A senior Irish bishop has urged Irish Catholics to stay away from the next predicted apparition of the Virgin Mary at the holy shrine in Knock.

The Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, appealed for people to stay away from the Marian Shrine on December 5 when Our Lady is predicted to appear.

Walsh said he did not want to see massive crowds converging on Knock in search of "strange visions."

He was responding to an announcement by the Dublin visionaries Joe Coleman and Keith Henderson that there would be an apparition by Our Lady on Saturday, December 5, at 3 p.m.

Walsh is the first member of the Catholic hierarchy to support the Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, who says the Mary predictions are misleading and could ruin the reputation of the Marian Shrine.

More than 15,000 pilgrims descended on Knock last Sunday to see the apparition setting off a stampede after some people claimed they could see Mary in the "dancing sun."

Now, Walsh says he's worried that even more people are going to show up for the next "event."

"I'm not going to say to people that they shouldn't go to Knock. Knock is a place of prayer, but I would discourage the idea of going off to Knock expecting strange visions," he said.

"I would certainly discourage that in every way".

"It doesn't make sense to me that Our Lady, in some way, would tell someone 'I'll see you in Knock on the 5th of December'," he said.

"That goes away from the rational."

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