Marian apparitions can lead people from faith, says pope

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 13.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 13.

November 25, 2013

Purported visions of Mary, if taken in the wrong spirit, can sow confusion and distance people from the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

Curiosities distance people “from the Gospel, from the Holy Spirit, from peace and hope, from God’s glory and God’s beauty,” the pope said Nov. 14 during a homily at morning Mass.

“Jesus says that the kingdom of God doesn’t come in a way that attracts attention,” he said.

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading in which the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God will come.

Jesus says the “coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,” and tells his disciples not to “run in pursuit” of signs of his second coming.

“Curiosity pushes us to want to hear that the Lord is here or over there, or it makes us say, ‘Well, I know a visionary who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady,’” the pope said.

But Mary is “not a postmaster of the post office sending out messages every day.”