Q - I recently stumbled upon an article on "Our Lady of La Salette" and view it with a great deal of skepticism. I find it hard to accept that the Mother of God would speak such harsh words. What is the view of the Catholic Church on the revelations? And what are your views on this?
A - First of all, remember that there is no public revelation after the Apostles. So, we are not under any obligation to believe in such private revelations, even the ones that have Church approval (e.g., Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe, etc.).
There are not that many apparitions that have full approval of the Church and to tell you the truth, I don't know much about the lesser known ones, such as La Salette. I had to do my own research and found that this is one that is approved by the Church.
There is nothing wrong with your skepticism. But, remember that the messages that are present here about Mary saying that her Son, Jesus, would come to seek vengeance, is nothing new. Christ promises that he will come again and punish the wicked and unrepentant. Only by His Mercy are any of us spared punishment eternally. If we remember this, we can understand how the messages may sound harsh, but are nonetheless true (not very PC is it?!).
In La Salette Mary appeared to two young children who were tending sheep. She appeared in sorrow for the sins of the world. She then had a message of repentance and sorrow for our sins. While it certainly isn't "pastoral" in today's world, we sometimes can become too insensitive to our sins and the sins of others. So, while I am not advocating we all stand on corners and yell "sinners go to hell!", we should keep ourselves and others accountable for our actions. This is what love demands of us.
WARNING - PERSONAL OPINION COMING - I do not have a great devotion to any of the apparitions, but I haven't visited any of the locations of the apparitions either.
I believe they can be of great help and an opportunity to conversion for many, but I also would remind you that someone can have a great devotion to Mary, be a great Catholic and have no devotion to any of these apparitions. Whatever you feel called to as an individual at this point is what you should do in regards to these apparitions. With that said, the Church's authority on the matter shouldn't be fought either.
I hope that helps.