In my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian, the claimed private revelations, in the form of the messages to Patty Powell and Eileen Giles of Perth, Australia, which are attributed to the Weeping Madonna of Rockingham, (weepingmadonna.org) are false and are not true private revelations from Heaven.
These messages are sometimes given under the name 'The Weeping Madonna of Rockingham.' The person receiving the messages goes under the name of 'I.A.N.,' which stands for 'I Am Nothing.' The twin sisters Patty and Eileen have also claimed that statues of the Virgin Mary have wept.
A list of reasons and examples, as to why these messages are false and not from Heaven, follows.
1. The false claim is made that the Antichrist is alive today
In 2 Thess. 2:8, the Antichrist is called 'the lawless one' by Saint Paul. One of the messages of Rockingham claims the following:
The message of 18th April, 2005 claims: “Be aware the lawless one is among you.”
This is one of the most common false claims made by false private revelation. The Church does teach that there will one day be a human being, who is called the Antichrist, just as predicted by Sacred Scripture. However, it is also abundantly clear, from Sacred Scripture, and from Catholic thought about the future throughout the history of the Church, and from true private revelations well-accepted by the faithful, that the one person properly called the Antichrist is not in the world today and will not be born, nor take power, for hundreds of years.
2. The false claim is made that Jesus Christ walks the earth today.
The message of 3rd January 2004 claims: “It is important to practice these qualities, for I have to tell you that my Adored Son Jesus, The Christ now walks the Earth.”
This false claim is fairly unusual. It is not found in any true private revelations, nor is it common among the many false ones. However, it is easily refuted.
First, Christ will not return until the events predicted in the Book of Revelation, which are said to occur before His Return, do in fact occur. There are very many events stretching over many years that have yet to occur.
Second, when Christ returns everyone will know it, for he will return on the clouds of heaven, in great glory, not quietly or in secret. Several passages from Scripture manifest this truth.
In the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 24:26-27), Jesus says: “So, if they say to you, 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.”
In the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:9-11), we are told that Jesus will return in the same manner as His Ascension:
“And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.' ”
And the very passage of 2 Thessalonians (2 Thess 2:8) which calls the Antichrist 'the lawless one' also makes it clear that the Return of Jesus Christ will destroy the lawless one: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming.”
Therefore, it is not possible for Christ to be walking the earth today, as if he had returned in secret, nor is it possible that Jesus Christ has returned without destroying the lawless one (the Antichrist).
3. Concerning the statues weeping and other claimed signs,
these could be false signs and wonders, as described in the Bible. For Jesus Christ himself said:
“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.... For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand.” (Mt 24:11, 24-25).
Note added August 1, 2006:
"Perth Archibishop Barry Hickey barred the statue from being displayed in the local Catholic church after an inquiry found the tears were vegetable oil." (from a recent news story on www.theaustralian.news.com.au).
Some false miracles associated with false private revelation are caused by the action of fallen angels. But other false miracles are simply tricks used by those who promote a particular claimed apparition.
4. Overstating the influence and power of Satan
This is one of the most common characteristics of false private revelation. The devil is described in an exaggerated fashion, as if he was the cause of all sin, as if he had a more power than he actually has. Some examples follow.
(8th January 2004) “I tell you Satan is Hatred and he gives birth to all confusion and conflict, all dissent and destruction and he does not have regard for anyone or anything.”
On the contrary, the root cause of sin, and the sufferings that result from sin, is freewill, which is influenced by three factors, often phrased as 'the flesh, the world, and the devil.' In other words, we are influenced by our fallen human natures (the flesh), which are affected by original sin, and we are influenced by the sinful secular society and culture that is all around us (the world), and, lastly, we are influenced by fallen angels, who have some limited ability to do harm to humanity.
But the messages of Rockingham over-emphasize the influence of the devil, as if he were responsible for 'all confusion and conflict, all dissent and destruction.' Such is not the case; his influence is not so strong. In truth, we are more strongly influenced by our fallen human natures and by sinful society than by fallen angels. But false private revelations exalt the devil by over emphasizing his influence and power.
(31st December 2004) “You also have to know that the one behind every sin is satan. He is the one behind every death, every disaster, and every disruption of nature. Satan is the one behind every sickness and disaster that happens. He brings about all this carnage in order that you blame the Eternal Father for these deaths so he can win you over to his side.”
Again, it is certainly false to say that one fallen angel is behind every sin. This claim is clearly contrary to the teaching of the Church. In truth, freewill is behind every sin, and freewill is influenced first by original sin (the flesh), second by sinful secular society (the world), and only thirdly by various fallen angels. To claim that one fallen angel is behind all sin is certainly false.
Moreover, Scripture teaches that the sufferings and disasters of the world are under the Providence of God. Sickness and death are embraced by the Providence of God. It is holy God who determines the length and end of each person's life, by His Grace, Providence, and Power. The claim that Satan is behind every sickness and death is contrary to the Faith, and it is a heresy that exalts the devil and offends God. Moreover, even the severe sufferings of the tribulation are from God, for only the Lamb, Jesus Christ, can open the Seven Seals which symbolize the events of the tribulation.
(5th January 2004) “...the dangers of Satan's influence which is everywhere.”
(24th March 2004) “Soon evil and terror will strike changing life and man forever. It is Satan's time, his hour to manifest his hateful power. The date to strike is fixed. It will be a protracted battle, the worst ever witnessed by man.... All is derived in the hatred in the hearts of men who freely follow Satan, his lies, his ploys, his wickedness.”
On the contrary, Satan is merely one of many fallen angels. He was not the most powerful angel before he fell, nor is he now any more powerful. He has a limited ability to act against humanity, as do the other fallen angels. The devil is not a god. The One Good and Almighty God has influence and power everywhere, but there is no equivalent evil god with influence and power everywhere. In addition, the fallen angels have only a limited ability to work cooperatively together to harm humanity. The holy angels are united by grace and faith and love and hope and holy obedience. The fallen angels are divided and constantly in conflict with one another, because they lack all these good graces. The fallen angels are disobedient and divided amongst themselves.
Other messages of Rockingham also exalt Satan and overstate his power and influence.
5. The messages encourage fear and distrust
(18th April, 2005) “Seek strength through prayer to understand the faces of satan. Be aware of organizations pretending to be benefactors for many provide only evil in disguise. Look always to the souls of those in these groups. Many active and commonly accepted groups oppose God and The Christ and by their efforts they subvert the church and the family and the nations.”
(8th March 2004) “The world is in disharmony and disarray because satan has been given his way and many have been seduced. His time is to end but you must make it happen. Small groups, with his influence, rule the media and government and the churches. When you oppose their views you are made to feel guilty.”
This kind of conspiracy theory, which attempts to make people fear all authority figures (so as to surreptitiously encourage disobedience) is common in false private revelation. In truth, the media and the churches are ruled by human persons, who have their strengths and weaknesses, their good and bad qualities. And the disharmony and confusion in the world is due to freewill and sin, not to one particular fallen angel.
6. Various false teachings are found in these messages
As mentioned in #4 above, there is the heresy that the devil is responsible for all sin and all suffering on earth. It is also a heresy, as stated above to claim that Christ has already returned in secret. And there are other false ideas in these messages. Examples follow.
(13th January 2005) “In the coming difficult days, Satan will try hard to win over the hearts and minds of my children. Do not listen, do not be fooled. This is the way to hell, and in hell you shall be a slave of his forever, but your slavery will begin before you see hell.”
On the contrary, Hell is a place ordained by the Justice of God. Hell is not a place where Satan rules, nor where he punishes the damned. Satan is sent to Hell to be punished himself, not to do the punishing. The damned in Hell are condemned by their own sins and failure to repent. Their punishment is from the Justice of God, not from the malice of the devil. If the word slavery is to be applied to Hell, then it can be said that the damned are slaves to their own unrepented sins. This message also overstates the devil's power.
7. Some of the messages encourage despair
(9th February 2005) “Do not allow the evil tormenter to have his way with your soul and be aware that he will strike in the day and in the night so remain aware.... Pray and repent for those who do so now will be blessed and those who do not wish to believe and prepare will find endless pain in the depths of hell. Try to help to save as many souls as you are able for if my children reject the truth then they can never find peace.”
(8th July, 2004) “The pathway to salvation must soon end....”
Such messages encouraging hopelessness and despair are common to false private revelation. But the true private revelations from the Virgin Mary encourage hope and peace, faith and love. Salvation is always available to you, even through the last moment of your life. The pathway to salvation for the world as a whole will not end, for the Mercy and Love of God is infinite and unceasing.
8. The author of these messages clearly has no idea what will happen when in the future.
(9th February 2005) “The time has arrived when I must give you warning. I have hoped that this time would not occur but sin is so prevalent and such darkness abounds that warnings must be given in order for those with the knowledge may act upon those warnings.”
This messages, and others besides, talk about the future only in a vague and uncertain manner. This feature is common in false private revelations. After reading many messages, one can tell that the author of the messages is in the dark about what will happen in the future. Such long, uninformative, diatribes about future possible sufferings is a hallmark of false messages.
More messages could be cited, particularly those that exalt Satan and overstate his power and influence, but I will spare you from these. It is clear that these messages are not from the Virgin Mary, weeping or otherwise, nor are they from Heaven. The heresies cited above, and the tone of fear and despair found in so many messages, are sufficient in themselves to show that these are false messages.
I could write more, but this should be sufficient to show that the messages attributed to the Weeping Madonna of Rockingham, (weepingmadonna.org) are false and are not true private revelations from Heaven.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
October 26, 2005