Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Apparitions of the Virgin Mary A Protestant Look at a Catholic Phenomenon: Part Two
Christian Research Journal ^ | 1991 | Kenneth R. Samples

Posted on 11/09/2010 4:31:20 PM PST by Gamecock

In Part One I presented a descriptive survey of the unusual Catholic phenomenon known as Marian apparitions. I explained how the Catholic church specifically defines an apparition and described its method of evaluating these elusive, ethereal visions. I also surveyed some of the more important and popular alleged apparitions of Mary at such places as Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima.

In the present article I will conclude my description of this extraordinary phenomenon, discussing in detail the currently reported apparitions in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. I will also examine how apparitions in general have influenced Catholic piety. Finally, I will respond to some of the difficult theological questions this phenomena raises, addressing them from an evangelical Protestant perspective.


Glossary

apparition: The sudden appearance of a supernatural entity which directly manifests itself to a human person or group (a supernatural vision).

encyclical: A letter of instruction from the Pope which circulates throughout the church.

indulgence: The partial or complete remission of the penalties still due to be paid for sins which have already been forgiven in the sacrament of penance.

Mariology: (1) The totality of Catholic dogmas, beliefs, and speculations regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus. (2) That branch of Catholic theology concerned with the study of Marian doctrines.

papal bull: An official document, edict, or decree from the Pope.

purgatory: In Catholic theology, a state of purification and/or maturation one may experience after death for the purpose of preparing one's soul to enter the presence of God.


MEDJUGORJE, YUGOSLAVIA 1981 -

As the decade of the 1980s began, few people outside of Yugoslavia had heard of Medjugorje (pronounced Med-ju-gory-ah): a small and remote farming community nestled between the hills in the province of Hercegovina, in southwestern Yugoslavia.[1] In the summer of 1981, however, events transpired that would transform this once-obscure community into an international pilgrimage center. In fact, over a ten year period, some 10 to 15 million people from five different continents have journeyed to Medjugorje.[2] This is even more significant when it is recognized that Yugoslavia is a Communist country.

What could attract so many people to this out-of-the-way place? It is the startling claim of six Croatian youths that, for the past decade, they have communicated almost daily with an apparition that identifies itself as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Beginning of the Apparitions

On Wednesday, June 24, 1981, two teenage girls -- Ivanka Ivankovic (15 years old) and Mirjana Dragicevic (16) -- had gone out to a hillside behind their homes to smoke cigarettes. While walking down the rocky slopes of Podbrdo (Pod-bre-do) hill in the late afternoon, Ivanka looked up and saw the luminous figure of a young woman in a grey robe, hovering three feet above the ground. "Look, Mirjana," Ivanka said excitedly, "it's the Gospa" (the Croatian word for Madonna, or Virgin Mary). Mirjana, seeing that her friend was genuinely startled, replied: "Don't be an idiot. Why on earth would the Gospa appear to the likes of us?"[3] Both of the girls were gripped with fear and ran down the hill to the village.

About an hour later, the two girls reluctantly agreed to go back up the hill to help a friend round up a small flock of sheep that had been grazing on Podbrdo. When they reached the spot where Ivanka had seen the apparition, all three girls saw a figure of a woman holding a child in her arms. Just then a fourth teenage girl joined them, Vicka Ivankovic, who had come looking for her friends. Vicka was especially terrified by the woman and ran down the hill seeking help. Two teenage boys were summoned and they also witnessed the apparition. The radiant figure beckoned the youths to come toward her, but all six were shaken and ran down the hill to their homes.[4]

The next day, four girls and two boys encountered the apparition again at the same place on the hill. This group was slightly different than those who had seen the apparition the previous day. It included from the first day Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivan Dragicevic (16). The young people who joined the group on the second day were Marija Pavlovic (16) and the young boy, Jacov Colo (10). These six Croatian youths would become Medjugorje's permanent group of "visionaries" or "seers." They are the only people who can see the apparitions.

On this second day, it was again Ivanka who first saw the figure. As before, the luminous woman beckoned the children to come toward her. Still fearful, but nevertheless feeling strangely drawn to "the Lady," the children rushed toward the glowing apparition, knelt down in front of it, and began to pray. Still grieving from her mother's recent death, Ivanka was the first to speak: "Where is my mother?" The Lady told the girl that her mother was well, that she was with her, and not to worry. Ivanka asked if her mother had left a message for her children. The Lady responded: "Obey your grandmother and be good to her because she is old and cannot work."[5] Mirjana, being concerned with what others would say, complained: "Dear Gospa, they will not believe us when we go home. They will tell us that we are crazy." The Lady merely smiled and promised to return the next day. "Go in the peace of God," was her salutation as she disappeared from sight. The apparition had lasted some ten to fifteen minutes.[6]

News about the apparitions spread like wildfire throughout Medjugorje and its surrounding areas. By Friday, the third day of the appearances, two or three thousand people joined the visionaries on the hill awaiting the apparition. A bright light flashed three times on the horizon just before the apparition appeared. The young people were much bolder now in approaching the mysterious Lady. Vicka, the most outspoken, brought forth some holy water mixed with salt. She sprinkled the apparition, saying: "If you are really Our Lady, then stay with us. If not, leave us!" The Lady only smiled in response. Then the following dialogue ensued:

Following the dialogue, the Lady joined with the young people in reciting several traditional Catholic prayers. Seven times they recited the "Our Father" (also known as the Lord's Prayer), the "Hail Mary" (with the Lady not participating), and the "Glory Be to the Father." At the Lady's insistence, they also recited the Apostles' Creed.[8]

The apparitions were drawing so much attention by the fourth and fifth days that the communist police immediately cracked down on the new movement. They dispersed the large crowds (15,000 present on the hill during the fourth day of apparitions) and interrogated the visionaries. All six youths were submitted to rigorous medical and psychiatric examinations. But when the tests showed no sign of maladjustment, they were allowed to return to their homes. The police also ordered the priests of St. James parish (the Catholic church in Medjugorje) to ban the apparitions. Ten days after the appearances had begun, Yugoslavian television condemned them as "a Croatian nationalist plot."[9] The communists suspected that the apparitions were really a front, intended to cover a politically motivated uprising.

The local Franciscan priests were initially very skeptical about the apparitions. Father Jozo Zovko, the newly appointed pastor of St. James Parish, at first thought the youths were using drugs. Zovko gradually grew to accept the visionaries' claims, and sought to protect them from the police. In a private interview he informed me that he himself witnessed a silent apparition one night during mass. Shortly after his acceptance of the apparitions, Zovko was arrested for "inciting the crowds." He ended up serving 18 months of a three year prison sentence.

The police did their best to stop the phenomenon, but to no avail. As the visions continued, most of the villagers in and around Medjugorje began to be convinced of their authenticity. Because the communists do not allow religious services outside

the church, the visionaries asked the Lady if she would appear to them in the church. Soon after their request, they began receiving apparitions in the church rectory of St. James Parish. Except for a few apparitions in the visionaries' homes, the appearances have remained in the church.

What Do The Visionaries Claim To See?

The young people all attest that three flashes of light almost always precede the coming apparition. They also claim they see the Virgin Mary as a real, external person, occupying three-dimensional space. They describe her as a young woman wearing a grey robe, with a white veil, having a crown of stars around her head, and having blue eyes, black curly hair, rosy cheeks, and floating on a cloud. They say Mary speaks to them in their native language of Croatian, and that they can both hear and touch her. While they all see the same figure, sometimes the messages to particular visionaries are individual and private. They also claim that other persons have appeared to them, including: various angels, Jesus, the Devil, and certain deceased relatives. They have also reported seeing visions of heaven, purgatory, and hell.[10]

Twenty-Five Hundred Apparitions and Counting

As the tenth anniversary of the apparitions approaches, it is extraordinary that the visionaries still claim to witness them nearly every day. While two of the original visionaries have stopped seeing daily visions (Mirjana and Ivanka), the other four (whose ages now range from nineteen to twenty-six) claim that the appearances continue. The total number has reached approximately twenty-five hundred. This is in sharp contrast to the alleged apparitions at Lourdes, where St. Bernadette received only eighteen total apparitions over a period of five months. Similarly, at Fatima there were only a handful of apparitions over several months.

One Thousand Messages

Over this ten-year period the visionaries claim to have received nearly a thousand messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to Catholic scholar Mark Miravalle, Assistant Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the overall messages of Medjugorje fall into a few basic divisions. The most important are: the secrets, information for later disclosure, and the principal messages.[11]

The "secrets" consist of ten messages the Lady has promised to give to all the visionaries. This is similar to both Lourdes and Fatima, where secrets were also given. The secrets are generally apocalyptic in nature, and are said to affect the entire world.

One of the secrets has already been partially disclosed by the youths. The Lady has promised to leave a visible sign on the hill to commemorate the apparitions.

The secrets consist of both blessings for the obedient and punishment for the wicked. The ninth and tenth secrets are spoken of as particularly grave for mankind. Mirjana and Ivanka claim to know all ten. The other four visionaries know only nine. It is presumed that once all the visionaries have received the ten secrets, the apparitions will cease in Medjugorje. In fact, the visionaries have all stated that, according to the Lady, this will be her last appearance on the earth. This divulgence contributes to the messages' already apocalyptic orientation.

"Information for later disclosure" consists of information which the visionaries have been instructed to disclose at the appropriate times in the future. It is commonly thought that the visionaries will reveal certain things to church authorities -- possibly even the Pope. Such disclosures will have some connection to the secrets and will verify the predictive aspect of the secrets.

The third division, referred to as the principal messages, is considered the most important. These messages are universal in their scope and application. According to Miravalle, they contain six foundational themes: (1) faith (both in God and in the authenticity of the apparitions); (2) prayer (especially the rosary); (3) fasting (twice a week on bread and water); (4) penance (self-denial for the sake of lost souls); (5) conversion (to God and away from sin); and (6) peace (of the soul first, then of the world).

The call for peace appears to be the central focal point in the Medjugorjian message; so much so that the Lady reportedly identifies herself to the visionaries as the "Queen of Peace."[12]

Signs and Wonders

There have also allegedly been various signs and miracles that accompany the already supernatural apparitions in Medjugorje. The most popular is undoubtedly the "Miracle of the Sun" phenomenon. Rene Laurentin, an eminent Marian scholar, stated that "on numerous occasions, thousands have witnessed the sun change colors, spin, become a silver disc, throb and pulsate in the sky, and throw off a rainbow of colors."[13] When I visited Medjugorje in September of 1990, I observed thousands of people looking directly into the sun every day at 5:45 p.m., when the apparition was allegedly taking place.

Most pilgrims claim that part of the miracle is that they are able to observe the sun for several minutes without damaging their eyes. This is not true in everyone's case, however. A recent New England Journal of Medicine discussed people who have suffered serious eye damage from watching the sun in Medjugorje.[14] Because it is happening rather frequently, some doctors are calling it the "Medjugorje affliction."

In addition to the phenomena of the sun, unusual things have reportedly taken place in connection with a large cross at the top of Mount Krizevac, the highest peak in the area. This twenty-foot cement cross, which overlooks Medjugorje, was built in 1933 to commemorate the 1900th year of Christ's death and resurrection. Some pilgrims have testified that they have seen the arms of the cross mysteriously spin. Others say it frequently becomes a column of light more intense than a neon cross. Still others claim that they have seen it disappear before their eyes. It has also been reported that the word "MIR" (the Croatian word for PEACE) has appeared in bright letters in the sky above the cross.

Other signs have been reported, including: rosaries turning a gold or copper color, fires on the hillside with nothing being scorched, images of Jesus and Mary seen in the sky, and numerous claims to physical healings.[15]

Many Catholics who have visited this village, however, say they are most persuaded by the spiritual fruit they see present there. This fruit, in their thinking, is the changed lives of those who visit Medjugorje and are challenged to live the simple but relevant messages given there.

The Catholic Church's Judgment

The happenings in Medjugorje are unique among reported apparitions, if only for their duration. Just what is the Vatican's attitude toward them? The answer to that question remains unclear.

According to church Canon Law, the responsibility for investigating an alleged apparition rests with the local bishop. In this case, that is Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar-Duvno, the prelate (high-ranking clergyman) of the diocese in which Medjugorje lies. Shortly after the apparitions began, Zanic began looking into the events. Though always cautious, his initial findings confirmed the need for further study. In 1982, he headed an official diocesan commission to investigate the phenomenon. A fifteen-member panel studied it for five years before reaching a conclusion. Their findings were reportedly negative, but the results were never made public. The majority of the panel, made up of nearly a dozen theologians and two psychiatrists, voted against a supernatural explanation of the events. Bishop Zanic informed me during a private interview that the results of the voting were as follows: two votes that the supernatural was confirmed; one vote that there was something supernatural, but only in the beginning; one abstention; and eleven votes that the supernatural was not confirmed.

Bishop Zanic told me that he found serious discrepancies between the youths' testimonies. He stated he had caught them in clear fabrications, and that the healings and miracles were either fraudulent or grossly exaggerated. He also stated that the local Franciscans had been guilty of disobedience and, in some cases, unethical practice. His conclusion: the apparitions in Medjugorje are a fraud perpetuated by the local Franciscans, with whom he has been feuding.

In April 1986, Zanic brought his report to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the prefect (official) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome (the deciding body with regard to apparitions). Cardinal Ratzinger decided that the conditions surrounding the apparitions at Medjugorje warranted a broader examination. In some ways, just the popularity of Medjugorje itself has demanded a more extensive evaluation. In addition, the long-standing conflict between Bishop Zanic and the Franciscans is well known. Some felt that this dispute influenced Ratzinger's decision to have Bishop Zanic's diocesan commission dissolved. Ratzinger then transferred the authority for rendering a judgment on Medjugorje to the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia, presided over by Cardinal Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb, Yugoslavia. The Bishops' Conference installed a new commission that has been investigating Medjugorje for the past five years. Their evaluation has progressed slowly, but in late November, 1990, they released this controversial statement:

The meaning of this statement is open to interpretation. Opponents of Medjugorje argue that if nothing supernatural has been confirmed after ten years of investigation, then the apparitions are not genuine. They tend to see this statement as leading to a final negative verdict on Medjugorje. Supporters, however, believe that this is not the final word on Medjugorje -- the validity of the apparitions is still an open question. It appears that both sides are still awaiting an official word from the Vatican. Recently, however, Cardinal Ratzinger has issued a reminder to the pilgrims that Medjugorje has not yet been approved by the church, and that it is forbidden for pilgrimages to be sponsored by the church.[17]

Many feel that Medjugorje's popularity will have some influence on the Vatican's final decision as to whether the apparitions should be approved. Regardless, many Catholics already view Medjugorje as the continuation of Lourdes and Fatima. Medjugorje has had a substantial impact upon millions of Catholics worldwide.

HOW APPARITIONS HAVE INFLUENCED CATHOLIC PIETY

Having surveyed several diverse examples of Marian apparitions (in Part One, and concluding with this article's look at Medjugorje), I now wish to consider how Marian apparitions have influenced Catholic devotional life.

The Rosary

The reciting of the so-called Dominican rosary is one of the most popular and recognizable forms of prayer in the Catholic church. The rosary is considered a pious practice that is intended to combine both vocal and contemplative prayer. Praying the rosary consists of reciting 15 decades (or sets of ten) of "Hail Marys," each preceded by an "Our Father," and followed by a "Glory be to the Father." The vocal prayers are accompanied by meditations upon certain aspects of the life of Jesus and Mary, referred to as "mysteries." The worshiper recites the vocal prayers, but dwells on the mysteries assigned to the decade he or she is reciting. The mysteries are separated into three divisions (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious), with five meditations to each division.

The worshiper keeps track of these many prayers by use of a string of beads (also called a rosary), to which a crucifix is attached. The central prayer of the rosary is clearly the "Hail Mary," which is repeated 150 times when the complete 15 decades is recited (ordinarily, to "pray the rosary" means to pray only five of the fifteen decades). The Hail Mary is recited in two parts:

The origin of the rosary, at least St. Dominic's connection to it, has been vigorously debated. "Pious tradition" teaches that the Virgin Mary appeared to Dominic in an apparition and gave him the rosary. She instructed him to proclaim its many benefits, and promised him many personal blessings if he did. This tradition has been around at least since the fifteenth century. It gained wide acceptance because of its insertion into many papal bulls and encyclicals, which promised various indulgences for those who faithfully recited the rosary.[18]

Linking the origin of the rosary to an apparition seen by St. Dominic has been disputed by modern Catholic scholars. The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that "those who have favored the tradition have not succeeded in mustering convincing proofs to support it," and concludes that "the most satisfying explanation of the Rosary"s origin is that it developed gradually as various Christological and Marian devotions coalesced."[19] Nevertheless, many Catholics still believe this pious tradition.

While the origin of the rosary cannot be convincingly connected to an apparition of Mary, the command to pray the rosary is a central motif in nearly all of the ecclesiastically approved Marian apparitions. As we saw in Part One, this is especially true of Lourdes and Fatima, where praying the rosary is one way of averting apocalyptic disaster. The Medjugorjian message follows this pattern. During one of the apparitions at Medjugorje, the Lady requested that the full 15-decade rosary be said every day. According to Miravalle, the rosary is the fundamental form of devotional prayer requested at Medjugorje.

Apparitions of Mary have thus done much to increase the popularity of the rosary among Catholics.

Scapulars

Another object of Catholic devotion that is attributed to a Marian apparition is the scapular. Scapulars are worn devoutly by millions of Catholics throughout the world.

The first scapulars were worn by monks as early as the eleventh century to protect their habits (religious dress) while performing manual labor. Initially, they consisted of a large cloth worn over the shoulders (scapular is Latin for "shoulder"). Today, however, they are made up of two small double squares of cloth, suspended from the shoulders by two strings or cords. Over a period of time a symbolic meaning was attached to the garments. They were considered a kind of cross worn around the shoulders -- a sign of God's protection. There is now close to twenty different scapulars connected to various religious orders.

The oldest and best known of the Marian scapulars is the brown scapular dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Its origin is allegedly connected to a Marian apparition. The New Catholic Encyclopedia explains: "According to Carmelite legend, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock in Cambridge in 1251 and, showing him a brown scapular, declared that whoever wore it until death would be preserved from hell and on the first Saturday after his death would be taken by her to heaven."[20]

Historically, it is questionable whether this apparition or the scapular associated with it was known to the Carmelite friars in the mid-thirteenth century.[21] Some believe it was a pious invention of a later time. However, the promise of deliverance from hell has been a source of controversy. While theologians insist that the scapular is not to be regarded as securing salvation in and of itself (the interior disposition of the soul must be considered primary), many Catholics nonetheless view the scapular as having a magical efficacy. Again, for many Catholics, its alleged connection to an apparition makes it a guarantee from heaven.

A PROTESTANT EVANGELICAL RESPONSE

Because of their seemingly miraculous character, Marian apparitions present a challenge to Protestant evangelical faith which needs to be addressed. In the remainder of this article I will therefore evaluate these occurrences from that Protestant position. In so doing, I must assume -- rather than defend -- the Protestant belief in the supreme authority of Scripture. That belief has been adequately defended previously in this journal.[22]

It seems evident from studying this distinctly Catholic phenomenon that the only way one could justify belief in Marian apparitions is to accept completely the Roman Catholic view of Mary. That is, if these apparitions are authentic and are performed under the auspice of almighty God, then we are dealing with the Mary revealed in Roman Catholic theology. For these apparitions do nothing but confirm distinctly Catholic beliefs about Mary. However, this is the central reason why Protestant evangelicals cannot accept these apparitions as being from God. To accept these apparitions is to accept a completely unbiblical view of Mary. And, for the evangelical Protestant, the clear teaching of Scripture must supersede any private revelation, especially those that are directly incompatible with the Bible.

Just as the Catholic church uses an objective criteria for accepting or rejecting apparitions (conformity to Catholic teaching), the Protestant does as well. For the Protestant, the phenomenon must conform to Scripture. Protestants, then, are no more closed-minded (apriorism) to supernatural manifestations than Catholics; we merely use a different and, from our perspective, more appropriate criteria.

The Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), upon which Protestantism stands, asserts that Scripture is the supreme authority in matters of doctrine. However, the Catholic affirmation of Mary's immaculate conception, her perpetual virginity, her bodily assumption into heaven, and her work as an intercessor all lack biblical support.[23] Further, there is no biblical basis for granting Mary such exalted titles as "Queen of Heaven," "Mother of the Church," and "Queen of all Saints."

It is not just that these Marian beliefs lack biblical support (nonbiblical); some of them undermine clearly defined scriptural doctrines (unbiblical). For example, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception directly contradicts the biblical teaching of the universality of sin (Rom. 3:23). What concerns Protestants most, however, is the way Mariology challenges the uniqueness of Christ's person, and also detracts from the complete sufficiency of His work. If there is doubt about this, consider how Catholic Mariology parallels Christology: (1) Jesus was born without sin -- Mary was conceived without original sin. (2) Jesus was sinless -- Mary also lived a sinless life. (3) Following His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven -- Mary was assumed bodily into heaven. (4) Jesus is a mediator -- Mary is a mediatrix. (5) Jesus is the Redeemer -- Mary is the coredemptrix. (6) Jesus is the new Adam -- Mary is the new Eve. (7) Jesus is the King -- Mary is the Queen. Even Protestant scholars who are sympathetic to Catholicism believe that this parallel can only threaten Christ's preeminence and blur His exclusive role as sole redeemer and mediator (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:16-18; 4:14-15; 7:25; 9:12-14; 10:1-10).[24] A further concern is that Mary, by virtue of her exalted status, has actually become a semi-divine being.

Because Catholic Mariology and Marian apparitions are inextricably woven together (Mariology providing the basis for potentially authentic apparitions), we must jettison both. You see, if we are forced to reject the Catholic view of Mary on scriptural grounds, we cannot then accept Marian apparitions which simply espouse the same doctrinal errors. Protestants, therefore, have a scriptural right to discount Marian apparitions a priori, simply because they fail our criterion.

The truth or falsity of apparitions is measured then upon whether the phenomenon as a whole conforms to Scripture, not on how dramatic or sensational the experience may be. For the Protestant, apparitions could never confirm the truth of Catholic Mariology, which is unbiblical by its very nature.

Finding an Explanation

Any honest effort to provide a satisfying explanation for the phenomenon known as Marian apparitions will prove to be a complex and difficult task. I freely admit that I may not be able to account for everything connected to these unusual occurrences. Nevertheless, logically the origin or cause of Marian apparitions must be either natural or supernatural. There could be numerous natural explanations. These range from outright human deception, to psychological projection or hallucination, or even possibly to some physical or natural scientific cause. The cause could even be found in a combination of these factors. However, because of the unbiblical nature of Marian apparitions, if the cause is supernatural in origin then we can only be dealing with the demonic, not with God. I realize that this line of reasoning will be offensive to many Catholics; nonetheless, I believe it is a necessary theological inference.

When one analyzes many of the alleged miracles that accompany Marian apparitions, they seem to be of a different kind than those found in Scripture. This is true of biblical miracles as a whole, as well as the miracles in Jesus' public ministry. When did Jesus ever make the sun dance or crosses spin? All of His miracles were done in the context of ministry. Biblical miracles had a strong practical aspect. Many of the miracles associated with Marian apparitions seem dramatic and sensational; attention-getting if you will -- the kind of miracles that Jesus consistently refused to perform (Matt. 12:38-39). This is a good reason to at least suspect the source of these miracles.

But could Satan (and/or demons) pull this off? There seems to be clear scriptural evidence that the answer is yes. First, we are told that the devil "masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). He is also capable of performing "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders" (2 Thess. 2:9-10), and near the end of the ages he will inspire false Christs and false prophets who will "perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible" (Matt. 24:24). The Book of Revelation speaks several times of how the "beast" and the "false prophet" -- both extensions of Satan -- will perform "great miraculous signs" in the end times (Rev. 13:13; 16:14; 19:20). In addition to counterfeit miracles, he is also capable of predicting the future (sometimes with astounding accuracy, but often not) and declaring a way of salvation (Acts 16:16). His goal is always to deceive, to cause people to abandon their faith, and, ultimately, to lead the world astray (1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 12:19).

How does this apply to Medjugorje and other popular Marian apparitions? Satan's purpose behind this phenomenon might be to divert Catholics in general, and evangelical Catholics in particular, from a faith centered in Christ and the biblical elements in Catholicism to an emphasis on the more unbiblical and even cultic aspects of Catholicism (Mariology in general, penance, purgatory, veneration of saints, etc.). All these cultic aspects are directly connected to apparitions. As long as the emphasis

remains on these things, Satan can afford to candy-coat his deceptive scheme by mouthing Christian theology (e.g., telling Mary's followers to pray the creed, teaching there is only one God, etc.). Scripture is clear that Satan has both the means and the motive to orchestrate the unusual events described in this article.

Legend, Delusion, or Psychosis?

A number of alleged Marian apparitions are based upon very sketchy evidence. As we have seen, the New Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that the apparitions to St. Dominic and the apparition to St. Simon Stock in 1251 are virtually legends. As well, this same encyclopedia points out that the documentary basis for the apparition at Guadalupe, Mexico (1531) is not without problems, though certainly more credible than those associated with St. Dominic and St. Stock.

The Catholic church also admits that most apparitions remain unverified, and can probably be explained by natural means. Some are intentionally fraudulent, while others are caused by illness. Modern psychiatry has proposed that religious visions are frequently the result of psychological projection, hysteria, and/or hallucinations. Although an anti-supernatural bias no doubt influences some of these explanations, yet they do seem to fit and adequately describe much visionary phenomena (biblical visions being an obvious exception).

Problems with Medjugorje

There are several problems with the phenomena of Medjugorje, let alone the underlying theology. First, there are some inconsistencies in the visionaries' testimonies. On June 30th, 1981 (the first week of the apparitions), the visionaries reported that the "Gospa" would appear only three more times. This was a definite mistake. Additionally, when the apparitions began, it was stated that there were five secrets. This was later changed to ten. Laurentin has attempted to explain these apparent contradictions, but in the wake of a thousand alleged messages, I am not sure he succeeds.

There is also the problem of some messages sounding pluralistic (i.e., implying the salvific validity of all religions). In 1981, a priest asked the visionaries: "Are all the religions good?" Their answer was that the Lady says "all religions are good before God." On another occasion a message came forth stating that "you are not true Christians if you do not respect other religions" and that "division among the religions is caused by man, not God." Laurentin attempts to defend these statements by stating that the Lady is only requesting tolerance among differing religions.[25] However, even Vatican officials are concerned with these pluralistic sounding messages. It would seem these messages are at least ambiguous, if not genuinely pluralistic in content.

Another troubling aspect of Medjugorje is that some of the visionaries have seen, talked to, and even touched people who have died. In Ivanka's case, she embraced and kissed her dead mother.[26] This sounds very similar to the occultic practice of necromancy, a practice the Bible explicitly condemns (Deut. 18:10-12; Isa. 8:19; 1 Chron. 10:13-14). While some may argue that this is not technically necromancy because the dead are not conjured, still the visionaries are receiving information from the dead -- which is entirely foreign to Scripture and very much like the occultic practice. I would also argue that Mary herself is among the dead. If this contact with spirits is really happening, I must conclude they are communicating with demons.

We would do well to heed the warnings of Scripture: "Test everything. Hold on to the good" (1 Thess. 5:21). "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1). I do not believe that the occurrences at Medjugorje, for example, have been adequately tested for signs of the demonic. Spraying holy water mixed with salt is not sufficient. As well, since Scripture instructs us to test the spirits, the fact that the Lady at both Lourdes and Fatima refused initially to identify herself raises great suspicion as to her real identity.

Whether the cause is demonic or human, the effect of this phenomenon is to lead people away from the truth of God's Word. In fact, if we are to succeed in guarding against this type of spiritual aberration, Holy Scripture must be our standard. Protestants have long argued that it is Catholicism's failure to understand and accept the supreme normative authority of Scripture that has allowed the doctrinal excesses found in Catholic Mariology. This is especially tragic because the popularity of these apparitions demonstrates that millions of Catholics are sincerely hungry for spiritual truth. However, the truth that sets men free is found only in the Christ of the apostolic writings. Therefore, it is precisely because of this evangelical Protestant's regard for Christ and Scripture (as well as the true honor of Christ's mother) that I must protest against Marian apparitions and the cult of the Virgin Mary.

NOTES

1 The word "Medjugorje" is Croatian for "between the hills."
2 These figures were given to me by Catholic journalist Gabriel Meyer. He is based in Medjugorje and writes for the National Catholic Register and Catholic Twin Circle.
3 Gabriel Meyer, A Portrait of Medjugorje (Studio City, CA: Twin Circle Publishing Company, 1990), 19.
4 As cited in Mary Craig, Spark From Heaven: The Mystery of the Madonna of Medjugorje (Notre Dame, ID: Ave Maria Press, 1988), 16. This quote comes from an interview transcript for the BBC Everyman/Westernhanger film, The Madonna of Medjugorje.
5 Svetozar Kraljevic, The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje, ed. Michael Scanlan (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1984), 13.
6 Ibid.
7 As cited in Rene Laurentin and Rene Lejeune, Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje (Milford, OH: The Riechle Foundation, 1988), 150.
8 Rene Laurentin and Ljudevit Rupcic, Is the Virgin Mary Appearing at Medjugorje? (Gaithersburg, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 1984), 26-27.
9 Meyer, 23.

10 Laurentin and Rupcic, 31-32.
11 Mark Miravalle, Heart of the Message of Medjugorje (Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1988), 14-16.
12 Ibid., 30.
13 Rene Laurentin, Latest News of Medjugorje (June 1987), trans. Judith Lohre Stiens (Milford, OH: The Riehle Foundation, 1987), X.
14 See Edgar L. Havaich, "On a Hill Far Away: The Message and Miracles of Medjugorje," The Quarterly Journal, July/September 1990, 5-7.

15 Rene Laurentin and Henri Joyeux, Scientific & Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugorje, trans. Luke Griffin (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1987).
16 As cited in E. Michael Jones, "Medjugorje Goes Up in Smoke: The Yugoslavian Bishops Just Say No," Fidelity, February 1991, 16.
17 Chuck Sudetic, "Heavenly Visions? Bishop Says No," New York Times, 28 September 1990, A9.
18 New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967), s.v. "Rosary."

19 Ibid., 668.
20 Ibid., s.v. "Scapulars," 1115.
21 Ibid.
22 See Elliot Miller, "The Christian and Authority" (two parts), Forward, Spring and Summer 1985, 8-15; Kenneth R. Samples, "Does the Bible Teach `Sola Scriptura'?," Christian Research Journal, Fall 1989, 31.

23 See Elliot Miller, "From Lowly Handmaid to Queen of Heaven: The Mary of Roman Catholicism" (two parts), Christian Research Journal, Summer and Fall, 1990.
24 See George Carey, A Tale of Two Churches (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 37.
25 Laurentin, Latest News of Medjugorje (June 1987), 25-31.

26 Jan Connell, Queen of the Cosmos: Interviews with the Visionaries (Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 1990), 40.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; General Discusssion; Worship
KEYWORDS: mary
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-105 next last

1 posted on 11/09/2010 4:31:24 PM PST by Gamecock
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

Sticking our heads in the mill for more punishment?


2 posted on 11/09/2010 4:32:47 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
Part 2 of 2.

Apparitions of the Virgin Mary: A Protestant Look at a Catholic Phenomenon: Part One

3 posted on 11/09/2010 4:34:06 PM PST by Gamecock ( Christianity is not the movement from vice to virtue, but from virtue to Grace.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

I admire your bravery for posting this.

From what I’ve witnessed lately here on FR, the Roman Catholic Church is a favorite target of some.

I wish you good luck and God’s blessings!


4 posted on 11/09/2010 4:34:30 PM PST by airborne (Why is it we won't allow the Bible in school, but we will in prison? Think about it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

By no means.


5 posted on 11/09/2010 4:35:16 PM PST by Gamecock ( Christianity is not the movement from vice to virtue, but from virtue to Grace.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

I would look more closely at Fatima (where thousands witnessed the phenomenon in the sky) to understand the effects of apparitions on Catholics. Mary foretold WWII, and the approaching death of one of the children; she also showed them Hell.


6 posted on 11/09/2010 4:45:18 PM PST by kearnyirish2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

1991? Wow, business must be slow in anti-Catholic land this week.


7 posted on 11/09/2010 4:47:13 PM PST by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: vladimir998

Yup.
But nothing has changed, so why not?


8 posted on 11/09/2010 4:48:08 PM PST by Gamecock ( Christianity is not the movement from vice to virtue, but from virtue to Grace.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

The apparitions in Yugoslavia are not approved by the Church. And chances of them being approved (IMO) are next to nil.


9 posted on 11/09/2010 4:50:49 PM PST by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
"Obey your grandmother and be good to her because she is old and cannot work."

I'm sure that was revelation knowledge to the girl./s

Apparition: "I am the Blessed Virgin Mary.

You can't be Mary, she had other children. Going to those already deceived to spread the deception should work.
10 posted on 11/09/2010 4:53:43 PM PST by presently no screen name ("Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.." Mark 7:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

Even though the local Bishop thinks Medjugorje is not true people will flock to that rather than Christ..

Because the people flock there Rome will declare it true and canonize the girls..

And the world will have one more mary to worship


11 posted on 11/09/2010 4:57:38 PM PST by RnMomof7 (Gal 4:16 asks "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kearnyirish2
Mary foretold WWII, and the approaching death of one of the children; she also showed them Hell.

Yeah, all evil things. What does evil do besides deceive?

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jesus called him a “murderer” (John 8:44)
12 posted on 11/09/2010 4:59:07 PM PST by presently no screen name ("Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.." Mark 7:13)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
(1) Jesus was born without sin -- Mary was conceived without original sin. (2) Jesus was sinless -- Mary also lived a sinless life. (3) Following His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven -- Mary was assumed bodily into heaven. (4) Jesus is a mediator -- Mary is a mediatrix. (5) Jesus is the Redeemer -- Mary is the coredemptrix. (6) Jesus is the new Adam -- Mary is the new Eve. (7) Jesus is the King -- Mary is the Queen.

Is this really Catholic doctrine?

13 posted on 11/09/2010 5:00:33 PM PST by gitmo ( The democRats drew first blood. It's our turn now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo

pretty much


14 posted on 11/09/2010 5:05:30 PM PST by RnMomof7 (Gal 4:16 asks "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock

So Marian Doctrine is “unbiblical?

Well, so is “Sola Scriptura”


15 posted on 11/09/2010 5:19:23 PM PST by FreshPrince
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kearnyirish2

Showing them HELL was what got me!!! Many, many people don’t believe there is a HELL.....these children were shown HELL to tell the people.


16 posted on 11/09/2010 5:19:29 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion......the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
Everything is correct Catholic Doctrine, except I don't know that Mary is Coredemptrix and Mediatrix. HOWEVER, asking Mary to ask Jesus brings you closer to BOTH.....Jesus LOVES His Mother and wants us to Love Her also!

Protestants, diss Mary at your own peril. No one likes to hear their mother dissed.....ESPECIALLY JESUS and GOD who CHOSE Mary to be Jesus's Mother.

17 posted on 11/09/2010 5:27:15 PM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion......the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: gitmo

I guess #3 is sort of OK. After all, Enoch and Elijah apparently did the same thing.


18 posted on 11/09/2010 5:29:03 PM PST by gitmo ( The democRats drew first blood. It's our turn now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: vladimir998

“1991? Wow, business must be slow in anti-Catholic land this week.”

Advent is coming. Just wait until the media chimes with the next round of reporting especially after Benedict’s evangelism to pagan England.

You know Old Scratch would have been mulling over his next attempt to raise havoc since Lent’s blitz.


19 posted on 11/09/2010 5:32:18 PM PST by OpusatFR
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: gitmo

Gitmo, the thing to remember is that, while Our Lord ascended (under His own power), Mary, like Elijah and Enoch were assumed (not under their own power).


20 posted on 11/09/2010 5:34:18 PM PST by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Ann Archy
Protestants, diss Mary at your own peril.

I can't recall ever hearing a Protestant do that.

21 posted on 11/09/2010 5:34:46 PM PST by gitmo ( The democRats drew first blood. It's our turn now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: presently no screen name; PadreL; Morpheus2009; saveliberty; fabrizio; Civitas2010; ...

presently no screen name wrote:
“You can’t be Mary, she had other children. Going to those already deceived to spread the deception should work.”

Then we hear from Martin Luther, Founder of the Reform, who Speaks on Mary

In his sermon of August 15, 1522, the last time Martin Luther preached on the Feast of the Assumption, he stated:

There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith . . . It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of “Spiritual Mother” for Christians:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother .. (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Martin Luther had the belief of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Luther’s words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin” (Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527).

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {”Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).

Martin Luther on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

Here are some of the founders of refom commenting on Mary:

Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.
{Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }
Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.
{Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . .
{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }
Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . .
When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:206,212-3 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }
Editor Jaroslav Pelikan (Lutheran) adds:

Luther . . . does not even consider the possibility that Mary might have had other children than Jesus. This is consistent with his lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary.
{Pelikan, ibid.,v.22:214-5}
“. . . she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. . . . God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. . . . God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her.”
Ref: Luther’s Works, American edition, vol. 43, p. 40, ed. H. Lehmann, Fortress, 1968

“. . . she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God. . . . it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”
Ref: Sermon on John 14. 16: Luther’s Works (St. Louis, ed. Jaroslav, Pelican, Concordia. vol. 24. p. 107)

“Christ our Savior was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb. . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.”
(REf: On the Gospel of St. John: Luther’s Works, vol. 22. p. 23, ed. Jaroslav Pelican, Concordia, 1957)

“Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees.” (From the Commentary on the Magnificat.)

Commentaries on Luther

“. . . in the resolutions of the 95 theses Luther rejects every blasphemy against the Virgin, and thinks that one should ask for pardon for any evil said or thought against her.” (Ref: Wm. J. Cole, “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” in Marian Studies 1970, p. 116:)

“In Luther’s Explanation of the Magnificat in 1521, he begins and ends with an invocation to Mary, which Wright feels compelled to call ‘surprising’”.
(David F. Wright, Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspecive, London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, p. 178, Cited from Faith & Reason, Spring 1994, p. 6.)

Martin Luther defends the Eucharist

In 1529 Martin Luther engaged the question of transubstantiation in the famous conference at Marburg with Zwingli and other Swiss theologians; he maintained his view that Christ is present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Other Reformers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

John Calvin

Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.
{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}
[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}
Under the word ‘brethren’ the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 283 / Commentary on John, (7:3) }
Huldreich Zwingli

He turns, in September 1522, to a lyrical defense of the perpetual virginity of the mother of Christ . . . To deny that Mary remained ‘inviolata’ before, during and after the birth of her Son, was to doubt the omnipotence of God . . . and it was right and profitable to repeat the angelic greeting - not prayer - ‘Hail Mary’ . . . God esteemed Mary above all creatures, including the saints and angels - it was her purity, innocence and invincible faith that mankind must follow. Prayer, however, must be . . . to God alone . . .
‘Fidei expositio,’ the last pamphlet from his pen . . . There is a special insistence upon the perpetual virginity of Mary.

{G. R. Potter, Zwingli, London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976, pp.88-9,395 / The Perpetual Virginity of Mary . . ., Sep. 17, 1522}
Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on ‘Mary, ever virgin, mother of God.’
{Thurian, ibid., p.76}
I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.
{Thurian, ibid., p.76 / same sermon}
Heinrich Bullinger

Bullinger (d. 1575) . . . defends Mary’s perpetual virginity . . . and inveighs against the false Christians who defraud her of her rightful praise: ‘In Mary everything is extraordinary and all the more glorious as it has sprung from pure faith and burning love of God.’ She is ‘the most unique and the noblest member’ of the Christian community . . .
‘The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.’

{In Hilda Graef, Mary: A history of Doctrine and Devotion, combined ed. of vols. 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol.2, pp.14-5}
John Wesley (Founder of Methodism)

The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.
{”Letter to a Roman Catholic” / In This Rock, Nov. 1990, p.25}
See also:
Mary in Scripture
David’s experience with Mary
The Rosary
Is Mary a Pagan Goddess?
Do Catholics pray to Mary?
What’s this Co-Redemptrix nonsense?
Mary in the early Church and today

Some of the above from Nelson Pacheco from “Luther On Our Lady”.
Most of the Martin Luther quotes were found on Dave Armstrong’s site www.BiblicalCatholic.org

Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way
we have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together
we give you absolute permission to move
Amen


22 posted on 11/09/2010 5:36:26 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
I wish all Protestants would read former evangelical, now Catholic, Mark Shea's trilogy on Mary. This would clear up a lot of confusion. Catholics do not worship Mary. She is fully human, not divine.

If you are too lazy to read Mark's books, you might want to consider reading John Henry Newman's “An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine”. He was an Anglican that wanted to understand the origins of Catholic doctrines concerning Mary (which he did not agree with at first). After his study he eventually joined the Catholic Church. Here is a link:

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/development/index.html

Finally I left the schismatic, subjective wilderness of evangelical Protestantism 6 years ago when I discovered the fallacies of Sola Scriptura and the beauty of true historical Christianity—as it has always been practiced for 2000 years.

Sola Scriptura is not part of any historical orthodox Christian tradition. Every early church quote I have read by Protestants are from those who also attest to the authority of tradition and the church—never Sola Scriptura. Saying that scripture is without error and inspired proves nothing since Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) also affirm the same.

Sola Scriptura is contradicted in scripture (for example — 1 Tim. 3:15, Matt 16 and Matt 18 — which speak to the authority of the church and 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15 — which speak to the authority of apostolic tradition.)

No quote from scripture can be used to support Sola Scriptura. This is simply a theological assumption.

Also, all Marian doctrines do have implicit support from scripture. Once you start connecting the dots you can clearly see them. There are plenty of good articles on www.catholic.com about the scriptural support for Marian doctrines.

I will ask our mother (Rev 12:17) to pray for you all. Her prayers are powerful.

God bless

23 posted on 11/09/2010 5:36:46 PM PST by CatholicTim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CatholicTim

It’s not about laziness. It’s about being a useful idiot for the evil one. It burns in their hearts.


24 posted on 11/09/2010 5:43:44 PM PST by big'ol_freeper ("[T]here is nothing so aggravating [in life] as being condescended to by an idiot" ~ Ann Coulter)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: CatholicTim
I wish all Protestants would read former evangelical, now Catholic, Mark Shea's trilogy on Mary.

You'll find a more receptive audience for Shea over on Democratic Underground:
Who Is Mark Shea Talking About?
Capitalism, Colossians and the Miller Brewing Company
The Perspicuity of Scripture and Other Creation Myths
The Semi-Permeable Membranes of the Various Protestantisms [2009 thread]
The Semi-Permeable Membranes of the Various Protestantisms [2010 repost]
Big Laws and Small Laws [Mark Shea on "Nanny Staters" vs the "Right Wing Noise Machine"]

25 posted on 11/09/2010 5:43:49 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed, he's hated on seven continents")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: CatholicTim
We know. You don't "worship" Mary. You, what is the word, hyperdulia Mary. What is the verb for hyperdulia?

He was an Anglican that wanted to understand the origins of Catholic doctrines concerning Mary (which he did not agree with at first). After his study he eventually joined the Catholic Church.

Too bad his "study" wasn't the study of 2 Tim. 2:15. "STUDY to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Of course he ended up joining the Catholic Church. That is where all who ignore/refuse to study God's word, rightly divided, end up. That, and connecting imaginary dots to IMPLICIT poofs of Scripture, buried so deep between the lines you could strike oil before you strike a meaning you like.

26 posted on 11/09/2010 6:05:55 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: smvoice

Veneration is not worship.


27 posted on 11/09/2010 6:24:14 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: narses

iknow...and an imposed government donation is not a tax.


28 posted on 11/09/2010 6:28:16 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: smvoice

Non sequitur. Sad that logic and language escape you.


29 posted on 11/09/2010 6:36:28 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: FreshPrince; Gamecock; RnMomof7; presently no screen name; PadreL; Morpheus2009; saveliberty; ...

>>So Marian Doctrine is “unbiblical?<<
>> Well, so is “Sola Scriptura<<

Let’s see what the original Church founders thought of Sola Scriptura

Irenaeus

Irenaeus is considered one of the most important of the early Church fathers. He was born around 140 A.D. in Asia Minor and in his early years was acquainted with Polycarp, the martyr from Smyrna, who was a disciple of the apostle John. He later became a bishop of Lyons and was highly respected as a Church leader and theologian. He is principally known for his refutation of the Gnostic heresies and defense of orthodoxy.

Moreover, they possess no proof of their system, which has but recently been invented by them...Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures...

It is clear that what Irenaeus meant by proof was documentation from Scripture. This lack of it proved to him that Gnostic teaching was not apostolic. In fact, Irenaeus goes on to say that if a doctrine cannot be proven from Scripture it is purely speculative and cannot be known. He made it clear that revelation comes only through Scripture, so if Scripture is silent on a subject one cannot pretend to know what it does not reveal. He rejected the legitimacy of speculation on any matter not revealed in Scripture.

The importance of this principle is apparent when applied to the subject of tradition. Irenaeus believed that true apostolic tradition cannot be purely oral in nature—it must be verified from the writings of the apostles. This was the point of contention between Irenaeus and his Gnostic opponents. The Gnostics claimed to possess an oral tradition from the apostles which was supplemental to Scripture and immune to the Scriptural proofs demanded by Irenaeus. We will look at this in more detail in a moment. According to Irenaeus, in order for tradition to be demonstrated as truly apostolic it must be documented from Scripture.

The Catholic Church started out with the right idea but seems to have gone against the real Church Fathers. That pretty much puts today’s Catholic Church in the category of the Gnostics as per Irenaeus.


30 posted on 11/09/2010 6:39:36 PM PST by CynicalBear
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Alex Murphy

Then may I be so bold as to suggest the outstanding Robert Sungenis? (http://www.catholicintl.com) or perhaps Sonitus Sanctus (http://www.catholicaudio.blogspot.com) or the Institute of Catholic Culture (http://www.instituteofcatholicculture.org). Heck, there are many good sources for information, folks. If I can find them, I know you can find them.


31 posted on 11/09/2010 6:41:27 PM PST by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: CatholicTim

>>Sola Scriptura is not part of any historical orthodox Christian tradition.<<

See post 30


32 posted on 11/09/2010 6:57:22 PM PST by CynicalBear
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: narses
Sad that logic and language escape you.

But I'm happy that the Grace of God does not escape me. I would exchange every 'logical' thought you own and your love of 'language' in order to know Christ and the free gift of God that "By grace are ye saved through faith, (not logic or language) and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8,9.

Sad that so many are impressed by so little, narses.

33 posted on 11/09/2010 7:47:22 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Gamecock
Practice and dry runs for the big deception at the end.

"Lying signs and wonders."

34 posted on 11/09/2010 7:53:19 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("Bad eschatology drives out good.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: smvoice

“But I’m happy that the Grace of God does not escape me.”

Maybe but truth isn’t in your words. That is sad.+

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.


35 posted on 11/09/2010 7:54:19 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: narses

What is the ‘our gospel’ that Paul refers to? Show me some of your ‘truth’, narses.


36 posted on 11/09/2010 7:56:06 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: smvoice

ROTFLMAO!


37 posted on 11/09/2010 7:59:47 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: narses

That’s a great example of showing someone the Gospel. When you have no idea what it actually IS. Yes, you are full of...truth...


38 posted on 11/09/2010 8:02:10 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: smvoice

Snort. LOL.

You are getting funnier with every post.

You conflate venerate with worship, you dream up siblings for Jesus that never existed and you claim to be in God’s Grace while doing so.

Jeremiah 5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:


39 posted on 11/09/2010 8:08:47 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: CynicalBear
I think this gentlemen knew Tradition.

Irenaeus

"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the TRADITION of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about" (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and

organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the TRADITION and the Faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic Tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (ibid., 3:3:4).

"Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. . . . For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?" (ibid., 3:4:1).

"[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (ibid., 4:26:2).

"The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which Succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" (ibid., 4:33:8).

40 posted on 11/09/2010 8:14:37 PM PST by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: sayuncledave; Alex Murphy

.
> “ Heck, there are many good sources for information, folks. If I can find them, I know you can find them.”

.
We don’t need the errors of men; we have the perfect word of God.
.


41 posted on 11/09/2010 8:15:26 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: CynicalBear

Sola scriptura as the Protestant tradition holds to it is inseparable from the doctrine of private interpretation of the Scriptures. All the reformers desired the unity of the Church but undercut, unwittingly, the very basis of unity which is the Holy Tradition. Being unwilling to submit to the authority of popes and councils, they did follow the Chalcedean tradition. But their successors have not and the result has been an erosion of faith in the truth of Scripture.


42 posted on 11/09/2010 8:16:36 PM PST by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: narses

And you are more transparent with every post of your completely lost standing. But keep laughing, narses. Perhaps you can Snort your way to heaven.


43 posted on 11/09/2010 8:17:11 PM PST by smvoice (Defending the Indefensible: The Pride of a Pawn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: johngrace

http://www.catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Succession.asp


44 posted on 11/09/2010 8:17:26 PM PST by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail Mary!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: johngrace

Most of what Irenaeus got blamed for was concocted centuries after he died. The apostasy of Rome had not yet poked its pagan head up in Irenaeus’ time.

This particular piece is definitely not written by Irenaeus.


45 posted on 11/09/2010 8:19:56 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor
We don’t need the errors of men; we have the perfect word of God. I hope you do not mean the Bible. The perfect Word of God is Our Lord, not a book. .
46 posted on 11/09/2010 8:20:01 PM PST by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

Bold assertion. How would you know this?


47 posted on 11/09/2010 8:22:26 PM PST by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: editor-surveyor

My errors are my own. Your errors are likewise your own. Don’t compound them when someone is attempting to help enlighten his fellow man, by being rude, FRiend. And you are correct, we have the perfect Word of God: the Bible, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Thank you for pointing that out.


48 posted on 11/09/2010 8:23:25 PM PST by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: RobbyS

The perfect word of God is most assuredly recorded in a book.

To deny it in bold type gives the lie no more credibility.

Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.


49 posted on 11/09/2010 8:24:27 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: sayuncledave

Tradition, and the Magisterium are the vile errors of men, and lead only to destruction.

There is only the word to draw men to Christ. Read it to them and The Father speaks through your lips to them to draw them to his Son.


50 posted on 11/09/2010 8:28:28 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-105 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson