Chapter 1 - Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions

- 29 - 1. 3. 3 Summoned before the Bishop In the course of the proceedings brought against me I received confirmation after confirmation of the reports and predictions made by the mediums about my affairs. One day I was summoned before the bishop. Scarcely had his letter reached me, when the farmer boy of my parish, the speaking medium, came to my rectory and said: “I have been obliged to come to see you. You have received a letter from your episcopal superior, ordering you to appear before him on ….” I asked the boy how many lines there were in the letter; even that he knew exactly. Thereupon he passed into a state of trance, and the spirit that spoke through him encouraged me with the words: “You need have no fear. Trust God and do not be afraid! What can people do to you?” I replied that I intended to acknowledge before the bishop the convictions I had acquired as a result of my communications with the spirit world, and that I fully expected to lose my position as a minister of the Catholic Church in consequence. “The bishop will ask you no questions on spiritism, or about any convictions you may have derived from it,” said the spirit. “At some time in the future you will be granted leave. Your separation from your parish will come about in peace between you and your church, and not by way of dismissal.” I could hardly imagine that the bishop would fail to ask me about the spiritist gatherings and the truths revealed there, but it turned out just as the medium had predicted. The bishop read to me the edict issued by the Congregation of Rome in 1917, which stated that Catholics were not allowed to attend spiritist gatherings, had me sign a paper acknowledging that he had brought the ban to my notice, and imposed a penance on me for my past violations of the ban. But of spiritism itself he said not a word. Somewhat later I had the painful experience of seeing a certain prediction communicated through the medium in the city come true. I had been told at a séance that a member of the circle in that city was going to betray me. We did not believe that there was anyone among us capable of such betrayal, and yet, the seemingly impossible happened. A woman of our circle denounced me to the episcopal authorities for my continued attendance at spiritist séances. This seemed to make my dismissal a foregone conclusion. I had, as it happened, applied for a leave of absence to allow me to devote myself to charitable work, but the episcopal vicariate had rejected my application so brusquely that humanly speaking there seemed to be no hope of its being granted. The case against me in the ecclesiastical courts took its course, and a day was set for the main hearing, to which I received a summons. Only a few days remained until this hearing, which, I was sure, would result in my dismissal. Nevertheless, I still had faith in the prediction that had been made to me that I should be allowed to depart from my parish in peace with my church by way of being granted leave. Then, at the eleventh hour, I had a telegram from the ecclesiastic council notifying me that proceedings against me had been dropped for the time being by directive of the bishop. Soon afterwards he wrote me, granting me leave of absence and asking me when I would like to surrender