Beginning on December 10, 2010, a Pennsylvanian soul allegedly began receiving locutions from Mary and Jesus that were intended for the entire world. The soul’s spiritual director at the time, Monsignor John Esseff—a man with quite the spiritual credentials, having learned under Padre Pio as his spiritual director and having directed Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta—discerned and disseminated the messages via the website Locutions.org, calling them simply “Locutions to the World.” (Here abbreviated LTTW.)
Then, rather abruptly, in late September 2015, the website went under construction and then disappeared altogether, with only two sentences left in its wake: “Locutions is no more. So long and take care.”
Those who had been reading the locutions—including myself—were caught off guard. After five very consistent years of weekly updates to the website (minus a small hiccup a few years prior), suddenly it was almost as if the messages never existed.
So what happened?
Directly before the website was taken down, Mary allegedly began predicting events that would take place during the Papal visit to the United States. There were some pretty significant details outlined in those locutions which, thus far, have not appeared to come to pass.
Within days, the website disappeared.
People immediately tried to contact the volunteer group responsible for posting the locutions via the “Locutions to the World” Facebook page, asking when the website would be fixed. Initially, responses came quickly and promised things such as, “We’re not sure when, but we hope it to be soon!” Since then, the LTTW account has been silent and to my understanding—although I personally haven’t made any recent attempts—private messages all but ceased.
Equally as immediately, however, posts, comments and blogs popped up, calling the LTTW locutionist a “false prophet,” with scathing critiques of alleged revelations that had been either ignored or treated relatively well for nearly five years.
I understand the letdown and even the defensive anger and fear. I understand that private revelation is risky business and a highly opinionated topic. I understand that things don’t look good for LTTW right now.
But I’m not abandoning hope just yet.
There are a number of reasons, but allow me to explain three of them.
To label all LTTWs false—with such limited evidence—is impulsive and logically fallacious.
When I was first introduced to the LTTW, I was very suspicious. I carefully discerned the messages for more than two years. Even after privately accepting them as real, I continued to pay close attention to make sure they continued to be real.
I will admit that this seeming discrepancy between what has been predicted and what has actually happened is alarming, and it has put me back in full-blown discernment mode. Why discernment mode? Because—at this point in time—outright rejection is unreasonable.
First of all, the final locutions only seem to be inaccurate. The financial collapse allegedly predicted by Mary wouldn’t necessarily have occurred overnight. There may be a moment at which collapse becomes evident to the public, but that is not necessarily the moment of the pivotal events, nor the moment of the actual collapse.
That is not necessarily to say that the collapse is still on its way—I cannot pretend to know that. But it’s unreasonable to say that because we didn’t hear about it the event didn’t happen. Further, we cannot eliminate the possibility that we misunderstood or misinterpreted the messages and thus spent the duration of the Pope’s visit “looking the wrong direction,” so to speak.
Secondly, even if the final locutions were incorrect, the remainder of the locutions still hold (or lack) merit on their own accord. The validity of the later locutions is not dependent on the previous locutions, nor vice versa.
While the possibility of messages with inconsistent validity are reason for great caution, it does not logically follow that no validity is contained therein. This calls for painstakingly careful discernment. Ideally, such problems would be dealt with by the locutionist’s spiritual director before they ever reach public ears—a point I’ll tackle in a bit. However, since these locutions are already available to the public, discernment falls on the shoulders of the public.
Those willing to carefully discern the messages should do so. Those unable, unwilling, or uneasy should simply ignore the locutions altogether—after all, private revelation can be rejected unless endorsed by the Church. However, those unable, unwilling, or uneasy should not immediately criticize LTTW as “false prophecies.” Without discernment, such accusations amount to defamation.
Monsignor John Esseff personally endorsed LTTW for a fair amount of time.
This point does not prove the validity of the locutions, but it makes their validity more likely.
Allow me to explain.
Msgr. Esseff is a diocesan priest in Pennsylvania with some incredible theological credentials, as mentioned earlier. The well-respected priest received spiritual direction from Padre Pio, himself acted as spiritual director for Blessed Mother Teresa and her community, in addition to his own accomplishments and winning reputation.
Msgr. Esseff was—for some time—the spiritual director of the locutionist. He originally published a letter on the website explaining his connection to the locutionist and assuring readers of his careful discernment of the validity of each message.
All accounts point to a few basic facts:
- The locutions were originally intended simply for the community in which the soul lived.
- In 2010, Mary allegedly told the locutionist to begin publishing the messages for the world to see.
- Esseff constructed Locutions.org for this purpose, which was served for approximately 5 years.
- Sometime in 2014, Msgr. Esseff disassociated himself with LTTW, allegedly going so far as to recruit the help of a lawyer to remove his name from the website.
Until the point of alleged disassociation, the LTTW had some pretty substantial backing. To my knowledge, Msgr. Esseff has not issued any kind of a statement regarding his reasons for taking his name off of the website, but it’s fair to assume that it likely had something to do with the integrity or authenticity of the messages contained therein. It’s also fair to assume, therefore, that prior to his disassociation, he approved of the locutions shared on the website. Thus we can conclude with reasonable certainty that Msgr. Essef disapproved of the most recent messages, but approved of the ones issued before his disassociation.
This means that the former should be considered with scrutiny, but the latter should be considered with even more scrutiny. Note that this does not mean that everything the locutionist has ever revealed is absolute nonsense. Instead, we must distinguish between messages and weigh each according to its own merit. Sound like a lot of work? Welcome to the world of actual discernment, thorough research, and authentic consideration—something unheard of in most corners of the Internet.
We must also consider that it is entirely possible that—during the time of his association with LTTW—Msgr. Esseff, being human, could have made mistakes in his discernment of the (in)authentic nature of his advisee’s revelations. However, acknowledgement of human flaws does not in any way eliminate the reality that the clergyman’s discernment was likely Spirit-led over all, thus yielding real fruits at least part of the time.
The locutions appear to uphold Church teaching.
I can’t claim to have read all of the locutions, but I followed for three of the five years that the website was active. In that time, I found little (if anything) that contradicted Church teaching.
One of the main indicators of a “false prophet” is a disregard for things the Church—through the guidance of the Holy Spirit—has already established as true, good, or revealed by God. There may be other reasons to doubt the locutions (which we’ve discussed above), but disregard for Church teaching simply isn’t one; at least, not as far as I’ve seen.
In fact, the LTTW’s compliance with the rest of Christianity (or, more specifically, Catholicism) is, if anything, a point of merit. No, it doesn’t necessitate authenticity, and careful discernment is still critical. But such consistency is definitely an indicator that we’re looking at something benign at worst, and at best, really, really cool.