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La Salette: a dilemma for the Popes:

La Salette: A Dilemma for The Popes. (Includes the apparition.)

The Church received the Secret of La Salette, and with it, its great warning. What did the Popes say about it? The apparition at La Salette, and the secret of La Salette, brought intrigue and controversy. But the secret included that which the Church absolutely needed to know. Included in the secret is the most frightening warning 'ever' given to mankind; it accords with the Apocalypse ch. 8&9. What happened at La Salette? What warning was missed and why? And why did the whole phenomenon of La Salette cause such confusion – and a real dilemma for the popes?

In September 1846, two shepherd children; Melanie Calvert Mathieu (aged fourteen) and Maximin Giraud (aged eleven) reported to their parish priest that they had experienced an apparition whilst tending to their flocks in the mountains of La Salette. And that they had each received a secret, that was given for later release.

It is the secret released by Melanie in 1858 that includes the most frightening warning 'ever' given to mankind: the release of Lucifer and a great number of demons from hell, affirmed as being in incarnate (human) form by a vision she received whilst receiving the secret. It is this that accords directly with the Apocalypse, chapters 8 and 9, and in particular the release of “the locusts” by the “fallen star” Lucifer himself; his having been given the key to the bottomless pit. (Apoc. 9:1-4.)

In order to understand how the Church missed that we had entered into the very last times of the world as we know it, and all that it means for Church and mankind (preparations for the Lord's Second Coming in judgement needing to begin urgently, amidst an awareness and an alerting to others of the dangers that the Church and mankind were now in) it is necessary to look at how the whole phenomenon of La Salette unfolded.

An intriguing question is would the Church have recognized the era without La Salette having pointed to it? It is a hypothetical question of course, but the Church did know full well that mankind had entered into quite drastic times; very many civil leaders (it seemingly, and very apparently, having long ago been forgotten that Our Lord gave All authority to His Church) increasingly placing the rights of man, and a worldy direction dedicated to man, above the Rights of God and His revelation. And that does not sit well with God's Justice.

It was in relation to the era that Pope Gregory XVI wrote, in 1832:

...... indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly the "bottomless pit" opens from which St John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youth, contempt of sacred things and holy laws - in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other.[Pope Gregory XVI Mirari Vos 1832]

Pope Gregory had obviously understood that mankind was then at a certain point, and in the above he links this to a certain point in the Apocalypse. He mentions both “pestilence” and “locusts.”

Here is the profound connection between the Secret of La Salette, and the Apocalypse:

In the Apocalypse St John writes of “the Lamb” opening the fourth seal, and of the fourth horse and horseman of The Apocalypse; the pale green horse, as follows:

And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the
voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come! ”
And I saw, and behold, a pale green horse, and
he who was sitting on it — his name is Death,
and hell was following him....(Apoc; 6:7-8)

Traditional Catholic commentary on the fourth horseman is :

Ver.8. Pale-green horse, i.e., olive-coloured; this horseman symbolizes death, or rather pestilence.....

It is what is “following him” that is shown in the Apocalypse; chapters eight and nine, and shown in paragraphs 11 and 12 of The Secret of La Salette.

Chapter nine of the Apocalypse begins with St John writing:

And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I
saw that a star had fallen from heaven upon the
earth, and there was given to him the key of the
bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit,
and there came up smoke out of the pit like the
smoke of a great furness, and the sun and the air
were darkened by the smoke of the pit. And out of
the smoke there came forth locusts upon the earth...
(Apoc. 9:1-3.)

The release of the Locusts thus follows from the Abyss being opened by the fallen star (Lucifer.) And just as the fallen star must be an individual; ie a living intelligent being (to have been given the key to open the bottomless pit with) so too the locusts are those whom live in the Abyss (to be released from) and from out of which they come. Locusts (the creature/insect) do not live in the Abyss, demons do (as do imprisoned human souls.)

Locusts are a descriptive term. Just as 'serpent' or 'snake' is the descriptive term used for Lucifer; the devil, in the garden of Eden. “Locusts upon the earth” means the demons in incarnate; human form. And voluminous. And swarming.
The secret of La Salette, paragraphs 11 and 12 state:

"In the year 1864, Lucifer with a great number of demons will be unleashed from hell;
they will abolish the faith little by little and even in persons consecrated to God; they
will blind them in such a way that barring a particular grace these persons will take
on the spirit of these bad angels: several religious houses will lose the faith entirely
and will lose many souls.. "[Secret:(11)]

The dead and the just will be made to revive [Secret:12]
[That is to say that these dead will take the appearance of just souls who had lived on
earth, in order to lead men further astray: these so-called resurrected dead, who will
be nothing other than the demon under these appearances, will preach another Gospel
contrary to the one of the true Christ Jesus, denying the existence of heaven, or they
may also be the souls of the damned. All these souls will appear as if united to their bodies.]

These words [in brackets] are stated by Melanie Calvert, to have been "according to the Vision which I had in the very moment that the Blessed Virgin was speaking of the resurrection of the dead.” (Le Secret De Melanie p29-30.)

Incarnate demons amongst mankind in vast numbers is mankind's last times predicament. And is the great warning in the secret of La Salette. The question is, how did the Church miss it? Much has to do with the circumstances in which Melanie's secret was presented.

The children reported to their priest that they had seen “a lady” who was “divinely beautiful” and as to how, during the apparition, She had relayed to them a number of messages, as well as the secrets. How did the Church respond?

It is for the local Bishop to carry out any investigation. Bishop de Bruillard did so, he set in place a theological commission which began almost immediately (October 1846) and sat for almost two years. It is worth here just noting the way in which the Church approaches such investigating.

Apparitions, investigations, and the public/private revelation divide.

The approach of the Church to investigating apparitions sees Her follow a rigid process of investigation and discernment, with the local Bishop overseeing all investigations and making the definitive ruling. Various levels of further, fuller, hierarchical approval can follow. The process of investigation often takes some considerable time.

The Church is in a very difficult position with regard to apparitions. What if an important message for mankind is missed through ignoring them? On the other hand, what if the alleged apparition is false? The Church will not approve (declare worthy of belief) an apparition lightly, but if She does so, it means there is sound evidence for the happening, and that nothing contrary to faith and morals has been found. That is, it accords with that found in scripture or tradition and accords, therefore, with Church teaching.

And an apparition/revelation is always seen by the Church in the context of the public/private revelation divide. The Church has always, and necessarily, declared that public revelation (scripture) was concluded at the end of the Apostolic age of the New Testament and that there will be no more public revelation until the Second Coming of Christ. Public revelation is the foundation of Church doctrine and anything outside of public revelation (outside of scripture) even when approved; is automatically classed as being a private revelation. And Church teaching is that there is no obligation on the faithful to believe in a private revelation. But that it is “worthy of belief.”

The theological commission set in place by Bishop de Bruillard had a rough ride. Many in the clergy objected that it could not be the Blessed Virgin Mary. This no doubt because of the tone of the apparition; it was very direct and formal (far from being a social visit from heaven) and given in the way that one might expect of an Old Testament prophet.

There was also the use of the first person discourse, but this would not have alarmed the commission unduly because this was often the way of Old Testament prophets. And Moses, for example, used the first person discourse on a number of occasions, for example in Deuteronomy (ch 11.) Also the arm raised is not unlike Moses' hands being held up in Exodus 17:11-12.

The commission would also have allowed for the local dialect spoken by the children and that they were uneducated.

Here is an account of the Apparition:

It was the 19th September 1846, eve of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.* In the mountains of La Salette, two young shepherd children, Melanie Calvat Mathieu, almost fifteen, and Pierre Maximin Giraud, eleven, had taken their cows to a water ravine. Earlier they had spent time building a 'paradise' the name they gave to a little house made of stones. It was mid-afternoon, about three o'clock, when they decided to go back to fetch the cows. As they were making their way to the ravine, Melanie saw a globe of light, it covered the little house they had made and it shone and lit up the valley. And suddenly the globe opened and a beautiful lady could be seen; She was sitting on the 'paradise' they had built. Both children later told of how the Lady looked to be in "inconsolable grief." Her head was in Her hands and Her elbows were on Her knees. She stood and walked towards them, She called to them saying:


"Come, My children, do not be afraid: I am here to proclaim great news to you.”


The children described the Lady's appearance as "divinely beautiful." Maximum could only see Her forehead and chin, the rest was too dazzling for him. Melanie beheld the entire face.

The Lady wore a headdress that was a "shining diadem of rays," with a crown of roses. She had a white shawl over Her shoulders and which was crossed at Her waist, it was bordered with roses. She wore a dress that was pure white with specks of gold. On Her chest was a crucifix, with hammer and nails. These depict the instruments that tortured Our Lord and are often shown in pictures or representations of Our Lady of Dolours (Sorrows.) The crucifix was supported by two chains. One of the chains was of a gold braid. She also wore a golden yellow apron and white shoes with a gold buckle and a cluster of roses and Her hands were crossed one over the other in Her sleeves. Her ears were hidden, as was Her hair, beneath the headdress.

Both children were moved by the tears that flowed from the Lady's eyes. Melanie said later how she understood better still the whole mystery of La Salette as she saw Her tears. The Lady spoke to the children, saying:


"If My people are not willing to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of My Son's arm. It is so heavy and weighs Me down so much that I can no longer hold it. For all this time I have suffered for you! If I do not wish My Son to abandon you, I must take it upon Myself to pray for this continually. And the rest of you think little of this! In vain will you pray, in vain will you act, you will never be able to make up for the trouble I have taken for you all.

The apparition continues with a focus on the Second and Third commandments:

( apparition cont:) I gave you six days to work, I kept the seventh for Myself and no one wishes to grant Me that one day. This is what weighs down the arm of My Son so much. Those who drive carts cannot swear without adding My Son's name. These are the two things which weigh down the arm of My Son so much."

"If the harvest is spoiled, it is only because of you others. I made you see this last year with the potatoes; you took little account of this. It was quite the opposite when you found bad potatoes; you swore oaths, and you included the name of My Son. They will continue to go bad; at Christmas there will be none left."

"If you have corn, you must not sow it. The beasts will eat all that you sow. All that grows will fall to dust when you thresh it. A great famine will come. Before the famine comes, children under the age of seven will begin to tremble and will die in the arms of those who hold them. The others will do penance through hunger. The nuts will go bad, the grapes will become rotten."

The Lady continued to speak but whilst Melanie could see Her lips move, she could not hear, Maximin could hear; he received his Secret. Then Maximin could not hear whilst Melanie received her Secret. The apparition then continued:

(apparition cont.) "If they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into heaps of wheat, and potatoes will be found sown in the earth." The Lady then said to the children:"Do you say your prayers properly, My children?" To this the children replied: "No, Madame, not so much." "Ah! my children, you must say them morning and evening. When you can do no more, say a Pater and an Ave Maria; and when you have the time to do better, you will say more.""Only a few old women go to Mass; in the summer, the rest work all day Sunday and in the winter, when they do not know what to do, they only go to Mass to make fun of religion. During Lent, they go to the butchers like hungry dogs!" The Lady then asked the children: "Have you ever seen spoilt wheat, My children?" They both answered: "Oh! no Madame." Then, She said to Maximin: "But you, My child, you must have seen some once near Coin, with your father: "Come and see how my wheat has gone bad!'You both went to see. Your father took two or three ears in his hand, rubbed them, and they fell to dust. Then, on your way back, when you were no more than half an hour away from Corps, your father gave you a piece of bread and said: 'Take it, eat"

Maximin's father, Germain Giraud, who had never told anyone about the wheat, was reinvigorated in his faith after hearing this and following the cure of his asthma which took place immediately after his drinking from the spring water of La Salette. The Lady ended Her words by giving the shepherd children a mission, as follows:"And so, My children, you will pass this on to all My people."As She crossed the stream of the Sezia, and without looking back at the children She again said:"And so, My children, you will pass this on to all My people." She walked across the plateau, Her feet gliding over the grass, the children were running after Her. As they caught up with Her, and as they stood beside Her, She stayed, just for a moment, suspended in the air. She then rose between them.


Was this the Blessed Virgin? Many in the Clergy thought not. Nevertheless the commission approved the apparition as being so and approved it (declared it worthy of belief.) It can be commented that the Church, at very least, had “sensed” that there was something highly significant about it, and categogorized it accordingly.

Indeed, the investigation by the local Bishop, Philibert de Bruillard, included a full theological commission that dealt carefully with all of the points in opposition that had been raised. With the investigation's favourable conclusions that it was an Apparition of the Blessed Virgin, and clearly seeking to highlight the event by gaining the additional element of papal approval, a report: "The Truth About The Events of La Salette" was sent to Pope Pius IX in August 1848. The Pope replied favourably the following month, instructing Bishop de Bruillard to build a beautiful church at La Salette. Later raised to a Basilica by Pope Leo XIII.

Rather than being an end to the controversy, however, it was just the beginning. Bishop de Bruillard was just about to announce formal approval when the Metropolitan Cardinal; Cardinal de Boland of Lyons ( and who had become a focus of attention by the Clergy who objected to formal approval) stepped in to say that no announcement should be made until the secrets had been made known to the Church. And, technically, the Cardinal had made a very valid point.

The problem was that Melanie had stated that during the apparition she had been told(by the Blessed Virgin) that the secret was to be published in 1858. And it was then 1848. Ten years to wait. And there was pressure: what would the Church make of the secret? But what about the faithful? They were expecting an announcement. Pilgrims were travelling from all over France and beyond; 100.000 were said to have been at the site for the first anniversary. And La Salette had its own spring of healing water, and with miracles being reported.

It would seem that a compromise was reached. Melanie would disclose her secret, but only to the Pope. It was still three years however, before she wrote it down ( as did Maximin write his secret at this time.) They were written and sent by courier to Pope Pius IX in July 1851.

The formal approval of the apparition was then finally announced, formally, on September 19th 1851, the fifth anniversary of the apparition. Bishop de Bruillard gave a momentous and resounding pastoral message to accompany his announcement; and clearly aimed at giving confidence to those who believed in the apparition, whilst ensuring that those who doubted it could not be influential. He said that the apparition:

"has within itself all the characteristics of the truth, and that the faithful are justified in believing it beyond doubt and for certain "(art.1). "Hence, in order to bear our warmest gratitude to God and to the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorise the devotion to Our Lady of La Salette. We allow the clergy to preach on this great Event and draw the practical and moral consequences arising from it."(art.3) "We expressly forbid the faithful and the clergy of our diocese ever to speak or write against the Event which we proclaim this day and which, henceforth, demands the respect of all."(5)..."We entreat you, our dear brethren, for the sake of your heavenly and even earthly interests, seriously to examine yourselves, to do penance for your sins, and particularly those committed against the second and third commandments of God.".."We entreat you, our dearly beloved brethren: make yourselves docile to the voice of Mary who calls you to do penance, and who, on behalf of Her Son, threatens you with spiritual and temporal ills if, remaining insensitive to Her maternal warnings, you harden your hearts." (Bishops de Bruillard announcement in: Account of The Apparition of Our Lady Of La Salette, by the Abbe Giray, Missionary Of La Salette p13.)

However, again, rather than this being the end of the controversy, it was about to gather momentum instead, because in 1858 Melanie sent her secret again to Pope Pius IX, however, although it has similarities, it was longer and quite different secret to the one sent in 1851.

Here is the 1858 version, also the 1851 version, And also Maximin's secret.

The Secrets of La Salette

The one thing that the Church needed to heed – and by which much else in the secret falls into place – is that paragraph 11, and part of paragraph 12 accord with The Apocalypse chapter 8 & 9. Hindsight is a great thing but it was absolutely crucial for the Church to recognize this. And set all plans for the very last times of the world in place accordingly and in a very rigid and determined way – and as soon as possible!!

But the controvery over the secret, so critical of the clergy in parts, was mounting, and can be summed up by the response of the Bishop of Marseilles when Melanie approached him to publish the secret. Melanie told that he crumpled it into a ball, threw it in the fire and said “this is how I will publish your secret.”

But Melanie finally managed to have it published with a Bishop's Imprimatur, Bishop Zola of Lecce, in 1879. At that time Melanie was in Rome and so she immediately drew it to the attention of the new Pope; Leo XIII. Interesting is that he took an interest in the secret. However, when French Bishops became aware of this they placed great pressure on him; this because of what the secret says about the clergy; the Bishops warned the Pope that the faithful could well be very affected by this and with all the consequences this might have for clergy and for the Church. And so Pope Leo, a new Pope and aware of the already existing problems in post revolution France etc. was placed in a difficult position. It was the great dilemma for the Popes, and which distracted away from the secret itself and its crucial part; paragraphs 11 and 12.

The secret itself, with its Bishop's imprimatur, was safe from being placed on the Forbidden Index but as commentaries on the secret appeared they were soon placed on the Forbidden Index.

And there is also chapter 20 of The Apocalypse , as follows:

ch 20 tells us:

And when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be
released from his prison, and will go forth and deceive the
nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and
Magog, and will gather them together for the battle; the
number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went
up over the breadth of the earth and encompassed the
camp of the saints, and the beloved city....[Apoc. 20:7-8]

The thousand years represents an indeterminable period between Our Lord's resurrection from the dead, and His Second Coming in Judgement.

My understanding is that this is a further showing to St John as to what will happen (and has happened at the point at which it is actually shown (late on)in the Apocalypse.)

In a final twist, Pope Leo XIII himself had a vision in 1884. It was in front of witnesses who said of how the Pope's "colour changed rapidly" as he stared motionlessly." It was that very same morning that he wrote his famous prayer to St Michael, and ordered it to be said at all low Masses throughout the world from that day onwards. The prayer is:

Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. Pope Leo XIII

What was needed to be known what that they were now throughout the world in incarnate “human” form. And ever increasing in numbers!

Indeed as the popes increasingly tried to protect the Church it was as though they knew and yet didn't know!

Extracts from Genesis III:XV The Finale And The Second Coming of Christ.
© Angela Anne Mary St John (Angela MM Searles)

*The Feast of Our Lady of Dolours is now September 15th

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