Alleged Visitation by John Henry Newman

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by Religious Fanatic, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    This is a very questionable experience for me and I will not go into details because some of the discussion was often embarrassing, candid and vulgar.

    I mentioned having some rather insidious experiences with supposed Catholics that left me irate and spiritually devastated. One of these incidents occurred at a local Salvation Army here in Las Vegas. I have had a lot of dramatic religious encounters at those places, strangely.

    Around this time, I was visiting a forum littered with religious hypocrites called TheologyWeb. It was utterly demonic, heretical, and full of ungodly pride. You could find both Protestants and Catholics and people from other faiths touting their intellectual superiority with no humility or tenderness and showing themselves to be completely of Satan. I experienced demonic oppression and spiritual attacks while I was on the site, and it was difficult to break away from because it was so addictive. I allowed them to subjugate and abuse me spiritually because of low self-esteem and arrogance of my own. I had many panic attacks and nightmares after being on that community.

    When I was at a Salvation Army some years ago, I remember seeing an old man with a wrinkly face and a big nose sitting on the couch. With the robe he was wearing, I thought he was a monk. He was sitting next to a man in a uniform who looked like someone I knew online from the forum who had recently passed. I started a conversation by telling him that he looked like someone I knew, just out of compulsion, but he only stared at me. Then I asked the old man if he was a monk, and he said, "I'm a priest. Let's chat."

    He had a british/english accent and we talked about some things relating to Catholicism but at the time most of the conversation did not go well. I was already angry and prejudiced towards Catholics and while I tried to come off as somewhat respectful, mostly due to public etiquette, he seemed to figure I was lying and hated Catholics. I can't give a detailed summary of everything we said and talked about. I was angry at God myself and did not know what to believe, but some things he said were very suspicious to me. I did not understand at the time any of the things he was talking about. I was angered and felt like I was talking to a crazy person who was speaking heresy. He said Jesus and Mary both had venial sins in their life. Shocked, I said some hateful things, and said I would desecrate his grave. He said there wouldn't be much to find if you went to his grave. I have often mentioned my struggle with homosexuality on the forum. The man also discussed homosexuality in our culture and said in his day relationships between men were different from what we make of them now, and he didn't want to give us the idea that he was secretly gay or was affirming those practices. I told him about my struggles with lust and pornography and whispered personal things under my breath that he heard. He jeered at me and made comments about my feelings or things I said on those matters. He said I was probably reprobate and going to hell. We also talked about Anglo-Catholicism, which was one of the things I had no idea about at the time. He said Protestants had inferior miracles to Catholics, and that Dorothy Kerrin was a fraud. He said she may have had the stigmata only because she was a wannabe Catholic, but then later changed his opinion to manipulate me when he found out I wasn't sure or would accept it. I didn't even know what this was back then. There was a point where I said maybe he was an angel or a saint, and he says, "Oh, and why would you say that?" And I said I didn't know, just that it was peculiar that someone like this would show up around there. He said he didn't feel sorry for my suffering, and that God was using this as a judgement to gratuitously torture me and I was destined to spend the rest of my life headed for hell with no hope. I went irate and began hitting him and saying blasphemous things, how angry I was with God, and others, and he said, "Oh, don't do that. I can fight, you know." Then I lifted a piece of furniture like a chair from the store and threatened to bludgeon him and he said with a horrified look, "OK, stop."

    There was more to it but it eventually ended with him going off saying I had God's wrath on me. He may have suggested that I had a demon in me and it wouldn't come out unless I was Roman Catholic, and that it would probably be nasty. Then he said, "Oh, and you asked that maybe I was a saint? Perhaps I am, like maybe John Henry Newman or something!" The other man in the uniform appeared out of nowhere suddenly and said he had heard the argument. The old man said he knew someone who thought he had met a saint and said it probably was. They both looked sad and walked off. They did not disappear suddenly. They hung around the entire store and talked for a considerable while to the other employees and then exited through a back door where the donations are handled. I followed them and found them standing on the side of the street chatting, and the old man looked back at me and said, "Well? You think we're just going to disappear? Go on, now." I checked again a second time and they were still there. But then I left.

    Some parallels are the fact that Newman's grave was very frugal and his body completely dissolved when they exhumed it to move the relics. That, and his sexuality was a point of discussion during his lifetime in terms of his relationship with Ambrose St. John.

    Lastly, the person on the forum who had passed away looked similar to the man in the uniform who I had seen. We had been discussing Anglicanism on the forum in the last few months. Although it was superficial. I did not really delve into it or understand it as much as I do now, but we found out the member who died that I am talking about said Newman's doctrine of development made sense. This is the only connection to Newman we found at the time with this person, and he had told me in an email when I asked him about Anglicanism when he was still alive) that he thought the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox were better and was basically ashamed of his Anglicanism. Some of the Catholic apologists on the forum told me that some of the things the old man was trying to explain to me was the doctrine of development. Supposedly this would imply that the deceased member was a convert by desire. He had a fairly kind demeanor on the forum compared to the others, however....

    The fact that he praised or glorified the evil and hypocritical behavior of the others who he was friends with, despite being among the 'nicer' ones, makes me question his sanctity. From what I understand, in RC doctrine, promoting sinful behavior is almost as bad as doing it yourself. Most of those people were NOT Godly!

    This is coupled with the fact that the encounter with this person made my openness to the RCs worse. Dealing with prejudices against RCs as a lifelong Protestant is only something I've recently managed to overcome thanks to loving and gentle people I've met online. Saying I'm under wrath or a curse is strange. If anything, I've become more open to understanding not just Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox, but Roman Catholics! Reading the Catechism, talking to friends on the forum who dialogue with us, and so forth. And I don't see how my spiritual anguish has been any better or worse since then as it has been since I was young! In some ways, it might even be better, though I am still battling sin like pride, hate, anger, etc.

    Even the RC warns people that apparitions of Jesus, Mary, and of course, Saints, can be of the devil. They can appear credible under the circumstances by which they happen, but have just enough heresy and dirt in them to be proven false. I don't think Jesus and Mary having venial sin or being destined to hell are taught by the RC at all! Also, the RC asks that people respect all canonized saints, even if they prefer some over another. A demon taking the guise of someone like Newman and then being exposed as a fraud ingrains the image of an otherwise holy person in your mind as an enemy and would be an attempt to instill disdain towards them, another weapon of Satan.

    I am really skeptical about this experience. Please offer your insight so as to help me. It has caused me a lot of confusion and spiritual torment. Do you think it was Newman? I found out we do have a Newman center in Nevada, a Catholic academy of sorts. And, I also want to add that the person who resembled the deceased member only did so superficially. He was much thinner but had similar facial features. And I can't remember if the old man really resembled Newman as we see him in the pictures where he is sitting with a red cardinal robe, or as a man who resembled a smaller version of then-pope Ratzinger or Bergoglio (Francis). The picture of what exactly he and his clothes looked like changes throughout the different moments I remember talking to him. Some things I remember him saying maybe have been invented or added later through suggestion or memory errors, but I have a good feeling that most of this happened. I remember when he told me maybe he was Newman that saints don't always have to look exactly the same during encounters, but I don't know. And I think he may have told me when he said Jesus and Mary had venial sins that he remembered this was condemned by a papal statement, and when I accused him of heresy, he said it didn't matter because maybe he didn't believe it, because I said earlier that sometimes saints or angels speak hypothetically or conditionally to test people. He also may have suggested not so much that I was predestined to hell but rather a very good chance that I was going to hell because I was not Roman Catholic and still had demons in me. Like I said, sometimes my memory is misplaced.

    Someone here mentioned that people like this would not appear for a trivial reason if it was really them. I wanted to give it a serious thought, but there's room for skepticism.
     
  2. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What you describe sounds closer to a demonic encounter than an encounter with a saint. But even then it has a bizarre, dreamlike quality. By the way, clergymen historically under the Apostolic Canons are forbidden from hitting anyone, and likewise laity who hit saints were excommunicated, but the Anglicans no longer use those canons, and I doubt the Catholics do either (I think only the Orthodox churches have them).
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry that this incident has caused you such turmoil that it still weighs on your mind today. Surely this is sign that it was no ordinary meeting between two or three people, but was a supernatural encounter with a spirit being. And because it has robbed you of peace and imparted a sense of confusion, the spirit being must have been an evil spirit (a demon in the guise of a human) and most certainly not an angel or saint.

    1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...


    I pray that the immediacy and demanding nature of your memory of this event will fade quickly, and that you will be restored to a rightful sense of peace, tranquility and confidence in our Lord Jesus who holds you securely and in the Holy Spirit who guards your heart and mind, as you meditate upon the truth in the written Word.

    Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
     
  4. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, all. I'm sure I mentioned this before, but since you're an Orthodox Liturgyworks, I might add that I had some really demonic experiences with 'Orthodox' around the time I began researching it and was having these experiences. I called a local Orthodox priest who was very generous and he said they didn't sound normal. One was a priest rushing up to me when I came into a Salvation Army and gasping, and then stood there in front of me, staring for a minute or two, and he said, "What are you doing here? Go!" and I said, "Why are you looking at me?" He told me I had a demon in me. This is just one of several.
     
  5. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That’s really weird because in Las Vegas there are probably at most twenty Orthodox clergy, including deacons. Maybe twice that number if we include Assyrians and Eastern Catholics. I don’t know, I should add, of any parish in Las Vegas that has a deacon, or more than one priest.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Vegas is a weird town. I always get a bad vibe whenever I've had to go there to the Strip (business meetings, mostly). It feels like a spirit of greed and despair.
     
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  7. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I have lived here my whole life. My family and I have always enjoyed it but we were never involved in the 'decadent' aspects of the city. I've had relatives though who've blown money on gambling addictions, not good. There's actually more good churches, Protestant and Catholic, here in the city than most would realize, even billboards that blatantly advertise God and bible verses. This is probably because the city's central attractions (gambling, strip clubs, etc.) leave a void that only faith can fill.
     
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  8. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Strip is the Strip, but the people who live in Las Vegas are pious and decent. Most of the people I meet go to church on Sunday. Having lived here, in Los Angeles, and in other locales, I would say if any place in America deserves the title Sin City, it’s LA. In Vegas you have a number of Orthodox and Eastern Catholic parishes, a high profile Eastern Orthodox icon (our Lady of Iviron, which is myrhh-streaming), and some traditional Anglican churches. The churches here tend to operate a more full liturgical calendar than in LA, where, for example, the Antiochian Cathedral of St. Nicholas, a beautiful church in an ugly neighborhood, only does the Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings (two services, one in English and one in Arabic, which is also annoying; the Eastern liturgies work best if you have one service and use two or more languages with a service book or projected translation; alternately, because unlike the Western rites (especially the Gallican, Mozarabic and Ambrosian):the words of the liturgy itself are basically constant from one Sunday to the next, and you want to maximize the communion aspect), with no Matins or Saturday night Vespers.

    That last bit might sound par for the course, but, most Orthodox parishes even in the greater LA area have Matins and Vespers, or if they are Slavonic, All Night Vigils, whicj combines Vespers, Compline, Nocturns, Matins and Prime to give you an evening service equivalent in length to the morning service (which has Terce, Sext and the Divine Liturgy). Matins and Vespers in Orthodoxy are extremely important because most of the propers and most of the material in the 20 books which make up the Byzantine Rite, or the 7-10 books which make up the other Eastern rites, pertains to these services. And they are well attended; sometimes people will go to All Night Vigils but not be present at the following liturgy. Furthermore, the Orthodox churches in Vegas excel at providing midweek services whenever a feast day or important observance occurs, so for example, if the Beheading of St. John the Baptist falls on a Monday, there will be a Vigil for it on Sunday night and the main service in the morning.
     
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  9. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    When in Las Vegas, if I visit the central area, which is infrequent, I’m only interested in the monorail, or the gardens, or the exotic wildlife, or the Disneyland-like places such as the interior of the Venetian or the Forum Shops. Truthfully when I walk past a gambling hall, I don’t even see it; its like its on another planet. And I am allergic to alcohol (which is useful in discerning whether or not a church has the Eucharist or not). ;)
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think I might know what you mean by that, but I'd like to hear it in your own words if you don't mind elaborating. :)
     
  11. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In the Orthodox Church, our pre-communion prayer, I realized, after telling a very strange person intimate details about our Liturgy of Preparation, which could have led to abuse of the liturgy, has the effect, in my opinion, of restricting what I say personally about the mystagogical aspects of the church on the open Internet, but I will send you a PM, and if anyone else is curious, they might send me a PM and in all probability, since the members of the forum seem to be extremely decent, I will be able to provide them an answer. I just don’t want to post it here. But I shall PM you presently.
     
  12. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I'm not sure about visitations of John Henry Newman but he did appear in this mornings paper saying the Pope is to canonise him on October 13th.
     
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  13. A Garden Gnome

    A Garden Gnome Member

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    As others have said, this experience certainly isn't of God. There are two explanations I suppose. The first, that this was some kind of demonic encounter. The second (and I mean absolutely no offence by this), that it didn't really happen, or at least didn't happen like you described. There are a few things (though nothing like this) that I'm not sure really happened in my life. Trivial things, yes, but you get the idea. My point is, dreams can be incredibly convincing and realistic, and it should be noted that I'm sure Satan is perfectly capable of influencing ones dreams. The bit about the chair seems especially suspect - the mind has a genuinely incredible capacity for twisting reality, and making you do and believe things totally irrational.

    It does however fit the mold of a demonic encounter. Satan himself was once an angel of light, and indeed in the end times will present himself as the Messiah, so an evil spirit appearing under the form of a (soon to be) Saint seems to be consistent with scripture.

    Whatever the case, it certainly isn't from God. I don't want to give advice as if I've ever experienced anything like this before, but I would say that you should try and let it strengthen your faith if at all possible. Know that there is powerful evil out there, and thus know that powerful good is out there also.