“Public revelation” and “private revelation” differ in essence and degree. Public revelation — the Bible — refers to God’s direct revelation to mankind. The Bible knows no time or place borders and climaxes with the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. Private revelation refers to all visions and revelations after the New Testament, like the message of Fatima, to nurture our spirituality in difficult times.
Private revelations require faith that God communicates with words through agents of the community of Faith. Vatican approval of a private revelation requires three elements: it is absolutely consistent with faith or morals, it is lawful for publication and the faithful may accept the revelation with prudence. The message can help in understanding and living the Gospel in a critical period, but the faithful are not obliged to follow the revelation.
The Apostle Paul says: “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). The Church has received the charism of Prophecy, which must be scrutinized but not scorned. Prophecy explains the will of God for the present and the right path for the future, though prediction of the future is incidental to the will of God. The prophetic word is a warning or a consolation, and can be both like the article Psalm 83 Fulfillment, which helps to understand The Signs of the End and respond to them.
Psychological theology entails three forms: exterior, interior and spiritual perceptions. Exterior perception is not normal external perception of the senses, but has the force of a physical presence for the visionaries. The vision of hell by the little shepherds of Fatima is an example. Interior perception is not fantasy; rather the person is led beyond pure exteriority and a deeper dimension of reality becomes visible to the soul. Spiritual perception involves Holy Spirit’s guidance promised and available to every Christian. Spiritual perception is the ability to see God’s plan for our lives and for Christ’s Church. Refer to the article Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit.