue to be rocked until the truth is known. Satan the deceiver, is responsible for this turn around. He is among my church. He must be stopped now, before it is too late as time is running out."
Notice how the above message demands that the Church, including Cardinals and Bishops, submit themselves to seers and messages. But if they did so, they would be acting contrary to the teachings quoted above from the Catechism and from the Apostolic Exhortation of the Pope. Coleman's message portrays God as bleeding in His heart, apparently because the Church is rejecting various messages from various seers. This message speaks as if the Church has erred grievously by not giving Coleman and other seers more respect. And despite the teaching of the Catholic Faith that the Church is one, holy, and indefectible, the above message speaks as if the Church were always on the brink of utter failure, rocked and shaken to its very foundations (instead of being founded on an unshakable Rock), until "the truth is known" apparently meaning until Coleman's absurd messages are accepted.
The above message speaks as if the Church does not possess the fullness of truth in the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, and as if She does not have the presence of the Spirit of Truth dwelling within Herself as the Body of Christ. This message speaks as if the Church does not include Christ as Her Head, but is a mere human institution. And to bring this error about the Church to its logical absurd end, Coleman's message even dares to claim that Satan is responsible for all of these above-mentioned problems in the Church, as if Satan were controlling the Church and about to destroy Her -- with the only salvation apparently coming from Coleman and other claimed visionaries.
"May 10 2010
"Tell them Satan, The Deceiver, walks among my people. He is present in the Holy See, Rome. He is present among my priests, bishops and cardinals. He's in the churches. He's everywhere. He is in the Government of all nations. He will be stopped through praying the Holy Rosary and receiving Jesus the Christ at Holy Mass, through conversion and reconciliation. My people must heed and act on my messages before it is too late. For the time, my child, is drawing nearer every day…. The Deceiver must not be allowed to take control of my Church."
In truth, it is a severe heresy and in effect a schismatic error as well, to make this set of claims about the Church, which portray the Church as under the control of Satan and as committing error after error and sin after sin, all because the Church does not respond to Coleman and other claimed visionaries so as to base truth and salvation on them, rather than on Christ and His teachings, on private revelation rather than on public revelation, on self-proclaimed visionaries rather than on the Pope and the body of Bishops.
There are other errors and absurdities in the claimed private revelations to Joe Coleman. The above should be sufficient for any believing and practicing Catholic to be able to discern that his messages are not from God, nor from the Blessed Virgin Mary, nor from Heaven at all. For his messages contain heresy and doctrinal error and various absurdities, all of which is contrary to, and incompatible with, both Catholic teaching and sound theology.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
16 November 2010