THE GREAT DOUBTS AND DENIALS . . .
From the beginning of the apparitions, the Blessed Virgin had regularly warned the children that "someday they would contradict one another and even deny they had ever seen Her." During the February 13, 1966 locution, Our Lord had already mentioned this trial, then very near, to Conchita.
Mari-Cruz was the first to 'deny' in September 1962. To this day she has maintained her denials with, however, less and less . . . conviction!
Then it was Mari-Loli's and Jacinta's turn to doubt, for the first time in January 1963. As for Conchita, we remember that in 1961, during her constrained stay at Santander, she had apparently admitted that she had had no visions.
Loli and Conchita . . . confided their troubles to [Don Jose Olano, the new pastor priest of San Sebastian de Garabandal] him in confession. Conchita asked Don Olano to inform the bishop and make arrangements for an interview with Msgr. Puchol . . .
It was in the summer of 1966 that the doubts and denials reached the peak of their intensity . . . On August 15, in the village, after the recitation of the Rosary, Mari-Loli and Conchita suddenly felt filled with "remorse" and with the "feeling of having deceived the world" . . .
Conchita's interview with Msgr. Puchol Montis took place on August 30, at Pamplona, and lasted more than seven hours. At the end of this tense and harassing day, the visionary finally 'admitted' that "all of this was a lie," and even 'swore to that effect" . . . There were other rendezvous between Msgr. Puchol and the four visionaries, this time at Santander, on September 2, 7 and 27 and on October 11, 1966. During one of these interrogations, Conchita thought it good to reveal . . . the date of the future Miracle to the Bishop. But, at the moment she meant it proper to do so, she realized that she had forgotten it completely! She suddenly remembered it as she left the Bishop's residence . . . Mari-Loli also experienced this same type of providential "forgetfulness." Conchita was asked many questions on what she calls her "negations." Here we reproduce a particular interesting conversation:
Question: - When you said that you were seeing the Blessed Virgin, were you lying?
Conchita: - No, I was telling the truth.
Question: - And now you say that you didn't see Her, you are lying?
Conchita: - No, I am telling the truth.
Question: - Your conscience is at peace, right now?
Conchita: - Yes.
Question: - And when you were saying that you were seeing the Blessed Virgin, your conscience was at peace?
Conchita: - Yes, to be sure, yes.
Question: - At what moment was your conscience most at peace?
Conchita: - When I was saying that I was seeing the Blessed Virgin, my conscience was then totally at peace. Now, of course, I am still at peace, but, nonetheless, I have something in a corner of my conscience . . .
Question: - And why do you say that you did not see the Blessed Virgin?
Conchita: - The Blessed Virgin alone knows why She does things this way . . .
In a letter Conchita wrote on November 13, 1966, we find this short excerpt where the visionary gave a new and still more profound explanation of her 'denials':
"I keep on thinking the same thing concerning my retractions, and I accept that this is neither a cross nor anything at all."
As a conclusion, may we quote some brief excerpts from a note written on August 11, 1966 by Fr. Lucio Rodrigo, S.J.: " . . . our belief in the Divine supernatural nature of the Phenomena (of San Sebastian de Garabandal0 is not founded on what the children said at the time of the apparitions, but on real facts properly ascertained by witnesses and subjected to a rigid critical analysis, a fortiori our faith . . . has no reason to be destroyed or even diminished by the actual or future statements of the children. They would be deluded, but we would not."
Besides, throughout the whole Church history only true visionaries and authentic mystics experienced moments of real doubts and temptations against the Faith: a valuable criterion of authenticity already supporting Garabandal!
[From 'Garabandal' Book, pages 211-213]
Whoa! does this chapter scandalize you? Don't be! As Father Rodrigo said, it's all part of God's supernatural way of testing the seers and us too! Our Lady said "it was a grace to believe in Garabandal!" I believed right from the moment I read about the apparitions for the first time about 40 years ago, and I have, through the grace of God, continued to believe in them. My testimony is my life as a devote Catholic Christian and hopefully my death will also give glory to God by my Christian life! Garabandal has brought me closer to Jesus in the Eucharist through the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Garabandal has taught me that we must serve God and neighbor, and that's why I desired to be a deacon. Remember what Our Lord said to Conchita, "You must have your hands full of good deeds to enter Heaven, right now your hands are empty." When I first read those words, my hands were empty! How about you? Dear Lord, have mercy on us!