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Reflections on Knock - XII

The Lamb & Altar in the Knock Apparition

Gregory Johnson
In this concluding article of the series Reflections on Knock, allow me to make two points about the last objects to be analyzed in the Knock Apparition.

1. Hierarchy uses Knock to promote New Mass

As demonstrated in this series, Our Lady is the focal point of the Knock apparition. All of the witnesses emphatically speak of her first and, then, St. Joseph and St. John at her side.

Correct depictio n of the Knock apparition

Early pictures emphasize Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John; below, later ones emphasize the altar and lamb

modern incorrect Knock depiction collage of incorrect depictions of the Knock apparition
But regarding the Lamb and altar, some witnesses did not mention them and some did not see the cross behind the Lamb. The Lamb and altar were in the background to the right and less clearly seen. Earlier, more traditional sketches of the apparition confirm this.

But today, under the influence of the Conciliar Church, there is clearly an exaggerated emphasis on the Lamb and altar present in the Knock apparition. This distorted presentation has reached the point – in modern articles, books and images – in which the Lamb and altar are presented as the focal point of the apparition.

This is another maneuver, I believe, by the Conciliar Hierarchy to promote Vatican II, the New Mass and Ecumenism that we first saw in the previous article in the film The Story of Knock (see here). The Hierarchy is using the apparition as if it were a heavenly approval for the Novus Ordo Mass.

On the contrary, I interpret the less prominent presence of the Lamb and of the altar as a suggestion that, in some places, the Mass will fade, disappear or suffer harmful changes beyond recognition.

The true Mass of the ages was forbidden by Paul VI for about 40 years and then reduced to a sort of museum artifact called the “extraordinary form of the Roman Rite” by Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

I believe that Knock tells us to focus on Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces and remain close to her during this “eclipse of the Church” (La Salette, 1846). Note that at Fatima, 1917, Our Lady only speaks of receiving Communion in the 5 First Saturday Devotion, not Mass. (1).

Angels at Knock were not versus populum

The witness who was closest to the apparition and most thoroughly investigated said something that is of interest concerning the New Mass:

“Around the Lamb I saw Angels hovering during the whole time, for the space of one hour and a half or longer; I saw their wings fluttering, but I did not perceive their heads or faces, which were not turned to me.” (Official testimony of Patrick Hill)

That the Angels around the altar always had their backs turned to young Patrick Hill can be understood as an argument that, when the Lamb of God is present on the altar, the ministers should be turned toward Him and not toward the people. So, the versus populum [turned to the people] practice of the Novus Ordo ministers is offensive to God.

2. The Angels passing through the gable

The Lamb and altar in the apparition – as well as the Tabernacle and altar inside the church – are both centered directly below the window of the church’s south gable: “The altar was placed right under the window of the gable … outside the church at Knock.” (2) So, the church’s south gable wall directly under the window serves as the backdrop for both the Lamb and altar in the apparition, and the Lamb (Our Lord truly present) and altar inside the church.

vintage holy card depicting the apparition of Knock

An old holy card tries to depict Angels going in and out through the gable as shining stars

Two witnesses, Patrick Hill and John Curry, described watching the Angels around the Lamb going back and forth through the gable wall.

– “Farther on to his (the witness’) right appeared an altar with a lamb on it as represented in Catholic pictures and a cross standing on the altar. All about the group were twinkling or flashing lights, like stars [angels]; they were not steady; they seemed as if they used to come nearer and, then, retire again or to go in and out through the gable.” (3)

– “The small boy, John Curry, saw ‘two Angels flying back and forth.’” (4)

– “I did not see the figures move, but there seemed to be two Angels – I didn’t know they were Angels until I was told – moving back and forth. I asked Pat Hill and he told me they were Angels.”(5)

I interpret that the Angels “going in and out through the gable” are symbolic of the state of the Church today. With the Knock apparition being next to the south gable wall, there are two altars back to back, with Angels “going in and out” adoring the Lamb at both.

Inside the church building one altar is dark, locked and empty because of the storm. Such is the state of the old beautiful traditional religious structures: basilicas, cathedrals, churches, convents and monasteries chapels. But Our Lord may still be there and the Angels adore.

Outside the church building – where the other recent apparitions also took place (See articles 2, 6, 9) – the other altar appears during the storm in a bright, beautiful apparition of Saints and Angels surrounding Our Lady.

modern incorrect holy card for the Knock apparition

A modern depiction of Knock reflects the bare empty altar of the Novus Ordo Mass

In the present crisis of the Church, it is as if there are two altars set before all those who consider themselves Catholic.

There is the dark altar of Vatican II that promotes false religions, heretical doctrines, lax morality, vicious and destructive social teachings, etc.. This Novus Ordo altar is housed today in most of the recognized Church buildings. Our Lord may be present in the tabernacles to help souls, but unfortunately, the churches are increasingly empty and abandoned because of this great storm, that is, the apostasy of the Conciliar Church.

The other altar is often found outside recognized Church buildings. It is next to Our Lady, the Saints and the Angels, but, as the few Knock villagers experienced on that August 21, 1879, the clergy is nowhere in sight and the people are suffering from the storm.

Let us pray to Our Lady of Knock that she grant us the graces to remain faithful during these trying times and that she give us strength to not leave her side during the storm.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.

Testimony of Mrs. Hugh Flatley, one of the 15 official witnesses

“I was passing by the chapel of Knock on the evening of the 21st August, about eight o’clock, and I beheld most clearly and distinctly the figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and that of St. John the Evangelist, standing erect at the gable end of the chapel, towards the south side. I thought that the parish priest had been ornamenting the church, and got some beautiful likenesses removed outside.”

Testimony of Patrick Walsh, one of the 15 official witnesses

“My name is Patrick Walsh; I live in Ballinderrig, an English mile from the chapel at Knock. I remember well the 21stAugust, 1879. It was a very dark night, It was raining heavily. About nine o’clock on that night I was going on some business through my land, and standing a distance of about half a mile from the chapel, I saw a very bright light on the southern gable end of the chapel. It appeared to me to be a large globe of golden light. I never saw, I thought, so brilliant a light before. It appeared high up in the air above and around the chapel gable and it was circular in its appearance. It was quite stationary, and it seemed to retain the same brilliancy all through.

The following day I made inquiries in order to learn if there were any lights seen in the place that night. It was only then that I heard of the vision or apparitions that the people had seen.”

white marble statue of our lady of knock

The silence of Our Lady of Knock speaks of a crisis in the Church



  1. Concerning the pious practice of Communion outside the Mass or extra Missam, please read an excellent bookthat received high praise and an Apostolic Blessing from Pius XII;In Defense of Catholic Action by Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira, 1943, Intro, p. xx.
  2. Rev. William J. Smith, The Mystery of Knock, Our Lady of Ireland, New York: Paulist Press,1954, Mary McLoughlin’s Testimony, p. 8.
  3. Tom Neary, I Saw Our Lady, Co. Mayo, Ireland: Custodians of Knock Shrine, 1995. Interview with Patrick Hill published in Limerick Reporter and Tipperary Vindicator on Friday, February 13, 1880. p. 46.
  4. A Woman Clothed with the Sun, Eight Great Apparitions of Our Lady, Ed. by John J. Delaney. y. New York: Hanover House, 1960. p. 155.
  5. Msgr. Michael Walsh, The Apparition at Knock; A Critical Analysis of Facts and Evidence, Dublin, Ireland: Veritas Publications,. 2008, p. 66.

Posted August 18, 2017

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