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Do Catholics need to believe in private revelations?


Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/29/22

Approved private revelations are not part of the deposit of faith, though they can help us on the journey toward Heaven.

There exist many private revelations that the Church has approved and recommends to the Christian faithful, declaring them “worthy of belief.”

Does this mean that the Church requires a Catholic to believe everything revealed in a private revelation?

Contrary to popular belief, private revelations do not belong to the deposit of faith, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains.

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.

CCC 67

The Catholic Encyclopedia echoes this statement of the Catechism.

When the Church approves private revelations, she declares only that there is nothing in them contrary faith or good morals, and that they may be read without danger or even with profit; no obligation is thereby imposed on the faithful to believe them. Speaking of such revelations as (e.g.) those of St. Hildegard (approved in part by Eugenius III), St. Bridget (by Boniface IX), and St. Catherine of Siena (by Gregory XI) Benedict XIV says: “It is not obligatory nor even possible to give them the assent of Catholic faith, but only of human faith, in conformity with the dictates of prudence, which presents them to us as probable and worthy of pious belief.”

Public revelation stopped with the activity of the apostles and since then, the Church has been unpacking and mining the depths of the Bible.

Our own souls will be judged, not by belief in a private revelation, but by belief in the public revelation contained in the Bible, authentically interpreted by the Catholic Church.

Private revelations may help us along the journey of our lives and can lead us to a more intimate relationship with God. However, Catholics are not obligated to believe in private revelations.

MiraclesVirgin Mary
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