Temptation of Our Lady by the devil, the question of her death and the Church’s position on Garabandal make up the bag of questions for this month. We are always happy to receive subject material for future bagfuls, so send in questions of your own.
Q. Was Our Lady, the second Eve, tempted by the devil in any way – as the first Eve was?
A. The short answer is that there is no reliable record of Our Lady being tempted by the devil as her Son was. She was certainly tried by God throughout her life (e.g. in her submission to the will of God in the Annunciation), and she passed through these trials perfectly, but also grew greatly in grace and merit by them, but there is no sign that the devil played any part in this testing.
Q. Did Our Lady die?
A. Pius XII, in his definition on the Assumption of Our Lady (Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus: 1st Nov. 1950) declared that “Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven.” Note how he carefully leaves out the question, debated for centuries, of whether Our Lady actually died (in imitation of her Son as some hold), or merely remained in a state of dormition (since she was without Original sin and hence not subject to death, as others maintain). To date the question remains open.
Q. Have the apparitions of Our Lady at Garabandal been approved by the Church? If not, is it sinful for Catholics to go there on pilgrimage?
A. The apparitions of Garabandal have never been condemned by the Church, nor have they been as yet recognized by her. In a 1992 interview Bishop Juan Antonio del Val Gallo of Santander (the diocese of Garabandal) was asked if the apparitions had even been condemned. He replied, “No. The previous bishops did not admit that the apparitions were supernatural but to condemn them, no, that word has never been used.” With the repeal in 1967 of Canons 1399 and 2318, is is permitted to publish information about alleged manifestations and visit the sites thereof so long as there is nothing in these manifestations contrary to the Church’s teaching on Faith and Morals. Garabandal falls into this category.
Bishop Fellay, on being asked what he thought of Garabandal, replied, “Let it prove itself. When the miracles and prophecies come to pass then we will believe it like Fatima [in that Fatima was proved by a promised miracle taking place.].”
Catholics may visit the site of Garabandal without sin and pray there, but they should not condemn other Catholics who remain sceptical.