By Lee Christie
An apparition is the alleged perceiving of something or someone (such as the Virgin Mary). Apparitions of all kinds: religious, spiritual, and Elvis-Presley–related have been widely reported throughout history. These could be explained by a number of psychological or physiological factors.
The Vatican’s website has released guidelines to help tell the difference between real and false apparitions.
According to the Vatican, evidence in favour of a genuine apparition includes:
- Honesty of the person;
- Living an upright life;
- Mental sanity; and
- Spiritual fruits of the apparition
While evidence against an apparition includes:
- Doctrinal errors in the alleged message;
- Use of apparition for monetary gain; and
- Leading to immoral acts
This is not the only time the Vatican has warned against false apparitions. For example, in 2009, Catholics who see the Virgin Mary were ordered to remain silent until checked out by a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists.