National News

Forth Worth Bishop Calls Apparition Claim a ‘Fabrication’

Bishop Michael F. Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, leads the morning prayer Sept. 21, 2018, during the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent

NEW YORK — After video footage evidenced that a woman claiming to receive roses from the Blessed Virgin Mary was falsifying her claims, Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas has declared her supposed Marian apparitions to be a “fabrication.”

Earlier this month, Bishop Olson advised Texas Catholics to be wary of the claims that Mary had been appearing at various locations in the diocese under the title of the “Mystical Rose – Our Lady of Argyle” and leaving messages related to the sanctity of human life.

Despite claims on social media and several websites, Bishop Olson said that the apparitions had not been validated.

On Monday, however, the diocese said the apparitions were a fabrication after video footage surfaced from the Loreto House, a pro-life center in the diocese, showing the alleged visionary dropping roses on the floor.

“According to the officials, though the woman told participants at the time that the roses were ‘a gift from Our Lady,’ in reality, she surreptitiously dropped them,” said a diocesan statement.

“After viewing the video and consulting with diocesan advisors and others, I have concluded that the Mystical Rose – Our Lady of Argyle is a fabrication and not true,” Bishop Olson wrote in a letter to the diocese.

He went on to note that he had attempted to meet with the alleged visionary, but that she had cancelled the meeting. He has since asked her to take down her website chronicling the now denounced apparitions.

“I regret any scandal that these false claims of ‘Mystical Rose-Our Lady of Argyle’ have caused to the faith of the parishioners of Saint Mark Catholic Church, within the Diocese of Fort Worth, and beyond” the letter continued. “I ask that you pray for the healing and conversion of all involved in these matters that have brought about discord and disunity where there should be peace and communion.”

In his original statement cautioning against believing in the apparitions before they were properly validated, Bishop Olson said that earlier this month that they must be measured against the fullness of the Catholic faith.

“One should assess claims of apparitions or of messages and miracles with prudence, always presuming the good will of anyone making such a claim, but with due regard for the integrity of the Catholic faith,” the statement cautioned.

“While from time to time apparitions do occur (Lourdes, Fatima, Tepeyac), the age of revelation ended with the death of the last apostle and all true apparitions are simply an appeal to obey the command of Christ: Repent and believe in the Gospel,” it continued.

The diocese has made the security footage of the incidents available to the public and is offering spiritual counseling to those in need following this “scandal.”