Lifesitenews: Fake Catholic Media – Pushing False Apparitions, in Defiance of Church Authoritieseditor
Not so long ago, we discussed the increasing credulity of Lifesitenews (LSN) – if someone claims to have had a vision, they have had a vision. Click here
Now, John Henry Westen of LSN seems to have fallen hook, line and sinker for the fake visionary Fr Michael Rodrigue, as our England-in-Chief blogger, Westminsterfly points out in the following email:
More LifeSite News apocalyptic fake seer garbage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/episodes/visionary-priest-fr-michele-rodrigue-reveals-end-times-prophecy-of-the-antichrist a John Henry Westen video on Fr Michele Rodrigue, another fake mystic, condemned by the Bishop of Amos in 2020 (see attached official letter of condemnation). The LifeSiteNews interview is dated March 29, 2023. LSN really has lost its way. I’ve just this second sent that bishop’s letter to JH Westen, but I can’t recall if I sent him the official ecclesiastical Garabandal condemnations from the Holy See and the local Ordinaries (LifeSite recently aired a pro-Garabandal video). I definitely sent all the Garabandal condemnations to Taylor Marshall and he just deleted them – twice. I don’t trust these guys anymore, they’re just dishonest and only seem interested in money. These USA apostolates have stopped being about pro-life/pro-family/pro-marriage and Church issues, they’ve become sensationalist clickbait apocalyptic rubbish for false seers and mystics, and conspiracy theories. If you are giving them money, I advise you to stop doing so. Ends.
If you donate to LSN or Taylor Marshall’s “apostolate”, I suggest you think again. The only apparitions worth supporting today – and that, urgently – are the Fatima apparitions so if you have money to spare and want to donate to the Fatima apostolate, click here. Keen to support the spread of the Fatima message more widely? Then the only organisation worthy of your hard earned cash, is to be found at fatima.org
Do NOT support the spread of false apparitions – and be very careful not to support individuals and/or organisations which are doing exactly that, in defiance of the judgements of the legitimate authority of the Church. Your thoughts…
I have now sent the link to this thread to both John Henry Westen (who ignored me last time – but then who doesn’t 😀 ) and Dorothy Cummings McLean, journalist for LSN who used to live in Edinburgh, although I’m not sure if she is still resident there.
So, keep it polite, folks! Robust if that’s your style, but polite with it…
The plain and simple truth is that if a Diocesan bishop refuses to approve an alleged apparition then we must accept that and refuse to believe, or promote, it. It’s just pride and disobedience not to.
I didn’t know Taylor Marshall supported this priest, but it doesn’t surprise me. He will have anyone on his podcasts just to be seen to have a scoop. He did a video a few years ago about the “Three Days of Darkness”. I watched it and it was time I will never get back.
I’m not sure that Taylor Marshall (TM) is supporting this priest. Westminsterfly’s email mentions that TM has been promoting Garabandal – not sure about Fr Michel. TM is into other nonsense too, though, as you point out (the three days of darkness craziness, for one thing) so I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes to stage and screen to give Fr Michel his (further) fifteen minutes of fame. Fifteen minutes? Are you kidding? In the LSN video interview with Westen, it’s over an hour and between HIS broken English accent and the layman/author’s broken English accent and Westen’s Canadian drawl, I was asking myself, rather loudly, truth be known, if the whole thing was ever going to end.
The video promoting Fr Rodrigue was from LSN, not Taylor Marshall. Marshall may have promoted him, I don’t know, I don’t watch his blog. But there is no known evidence he has done so to date.
I have sent emails for time to time to LSN. No reply, ever. I am inclined to think that LSN is a scam to raise money.
I think it’s more a case of LSN via John Henry Westen slipping into the clutches of the Devil via these crackpot visions and prophecies, rather than an outright scam.
John Henry seems very naïve; watching him in his interview with Fr Michel was a lesson in how to be as green as grass in one simple video. As Fr Michel recounted his nonsense, JHW nodded sagely and seemed to drink in the Reverend’s every word. Who needs the four gospels, I asked myself, when you have Fr Michel and his advice about building a hideout – give me a break!
It’s a problem which mainly affects the USA, but UK Catholics don’t help the problem by funding these ‘apostolates’. LSN is just another brand-name in a competing (and ever-dwindling) Catholic online marketplace. In order to raise more interest in their brand-name, they have to up the ante, and if that means promoting apocalyptic sensationalist clickbait, including false mystics / condemned or dubious apparitions / nutty conspiracy theories – then it would appear that they are quite happy to do that. Goodness knows we’ve had plenty of examples from LSN recently, and Taylor Marshall, on his website, while pretending to sit on the fence about Garabandal, has repeatedly deleted official ecclesiastical condemnations I have posted on his site from the Holy See and from local Ordinaries of Santander.
I guess mortgages have to be paid and truth seemingly goes out of the window. The video where Westen interviewed Fr Rodrigue (along with a man called Xavier Reyes-Ayral, who fawned over Fr Rodrigue, and has written a book, advertised on the LSN Fr Rodrigue video) was a sham and a disgrace. Westen clearly has no critical interviewing skills, as he never even mentioned the 2020 bishop’s condemnation of Fr Rodrigue. If I could find this condemnation using a search engine in about 30 seconds, one would have thought that well-paid LSN researchers – that Catholics who fund LSN are paying for – might have been able to discover its existence, or how to find it. Perhaps LSN didn’t want to find it.
And to add insult to injury, the fawning bookseller Xavier Reyes-Ayral, who obviously holds Fr Rodrigue as an authentic hotline to God, admonished us to allow the competent authority to judge, but conveniently omitted to mention that at the time the statement of ‘disallowance of Fr Michel Rodrigue’s messages and prophecies’ was written (2020) Bishop Gilles Lemay was the competent authority, and he has judged, and rebuked Fr Rodrigue for his behaviour, and ‘disallowed’ Fr Rodrigue’s alleged messages and prophecies. According to that letter, Fr Rodrigue has renounced all his official positions (but not his alleged ‘prophecies and messages’ industry). And yet three years later, LSN interview him as though nothing is untowards, but this has become LSN’s default position. When interviewing alleged seers / mystics/ their representatives / conspiracy theorists, Westen takes a completely uncritical stance and starts from the default position that the person being interviewed is genuine, and seldom – if ever – brings up any critical or negative points.
I am seriously waiting for the day – and it will come soon – when Westen is going to be asking us if we should re-evaluate Medjugorje. If you do give LSN money, then please write to them and tell them that unless they stop promoting these absurdities, and return to concentrating on promoting pro-life/pro-family and pro-marriage issues, you will stop funding them. Perhaps, sadly, pro-life/pro-family and pro-marriage issues aren’t enough to pay the mortgages any more.
I totally agree about the Catholics who keep funding the likes of LSN and Taylor Marshall. They are sharing in their guilt, by doing that, and helping to lead people off the rails.
Editor and Westminster Fly,
Apologies, I put two and two together and made five!
I’ve taken a little time before commenting as I wanted to do as much research as I could on this Fr.Michel Rodrigue and his claims.
Having now spent hours listening to podcasts, watching Youtube videos and reading endless scripts, I want to thank Westminsterfly for highlighting this fraud. There is no question in my mind that Fr. Rodrigue is, at best, deluded. All the hallmarks of fraud are there, vis, disobedience to lawful clerical authority, unsubstantiated claims, failed prophecies, the creation of unofficial prayers and “refuges”. I would normally say it stinks to high heaven but in this case, as in all cases of false divine locutions, it stinks to the depths of hell.
Within about 5 minutes, my Catholic sense and basic understanding of Church law told me that the claims of Fr. Rodrigue are total nonsense. It worries me greatly that someone like John Henry Weston doesn’t appear to have even those basic Catholic instincts and safeguards. This makes me wonder if he is indeed using his website as clickbait now – attracting people to his channel in order to raise funds. I find it hard to believe that any Catholic in good conscience would do such a thing but it does seem to be the only explanation. His not responding to people who write to correct him is also highly suspicious.
I have no particular issue with LSN, in fact I have found it to be a great resource for information on pro-life initiatives and other sound Catholic news for many years. However, recounting the Garabandal fraud in a positive light a few weeks ago and now promoting the ravings of this deluded priest are seriously worrying. LSN has gone way down in my estimation. I no longer trust this site as a fully Catholic site, nor indeed to I trust Taylor Marshall and his online enterprise. Without meaning to sound too uncharitable, the latter bored me to sleep anyway.
Well done Westminsterfly for alerting the Catholic faithful to this latest falsehood. It’s as Our Lord foretold for the last times. I paraphrase: “many false prophets will arise to seduce even the elect, if such were possible”. Garabandal, Medjugorje, Fr. Michel Rodrigue and many others over the past 100 or so years. The safest way to avoid these hellish deceptions is to abide entirely by the authority of the Church, whether it be by the local ordinary, an ecclesiastical investigation panel or the Pope himself. No Catholic worthy of the name should lend credence to any supernatural claim unless and until the Church has investigated and declared it authorised. If it is not authorised then the disobedence of those who continue to support it, whatever the pretext, is the strongest sign that Satan is in control of their spirituall lives.
Frankly, I will never understand how nutcase claims like those of Fr. Rodrigue can be so easily believed by so many. If I was a less scrupulous person, I could make a fortune out of these types of soft touches. Shame on John Henry Weston!
The above video observed that those who tend to be attracted to these sort of things are often people from low-income communities and those with mental health issues. I would also add it is a failure of guidance from the clergy.
The late Michael Davies wrote the following in his first pamphlet called ‘Medjugorje – A Warning’ back in the 1980’s but it holds true today:
“Since the Second Vatican Council there has been a grave crisis of authority within the Catholic Church. The ordinary faithful have not received the firm and unequivocal teaching and guidance from their ecclesiastical superiors to which they had become accustomed. Cardinal Ratzinger has noted the extent to which individual bishops have abdicated their authority to national episcopal conferences which, only too often, have been manipulated into propagating the opinions of so-called theological experts of dubious orthodoxy. Parish priests frequently abdicated their authority to parish councils, and Rome itself has sometimes appeared to speak with an uncertain voice. But certainty is what the faithful seek, and when they do not receive it from the Magisterium they will seek it elsewhere.
Some have sought certainty in the charismatic movement which, if examined objectively, renders the Magisterium unnecessary, for what need is there of a teaching authority when each individual Christian can communicate directly with the Holy Ghost?
Other Catholics have put their faith in one of the numerous apparitions which are allegedly taking place in many countries. Once again, if heavenly guidance can be communicated directly through the sect which is witnessing the alleged apparitions, then what need is there of a Magisterium? In the years following the Council a very clear pattern of behaviour has emerged among supporters of these apparitions.
It is a tendency to make belief in the authenticity of a particular apparition the criterion of orthodoxy. True Catholics believe in the apparitions, and the faith of those who do not is suspect in some way. Those drawn towards these apparitions tend to be conservative in outlook, the type of Catholic who might have been expected to defend the teaching of the Magisterium. Once such Catholics become “hooked” on an apparition all their efforts tend to be devoted to defending it and propagating it. They have thus been removed effectively from the battlefield for orthodoxy.”
I sincerely hope and pray that JH Westen sees all this and gives it some serious thought and prayer, as it would be a terrible shame to lose LSN to the ‘signs and wonders’ brigade. I suppose a lot will depend on the orthodoxy and motives of those who advise him. I too am concerned that previous correspondence to LSN has apparently been ignored. It’s not looking good. This so-called ‘lay theologian’ Xavier Reyes-Ayral (who promotes his book on LSN) and the Garabandalist Glenn Hudson seem to have had a disporportionate influence on Westen. Just for the record, below are some of the dubious/false things that JH Westen / Xavier Reyes-Ayral / Glenn Hudson have promoted on LSN recently:
This is a synopsis on Xavier Reyes-Ayral’s book called ‘Revelations: The Hidden Secret Messages and Prophecies of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ https://www.austinmacauley.com/us/book/revelations
“From 1846 to the present day, the Vatican has maintained quite the same message brought forth from Heaven by different messengers across time and across vast distances and continents. This message echoes the gravest of admonitions and calls mankind to convert and find refuge through the knowledge of the truth, which today threatens the very basis of world peace…
Today, in 2022, the message of La Salette, La Fraudais, Tilly, Fatima, Garabandal, Akita and Medjugorje, and their secrets take a meaning of the greatest importance, as the admonitions brought forth by the Blessed Virgin Mary warn of a cataclysmic global disaster which has now become imminent. The Church’s apprehension of frightening the masses, inspired inaction and Rome’s decision to silence – founded more on fear than on caution – led millions of faithful to the darkness of ignorance and, therefore, to a lack of necessary conversion, prayers and intercession for peace. This book proposes unveiling the light and, thus, asking humanity to respond to the call of a warm and loving mother who merely seeks the salvation of her children.”
Enough said . . .
I think it’s well past time that priests started to publicly condemn these fake apparitions from the pulpit, including Akita and others with a confusing history which sometimes suggests approval or part approval by the Church authorities.
If it’s not clear now to the majority of people of average intelligence that Fatima is authentic and urgent, then it’ll never be clear. All that WILL be clear is that they are guilty of what St Paul warns against, having “itchy ears”, ready to accept false teaching and thus show nothing but contempt for the authority of the Church.
Fatima is unequivocally approved, with two of the three seers canonised and the third, Sr Lucia, whose Cause is in the process of being examined. There’s no doubt about Fatima so why this craze for nonsensical – and in the case of this priest – failed prophecies?
It is a conundrum. I truly believe that some of these alleged apparitions – like Garabandal – are preternatural i.e. diabolical. Sometimes it’s the mental state, or the lust of the ‘seer’ for control, power and adulation. Sometimes it’s just about money.
But unfortunately, certain hierarchy have occasionally muddied the waters and given quasi-approval or even full approval to alleged apparitions / seers / messages which have previously always been condemned – such as ‘Our Lady of All Nations’ (Amsterdam) and ‘Our Lady of Lipa (Philippines). Both were condemned in saner times, but both were rehabilitated by the local Ordinaries in recent times. Amsterdam was given some form of quasi-approval, Lipa was given full approval by the local Ordinaries. In both cases, the CDF has now overturned these decisions and they are both definitively condemned.
And then there are other issues which have caused confusion among the faithful. Our Lady of Kibeho (Rwanda) received approval for some of the alleged apparitions, while other Kibeho events were not approved. Also there is the contentious issue of Luisa Piccaretta (Divine Will). She is at present a ‘Servant of God’ and her Cause is underway, but her controversial writings are being treated completely separately and there is a ban on most of them being spread, except for a couple of books which have been officially released. This seems very peculiar. It used to be the case that the writings of someone whose Cause was underway were fully inspected and approved before the Cause continued, in case any evidence of heresy was found, which may have brought the Cause to a halt. I suppose this could be a result of altering the canonisation process. We live in very confusing times, but then confusion is the hallmark of the Devil.
You make an important point about the hierarchy muddying the waters – I think they are terrified of annoying this kind of laity, the fanatics whose faith depends on these visions etc. It’s unfortunate that John Henry Westen is turning into one of those fanatical types.
Could you post a link(s) to the Garabandal condemnations you sent to TM? This came up in a conversation yesterday, specifically about a supposed “illumination of conscience” derived from G., but I had no information about it.
Three statements are contained in this article: https://gloria.tv/post/hsDd6yJ4RosB4hiGULHTV76T2 I also have another one from Cardinal Ottaviani from 1967, but only in Latin and Spanish, and I would have to get it reliably translated first. But if you know anyone who is fluent in Spanish, I’ve put it below:-
Roma, 7 marzo 1967.
Excmo. y Rvdmo. Senor:
Par carta del mes de Octubre del pasado ana V. E. hizo llegar a esta Sagrada Congregacion los documentos redactados par la Comision diocesana, asi como las normas dadas par V. E. acerca de las «apariciones» que se decia habian tenido lugar en GARABANDAL.
Esta Sagrada Congregacion ha examinado cuidadosa y atentamente toda la documenatcion, incluso la que ha sido enviada desde otros lugares, y finalmente ha llegado a la conclusion de que esta cuestion habia sido ya examinada minuciosamente y decidida par V. E. y que par tanto no hay razon para que esta Sagrada Congregacion intervenga en ella.
Mas aun, doy las gracias a V. E. par la discrecion y prudencia que ha mostrado en la resolucion de este asunto y aprdvecho gustoso la ocasion para expresar a V. E. mi gran estima y manifestarme
de V. E. Rvdma.
A. Card. Ottaviani
Excmo. y Rvdmo. Senor
Many thanks – I tried Google translate, which gave me this:
By letter of the month of October of last year, Your Excellency sent to this Sacred Congregation the documents drawn up by the diocesan Commission, as well as the norms given by Your Excellency regarding the “apparitions” that were said to have taken place in GARABANDAL.
This Sacred Congregation has carefully and attentively examined all the documentation, including the one that has been sent from other places, and has finally reached the conclusion that this question had already been thoroughly examined and decided by Your Excellency and that therefore there is no reason to that this Sacred Congregation intervene in it.
Furthermore, I thank Your Excellency for the discretion and prudence that you have shown in resolving this matter and I gladly take advantage of the opportunity to express to Your Excellency my great esteem and express myself…etc.
I had thought of Google translate, but it is never 100% accurate, so would leave one open to accusations of poor translations from Garabandalist nit-pickers, clutching at straws. But in any event, that’s two documents from the Holy See and two from past and present local Ordinaries which put the whole thing to bed. Taylor Marshall take note. And JH Westen. But then it doesn’t matter to them, because the usual argument is that St Padre Pio approved of it (allegedly). I keep reminding people that (a) Padre Pio wasn’t the local Ordinary (b) he wasn’t infallible (c) other canonised saints have held contradictory views on private revelations e.g. the Cure D ’Ars publicly stated that Maximin from La Salette’s testimony was not to be trusted, and that it couldn’t be genuine, and he refused to bless La Salette objects. He only took a different position when the Bishop of Grenoble approved La Salette.
P.S. Check out the previous CT link on LSN / Garabandal. I actually think this ‘illumination of conscience’ is contrary to the Faith. See my original comment below: https://catholictruthscotland.com/2023/01/25/beware-lifesitenews-itching-ears-st-paul
“A couple more points about LSN’s promotion of Garabandal. The supporters of Garabandal often state that nothing has been found in the messages which is contrary to Church teaching. I’m not so sure. Take for instance, this ‘Warning’ as described in the above LSN video. If it is to be believed, every single person alive will see the state of their souls and all their sins “as God sees them”. This means that everyone is to receive some kind of infused knowledge from God, which obviously cannot be separated from a knowledge of Him. Otherwise, how can we know if we have offended God and neighbour, unless we have this infused knowledge that God exists and that this is what we have all done to offend Him? This seems to me to negate the theological virtue of Faith, because non-believers would be given infused knowledge of the existence of God and how they have offended Him, which is not the same as having Faith: “Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived” (Baltimore Catechism). It also negates 1 Corinthians 13:12 “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known.”
LSN really ought to take note of these next two paragraphs before it promotes anything else doubtful or patently false in future: An important document was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in November 1996 and placed in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official organ of the Holy See. It stated:
“Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states: The interpretation given by some individuals to a decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the “Abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books” and determined that after the relevant censures were lifted, the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals. It should be recalled however, that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, Canon 823#1 of the current code remains in force: “the Pastors of the Church have the … right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch upon faith or morals be submitted to their judgement”. Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, and in particular cases, to the judgement of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
In a speech reported in the 18th September 1996 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Pope John Paul II stated: “Some members of the People of God are not rooted firmly enough in the Faith, so that the sects, with their deceptive proselytism, mislead them to separate themselves from true communion in Christ. Within the Church community, the multiplication of supposed “apparitions” or “visions” is sowing confusion and reveals a certain lack of solid basis to the faith and Christian life among her members.”
John Henry Westen does seem to be very easily fooled by these fake apparitions and prophecies. The fact that there are “prophecies” that didn’t come true should be enough to convince anyone of average intelligence that this is not true.
It may not be a scam, it seems that priest is mentally unwell (thinking the fire in his home) but whatever the reason, it’s obvious that he is not a genuine visionary or prophet.
The way things are going among these apostolates, and likewise in the Church, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we wake up one morning to find that a “Prefect for the Reading of Tea Leaves” has appeared in the Curia.
I think you’re onto something there, LOL! I wouldn’t be surprised, one bit.
I agree – LSN should stop this chasing after signs and wonders and get back to fighting abortion. I won’t give them a penny until they do so. I can’t believe that there is anyone on the planet who can’t see through these fake apparitions/prophecies.
I have now watched the video at the top of this page and the interview with Fr Michel and Xavier Reyes-Ayral – if this isn’t the most ridiculous yet of all the fake apparitions. I’d never heard of this priest and now that I’ve seen him and listened to him and his sidekick, I am anything but impressed. It’s all so far-fetched, it’s almost comical.
The Devil is having a field day – he doesn’t have to worry about Fatima now, there are so many distractions from it, he’s safe and sound (or so he thinks, LOL!)
“Or so he thinks” – exactly true!
I’m beginning to wonder if JHW is a charismatic, or is being somehow influenced by their pervasive emotionalism (sometimes to the point of hysteria). This practice is anything but the Catholic Faith.
I agree – JHW is apparently emotional in these videos; he sometimes appears close to tears, in fact, so it is very concerning. The diabolical is at work in the charismatic movement, without a doubt, so it is tragic to see LSN going in this direction. We should pray hard that JHW sees what it happening to him and to the pro-life apostolate which, until now, he has led so well. If he continues down this “signs and wonders” path, it will destroy LSN, no question about it.
See Editor CT’s letter to the National Centre for Padre Pio relating to his alleged quotes on Garabandal and the Three Days of Darkness, and the National Centre’s response:- https://gloria.tv/post/c8i4Gu26HHzB3wR3PDssL8xUv