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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Does Church approve of modern images of Mary?

16. Does the Church approve of modern appearances of Mary?

 The Church does not make an official statement that appearances or visions are genuine until they cease. Until the last appearance, the Church cannot be sure whether the total message was genuinely from God. The devil could appear as a "good angel," or as anyone else 50 times, and say only good things in order to win the confidence of people. Then, after they are "won over," he could start telling lies.

So the Church waits until the "visions" are finished. Thus, the Church has said that the appearances at Lourdes and Fatima are worthy of belief, and both places are approved shrines where Catholics are invited to worship and pray. In time, the Church may make official declarations about some of the appearances now taking place.

By the way, when reported "visions" are clearly false or when the visionaries recount things that are clearly contrary to Church teaching, the Church will state that the "visons" are not worthy of belief. Sometimes bishops will investigate reported visions and will state that so far there is nothing contrary to Church belief, but full approval comes only after the visions have ceased.