In Defense of the
Orthodoxy of The Marian Movement of Priests,
Our Lady's Messages and Fr. Gobbi
Rev. Albert G. Roux, National Director
March 3, 2001
It has come to my
attention that certain untruths and misinformation about the Marian
Movement of Priests and Fr. Gobbi have been circulating, and this has
led to a serious distortion of the facts. I suspect that many who
condemn the MMP have not read the book, "To the Priests, Our Lady's
Beloved Sons," or its extensive introduction. Do they, then, have a
sound understanding of the subject matter in order to make an informed
and sound critique? This calls to mind something which Archbishop Sheen
once said: "Many people hate the Catholic Church and her teachings, but
I do not believe I could find five people who really hate her and her
teachings for what they really are. They hate what they think are the
Church and her teachings." We must ask ourselves - do those who condemn
Fr. Gobbi's locutions really know what they are condemning, or are they
swayed by rumors and misinformation?
I have selected some of the
most common questions which have arisen and follow these with factual
explanations. I pray and trust that these points of clarification will
help to eliminate the confusion and doubt that may exist in the hearts
and minds of some of our members.
Have Our Lady's messages to
Fr. Gobbi been approved by the Church?
To date, the Church has
neither approved nor condemned the authenticity of the messages
received by Fr. Gobbi.
Are we allowed to accept
the messages if they haven't been approved?
Absolutely. Unless they
have received an official decision of "constat de non
supernaturalitate" (i.e. a declaration by the proper Church authorities
that they are not supernatural), then the faithful are free to accept
them; hence, one who reads the messages given to Fr. Gobbi and
participates in the cenacles is in no way disobedient to the Church.
Does the Church support the
Marian Movement of Priests?
The book, "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons," enjoys the
Imprimatur of three Cardinals: the late Cardinal Echeverria of Ecuador,
Cardinal Vidal of the Philippines and Cardinal Mikaï of Thailand.
also has the Imprimatur of many archbishops and bishops worldwide.
Although the Imprimatur is not a declaration of authenticity, it does
assure the reader that the book is free from doctrinal error - i.e. it
does not contain anything which is contrary to Catholic faith or
Fr. Gobbi annually concelebrates Mass with the Holy Father in his
private chapel, at which time he also gives him a report on the
Movement and his cenacle tours. If Fr. Gobbi were teaching a false
doctrine which is contrary to the sciptures and the teachings of the
Magisterium, would the Holy Father not reprimand him and tell him to
cease his activities? On the contrary, Pope John Paul II has blessed
the Marian Movement of Priests on numerous occasions and has encouraged
Fr. Gobbi for the very positive work that he is doing. The book
continues to be published in almost all the languages, and Fr. Gobbi
and other priests travel worldwide to conduct cenacles.
Cardinals and bishops also continue to support Fr. Gobbi and to promote
the Marian Movement of Priests and the cenacles. In an interview which
he gave in Rubbio, Italy in August, 1999, Fr.Gobbi said, "The Church
continues to support us. In the regional cenacles alone [in Italy], the
Cardinal of Florence, the Archbishop of Pescara, the Archbishop of
Bari, the Archbishop of the Sanctuary of Pompei, the Archbishop of
Loreto and the Cardinal of Turin came to preside at the
concelebrations." [not to mention the twenty or so archbishops and
bishops who annually attend the International Retreats with Fr. Gobbi].
When can we expect an
official declaration from the Church? How long can it take?
The Church is always
deliberate in its approach, and we cannot expect an immediate
pronouncement. Following are three examples of well-known instances
which prove that the Church has always been cautious in its examination
of mystical phenomena prior to rendering a definitive judgment.
Apparitions at Fatima,
Mary appeared six times between May 13th and Oct. 13th, 1917, to three
children (Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto and Jacinto Marto) in the
Cova da Iria. During the last apparition on Oct. 13, 1917, an estimated
70,000 people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. Thirteen years later in
October, 1930, the apparitions were declared worthy of belief after a
seven-year canonical investigation.
Sister Faustina Kowalska was a Polish nun who received a series of
revelations from Jesus beginning in 1931. It was on the 22nd of
February, 1931 that she had a vision of the Merciful Christ and He
revealed that, through her, He desired to make known the merciful love
of God towards humanity. Sr. Faustina wrote a diary of some 600 pages
recording the revelations she was receiving about Jesus' mercy. In
1935, Sr. Faustina wrote for her spiritual director: "The time will
come when this work, which God so commends, [will be] as though in
complete ruin, and suddenly the action of God will come upon the scene
with great power which will bear witness to the truth. It will be as a
new splendor for the Church, though it has been dormant in it from long
This indeed came to pass.
Sister Faustina died on October 5, 1938, at a convent in Krakow, and on
the 6th of March, 1959, the Holy See, acting on information that was
inaccurately presented, prohibited "the spreading of images and
writings advocating devotion to the Divine Mercy in the form proposed
by Sister Faustina." As a result, there followed almost twenty years of
total silence. Then, on the 15th of April, 1978, the Holy See, after a
thorough examination of original documents previously unavailable to
it, completely reversed its decision and again permitted the devotion.
She was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000 by
Pope John Paul II.
Blessed Padre Pio
The first priest in the history of the Church to bear the stigmata,
Padre Pio was blessed by God with many supernatural gifts including
discernment of spirits, prophecy and healing. He never asked for the
"gifts" he received, but bore them willingly along with the harsh
criticisms from non-believers, who ranged from fellow priests to
Following serious accusations of heresy and imposture, he was ordered
not to celebrate Mass or practice his ministry in public. He remained
in seclusion for ten years, until Pope Pius XII lifted the censure. He
died on September 23, 1968, and his public funeral attracted almost
100,000. Increasing numbers flock to his tomb from all parts of the
world and many testify to spiritual and temporal graces received. On
February 16, 1973, the Archbishop of Manfredonia, His Excellency
Valentino Vailati, consigned the documentation to the Sacred
Congregation for the Causes of Saints so as to obtain the "nihil
obstat" for the beginning of the process of his beatification. On May
2, 1999, Pope John Paul II beatified the now Blessed Padre Pio.
Rumors have been
circulating about a letter which Fr. Gobbi received from a secretary at
the CDF? Can you explain?
There is the question of
correspondence sent to Fr. Gobbi from a secretary from the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) who, in his personal and unofficial
letter to Fr. Gobbi requested and advised that Fr. Gobbi should not
claim in the book's introduction that the messages are from the Blessed
Mother, but rather that they are the product of his own personal
meditation. This letter in no way constituted an official decree.
Nevertheless, in a spirit of submission and obedience and armed with
the knowledge that Our Lady would take care of her Movement, Fr. Gobbi
accepted to do what the Secretary requested. Going against his
conscience no doubt caused him an intense interior suffering, but he
did not want to risk being accused of being disobedient to the Church.
Was Our Lady testing the obedience of her beloved son? Was she asking
this of him as a means of purification? (Padre Pio and Sr. Faustina
knew that what they were experiencing was authentic, but they too were
obedient to the Church's request.)
To this day, Fr. Gobbi still unequivocally affirms and continues to
maintain, as does his Spiritual Director, that he receives this message
from the Mother of God. Is it realistic to expect Fr. Gobbi to deny
what he knows in his heart to be authentic, based on a letter which
contains only a personal advice that has no basis in the findings of
any official Church investigation?
In a statement dated October 7, 1998, we quote the following from a
canon lawyer whom we had consulted about these matters:
"…let us consider the canonical implications of the personal letter
which Fr. Gobbi received from the Secretary of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, asking him to state in the preface of the book
that the messages are personal meditations and not interior locutions
from the Blessed Mother. No personal correspondence from any individual
who works for the Holy See has the force of law or the force of a
decree or directive. Only official documents that are issued by those
with legislative or executive authority (whether ordinary or delegated)
can have the force of a law or a general or individual decree. (Canons
29 -34) In the matter we are considering here, Fr. Gobbi is required to
follow only the directives of official documents issued by the
competent authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
namely, signed by the Cardinal Prefect with the approval of the Holy
What I want to stress here is that obedience is only to be given to the
official laws, decrees, and instructions signed by the competent
ecclesiastical authority of the Holy See.
In the matter at hand, to my knowledge, no such decree has been issued
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A personal letter
has been treated like a decree. Thus the cause for the confusion."
Are Fr. Gobbi's talks and
sermons in line with Magisterial/Church teaching?
Some say, "Yes, granted the
book of messages has the Imprimatur, but what about the sermons and
talks which he gives. Are they in line with Church doctrine?" Fr. Gobbi
holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of
the Lateran in Rome. What Fr. Gobbi discusses in his talks, cenacles,
interviews, etc. does not deviate from what Our Lady tells him in the
messages, and these already have the assurance of being free from
Last year, our U.S. Headquarters published one of these talks which Fr.
Gobbi gave to the cardinal, bishops and priests present at the 1996
International Retreat held for all of the National Directors of the MMP
from around the world, where they gathered for a week of intense
spiritual exercises with Fr. Gobbi. (Some of the statements which he
made therein have been challenged by some who, without any theological
training, have attempted to prove that they are contrary to the
teachings of the Church.) Many from among those present at these
retreats, and not just the archbishops and bishops, are scipture
scholars and professors who have doctorates in sacred theology and are
deeply steeped in scipture, the writings of the Fathers of the Church,
and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Is it not reasonable to
assume that if Fr. Gobbi were preaching heresy, that these retreatants,
renowned in their fields, would not get up to leave or at least voice
their concern, rather than remain there listening to heretical
teachings? We can safely say, without a doubt, that they would have
been able to discern error if it was being preached to them. I was
there, and not one rose up to question anything that was taught by Fr.
So we need to ask ourselves…do we put our trust in these members of the
clergy, who find no heresy in what is taught by Fr. Gobbi, or do we
allow Satan to tempt us into believing the misrepresentation of the MMP
offered to us by a few individuals who have no background in theology
What is the spirituality of
The message of Our Lady of
Fatima, already given official approbation by the Church, is at the
core of the spirituality of the Marian Movement of Priests, a
spirituality which is beautifully summed up in one of Our Lady's
"Beloved children, walk along the road of love, of purity and of
Today I am happy to see how my motherly message has now spread to every
part of the world. Many priests, but especially the faithful in great
numbers and with great enthusiasm, have responded to my invitation to
consecrate themselves to my Immaculate Heart, to be united with the
Pope, to walk along the way of divine grace, to flee sin, to pray the
holy rosary and to gather together in cenacles of unceasing prayer,
made with me and through me." (317bcd, Dec. 8, 1985)
It is important to note that millions of bishops, priests and
laypersons who belong to the Marian Movement of Priests would attest to
the tremendous spiritual benefits which they have derived from reading
the messages and participating in cenacles of prayer. Millions upon
millions of rosaries, consecrations to Our Lady and great fidelity to
the Pope have borne tremendous fruit for the Church and have been a
help to it as it walks in the footsteps of Our Lord. The many prayers
made by the members of the Marian Movement of Priests in their cenacles
have been and will continue to be a strong help for the Church. (cf.
"To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons" - Preface, xxviii-xxix)
What are the benefits of
believing in private revelation?
His Eminence Bernardino
Cardinal Echeverria Ruiz, O.F.M., now deceased, went beyond just giving
the Imprimatur to the book of messages. He recognized the great
spiritual benefits which would be derived from them. He writes:
"After reading and deeply meditating the messages given by Our Lady to
Don Stefano Gobbi, I consider it a privilege not only to be able to
give the Imprimatur to this edition of the book, "To the Priests, Our
Lady's Beloved Sons," but also to take this opportunity to recommend
the reading of these messages. They will contribute to the spread of
devotion to Our Lady."
And we know that the Church will not deny us graces from heaven in
mandating that we must wait for the approval of a said apparition or
locution. His Holiness, Pope Urban VIII had this to say:
"In cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe
than not to believe, for, if you believe and it is proven true, you
will be happy that you have believed, because our Holy Mother asked it.
If you believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all
blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true."
St. Paul said: "Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying,
but test everything, holding fast to what is good." (Thes. 5:19-21)
The Coming of Jesus and The Millennium
The subject matter in question being too complicated for me to venture
into without the expertise of the masters in this field of theology, I
have availed myself of the excellent research done by Fr. Joseph
Iannuzzi, O.S.J., S.T.D. In his book, "The Triumph of God's Kingdom in
the Millennium and End Times", which we have found to be the foremost
authoritative work on the study of the Millennium, Fr. Iannuzzi gives a
comprehensive treatise on this subject as contained in the public
revelation of the Church: Sacred scipture and Tradition (the Fathers
and Doctors of the Church); and the Magisterium. It is important to
note that he does not make reference in any way to private revelation
to support his claims.
A few things I would
like to emphasize:
Fr. Iannuzzi's work is so
extensive and thorough, that I could not possibly treat all of the
subject matter. For those who wish to further their study of these
topics, the information needed to obtain his books is provided in the
Although he makes no
reference to private revelation, in an email to M.T.M., a copy of which
Fr. Iannuzzi sent to me also, he confirmed his belief in the messages
given by Our Lady to Fr. Gobbi. I find it significant to note that Fr.
Iannuzzi, who has a doctorate in spiritual-mystical theology from the
Pontifical Gregorian University and who has studied eschatology in such
depth, "has no doubt as to the veracity of Don Gobbi's locutions."
"I am almost finished with a new book, with the bishop's imprimatur and
my diocesan nihil obstat, on the millennium and its circumstantial
heresies. It is, in my estimation, infinitely better than my last book.
It holds no contradictions to the former, rather elaborates on the
numerous inconsistencies in terminology among the burgeoning private
revelations. I have no doubt as to the veracity of Don Gobbi's
locutions; however, I have several serious concerns as to their
interpretation by laity and prelates alike. I pursued my doctorate in
spiritual-mystical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University,
magna cum laude. I say this solely to emphasize the credibility of my
view in this matter. I often hear the 'coming of the Lord' taken
totally out of context from thousands of mystics who have interpreted
it in a different light altogether. This is but one of the issues I
bring out in my book. If laity and prelates knew this bit of
information alone, it would have avoided droves of persons disavowing
their belief in Fr. Gobbi's messages and other authentic locutionists…"
Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, O.S.J., S.T.D.
I have used many of the
excellent references from Fr. Iannuzzi's first book, some of which I
have juxtaposed with Our Lady's messages to Fr. Gobbi and also excerpts
from a talk which Fr. Gobbi gave at an international MMP retreat in San
Marino in 1996. These prove that Fr. Gobbi is not teaching
Millenarianism, but rather the acceptable belief in "The Millennium" to
"The Millennium" vs.
Let us begin by defining our terms and seeking their appropriate
The Millennium (also known as the temporal or millenary kingdom) will
be established by Jesus when He comes in glory in his spirit. Jesus
will not be present in the flesh, but will reign in our will and, in a
most powerful way, by means of the Eucharist. The duration of this
kingdom cannot be interpreted as a literal 1000 years.
The doctrine of the Millennium - an "age to come", an "era" of peace or
"some mighty triumph of Christianity before the end" - has been
accepted as sound doctrine.
" 'The Teaching of the Catholic Church', which bears the Church's
required seals and was published in 1952 by a theological commission of
qualified experts, clearly states that it is not contrary to Catholic
teaching to believe or profess 'a hope in some mighty triumph of Christ
here on earth before the final consummation of all things. Such an
occur-rence is not excluded, is not impossible, it is not all certain
that there will not be a prolonged period of triumphant Christianity
before the end.' " (The Triumph of God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi - p. 75)
Millenarianism (Latin, mille, 1000) is the condemned position that
Jesus Christ would come down to earth in the flesh (in his glorified
body) and reign as an earthly king with his saints for a literal one
thousand years before the end of time. Various offshoots of this
heretical and excessively literal interpretation of Revelations 20 also
manifested itself in the early Church, e.g. "carnal millenarianism",
the added Jewish-Christian error of carnal pleasures and excesses as
part of the thousand year reign; and "mitigated or spiritual
millenarianism", which in general retained the literal thousand year
reign of Christ visibly in the flesh, but rejected the aspect of
immoderate carnal pleasures.
Any form of belief that Jesus Christ will return in his resurrected
body to the earth and rule visibly on earth for a literal one thousand
years (millenarianism and its many forms including mitigated
millenarianism) has been con-demned by the Church and must be
categorically rejected. This anathema does not include, however, the
strong Patristic belief held by many Church Fathers and Doctors of a
"spiritual", "temporal", "second" (but not final) or "middle" coming of
Christ to take place before the end of the world.
Church Fathers on the "Intermediate Coming" and
This coming of Christ in the Spirit upon the earth for a significant
period or "age" has been taught in different degrees and expressions by
the Church Fathers, among them Papias, St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus,
Tertullian, St. Hippolytus, Lactantius, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St.
Augustine and others.
St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor:
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in his "Sermo 5, Adventu Domini" clearly
speaks of another coming of Christ which he places between the first in
the flesh (Christmas) and the final coming in glory for the Last
Judgment. He calls this middle coming the "Intermediate Coming."
"We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies
between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are
visible. In the first coming, He was seen on earth, dwelling among
men…In the final coming, 'all flesh will see the salvation of our God,
and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced.' The intermediate
coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect will see the Lord within
their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming, our Lord
came in the flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming, He is our
rest and consolation. In case someone should think that this middle
coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord Himself says: 'If
anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and
we will come to him.' (Sermo 5, Adventu Domini, 1-3; The Triumph of
God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi - pp. 78-79)
St. Justin Martyr, Church Father
"St. Justin Martyr, martyred with six companions in Rome when he was
beheaded for the sake of the Christian faith, is considered the most
important apologist of the second century. He wrote two Apologies in
defense of the Christian religion: "The Dialogue with Trypho"; and
other writings… It is in his long "Dialogue" - a two-day conversation
with Trypho, a man of Jewish origin - that St. Justin mentions an era
of peace when quoting the prophet Isaiah…
'If you ever encountered any so-called Christians who do not admit this
doctrine [of the millennium], but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham
…do not consider them to be real Christians…[for] I and every other
orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of
the flesh, followed by a thousand years in the rebuilt, embellished,
and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the Prophets
Ezekiel, Isaias and others.' " (The Triumph of God's Kingdom…,Fr.
Iannuzzi - pp. 29-30)
St. Justin continues by quoting from the following passage of Isaiah
concerning the Millennium:
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former
things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and
rejoice for ever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem
a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and be
glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that
lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for
the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years
old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they
shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and
another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the
days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long
enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear
children for calamity; for they shall be the offspring of the blessed
of the Lord, and their children with them. Before they call I will
answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb
shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust
shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my
holy mountain, says the Lord." (Is. 65: 17-25 - RSV)
What does the Magisterium
of the Church say about this "Intermediate Coming"?
"As our Holy Father has so
often quoted, this millennium will be marked by a 'new springtime in
Christianity', will be 'intensely Eucharistic', at its dawn will 'make
Christ the heart of the world', and will have as its 'goal and
fulfillment…the life of each Christian and the whole Church in the
triune God.' (passim Tertio Millennio Adveniente; The Triumph of God's
Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi - p. 165)
In many of his talks and documents, Pope John Paul II seems to
anticipate the return of Jesus in glory. His prayer (in part) on March
30, 1985 in St. John's Square, Rome, was:
"The Church is the community of the little ones - of the little
children who today ardently await the return of Jesus in glory, because
the hour of delivery is drawing near for the young Mother of the new
Advent: the Birth of Jesus in glory…"
At the end of his speech given in Edmonton [Alberta], Canada on
September 17, 1984, ("Osservatore Romano", September 27, 1984), the
Holy Father said:
"May the God of peace be with us, here in Canada and everywhere. May
justice and peace kiss once again at the end of the second millennium,
which is preparing us for Christ's coming in glory."
Then in Denver in August 1993, at World Youth Day, the Pope said at the
end of the vigil [August 14]:
"The young people of the Eighth World Youth Day thank You from the
bottom of their hearts. Maranatha! Here, from Cherry Creek State Park
in Denver, from this gathering of young people from all over the world,
we cry out to You: Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!" (cf. Rev. 22:20)
The following day, August 15, 1993, he concluded his homily with the
"This pilgrimage must continue - it must continue in our lives; it must
continue in the life of the Church as She looks to the Third Christian
Millennium. It must continue as a new advent, a moment of hope and
expectation, until the return of the Lord in glory. Your celebration of
this World Youth Day has been a pause along the journey, a moment of
prayer and of refreshment, but our journey must take us even further,
even to the return of the Lord in glory!"
Does it seem rational that our unceasing prayer would be: "Maranatha!
Come, Lord Jesus!" if all that we had to look forward to was the final
judgment? No - we are full of hope because we are anticipating a
renewed kingdom of holiness, of justice, of love and of peace.
Fr. Gobbi's Teaching on
this "Intermediate" or "Second" Coming
Let us examine one of Our
Lady's messages concerning this second coming, which has been termed by
the Church Fathers as the "Intermediate Coming."
"Today I announce to you that there is about to be born the new Church
of light, which my Son Jesus is forming for Himself in every part of
the earth, so that it will be ready to receive Him, with faith and with
joy, in the proximate moment of his second coming.
The glorious reign of Christ, which will be established in your midst,
with the second coming of Jesus in the world, is close at hand. This is
his return in glory. This is his glorious return, to establish his
reign in your midst and to bring all humanity, redeemed by his most
precious blood, back to the state of his new terrestrial paradise.
That which is being prepared is so great that its equal has never
existed since the creation of the world. Prepare yourselves with
humility, with faith, with intense prayer. Prepare yourselves by
gathering together, each and all, in the spiritual cenacle of my
Immaculate Heart. Prepare yourselves in silence and in expectation.
I reveal my secret only to the hearts of the little, the simple and the
poor, because it is being accepted and believed by them. For this,
Jesus is working powerfully in these times, to prepare his coming in
the lives of the simple, the poor, the pure, the little.
With a small number of these children, the Lord will soon restore on
earth his glorious reign of love, of holiness and of peace."
(Message #435 b-f, "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons")
In a talk which Fr. Gobbi gave at a 1996 international clergy retreat,
he shares his own understanding of this second (intermediate) coming of
"Traditionally, we have always identified the return of Christ in glory
with the 'Parousia', when He will come as Judge, since there has never
been any in-depth theological study on this topic. This is also the
case for other truths which are believed, but about which no in-depth
studies have ever been made. Of late, these messages which refer to
Christ returning in glory to this world have given rise to a more
serious theological study on this subject.
…Sacred scipture and the Fathers of the Church speak clearly of a
glorious coming of the reign of Christ into this world, apart from the
one at the end as Judge! (…)
Brother priests, I think
then, that on this theme as well we are in full accord with Sacred
scipture and with the teaching of the Church. We must indeed open
ourselves to this new perspective. I was told that the following
question was addressed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith: "Is the return of Christ in glory to be interpreted as his
return for the Last Judgment, or rather on this earth?" The answer was
as follows: "The Church has never taken an official stand on this
subject, therefore one can interpret either way."
Fr. Gobbi's Teaching on
There is the erroneous
belief, among some, that Fr. Gobbi's explanation of the intermediate
coming of Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom falls into the category
of "mitigated millenarianism," which "cannot be taught safely."
To place everything in perspective, in the following section I have
quoted extensively from Fr. Gobbi's 1996 speech, portions of which have
been called into question by some and even labeled as heretical. We
will prove that Fr. Gobbi's teachings are in no way contradictory to
accepted Church teaching and its proper interpretation.
One Thousand Years - Literal or Symbolic?
First, let us examine what Fr. Gobbi had to say about the duration of
the Millennium. On this topic as well, Fr. Gobbi is in line with the
teachings of the Church.
"Actually, scipture says, 'to reign for a thou-sand years' - 'a
thousand years' is a biblical term; it can also be a symbolic
(The Triumph, the Second Coming and the Eucharistic Reign, Fr. Gobbi,
In other words, the "thousand years" symbolically signifies a long
period of time, an era, and not necessarily a literal period of time.
St. Justin Martyr says:
"Now…we understand that a period of one thousand years is indicated in
symbolic language." (St. Justin Martyr - Dialogue with Trypho; The
Triumph of God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi, p. 85)
"Do not be ignorant of this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one
day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day"
(cf. 2 Pt. 3:8)
"To your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday, come and gone, no
more than a watch in the night." (cf. Ps. 90:4)
What will this "Return of
Christ" consist of?
In the following passages ,
Fr. Gobbi explains that the Coming of Jesus will coincide with the
union of several elements:
"…Brothers, let us try to understand: what does 'return' mean? Christ
is in heaven; He is returning because, in his human nature, He has
already come. He is returning in a relative sense, since, with his
divinity, Jesus is already present in the Eucharist. He is returning
insofar as He will manifest Himself to this world in a glorious way and
will bring his Kingdom to this world. Therefore, his Coming will
coincide with the union of several elements:
(1) At last, the prayer of the 'Our Father' which Jesus taught us will
be fulfilled; it will have its perfect completion. The Divine Will will
be fulfilled in a perfect way by all creatures, thus bringing forth the
Kingdom of the Divine Will upon this earth. ( p. 12)
Jesus, in the 'Our Father' which you taught us… dear Jesus, we have
been repeating it for two thousand years… you teach us that prayer is
infallible - it always obtains results. What did you teach us to ask
for? 'Our Father, who are in heaven, sanctified - glorified - be your
name. Your Kingdom come; your Will be done...'
Your Kingdom come!' But
listen…do you think that after two thousand years in which this
invocation has been repeated throughout the world - 'Your Kingdom come,
Your Kingdom come…' - that at the end, this Kingdom of Christ will not
come? It will come! - for the perfect glorification of the Father. And
as the Kingdom of Christ comes, all creatures will be led to fulfill
the Divine Will in a perfect way, because the first to prevent us from
doing the Divine Will was Satan. What was Satan's victory in the
earthly paradise? To lead our first parents to make a choice that was
contrary to the Will of the Father - to the Will of God! (…) But she
will crush his head - do not worry! The Pope said: 'Her offspring -
Christ in her, Mary in Christ, the Mother united with the Son, the Son
united with the Mother.' Therefore, dear Mother, I am pleased that you
will crush the head of that huge serpent. Crush it!
In the end, the power of
Satan will be destroyed because he will be rendered powerless! Being
bound, he will no longer be able to do harm; he will no longer be able
to lead creatures to say 'no' to the Will of the Father, because
creatures will say 'yes' to the Will of the heavenly Father. In this
perfect fulfillment of the Divine Will, creation will return almost to
its original state - to a new earthly paradise, in which all creatures
will say 'yes' to the Will of the heavenly Father.
Christ will bring about his Kingdom - a Kingdom of holiness and of
docile obedience to the heavenly Father.
...this cannot happen, except by a most special outpouring of the Holy
Spirit: the Second Pentecost."
(2) It will coincide with the Second Pentecost. (p. 15)
Then, fire will come down; the Holy Spirit will descend - tongues of
fire, spiritual tongues! Understand that the Second Pentecost, as the
bishop said this morning, is not an invention of Don Stefano [Gobbi].
Pope Paul VI, John XXIII and the current pope have prophetically spoken
about it. Why the second [Pentecost]? Because the first already took
place in the cenacle of Jerusalem, and it transformed the apostles and
the disciples to such a point that some thought: 'Are they drunk at
nine in the morning?' The second will take place on a worldwide scale;
it will descend upon the whole world, not only on the cenacle! It will
transform the hearts and the souls of all, and all will sing joyfully
to the Lord, so much so, that perhaps the angels of heaven will ask
themselves: 'Are they drunk at nine in the morning?'
Brother priests, [Jesus'
return in glory] will coincide, then, with the miracle of the Second
Pentecost, which will renew…[souls]. But do you understand that, by
bringing the gift of the renewal into souls, it brings the gift of
I will read to you the
message of Pentecost given on June 4, 1995: "Tongues of Fire."
"- Tongues of divine fire will bring heat and life to a humanity which
has now become cold from egoism and hatred, from violence and wars.
Thus the parched earth will be opened to the breath of the Spirit of
God, which will transform it into a new and wondrous garden in which
the Most Holy Trinity will make its permanent dwelling place among you.
- Tongues of fire will come down to enlighten and sanctify the Church,
which is living through the dark hour of Calvary and being stricken in
her pastors, wounded in the flock, abandoned and betrayed by her own,
exposed to the impetuous wind of errors, pervaded with the loss of
faith and with apostasy.
The divine fire of the Holy
Spirit will heal her of every malady, will purify her of every stain
and every infidelity, will clothe her again in new beauty, will cover
her with his splendor, in such a way that she may be able to find again
all her unity and holiness, and will thus give to the world her full,
universal and perfect witness to Jesus.
Tongues of fire will come
down upon you all, my poor children, so ensnared and seduced by Satan
and by all the evil spirits who, during these years, have attained
their greatest triumph. And thus, you will be illuminated by this
divine light, and you will see your own selves in the mirror of the
truth and the holiness of God. It will be like a judgment in miniature,
which will open the door of your heart to receive the great gift of
(546d-g, "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons")
Fr. Iannuzzi on this "spiritual"coming of Christ-
(…)"The Son, therefore, while unique and consubstantial with the Father
and the Spirit, is regarded by the author of the Book of Revelation as
the protagonist of the end times who receives assistance from the other
two divine Persons. And it is here where the spiritual descent of
Christ comes into play. Because Christ will not descend in the flesh in
human history, he will come by way of his glorified Spirit who will
purge, illuminate and unify all creation. This is just one example
where both the Son and the Spirit are present and active in the same
operation. Intimately united with the Father, both the Son and the
Spirit, in virtue of their consubstantial and collaborative effort in
salvation history, will bring about the transformation and unification
of creation. This process, referred to as Christ's spiritual descent
through his Spirit, is evidenced by Gregory of Nyssa and other Church
Fathers' usage of the words, 'May your Holy Spirit come upon us and
cleanse us', as a substitution for the petition, 'Your Kingdom come' in
the Lord's prayer." (The Triumph of God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi, p. 95)
Contrary then to the false teaching of mitigated Millenarianism, which
held that Jesus would rule in person in his glorified body on this
earth, Jesus will reign in his Spirit in hearts, souls and wills. He
will transform and sanctify all things by means of his Holy Spirit -
that Spirit which emanates from the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit
would not be able to carry out this transformation were it not for
Christ's redemptive act. The Spirit in Christ will perform the work of
the transformation - in other words, the Holy Spirit's mission is to
apply and complete God's plan of redemption.
Fr. Gobbi (cont'd)
(3) It will be the greatest miracle of the divine mercy - the triumph
of Jesus' merciful love - which will open the world to a new era, a new
civilization, to finally know at last the civilization of love. (p. 17)
This Second Pentecost will also coincide with the triumph of the
merciful love of Jesus, the divine mercy that comes for us.
"And then the Holy Spirit will work the new miracle of universal
transformation in the heart and the life of all: sinners will be
converted; the weak will find support; the sick will receive healing;
those far away will return to the house of the Father; those separated
and divided will attain full unity.
In this way, the miracle of the Second Pentecost will take place. It
will come with the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the world…" (546hi)
And so you understand now, how once all have returned to salvation,
they will breathe the air of the Kingdom of God in our midst, and it
will be a kingdom of holiness and of justice, of purity, of love, of
joy and of peace. Then, once the influence of him who is a murderer by
definition is removed - the one who, opposing God, brings hatred,
egoism, division, violence, war into the world - then once his power is
destroyed, with God being among us, a new civilization will finally
flourish: the civilization of the children of God who live in his
kingdom - the new civilization of love.
(4) But, above all, the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the return
of Christ in glory will coincide with the advent of the Eucharistic
Reign of Christ." (p. 19)
Imagine this! In this renewed world, where the Father is glorified,
where Christ manifests his reign, where the will of creatures reflects
that of the Father, where the Holy Spirit has renewed the people, where
the prodigy of the divine mercy is fulfilled - in this world the
Eucharistic Christ will be able to explode with all of his divine
power! Brother priests, we believe that Christ is present in the
Eucharist with his glorious body and with his divinity, on this earth
as He is in heaven; it is only the veil of the species that keeps us
from seeing Him, but his presence is the same. And so I ask myself: how
is it that in heaven Jesus is the bliss and the joy of all the blessed,
yet here on this earth, where He is present in the Eucharist, He cannot
explode with his power and become our joy and greatest beatitude? Why
doesn't this happen? The Eucharistic Christ cannot manifest his power
because of the obstacles we put in the way.
…the obstacle is sin -
individual sin, social sin, sin set as the norm of action. All of this
sin is a rejection that we make; it is a barrier that we place, because
of which the Eucharistic Christ cannot manifest his divine power. But
when Satan is cast into hell, when the door of the abyss is closed and
the power of Satan is destroyed, these obstacles will be removed. Then
will Jesus in the Eucharist explode. He will manifest Himself in all
his power; we will see Him beyond the species; we will feel Him because
He will work within us most powerfully as God, because in the Eucharist
Jesus is present with the fullness of his divinity in our midst! And as
God, He will then succeed in transforming our hearts; He will succeed
in transforming souls; He will succeed in transforming families; He
will succeed in transforming nations…Finally, after so many years of
division, and after so many (almost useless) efforts of ecumenism, the
unity of the Church will be achieved and we will truly have the
Eucharistic Reign of Christ within us.
Therefore, I would almost
like to say: Jesus who returns and manifests Himself in glory unites
with Jesus who is present in the Eucharist (Emphasis mine); and He will
almost open wide the doors of the species, which still keep Him veiled
to us, so that He may manifest Himself with his power and transform
everything, forming at last the new heavens and the new earth.
Therefore, the return of Christ in glory will also coincide with the
great triumph of the Eucharistic Reign of Jesus.
…I truly believe that what Our Lady tells us in these messages is true.
(emphasis mine) Her Immaculate Heart cannot triumph except in the
triumph of Christ, and Christ will obtain his greatest victory and his
greatest triumph only when He brings his Kingdom into this world and
the adversary is defeated. With what joy will the Heart of Jesus open
to say: 'Father, You are glorified at last!' With what joy will Jesus
turn to us and say: 'Finally, your food is to do the Will of my
heavenly Father! Just as it was for me, so it is for you. My Kingdom is
spreading in all of you, in the joy of fulfilling the Will of the
Father alone, in each one of you, my brothers whom I have redeemed!'
Finally, all of his divine
power will pour forth from the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and we will
then know the joy of living, of savoring, of experiencing all the
effects of the paradise which we will have with the triumph of the
Eucharistic Reign of Jesus. We will be on this earth, yet we will be
beyond it. We will not yet be in heaven - it will be a paradise on
earth, which Our Lady is preparing for us through the triumph of her
Immaculate Heart in the world. Praised be Jesus Christ!" (The Triumph,
The Second Coming and the Eucharistic Reign, Fr. Gobbi, pp. 10-21)
Following is a beautiful teaching by Fr. Iannuzzi on the Eucharistic
reign of Jesus:
"The temporal kingdom, therefore, will have at its core, in the hearts
and souls of all its faithful, the glorious Person of Christ Jesus who
will shine forth above all in the triumph of his Eucharistic Person.
The Eucharist will become the summit of all humanity, extending its
rays of light to all the nations. The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus,
dwelling in their midst, will thus cultivate in the faithful a spirit
of intense adoration and worship never before seen. Freed from the
deceptions of the contriver, who will be enchained for a time, the
faithful will gather around all the tabernacles of the earth to render
homage to God - their sustenance, their solace and their salvation."
(The Triumph of God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi, p. 127)
Now then, do the above excerpts from Fr. Gobbi's talk sound like the
doctrine of mitigated Millenarianism which teaches that Jesus will come
down to earth to reign in the flesh with his saints for literally one
thousand years? NOT AT ALL! On the contrary, his explanations and
teachings are very much in line with the teachings of the Fathers of
the Church, the sciptures and the Magisterium. In his talk, he clearly
states that Jesus will reign on earth by means of his Eucharistic
Person and by means of the Holy Spirit (Second Pentecost) who will
transform and sanctify all things, but most of all the hearts, souls
and wills in which Jesus will reign. He is not speaking of a Jesus who
would come on earth to rule in the manner of our political and earthly
kings. He is not speaking of a second coming where Jesus would come in
his glorified body and remain on earth for 1000 years.
The expression, "Second
Coming" used by Fr. Gobbi is the equivalent of the "middle" or
"intermediate" coming spoken of by the Fathers of the Church, and not
the final coming for the Last Judgment. The kingdom that will be
established by Christ after his middle coming is not a political
kingdom, but a spiritual one. Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, "My Kingdom
is not of this world." The kingdom Fr. Gobbi speaks about is the
earthly paradise, lost through sin and regained through Christ's
Redemption. In this earthly paradise Christ will reign in his Spirit
and by means of his Eucharistic Person. His reign will be a reign of
holiness, of justice, of peace, of love and of joy.
The prayer of the "Our
Father" taught us by Jesus will finally be fulfilled: his kingdom will
have finally come, his divine will lived on earth as in heaven, and his
holy Name sung and blest by all his children in songs of joy and of
thanksgiving. Once this earthly paradise is sanctified by his Spirit,
Jesus will present it to his Father as his gift of love, the fruit of
his Redemption. Once again, the Father will take great pleasure in his
The passages which we have quoted from Fr. Gobbi's talk (The Triumph,
the Second Coming and the Eucharistic Reign - 1996) are definitely not
a desciption of mitigated millenarianism, but rather of the
"Millennium" as taught by Our Lady in the messages, as found in
scipture and the writings of the Church Fathers, and as taught by the
Magisterium of the Church.
It is important to note that the Magisterium has not yet made a
definitive pronouncement about the "millennium" or "temporal kingdom."
"In these latter days on the
threshold of the third millennium, disputes inevitably arise in spite
of the Church's authoritative voice. Although she possesses the power
to either close the matter or allow for further doctrinal development
in its clarification, Holy Mother Church has nonetheless opted for the
latter. She has assumed a cautious position with regard to the concept
of a millennium, due primarily to the resurgent tendencies of the past
that have most commonly led to a slippery slope quest for
"millenarianism." However, under-stood in a spiritual sense, the
question of a millennium or temporal kingdom as promoted through the
"spiritual" writings of the Church Fathers remains open to a definitive
pro-nouncement by the Magisterium." (The Triumph of God's Kingdom…, Fr.
Iannuzzi, p. 166)
Especially significant are the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in this regard.
Theologian Martino Penasa, presented him with this question of Christ's
spiritual millenary reign (not millenarianism), and the Cardinal
reassured him that the matter is still open to discussion and that "the
Holy See has not yet made any definite pronouncement in this regard."
("È imminente una nuova era di vita cristiana?" Il Segno del
Soprannaturale, Udine, Italia, n. 30, p. 10, Oct. 1990; The Triumph of
God's Kingdom…, Fr. Iannuzzi, p. 43)
Having thus proven that Our Lady's messages to Fr. Gobbi and his own
teachings in this regard are in no way contradictory to that which is
taught by Holy scipture, the Magisterium, the Fathers of the Church,
and contemporary Doctors in Sacred Theology, we have the assurance that
we are allowed to believe in a spiritual and temporal earthly kingdom.
Should we continue to
hold our cenacles?
Our Lady's cenacles are the key to her power. By means of them she
prepares the hearts and souls of her children to receive her Divine
Spouse, the Holy Spirit who will sanctify and transfigure her children
into the likeness of her Son Jesus. So please, DO NOT abandon your
cenacles. Do not let false rumors and erroneous teachings pull you away
May Our Lady, our sweet and loving Mother, keep you always in her
"Evangelize all men, preaching that the reign of God is at hand. The
moment of the second coming of Jesus is drawing close, the moment of
the return of Christ in glory, to restore in your midst his reign of
grace, of holiness, of justice, of love and of peace. Announce to
everyone this, his glorious return, so that hope may blossom upon the
world and the hearts of men be opened to receive Him. Throw open the
doors to Jesus Christ who is coming!
To this end, preach the need for prayer and penance; for the courageous
practice of all the virtues; for a return to the perfect cult of love,
of adoration and of reparation, offered to Jesus present in the
Eucharist. Spread everywhere the cenacles of prayer which I have been
asking of you: among children, youth, priests, the faithful…" (468mn,
"To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons")