Saturday, April 18, 2009


Principal points in the history of Garabandal from 1963 to 1966
From the beginning of the Apparitions, the Vision had announced to the girls that there would come a time when they would contradict themselves and that they would also deny that they had seen her. The girls repeated this frequently.
To be more precise, we will transcribe some of the the texts in which they announce the future retractions, and it is perfectly explicit: on page 60 of the manuscripted diary of Conchita, the following passage from 1963 reads like this:
“From the first days of the Apparitions, the Virgin had told the four of us, Loli, Jacinta, Mari Cruz, and I, that we would contradict each other and that our parents would not get along. She told us that we would even DENY that we had seen the Virgin and the Angel. All of this happened in January…We wondered about this, of course, because she had told us…”
In a letter addressed to William A. Nolan (from the United States), dated March 22, 1965, Conchita wrote:
“Besides the Message, the Virgin told us many other things about the message. She also told us that we would contradict each other very much.”
According to a locution that Loli had in November of 1965, the Virgin announced a period of doubts in these words:
“She told me that I have to suffer much in this world and that I will have many trials; she said that I will doubt all that I have seen and that this will make me suffer more than anything else.”
In a locution on February 13, 1966, about which we have already spoken and given the complete text, Our Lord warns Conchita in the following manner:
“I repeat that you have much to suffer from now until the Miracle; few will believe you. Your own family will believe that you have deceived them. But it is I who wants this, as I have told you, for your sanctification and so the world will fulfill the Message. I want to warn you that the rest of your life will be a continual suffering.”
What has been accomplished with regard to these announcements as of now?
Conchita writes in her diary about Mari Cruz: “Mari Cruz continues saying that she has not seen the Virgin.” This retraction goes back to 1963.
It is said that Conchita denied for the first time at the age of twelve years old, when she was brought to Santander at the end of July in 1961. It is said that on this occasion, she signed a paper which stated that she had not seen the Virgin. We do not have any document or anything with greater detail about this first denial. It is possible to think beforehand that it has very little importance compared to what follows.
Loli and Jacinta, at the same time as Conchita, confronted two periods of doubts and contradictions: the first was in January of 1963, and the second happened in 1966.
I have here what it says in Conchita’s diary about the first period: “In the month of January of 1963, all that the Most Holy Virgin told us happened. We have come to contradict each other. At first we began contradicting each other, but then we began denying that we had seen the Most Holy Virgin. We even went to confession. Yet inside, we knew that the Archangel and the Most Holy Virgin had appeared to us.” And later: “I wonder that I said all of this, because my conscience is perfectly at peace since I know that I have seen the Virgin.”
The second period of doubts began, at least for Conchita, during Lent in 1966. This began with strong tempations against her faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This was not the first time. But, at the beginning of Holy Week, these temptations became so violent that Conchita stopped receiving Communion.
The religious who were responsible for the child’s education at the school, persuaded her to overcome these temptations and receive Communion again by saying that to be tempted is not a sin. Conchita consented to receiving daily Communion, but then she began to feel a force that impeded her from going near the Eucharist; she had to be violent with herself in order to persevere.
According to her own words, she expressed herself like this:
It seemed to me that they simply gave me a little piece of bread.
These temptations against the Faith were followed by doubts about the objective reality of her Visions. Conchita questioned whether it had not all been a trick of her imagination, or whether she had been a victim of some psychological or mental disorder. At the same time, Loli and Jacinta were in different places, kilometers from Conchita, and were suffering from the same anguished interior phenomena about the reality of the apparitions.
These doubts increased during the following months. Before this, the three girls had met in Garabandal. In the middle of August, they decided to go and communicate their doubts and fears to the priest. I have a letter from Conchita here, written to Fr. Morelos, dated October 13, 1966, in which she tells of the difficult test that is happening to her:
The interview mentioned in this letter between Conchita and the Bishop of Santander (Fr. Vicente Puchol) was very long: it lasted seven hours, two in the morning, and five in the afternoon. Conchita was very happy with the way the Bishop treated her. She declared that all she had written in her diary was true “except the fact that she had seen the Virgin and the Angel.”
She explained that all that had happened during the years of the Apparitions was like a series of dark coincidences to her. She also said that the “calls” were true because she remembered the sensation perfectly.
This visit from the Bishop of Santander to Pamplona took place in the first days of September of 1966.
There was another interview between Conchita and the Bishop, but this one was in Santander. Conchita said that on this occasion she had the intention of telling the Prelate the date of the announced Miracle. But at the moment she wanted to say it, she forgot it completely, and then as soon as she crossed the threshold of the Episcopal Palace, the date of the Miracle returned to her with total clarity.
These interviews between Conchita and the Bishop of Santander ended with the Bishop asking her to sign her declarations. The parents of some of the girls said that they couldn’t sign the declarations until they explained what had happened during these phenomena that they had observed in the girls during three years. This attitude of the girls’ parents is very understandable since they are simple mountain people accustomed to seeing everything clearly.
After this, many people had the opportunity of speaking with the girl.
When, for example, Fr. Gustavo Morelos was present in January 1967, he showed Conchita an image made in Mexico by the painter Octavio so that the messages given by the Virgin in Garabandal might be known. Upon seeing it, Conchita made a gesture that she liked it, and took it in her hands. She began to make detailed observations to the priest; for example: that She didn’t wear a crown, that the stars that circled her head were interwoven to form what we would call a crown. That she didn’t wear a sash on her waist, that her face looked straight ahead, that she carried the scapular in her right hand like a maniple… The next day, Fr. Morelos accompanied Loli and Jacinta to their respective schools and, with the same image above her desk, Loli consulted the priest; she took it in her hands and said:
Father, the Virgin that we saw did not wear a crown, and her head was not tilted to one side. She didn’t have a sash and she carried the scapular in her right hand like a maniple.
These observations made by a different girl kilometers away is an eloquent proof that the girls, even in a period of doubts and denials, carried within them an image of the Most Holy Virgin that captivated their senses and their consciences.
They also questioned Conchita about what she called her “denials.” We have reproduced a particularly interesting dialogue:
Question: When you said that you saw the Virgin, were you lying?
Conchita: No, I told the truth.
Question: And now when you say that you haven’t seen her, are you lying?
Conchita: No, I’m telling the truth.
Question: Is your conscience really tranquil about this matter?
Conchita: Yes.
Question: And when you said that you saw the Virgin, was your conscience clear then?
Conchita: Yes, of course.
Question: In which of these two instances was your conscience the most tranquil.
Conchita: When I said that I saw the Virgin. Then my conscience was completely peaceful. Now, of course, I am peaceful, but at the same time I have “something deep within my conscience.”
Question: Why do you say now that you have not seen the Virgin?
Conchita: Only the Most Holy Virgin knows why. She made things this way…
In a letter that Conchita wrote in November of 1966, this passage can be read:
“I continue thinking the same thing about my retractions, and I accept all of this as a cross that Our Lord has sent to me. Sometimes I think: if all of this has not been true, then it is not a cross, or anything at all.
In closing, we will cite from the writings of another Spanish Theologian, the Reverend Father Lucio Rodrigo, about the retractions and doubts of the girls.
This note is dated August 10, 1966. This writing describes the moment in which Loli and Jacinta reached the low point of their doubts. Of course, the author of this note could not know about Conchita’s culminating moment, which happened a little later, around August 15th: “All that believe in the reality of the supernatural and divine regarding the facts of Garabandal should not let their Faith be affected by the fact that some of the girls say that these phenomena have been nothing more than a marvelous comedy, capably executed by them as a game of sweet illusion caused by a sickness from the devil.
The reason is the following: if we have concluded that we believe in the supernatural and divine character of these phenomena, it has not been because we have based it upon what the girls have told us about their Visions in those moments, whether it be during the moments of ecstasy or after, without considering it in conjunction with the phenomena that we have attended, or that others who have Faith affirm that they have seen. We have submitted this unity of facts to a severe critical analysis and we have arrived at the conclusion that these phenomena were not and could not have been invented by the girls, nor could they have resulted from their imaginations with a pathological or demonic origin. This does not exclude that some occasional fact or isolated situation might have been the fruit of their imaginations or an illusion.
We add that this reasoning must always be valid, although Conchita affirms that the other girls did it, but that all that happened to her was nothing more than an able simulation performed by her, or a game of illusion.
For that reason, if our conclusions and our beliefs in the supernaturality of the phenomena of Garabandal have not been founded in what the girls said during the time of the Apparitions, but rather in the concrete facts and real evidence seen by me and by other witnesses, it simply diminishes what really happened or what happened in these Apparitions. No one has a right to destroy these facts or what the girls might say in the future.
They are having an illusion now, but we are not.”
Comillas, August 10, 1966
Fr. Lucio Rodrigo S.J.