Sunday, November 28, 2010

William B Stoecker - Marian apparitions and UFOs - Unexplained Mysteries

Found the following article from 2008 on the Unexplained Mysteries site: William B Stoecker - Marian apparitions and UFOs - Unexplained Mysteries

Marian apparitions and UFOs

For centuries, thousands of people, mostly Catholics, have reported seeing and even speaking with a being they believe to be the Virgin Mary. Curiously, the being almost never clearly states that she is, in fact, the mother of Jesus; the witnesses tend to assume this. Her rather vague pronouncements and advice resemble that given out by "aliens" to ufo abductees. Sometimes the vision is accompanied by lights in the sky resembling ufos. Popes Leo XIII, Pius XII, and John Paul II have reported these visions, but most of the experiencers are ordinary people, often poor rural people, and often children: the same kinds of people who often report ufo abductions. Most, but not all, are in Catholic or at least primarily Christian countries. The Holy See has "confirmed" only a few of these, among them the Virgin of Guadalupe,St. Etienne le Laus, Paris, La Satelli, Lourdes, Fatima, Pontmain, Beauraing, Banneux, and Knock (Ireland). We shall examine Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and the (non confirmed) Medugorje events.

Brown Pelican Synchronicity

I wrote about our watching a brown pelican while on the coast over Thanksgiving on my blog The Orange Orb. I took some pictures but they didn't turn out well; couldn't distinguish too well the pelican, which was swooping, diving and hovering above the sea, from the many gulls. When I uploaded the photos I noticed a strange thing; a sharp object appeared in the sky, somethine we didn't notice while on the beach. It's pixalated, and hard to tell what it could be; camera glitch, or UFO/military-gov. object?

Writing away here at UFO Mary on various things (see posts below) including the suppressions of the church and "maverick" groups, I find the following item on a Mary contactee; St. Catherine Laboure, on the Brown Pelican Sociey of Lousianna blog.   

November 25th is her feast day.

St. Catherine's body is "incorrupt" and is enclosed in a glass coffin in Paris, at one of the places Mary appeared to her. 

On UFO Religions: Review of Nick Redfern's Final Events

I can't keep up with one of my favorite writers in the world of Forteana, Nick Redfern; he must be the most prolific writer in the area of UFO, Fortean, etc. research there is.  I haven't yet had the chance to read his recent work Final Events and the Secret Government Group on Demonic UFOs and the Afterlife (Anomalist Books, 2010) but cannot wait to do so. I've heard Nick discuss the book on various interviews; the book's subject matter is something I am very much interested in and it's at the top of my list of "next to read" material.

 Mike at UFO Religions did read the book, and wrote a review at his blog. Nick left a comment over there. So, enjoy!

Intercessors, Suppressions and Deserts

Earlier this month, on November 9, I wrote about the church's censoring of a "maverick" group Opus Sanctorum Angelorum. 

After the church moved in and cleaned up, the group was allowed to continue to exist in its new form, and, under its new authority: the church. I wrote:
Since 1992, the group has been under the authority of a Vatican appointed overseer, Dominican Father Benoit Duroux, who handed over his responsibilities to his fellow Dominican Fr. Daniel Ols in March 2010.
Something happened that caused Opus Angelorum to morph into something the Vatican could approve of, "obedience" being one cause for the Vatican's acceptance of the group:

Today, thanks to the obedience of its members, the Opus Angelorum can be considered to be living loyally and serenely in conformity with the doctrine of the Church and with canonical and liturgical law,” the Vatican said.

“Therefore, in its present state, the Opus Angelorum is a public association of the Church in conformity with traditional doctrine and with the directives of the Holy See.”

Today an Associated Press item reports on another renegade group: Intercessors of the Lamb. 

Intercessors of the Lamb was founded by Nadine Brown in 1980.  The group of men and women live frugally and devote themselves to prayer. The church decided to denounce the group; this is called "suppression" a formal term used by Catholics and scholars:
The church's split with the Intercessors -- known in Catholic circles as suppression -- is more about control over the groups' form and function, the scholars say . . . Suppression is typically reserved for floundeirng parishes and inactive church groups, but is occasionally used to silence wayward organizations.
On the Opus Angelorum site is the official letter from the church that details the current, approved state of Opus Angelorum, and reminds members of any ideas about straying away from official doctrine. "Suppression" hovers just around the corner:
In this letter, the Congregation at the same time warns Bishops of some former members, including priests who either left or were expelled from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and who “have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the ‘authentic Opus Angelorum’, that is, a movement which professes and practices all those things which were forbidden by the above-mentioned documents.”

Brown was forced to resign from the religious organization she founded, and was forcefully removed from the premises. Brown writes:
Monday morning, October 4, 2010, Fr. Joe Taphorn, accompanied by two Douglas County Sheriffs, came to Mary’s House to present a letter to me from the Archbishop stating I was to vacate the property by noon, three and one half hours later. It was also stated that I was not to leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without specific permission from the Archbishop. However, two minutes before noon, word came that I had an extension and could stay until 2:00 p.m. the next day, October 5, 2010. In obedience, I complied with this and left the property the next day via taxi. Because I was given no money and had no place to go, a friend provided accommodations in an Omaha motel.
Since the Archbishop indicated that I could not leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without his permission, I requested permission a week later to make a retreat elsewhere. I was denied the permission and consequently was obedient to this directive as well. Because the other nine sisters and the one brother had informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals, they were free to go anywhere and they chose to join me. Consequently, there is no disobedience whatsoever on the part of these former sisters and brother.
I found the part about the sheriffs interesting. Indeed, as I was reading the newspaper article in this morning's paper, I made a note: "what authority?" in response to the following:
Archdiocese officials said Brown resigned voluntarily after it raised issues with the way the group was being run. Brown claims she was forced out and escorted off the groups' property by authorities. [bold mine]
It seems money is very much an issue here. According to the newspaper article, Intercessors of the Lamb earned close to four million dollars, and "net assets ... more than six million." The group owns eithy six acres in Ponca Hills, Nebraska. (I did a quick scan of various Catholic blogs that are discussing this; one such is here, and also here.)

Both Opus Sanctorum Angelorum and Intercessors of the Lamb were started by women. Nadine Brown was a sister in the Contemplentives of the Good Shepherd before leaving the order to start Intercessors of the Lamb.  Both groups focus not on a single (and male) deity, but female representations, guides and go-betweens - intercessors - that are messengers between human and divinity. The church, as institution, has been cut out.  Brown closes her letter on the Intercessor website with this reminder:
In closing, let us continue to live as children of Mary, Mother of the Lamb, and her “fiat grace” to “do whatever He tells you” truly believing “that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His decree.”[bold, italics mine]
Brown's daily message for November 26, 2010 focuses on the "feminine dimension of our soul.":
This work of solitude is always the leading of the Holy Spirit. In Hosea 2:16 we read, “I will lead her into the desert and there I will speak to her heart.”  . . . The Church is the “her.”  We, each of us, are a “she” because of the feminine dimension of our soul.  “And there I will speak to her heart.”    Even when Jesus was with the woman at the well, He was there drawing her into that encounter with Himself, into that love.  He spoke to her of the Holy Spirit and the Father. And she was alone there with Him.  She was drawn there at noontime, which was not the time of day when women would normally draw water.  She was drawn there by the Holy Spirit for this encounter.  That is a solitary encounter.  That is a desert experience right there. “The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of …”  Rev 12:6
The desert setting and the feminine encountering spiritual forces -- "that is a desert experience right there...the woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God..." brings to mind many of the contactees, who had their encounters in the desert. In particular, I'm reminded of contactee Dana Howard,(Up Rainbow Hill, Over the Threshold, My Flight to Venus,) who had a deep passion for the desert, finding great peace there and where she had many meetings with the entity called Diane. (I wrote the introduction to Tim Beckely's Global Communication reissue of Over the Threshold on Howard's mystical ties to the desert.)

Another desert contactee is George Van Tassel, who was also pulled by the mystery of the desert. Van Tassel lived in the desert and built the Integreton, a bulidng that would facilitate meetings with extraterrestrails. Van Tassel's buliding was round:
"Angel Cloud Over Dome" via the Welcome to The Integratron site

And so is the Intercessors of the Lamb's building:

The angel cloud formation above The Integratron dome is interesting. The building, and Giant Rock, home to Van Tassel, sits on a powerful spot:
The location of the Integratron is an essential part of its functioning. Its placement was chosen based on a complex set of theories involving the earth's magnetic field and the Integratron's relationship to the Great Pyramid in Egypt and Giant Rock, the world's largest freestanding boulder. In 1947, Van Tassel began operating the Giant Rock Airport three miles away from the Integratron, and in 1953 initiated communications with extra-terrestrials after a physical encounter at Giant Rock.  He subsequently hosted 17 Spacecraft Conventions there for UFO enthusiasts. 
According to Van Tassel, the Integratron is located on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, will concentrate and amplify the energy required for rejuvenation and healing.  In 2005, a geophysicist measured the earth's magnetic field for up to 15 miles in every direction from the Integratron and then inside the dome.  She proclaimed that there is a significant, unexplainable spike in the earth's magnetic field in the center of the Integratron. ~ from the Welcome to The Integratron site.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

American Academy of Religion and the Paranormal

Oh, this is good; I was delighted to come across this item.  The following article addresses the question of why academics who seriously study metaphysics, philosophies, and religions just won't go there when it comes to UFOs, telepathy, or the paranormal? Even disciplines like folklore won't go too near those subjects, and when they do, it's a bit gingerly. Whether it's folklore, cultural anthropology, or another field of study that enthusiastically delves into sacred mythic studies,  the paranormal-UFO-Fortean-world- of -the- plain-weird is, if considered at all, all too frequently bubble wrapped in layers of academic justifications. Meaning, an appropriate judgement and stance must be made about these things: alien abductions and aliens and UFOs aren't really seen or experienced as is; they are figurative, metaphorical, psychological illustrations of angst, shared cultural anxieties, disassociation between the masses and the infrastructure.

Often these disciplines have nothing to with psychology or psychiatry, yet  when exploring UFOs, for example, one must behave as if they have a legitimate reason for dissecting a supernatural experience within the framework of analysis. To be fair, religious experience is also treated this way much of the time; customs, beliefs, rites, of "the folk" are treated as quaint or interesting -- anything but "real."

In the following article by Mark Oppenheimer for the
New York Times The Burning Bush They'll Buy, but Not ESP or Alien Abduction these issues are brought to light. The yearly meeting of minds at the American Academy of Religion conference in Atlanta is the focus of the article, and what Dr. Kirpal at Rice University has to say about this exclusion of the paranormal and UFOs from academia:
According to Dr. Kripal, their omission is evidence of a persistent bias among religion scholars, happy to consider the inexplicable, like miracles, as long as they fit a familiar narrative, like Judaism or Christianity.
“There is resistance in the way our universities are set up, in the elite culture of higher education,” says Dr. Kripal, 48, who grew up in Nebraska and once planned to be a Benedictine monk. “Paranormal events completely violate the epistemologies around which we have formed our own knowledge.
“The sciences study objects and use mechanistic cause models to track them. The humanities specialize in subjectivity, meaning, consciousness, art, religion. Paranormal events violate that division. They clearly involve human subjectivity, and they clearly involve objects out there.”
 In other words, it is one thing to study a miracle a thousand years old — that seems a safe question for the historian or the theologian. But what to do with people who say they were abducted by a U.F.O. last week?
The easiest way to deal with them is to dismiss them, or humiliate them, or claim they are fraudulent, or mistaken,” Dr. Kripal says.
Indeed, as we well know. While others may agree with Dr. Kirpal to a point, and, some disciplines do look into these areas, the difference is this:
Dr. Kirpal . . . is sympathetic to the possibility that the paranormal may be real — not just the product of people’s false perceptions.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Found image

Interesting blog; image of Mary with "Marian Apparitions Rule," from  A Leak in the Safe on

Vatican Says More Exorcists Needed

Today's Vatican news is interesting, by itself, but also in context of previous news items, like the Vatican's recent approval of Opus Sanctorum Angelorum ( see my blog post The Vatican and Opus Sanctorum Angelorum)
and the Vatican's announcement in September of this year that ET/aliens almost certainly exist.

Reading today's news alerts, we find this item about the church training would be exorcists here in the U.S.:
Overwhelmed with requests for exorcists, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are holding a special training workshop in Baltimore this weekend to teach clerics the esoteric rite, the Catholic News Service reported.
The church has signed up 56 bishops and 66 priests for the two-day workshop that began on Friday, seeking to boost the small group of just five or six American exorcists that the church currently has on its books. Exorcists wanted: apply to Catholic Church (Reuters)

"Overwhelmed with requests for exorcists." It's interesting there has been an upswing in events that lead some to interpret them as demonic possessions, and in need of exorcists. Bishop Thomas Paprocki,(Illinois) was quoted saying that ". . . each diocese should have its own exorcist," and adding that he doesn't know why "there was increased demand for exorcisms, which he noted were rarely performed."  And yet, the Vatican has given approval to train more exorcists, which implies, heavily, that more exorcisms are needed, which also implies, Satan is ever more visible these days.

The New York Times suggests one reason for the increased need of exorcising priests in the U.S.: Catholic Church Needs Exorcists
But with numerous Catholic immigrants coming to the United States from nations where exorcisms are taken seriously, the church's handful of exorcists have become overwhelmed.
The training stresses the importance of addressing the psychological health of the patient victim possessed individual:
...the possibly possessed person must be checked out by a psychologist to make sure they are not mentally ill before a bishop will allow an exorcism to proceed.
But don't misunderstand, while I am no Christian, not religious, and don't believe in any mainstream religious dogma in any way, what some label, or believe to be "Satan," and "demonic," I believe exists. Labels and interpretation, framing within specific religious structures aside, there are negative energies afoot. Maybe some are even the very same ETs the Church has recently extended benign welcoming arms towards.

The world has gone exceedingly mad these past couple of years, no one can argue it hasn't. The questions of our own fears, confusions and  anxieties projected outwards as cause for these signals in our world are expected, eliciting all kinds of metaphysical and esoteric discussions. Or are these fears, confusions, and anxieties responses to the evil we encounter every day? Or some of both, most likely. It's not as simplistic and neat a thing to say, as the rational-skeptical-secular-humanist would, that we're disassociating or labeling pathologies as religious manifestations of demons. It's also not so literal that, yes Virginia, there is a Devil. No there isn't. But really, it's a moot point. There is evil, and nastiness, and negative energies, and entities with malevolent intent, and our own projected fears, all congealing together in a seething mass that we don't know how to control.

The Vatican knows this, and some within the domed infrastructure of seeming altruistic global goodness believe, some don't, but all agree on basic tenets that are innate components of that infrastructure: control, power, and the manipulation of knowledge.

Friday, November 12, 2010

9 Approved Apparitions

The nine Vatican approved Marian apparitions, according to this site.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Michael Naisbett: UFOs in Sacred Works of Art

From July of 2007, an article on UFO Digest by Michael Naisbett: UFOs in Sacred Works of Art. Surprising; it's not what you might assume. It's not a matter of disagreeing with the interpretation, exactly, it's more. . . of not seeing the forest for the trees, or, a case of "you say po-tay-toe, I say po-tah-toe." Meaning, the fact that interpretations, metaphors, and analogies in the Bible (along with numerous translations) present a religious picture, for the religious, doesn't negate the "ancient astronaut" theories.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Vatican and Opus Sanctorum Angelorum

William Adolphe Bouguereau  (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905)

Le Printemps (The Return of Spring)
Gabriele Bitterlich created Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (Work of the Holy Angels) which was not approved of by the Vatican. Now, the Vatican has approved of the group. Why the official pronouncement now? It's possible the Vatican's views on ET (that ET exists, and that's okay) coincide with this recent announcement. Opus Sanctorum Angelorum believes in "spiritual warfare...between angels and demons." We can make an exchange: aliens for angels/demons. From the article Controversial angels’ order given Vatican OK:
Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (Work of the Holy Angels) was founded by Gabriele Bitterlich, an Austrian woman who claimed to have received visions of the angels, including their names and their functions in Heaven.
The Vatican began investigating the movement shortly after her death in 1978, when certain followers, including priests and nuns, began circulating sensational theories of “spiritual warfare” between angels and demons based on her visions.
Since 1992, the group has been under the authority of a Vatican appointed overseer, Dominican Father Benoit Duroux, who handed over his responsibilities to his fellow Dominican Fr. Daniel Ols in March 2010.
Something happened that caused Opus Angelorum to morph into something the Vatican could approve of, "obedience" being one cause for the Vatican's acceptance of the group:

Today, thanks to the obedience of its members, the Opus Angelorum can be considered to be living loyally and serenely in conformity with the doctrine of the Church and with canonical and liturgical law,” the Vatican said.

“Therefore, in its present state, the Opus Angelorum is a public association of the Church in conformity with traditional doctrine and with the directives of the Holy See.”

All is not rosy; there are still maverick believers out there who are seen as defying the church. In other words, they are not "obedient" --- meaning, these renegade followers of Opus Angelorum still follow the original teachings of the founder, Gabriele Bitterlich, and not the Vatican's version. As with Marian apparitions, which rarely get Vatican approval, the visions and prophecies of a (female) member of the church are rejected as heretical. The issue of Catholics practicing Opus Angelorum as originally intended is referred to as a "situation" by the Vatican, one that must be carefully monitored:

One Vatican official with close knowledge of the situation, told CNA that problems remain with some ex-members of the Opus Angelorum, including some ex-priests, who follow the original controversial practices of Bitterlich.
The official, who requested that his name not be used, said the Vatican is concerned that these ex-members may attempt to “deceive” Catholics into engaging in practices that the Vatican has prohibited, including referring to the angels by the names allegedly revealed to Bitterlich, and receiving Communion multiple times in one day.
In its letter, the Vatican warned bishops of “very discrete propaganda in favor of this wayward movement, which is outside of any ecclesiastical control, is taking place, aimed at presenting it as if it were in full communion with the Catholic Church.” Bishops, the Vatican said, must remain “vigilant” and “forbid” these activities.

Reverence, not worship, and Vatican authority and control, not personal direct communication between mortal and divinity.

Communitas and liminality is to only occur within the confines of church doctrine, and unto the Vatican. Personal, smaller, intimate occurrences of these two states are not divine or holy, not recognized by the Vatican, and are actively discouraged, as history has shown repeatedly with cases of Marian apparitions and other supernatural events within the Catholic construct. Personal mystical experience vs. church/doctrine/Vatican.