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Catholic Dictionary




Supernatural manifestations by God of hidden truths made to private individuals for their own spiritual welfare or that of others. They differ from the public revelation contained in Scripture and tradition which is given on behalf of the whole human race and is necessary for human salvation and sanctification. Although recognized by the Church and, at times, approved by her authority, private revelations are not the object of divine faith that binds one in conscience to believe on God's authority. The assent given to them, therefore, is either on human evidence or, when formally approved by the Church, on ecclesiastical authority according to the mind of the Church. Private revelations occur as supernatural visions words, or divine touches. Often it is impossible to distinguish the three forms in practice, especially since they may be received simultaneously.