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Discernment of Private Revelation

Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?
An Evaluation of the messages to Brother David Lopez, O.S.F.

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  1. Introduction

    This evaluation is based on a web page quoting Wayne Weible, November, 1996, 'Three Days of Darkness: The Great Chastisement' ( Here is Weible's introduction to Lopez:
    “He actually lives in a hamlet called El Ranchilo, at a hermitage known as Our Lady of Tenderness. Having spent 18 years as a Franciscan religious, David runs a small retreat house there that assists illegal aliens by giving them generous helpings of food, shelter and prayer. The amazing thing is Brother David has cerebral palsy which causes him considerable difficulty in walking and talking, much less in taking on such a heavy physical responsibility as running his little haven.”
    The above quote was apparently written in 1996. Not much information is available on Lopez's claimed apparitions. These are said to have begun when he was visiting Medjugorje. However, that fact alone does not establish any claimed private revelation as true. Other alleged visionaries have cited a connection to Medjugorje, or even Fatima, yet many of these are false.

    The information that is available about the Lopez claimed private revelation is discussed below.

  2. Unconsciousness and Fear

    True private revelation offers the recipient a gift which they can accept or reject; it is never given against someone's will.
    Brother David Lopez (1987): We began to pray the fourth sorrowful mystery when I lost consciousness; I could not see nor hear anyone. The only thing I can remember is that I felt the presence of the Virgin. I heard Her voice, the sweet voice of a wise and understanding woman who spoke to me in English, but I did not see Her nor do I claim to have seen Her. The words of the message and the impression I felt frightened me but not what I was hearing, not the words themselves, but the responsibility which the Virgin was imposing on me; because I knew that the message She was communicating brought the obligation of dissemination, and I didn't want to live the life or persecution that prophets live. So, I refused to listen, turning back to my Rosary; but She continued to speak, not letting me pray.
    Notice that he says he lost consciousness. The Virgin Mary does not act toward us against our free will. She does not cause someone to fall unconscious in order to give a private revelation. This feature is sometimes found in false private revelation, such as those at Marmora, Canada, but it is not found among any of the true private revelations.

    Notice also that he was afraid and refused to listen, but she ignored his will and prevented him from praying the Rosary. The true Virgin Mary would not push her will on someone who was refusing to listen; she does not ignore our free will because it is the gift of free will which allowed her to say 'Fiat' to God and to the Incarnation of Christ. Even God at the Incarnation, that crucial moment, did not act against free will. Also, the true Virgin Mary would not prevent someone who was afraid from praying the Rosary; she would have prayed with him until he was willing to listen. She does not speak to someone who does not want to hear from her. In stark contrast to the way that the true Virgin Mary would act, this apparition knocks Lopez unconscious, prevents him from praying, and acts against his free will.

  3. False Claims about the Three Days of Darkness

    Here is a portion of the message that Lopez claims to have received from the Virgin Mary:
    Mary: Do not be afraid about the three days of darkness that will come over the earth, because those who are living my messages and have a life of interior prayer will be alerted by an interior voice three days to one week before their occurrence.
    On the contrary, the three days of darkness will be announced publicly in advance of the event. Some visionaries from certain true private revelations will announce it beforehand. The idea will be ridiculed widely in the news and entertainment media around the world. Even those who are not Christian will hear of it. Also, the three days of darkness, from its beginning through to its end, will be like a supernatural storm. Even those who have not heard about it, or who did not believe when they heard about it, will have enough common sense to remain indoors because of the storm outside. Also, the intense darkness will also prevent them from wanting to go outside. So the idea that only those 'living the messages' will know of it, through an interior private revelation, is not correct.
    Mary: The priests must not only take care of their interior prayer life, but also develop the interior prayer life of all their parishioners. The same way they should avoid anyone who speaks about revolution and rebellion. The ones who speak about revolution and rebellion are the disciples of the antichrist.
    All alleged private revelations claiming that the Antichrist is in the world today are false private revelations. For the Antichrist is not in the world today and the Virgin Mary cannot say anything false, not even by mistake. She is with God who is all-knowing, so neither can she be mistaken about the future. None of the true private revelations in the world today say that the Antichrist is in the world; most of the false ones make this claim. For a detailed explanation on why the Antichrist cannot be in the world today, see my article:
    Lopez: In those days, the ones who are not in a state of grace are going to die of fright because of the terrible demons that they will see.
    It is not true that all those who are not in a state of grace will die of fright, nor from other causes. For God desires that those who are not in a state of grace should repent, and He continually offers them the graces needed to move toward repentance. In response to this fearful event and God's grace, many persons, even great sinners, will repent. God did not plan the Three Days of Darkness so as to kill all those in a state of grace.

    Sacred Scripture says that after the Three Days of Darkness there will still be unrepentant persons on earth:

    {9:20} And the rest of men, who were not slain by these afflictions, did not repent from the works of their hands, so that they would not worship demons, or idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk.
    {9:21} And they did not repent from their murders, nor from their drugs, nor from their fornication, nor from their thefts.

    Since the sins from which these men did not repent are serious sins, some who are not in a state of grace will survive the Three Days of Darkness. Furthermore, the Book of Wisdom describes the Three Days of Darkness by explaining that the sinful will be afraid for several different reasons:

    {17:4} For neither did the cave which enclosed them preserve them from fear, because descending noises disturbed them, and the sorrowful persons appearing to them intensified their fear.
    {17:9} And, even if nothing unnatural disturbed them, yet being agitated by the passing of animals and the hissing of snakes, they died of fear, denying what they themselves saw even in the air, which no one thinks to be able to escape.
    {17:10} For, while there may be apprehension with wickedness, it gives testimony to condemnation, for a troubled conscience always forecasts harshness.

    The persons who die of fear during the Three Days of Darkness are afraid because their conscience accuses them about the wickedness of their lives, and because they hear noises, and because they see images of sorrowful persons. These images are intended to bring them to repentance, not to send them to death while not in a state of grace. Even the noises of nature increase their fear. For they realize that this event is the work of God and that they have lived contrary to God's will.

    But the Three Days of Darkness is not as Lopez or his messages describe it.
    Lopez: The Virgin told me to close all the doors and windows and not to respond to anyone who calls from the outside. The biggest temptation we will have is that the devil is going to imitate the voices of our loved ones. She told me, "Please do not pay attention because those are not your loved ones; those are demons trying to lure you out of the house".
    The Three Days of Darkness is a supernatural act of God; it is not the work of the devil. If you hear the voices of loved ones outside prior to the start of the three days of darkness, then let them in. During the three days of darkness no one will be able to survive outside at all, not even briefly. But I do not believe that the devil will imitate the voices of our loved ones during those three days of darkness, because this event is of God, not of the devil. God is punishing the world for sin; this is not an event that the devil would want to happen.
    Lopez: Regarding the places where I reside. At the beginning of those three days, there are going to be people trying to cross the river (the Rio Grande) but they can't do it because they cannot see and will drown. They will be so afraid that they will kill one another; they will die in a state of sin.
    This claim is entirely false. Those who are outside during the three days of darkness will be immediately put to death supernaturally: both the good and the bad will die if they are outside. Even if a good person is caught outside when this event begins, he will be killed, he will not be spared. For it will be just as Sacred Scripture has described:

    {17:16} For if a farmer, or a shepherd, or a worker in a field of labor were suddenly overcome, he endured an inescapable necessity.
    {17:17} For they were all bound together with one chain of darkness….

    But Lopez claims that some persons who are outside during the Three Days of Darkness will drown, or will kill one another. This cannot be true because those who are outside are immediately and supernaturally killed by an act of God. Anyone who even opens a window or door during this time will be killed. Anyone who is caught outside or who goes outside during these three days will be killed. So it cannot be true that some will survive outside only to later drown or to kill one another.
    Lopez: The Virgin told me that God has selected some people who are going to be martyrs at the beginning of the three days of darkness, but they should not be afraid because God will give them perseverance, and, after the martyrdom, the angels are going to take them body and soul into Heaven.
    The Three Days of Darkness is the event described by our Lady at La Salette: “Then Jesus Christ by an act of His justice and of His great mercy for the just, will command to His angels that all His enemies be put to death. All at once the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all men devoted to sin will perish, and the earth will become like a desert.” (Melanie's secret, n. 20). Notice that this is not an act of devils from Hell, but of God's holy angels. Also, Mary clearly states that it is the enemies of God who are killed. It is absurd to claim that God has selected certain persons to be martyred by being killed by God himself or by His holy angels. A martyr is not someone killed by God, but by the enemies of God because of the Faith.

    Moreover, the claim that these 'martyrs' will be taken up body and soul into Heaven is both false and heretical. How can they go up to Heaven in body and soul if they have died, so that their soul has separated from their body? A dead body cannot be assumed into Heaven. Neither is this the time period for the Resurrection, as if they would be killed only to immediately rise again. Furthermore, Heaven is beyond Time, so all those who ever will be assumed body and soul into Heaven are already in Heaven in body and soul: Jesus and Mary only. (After the general Resurrection, the faithful are assumed into a new Heaven, for that time in the very distant future is the time of the new Heaven and the new earth.) The Virgin Mary said to Saint Bridget of Sweden: “Know, too, that there is no human body in Heaven but the glorious body of my Son and mine.” (Revelations of St. Bridget, chapter 23). Therefore, it is certainly false to claim that God will kill some persons who are holy in order to martyr them and then assume them into Heaven body and soul.
    Lopez: She told me that the hours of darkness will be exactly 72, and the only way to count them is with mechanical clocks, because there won't be any electricity.
    This claim that the Three Days of Darkness lasts exactly 72 hours is certainly false. Although the time period is called three days, it is not three times 24 hours. For the Three Days of Darkness is a figure of the three days of Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection, which is called three days by Jesus, even though it is not exactly three times 24 hours (72 hours):

    {12:40} For just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

    Now it is true enough that there will be no electricity, but it is absurd to claim that in supernatural darkness the way to know when it ends is with a clock of some kind. When it ends, it will no longer be dark. One does not need a clock to know its end. Furthermore, the stigmatic Marie Julie Jahenny stated, based on her private revelations from the Virgin Mary that the Three Days of Darkness will actually last “three days less one night.” Therefore, it is not exactly 72 hours, but rather significantly less than 72 hours.
    Lopez: Before the great tribulation, there is going to be a sign. We will see in the sky one great red cross on a day of blue sky without clouds. The color red signifies the blood of Jesus who redeemed us and the blood of the martyrs selected by God in the days of darkness.
    On the contrary, the signs before the tribulation are the Warning and the Miracle, as foretold at Garabandal. The claim that an image of a cross in the sky, either red or any other color, as a sign of the tribulation, is false. Other false private revelations claim a white cross will be seen in the sky. On the contrary, the first sign of the tribulation is the Warning where God touches each and every soul in their conscience. Do you not know anything about Who God is? Which sounds more like the God that you know, that He would warn us of the tribulation by calling us to repentance, reaching out to each and every soul personally and individually, or that He would put a picture of a red cross in the sky? The former is profoundly personal and merciful and powerful. The latter is merely an image.

    But about signs in the sky, Scripture says:

    [Revelation 12]
    {12:1} And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars.

    Notice that the sign in the sky is an image of the Virgin Mary, not an image of a Cross. Now there are other features of Lopez's claimed private revelation which resemble those of false private revelation.
    Lopez: So, I went and started praying the Rosary before the statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It was 11:45 when, for no reason at all, I raised my eyes and perceived the statue coming alive. The statue then revealed some private things about my friends and called my attention to the fact that I had not yet done what She had asked me to do. Then She told me, "I want you to write the message I gave you in Medjugorje before you forget, and I want you to take it to the Bishop to have it confirmed". So, I thought, "If what She told me about my friends is true, I will write the message, if not, no, I will remain silent". I talked to my friends about what the Virgin had revealed to me about them and everything was true. So, I didn't have any more excuses; I decided to write.
    This description has many of the features commonly found in false private revelation. First, the apparition consists of a statue that seems to come alive. This feature is also found in the false private revelations to Nancy Fowler at Conyers, Georgia, and those to Julia Kim of Naju, Korea, and others. Second, messages giving details of other persons' lives is the kind of false sign used in false private revelation, such as those to Christina Gallagher. But this information is accessible to fallen angels (who are behind most false private revelation), who can observe human events and know what occurs behind closed doors. This knowledge is not the kind that can only be known to God alone, and so it is not a confirmation that the messages are from God. In fact, the Virgin Mary would not use such a 'sign' to confirm her messages for that very reason, because it is not a valid proof. Third, it is a mark of false private revelation that the messages are anxious for approval: “I want you to take it to the Bishop to have it confirmed.”
    Wayne Weible: But, I also feel we must continue to live the messages of Medjugorje in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.
    It is false to say that the Second Coming of Jesus is for our generation, or that it will occur anytime soon. Most of the false private revelations claim that Jesus is returning soon. None of the true ones make that claim. Some persons have incorrectly interpreted the messages of particular true private revelations, such as Medjugorje, as if these imply that Jesus will return for our generation. But the messages themselves say no such thing, nor is that the correct interpretation of anything that is implied.

Despite the fact that these messages are few and they speak only on a few topics, there is an abundant amount of evidence that these claimed private revelation to David Lopez are false. Within these few words there is heresy, contradictions of known true private revelation, absurdities, things contrary to reason, and generally a portrayal of Mary and of God in a way that is contrary to the Gospels. These messages are certainly false, but they will be discredited long before the Three Days of Darkness occurs.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
December 11, 2006

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