Skip to comments.Medjugorje: Case Closed?
Posted on 05/20/2005 7:53:09 PM PDT by Teˇfilo
Folks, I watched Dateline NBC's report on "The Mystery of Miracles" earlier this week and I have the following thoughts.
The program touched on the Medjugorje events which started to manifest itself in that Bosnia-Herzegovina town back in the late 1970's. The basic details are these: Our Lady supposedly appeared to four young adults and a boy and began a dialogue with her that for some of them continues to this day.
I've read some early books about the Medjugorje events and for a while, there was much agreement between them. But as the record grew and the alleged apparitions continued, things got more confused. I can't follow the thread any more. I have to ask, what's the end, what's the goal, what's the purpose of these apparitions? Sure, in principle I'm open to the possibility of these kind of visitations, but a healthy skepticism, even sympathetic skepticism, is often called for, less the faithful are lead astray and the Church's mission compromised.
I'm not saying that's the case with the events at Medjugorje, but the fact of the matter is that I can't understand, or I don't know enough, as to how this dialogue is helping to build the Church and advance the cause of Christ and His Gospel.
Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar, Medjugorje's diocesan ordinary during the alleged apparations, following the findings of an investigative commission, declared back in 1987 that nothing supernatural ever happened there, but that the pilgrims arriving to Medjugorje would be ministered to. His successor, Bishop Ratko Peric, holds to the same view.
Some might point out that the Holy See has not pronounced itself against the apparitions and that gives hope to many. Then again, the Holy See has not contradicted Medjugorje's local ordinary and his judgment might be the Church's last word for a long time.
The Church recognizes very few of these private revelations as "worthy of belief." The faithful, then, may choose to believe in them (or not) and to incorporate their teachings into their own spiritualities. This has happened seamlessly with many of the previous Marian apparitions: Fatima, Lourdes, LaSallette, Guadalupe.
The only words of the Blessed Mother that are binding in the conscience of all the faithful, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, are found in the New Testament, in the Gospel according to St. John: "Do whatever He tells you to do." For all Christians, that's the bottom line.
I know. I've seen that too. It's eerie. I've seen tests where one of the kids was poked with needles (I'm talking big needles) and didn't even flinch. There is no adequate scientific explanation for this.
Her main message to the children was "Pray to Jesus. Pray ceaselessly." Sounds like something Mary would say. She also told them that the twentieth century was given over to Satan for him to unleash all evil, but God would overcome him. Have you ever read Walker Percy's "Thanatos Syndrome"? At the end of the novel, the priest character talks about this message from Medjugorje.
Nobody can follow "the thread." These "apparitions" are a scam, with the purpose of luring as many paying customers to the "shrine" as possible.
The messages are a mess, and sound as if they originate in the heads of children.
Which, in fact, they do.
No, I've not read it. I'll check into it though, thanks!
Do. It's a great read!
This is from The Bishop of Mostar, May, 2004. It is the local bishop who determines whether apparitions are genuine, and two bishops have said they are not.
Besides that, she approves of the seers having sex outside of marriage, attending "Masses" said by defrocked priests, and all sorts of other niceties.
I watched that segment on tv with Stone Phillips.
I'd like to believe it, but when that one fellow claimed our Holy Mother comes to him everyday at 6:40PM, (except when he was being interviewed) then I had to think "scam."
"Our Lady" of Medjugorje is not from God. I can say this definatively because she has advocated the false doctrine that all religions are equal.
The bishop's denial tells me nothing. The bishops in America were denying there was a sex abuse scandal. Bishops can be wrong sometimes.
When did she approve of this? Evidence please.
When did she say this?
Well, ah, when the alternative is killing your neighbor or watching your neighbor be killed and gang raped as Milosevic and his thugs run rampant, maybe "can't we all just get along" is not such a bad suggestion.
That right there might be your first clue that you're not getting the whole story.
Wow, I have not heard that. Does this apparition still appear to these people? Like I stated earlier, I'm not a Catholic, but I heard a lot about this story when my friend made his pilgrimage.
Also, as a sidebar, is it true that Pope John Paul II stated that "good works" can get you into heaven? I heard this stated during his funeral hoopla (sorry, couldn't think of better term) and to me that goes contrary to what Jesus states in the Bible.
Is the Blessed Mother nonsensical and contradictory?
Read The Medjugorje Deception: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives by E. Michael Jones. It's been a while since I've read it, but that and more is in there.
Actually, Stone did OK... it was the content and that one guy's claim. It hard to imagine pulling such a stunt, but I truly think it's all one huge scam.
I haven't been there myself and don't plan to go, but know people who have been, and they uniformly report a positive experience. Personally, I think the discipline of, for example, saying a daily rosary, meditating on Scripture, reciting the Divine Office, or taking a more active role in one's parish, is of far greater benefit than apparition-chasing.
My apologies. Apparently we were preparing our posts simultaneously.
This is what I don't understand. The idea of these kids doing this for fame or something just strikes me as simplistic and silly. The idea that it's something demonic also doesn't make sense -- why would Satan encourage people to pray to Jesus? The whole thing is very confusing to me. To simply say, "it's a scam or a hoax" without answering all these questions just doesn't cut it for me.
I looked at his website. This Jones guy isn't all that convincing either. Is this all you've got?
Yes, to me as well. But the nature of heresy is to mix truth with falsehood, and we are told that the devil may appear as an angel of light. So it's wise to be cautious about such things. Who knows what direction these continuing apparitions will take in the future?
I think Rabbi Gamelial's advice is sound: if it's of God, it will endure. Give it a century or two and see what comes of it. In the meantime, there are so many other time-tested ways to deepen our spiritual life, about which there are no doubts. They're not so exciting as an apparition, but steadily applied are much more likely to bear lasting fruit.
No, there are other people I know and respect who have analyzed the situation, and agree with the Bp. of Mostar, who is the one with authority at the moment.
As for Mr. Jones, I'm quite familiar with his other writing, and my assessment is that he is an insightful thinker and careful scholar. Three of his books, Degenerate Moderns, Dionysos Rising, and Living Machines, are available from Fr. Fessio's Ignatius Press. I am presently reading Libido Dominandi. All are essentially critiques of modernism.
The solidity of his other works doesn't mean, of course, that he is right in this instance, but it bodes well.
"Also, as a sidebar, is it true that Pope John Paul II stated that "good works" can get you into heaven?"
I haven't seen any evidence that he said this. However, while our initial justification is by the grace of God alone, Catholics believe that both faith and good works are necessary to persevere in our state of justification to the end.
"Good works" in this sense have nothing to do with the "works of the Law" condemned by St. Paul, however.
the church is holding off on approval.
However, having visited there myself, I saw great holiness...and had a spiritual awakening that helped me to find Christ...and the "fruits" were a number of local prayer groups that started.
As to the bishop, in 1987 he tried to close it down, but historically he has a feud with the local Franciscans (only franciscan priests were allowed in the Ottoman empire to minister to catholics when yugoslavia was under the muslims)...however, I found it very strange during the 1990's, when the Serbs were destroying many catholic churches and the serbs and croats were killing muslims and each other, that someone asked the bishop of Mostar what was the biggest problem in the local church...and he said Medjugore...sounds like he didn't have his priorities straight...when massacres are going on all around you and all you can complain of is a church that encourages prayer...
as for the seers, what impressed me is that they asked: How can you make the bishops approve of Mary's messages, and Viscka replied: It was not important for the bishop to approve of the vision ,it was only important to follow the messages, which was conversion to Christ, penance, spreading peace in your family, and prayer...
This is now my current perception. I have done little reading about it since 1996. But I received some information yesterday which has sharply raised my suspicions. I will have to do some more reading. However, apparently several of the "seers" in recent years have been touring the United States and the Blessed Virgin has been appearing to them here. This commercialism is for me a Big Red Flag.
The last official word I could find on the subject, linked above, indicates the church is planning to do more investigations and has not taken the position the appartions are false.
The following can be found at the above link:
What Does Rome Say About Medjugorje?
For the 17th Anniversary of the apparitions, the Church just gave a beautiful gift to Our Lady! The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent the following letter to Bishop Gilbert Aubry of Saint Denis clarifying its position on Medjugorje. He received it on June 24th. On the 25th, he spread it to the priests and communities of his diocese (circular # C003) so that they can have the latest statement from Rome and, if necessary, inform the faithful with full knowledge of the facts.
PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
Pr. No 154/81-05922
Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. Uffizio
May 26, 1998
To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry,
Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion
In your letter of January 1, 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery several questions about the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar in regard to the so called apparitions of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages and the pastoral care of the faithful who go there.
In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency. The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: "On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." Since the division of Yugoslavia into different independent nations it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina to eventually reopen the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be called for.
What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non super- naturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion.
Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.
I hope that I have replied satisfactorily at least to the principal questions that you have presented to this Dicastery and I beg Your Excellency to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments.
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone (Secretary to the "Congregatio", presided over by Cardinal Ratzinger)
Fr. Daniel-Ange (France) summerizes this way:
1. The declarations of the Bishop of Mostar only reflect his personal opinion. Consequently, they are not an official and definitive judgement from the Church.
2. One is directed to the declaration of Zadar, which leaves the door open to future investigations. In the meanwhile private pilgrimages with pastoral accompaniment for the faithful are permitted.
3. A new commission could eventually be named.
4. In the meanwhile, all Catholics may go as pilgrims to Medjugorje.
A clarification from Cardinal Schonborn:
The letter of Archbishop Bertone to the Bishop of Le Reunion sufficiently makes clear what has always been the official position of the hierarchy during recent years concerning Medjugorje: namely, that it knowingly leaves the matter undecided. The supernatural character is not established; such were the words used by the former conference of bishops of Yugoslavia in Zadar in 1991. It really is a matter of wording, which knowingly leaves the matter pending. It has not been said that the supernatural character is substantially established. Furthermore, it has not been denied or discounted that the phenomena may be of a supernatural nature. There is no doubt that the magisterium of the Church does not make a definite declaration while the extraordinary phenomena are going on in the form of apparitions or other means. Indeed it is the mission of the shepherds to promote what is growing, to encourage the fruits which are appearing, to protect them, if need be, from the dangers which are obviously everywhere.
It is also necessary at Lourdes to see to it that the original gift of Lourdes not be stifled by unfortunate developments. Neither is Medjugorje invulnerable. That is why it is and will be so important that bishops be very conscientious about their mission as shepherds for Medjugorje, so that the obvious fruits that are in that place might be protected from any possible unfortunate errors.
I believe that the words of Mary at Cana: Do whatever He tells you, make up the substance of what s he says throughout the centuries. Mary helps us to hear Jesus and she desires with her whole heart and with all her strength that we do what He tells us. This is what I wish for all the communities of prayer which were formed from Medjugorje; this is what I wish for our diocese and for the Church.
...Personally, I have not been to Medjugorjre, but in a certain way I have been there many times through the people I have met and the people I know. And in their lives I am seeing good fruit. I would be lying, if I said this fruit did not exist. This fruit is concrete and visible and I can see in our diocese and in many other places graces of conversion, graces of a supernatural life of faith, graces of joy, graces of vocations, of healings, of people returning to the Sacraments - to confession. All this is not misleading. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, as a Bishop, I can only see the fruit. If we had to judge the tree by its fruit, like Jesus, I must say that the tree ia fruitful!
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
Cardinal Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who gave the Holy Father and his Papal Household their 1998 Lenten Retreat (and who was head of the churchs commission responsible for the Catechism of the Catholic Church), gave the preceeding testimony in Lourdes on July 18, 1998. The Cardinals words were published in Medjugorje Gebetsakion, #50, and in Stella Maris, #343, pp. 19, 20.
Yes, you're right. Thank you for this post. Your comments here make a lot of sense to me. We just need to wait and see. This is why the Church is wise to act slowly on these things.
Hmm. Alright then. Maybe I should check out more of his stuff. I saw a long article about a disagreement he had with William Donahue of the Catholic League. Donahue can be abrasive (to say the least -- hey, he's the Catholic version of Abe Foxman, how could he not be abrasive), but I've always found him to be an overall honest man. I was a little put off by Jones because of his argument with Donahue, but maybe I was overly hasty. As I said, I'm sure Donahue's style can rub some people (good Catholic scholars included) the wrong way.
"I'd like to believe it, but when that one fellow claimed our Holy Mother comes to him everyday at 6:40PM, (except when he was being interviewed) then I had to think "scam."
So that totals what, over 8 thousand appearances to Ivan. Why so many? She only appeared to the Fatima children I believe six times? What could she possibly say 8000 xs that she couldn't say in just a couple apparitions.
The whole thing is Melarchy (thanks Sinkspur!)
"as for the seers, what impressed me is that they asked: How can you make the bishops approve of Mary's messages, and Viscka replied: It was not important for the bishop to approve of the vision ,it was only important to follow the messages, which was conversion to Christ, penance, spreading peace in your family, and prayer..."
I must say this, in many of the church approved apparitions, the seers were always obedient to their superiors, i.e. the bishops. Obedience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
You are right on track, diamond6. The Franciscans in charge of the Medjugorje shrine were sent away for their disobedience.
Fr. Daniel-Ange (France) summerizes this way:
1. The declarations of the Bishop of Mostar only reflect his personal opinion. Consequently, they are not an official and definitive judgement from the Church.
Thank you for sharing this! So, there we stand.
Yes, obedience to the bishops, but not when the bishop oversteps his authority. When the bishop tried to shut it down, the Vatican stepped in. And why MY local bishop wrote in the Catholic newspaper we needed to "obey" the bishop of Mostar and not visit there, I wrote back and pointed out that he did not have that authority unless he declared the site a threat to morals, which he did not...the Vatican's position is that if you wanted to visit as a private citizen, and pray, it was okay...you just couldn't promote it publically.
And I should point out that "my" local bishop was busy desecrating art work from churches, supporting pedophile priests etc...
There seems to be aline between the devout and the liberal, and ironically many in the renewal of traditional Catholicism have been inspired or even converted in Medjugore...Mother Angelica, Mother Teresa, the Univ of Steubenville....
When people flock to Medjugore WHO are they seeking? It is not Christ . People do not talk about Christ when they talk about Mediugora they talk about Mary , they pray to Mary they wear Mary medals. THAT is why Satan would set something like this up.That is why it would be demonic
Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life NO ONE comes to the Father BUT BY ME".
So an apparition that says all religions are fine is a lie from the pit of hell.
Lots and lots of people are skeptical of Medjugorje. With Fatima and the other apparitions there was a period of time, specific to the apparition and then the appearances ceased. This hasn't happened with Medjugorje and the seers apparently can conjure the Blessed Mother up when they are on the road i.e. England, the US. You also have to take a look at what these children are doing as adults, how do they live?
God can use anything he choses to convert, He can use the faith of individuals who come to see an apparition that is not nor has it ever been approved by the bishops of Mostar. If I am not mistaken the Church cannot do an investigation unless the local bishop believes the apparitions are worthy, apparently he doesn't, nor did his predecessor. The controversy and skepticism surrounding the "continuing apparition' is massive even within very conservative traditional circles of Catholics. The skepticsim is also there among former supporters who have watched the antics of the seers over... how many years is it now... 25 and counting? Medjugordje has made an awful lot of money for people, indeed it has turned into quite a business. I was hoping its popularity was winding down.