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July 06, 2006

Comments

Ed Peters

Medjugorje is popping up on several key blogs, and I've resisted posting on it, but I will say this much: The Church has a pastoral responsibility to speak clearly on this one, and the reliance on the local bishop's position (normally sufficient for a local phenom) is NOT enough of a treatment for something that has long since gone mega-international. M is either supernatural or it's a fraud; either way, Rome really, really, needs to stop acting as if it will all just take care of itself in time. There's been too much of that attitude in the last 50-75 years, and it has NOT worked well for the faithul. I know many great Catholics on both sides of this one, and it's not fair to them to leave them wondering.

Jimi

I'm registering my vote for fraud/heresy.

pilgrim

A couple of clarifications, Ed, to the points you have posted:

1. In August 1993, Cardinal Kuharic, head of the new commission appointed to examine the Medjugorje events, stated: “We bishops, after a three-year-long commission study, accept Medjugorje as a hooly place, as a SHRINE. This means we have nothing agaisnt it if someone venerates the Mother of God in a manner also in agreement with the teaching and belief of the Church. Therefore, we are leaving that to further study. The Church does not hurry.” (Glas Koncila 1993).

2. Your second point is correct, but the inference Medjugorje does not have shrine status is answered in the previous response.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Peace!

3. Priests not authorised to express their private views... so what is the Bishop of Mostar doing, if not expressing his own private views?
Firstly, the Church has not suppressed discussion of Medjugorje. But the Vatican has stated publicly that any views expressed by the Bishop of Mostar are his PERSONAL views and not representitive of the Church which is still examining the Medjugorje issue.

4. The point you make about pilgrimages... Some confusion arose in 1996 when a flurry of media reports, prompted by the then bishop of Mostar, suggested that Medjugorje was ‘off-limits’, but in August of that year the Director of the Holy See’s press office, Dr Joaquin Navarro-Valls, stated: “You cannot say people cannot go there until it has been proved false. This has not been said, so anyone can go if they want - nothing has changed, nothing new has been said. The problem is if you systematically organise pilgrimages, organise them with the bishop and the Church, you are giving canonical sanction to the facts of Medjugorje. This is different from people going in a group who bring a priest with them to go to confession.”

David B.

I would have less trouble believing in the apparitions if all the "seers" obeyed the supposed order from Our Lady to become religious.

Joy Schoenberger

Priests not authorised to express their private views... so what is the Bishop of Mostar doing, if not expressing his own private views?

Actually, under canon law, the local Bishop or Ordinary has the investigative authority over such event in his Diocese. This means that statements by the Bishop of Mostar have the effect of a declaration on whether or not the claimed apparitions can or cannot at this time be considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church.

Mike

I don't know that I agree with those who say the Church should rule immediately on the authenticity of these apparitions. I understand their handicap. Unless conclusive evidence emerges that proves the visions to be fraudulent, diabolical, or the result of some psychological disturbance, the visions must end before a full investigation can be conducted.

As I recall, the apparitions at Fatima, Guadaloupe, and Lourdes all took place over a period of days or months, and I don't think in any case the total number of apparitions was more than 10 or 15. Each was accomanied by a significant message, and in the cases of Lourdes and Guadaloupe, left us with profound physical relics - evidence, if you will.

Medjugorie, on the other hand, is a case that has not concluded. When they do end, finally, the Church will be left to sort through thousands of testimonials and messages. I believe that there are some signs or secrets that have yet to be revealed.

Simply, until it's all over, the Church cannot rule "yes." In the meantime, it's also the Church's responsibility to lend proper guidance to the faithful who might be compelled to visit Medjugorie.

If, in the end, it appears to most that the apparitions are not supernatural, but neutral in substance (don't know how this could be, but maybe there's something in the water over there that causes group hallucinations), that's all well and good. Read Jimmy's post about the grilled cheese sandwich with the image of Mary on it.

If it turns out to be a fraud (or worse, diabolical), we can be thankful that God used the place for thousands of confessions.

If the apparitions are true, then don't expect the Vatican to rule on it in our lifetimes. My cautious recommendation is to let Medjugorie play out. My advice is to stay away from there and visit approved sites to which you can have an untainted devotion.

pilgrim

<>

Bishop Zanic attempted to to make a declaration after setting up an investigative commission in 1982. But The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger, stepped in, as the bishop was about to make a negative judgement. He still did, by the back door, which didn’t make him any friends in Rome.

In January 1987, the late Cardinal Kuharic, former president of the Yugoslavian Bishops Conference, announced that a national commission would be established to continue investigating.

The bishop of Mostar was a lame duck in the water and his successor knows it. The Medjugorje matter is out of his hands. That’s why he says in his recent homily he will accept any final decision given by the Pope.

Joy Schoenberger

It seems like a canonical loophole if apparitions must be concluded before they can be decided upon. This would allow fraudulent seers to claim visions for their entire lives, profiting thereby without any interference. I agree with Jimmy that the situation in Medjugorje needs to be sorted out soon.

MJ

Read the story about the "bloody handkerchief" in the early days of Medjugorje, or anything from Unity Publishing.

That hoax is such obvious nonsense, so purely fraudulent, that I must express my surprise that Mr. Akin frowned on Bishop Peric's comments.

Medjugorje promoters have been for YEARS claiming that the Holy Father supports their blasphemy.

Why should the bishop--the only one who actually has AUTHORITY here--not point out their constant lies?

Mike

This would allow fraudulent seers to claim visions for their entire lives, profiting thereby without any interference.

Joy,

I wasn't necessarily suggesting that the visions must be concluded before a ruling of any kind can be made. Obviously, if enough evidence emerges that this is a hoax, the Church should (and hopefully will) make a statement about this. Recently, apparitions in Conyers, GA and in MD were proclaimed to be fraudulent.

My point is, if it continues to remain inconclusive (as will definitely be the case if the apparitions are legit), it won't be until long after the visions are finished that the Church will sanction the site. For this reason, I recommend avoiding it altogether. If the apparitions are real, leave the site alone. Future generations will be able to enjoy its fruits, just as we have been blessed with the holy sites at Fatima, Lourdes, and Guadaloupe.

A.M.

There certainly does seem to be a lot of disobedience to authority connected with Medjugorje; and since disobedience is all the rage these days, it's small wonder that it's caught on.

There were some Medjugorje devotees at one of my former parishes, and they were some of the biggest pills I'd ever met. If Medjugorje was doing them any good, you sure couldn't tell it.

Diane

I've just made an updated post on why I think people frequent Medjugorje....

see what you think

Ed Peters

All these posts are doing is proving my point. Rome needs to get serious about giving some real guidance, but quick. This situation is OUT OF CONTROL.

Jimmy Akin

I must express my surprise that Mr. Akin frowned on Bishop Peric's comments.

Where did I do that?

Diane

Ed,

That is precisely what has troubled me. I know many within the priestly ranks, and ecclesiastical ranks who see the good fruits and figure - lets allow it to continue since it is bringing vocations, people are using the sacraments, etc.

However, I had to ask myself - "at what price"? I could be the most devout person in the world, but if I scandalize the apostolic successor of Mostar-Duvno by spreading things I would later discover to be untrue, how will God view all of my rosaries and devotions?

It took a painful month of endless research before I finally concluded I was in serious trouble with God over some of the feelings I had harbored for the bishop. Most of it had built after reading what amounted to gossip - bad gossip about the bishop on pro-medjugorje websites.

How many of those sites are covering the Bishop's homily - in full? See what they have right now. It's been available long enough and some actually covered the confirmation, showing pictures on their websites, but nothing can be found about the full homily.

What else do they hide from readers with their selective coverage? Are the words of the Ordinary of the Place not significant enough for them to cover. The "Gospa's" messages take precedence and something tells me she would not approve of that.

Show me an apparition where the Blessed Mother - a model of obedience and virtue - did not urge visionaries to heed the wishes and directives of ecclesiastical or religious order authorities?

I personally believe something happened in the ad limina visit to embolden Bishop Peric. It's as if he's been energized and all he says is public - easily accessible to the Holy Father.

ALL:

If Pope Benedict is about to deal with this in some unmistakeable fashion, then a whole lot of pastoral guidance will be needed not only for laity, but for the priests, bishops, and even Cardinals who have been behind this all these years.

Some of our brothers and sisters, so deeply entrenched in this, will need help and it won't happen with anything but love and compassion.

I know how painful my change on this matter was and I found confession the truest sacrament of healing to deal with that pain. I had to reconcile with what I had said about the bishop, and with what I felt towards him, until I uncovered the truth.

Some feel the bishop is not very delicate or charitable in his handling of the issue. Perhaps. But he has also been dealing with it, along with Bishop Zanic before him, for 25 years. I would not want to walk a mile in his shoes, given what I know about his diocese.

As Bishop Zanic pondered on his deathbed - paraphrased: "I could never understand how so much disquiet could come about in a diocese where the Queen of Peace allegedly appears."

brutustobias

Fourteen years ago I came back to the Roman Catholic Church. Learning of the apparitions at Medjugorje was a part of what led me back into the Church. In 92 I made a trip there, and it was very nourishing for me spiritually. When I read this blog today I tracked down all the links and read them carefully. I found it very disheartening because I have believed in the apparition of Mary in Medjugorje. It is not clear to me that the Church has formally condemned the apparitions, but is very clear (now that I have read it) what the Bishop has had to say on the matter.

On my drive home from work I thought about Medjugorje and wondered if Rome decided against it, would that impact my faith. I have a 10 minute commute from the office. It took me all of 4.5 minutes to arrive at the conclusion that, despite my wonderful memories of going to Medjugorje, my faith is not shaken by revelations (for or against) Medjugorje. Perhaps, if Medjugorje is not proved to be a real apparition site, many will question everything about their faith. I am sure that this is the real danger. I pray that those converted due to Medjugorje will find their faith secure no matter what the Church decides.

Don

What concerns me about your post is your statement: "I'm not going to address the question of whether the apparitions reported at Medjugorje are real or not. I haven't yet done the kind of research I would need to in order to satisfy myself on that question. "
So, if the Church (that is, the local bishop who has authority to declare on this matter) said that the visions were not supernatural, would you hold back your opinion until you, yourself, made a pronouncement?

Diane

brutustobias,

I know how painful it was for me. I didn't even want to think about it. I was up until after midnight, getting up at 4:00 for work many nights as a dug through the mountains of information. It is good you have not let it shake your faith, and it shouldn't. All things should lead us to God, and to the elements of the Creed. If without something we fall astray, then our faith was based on the wrong things. Mary leads us to Jesus and if tomorrow Medjugorje collapsed, people need to stand tall and move forward with continued devotion to the Blessed Mother, and to keep that heavy sacramental, penitential life they developed through Medjugorje.

The key in doing research on this, is to take each statement or sentence made, and seek out some official church document. Look at the dates. People will say that Bishop Peric doesn't believe in Fatima and Lourdes. I've seen it on Medjugorje websites. Where is the documentation for this? They say he was forbidden to make public statements. But, where is the document from the Holy See? Speculation does not wash - objective facts do, and many supporters get very angry when confronted with facts. They will throw out comments and opinions from people like Fr. Daniel Ange, or Fr. Laurentin, neither of whom have jurisdiction in the matter. Jesus did not give us assurance that either of these men will be guided by the Holy Spirit on matters that affect faith and morals. However, the Bishop, by virtue of his office as apostolic successor carries this, provided he is in communion with Rome. There is no specific documentation which substantiates the claim that Bishop Peric was ordered to hush.

Likewise, the French Bishops explored the matter of jurisdiction and carefully laid out reasons why it is not even logical to draw such a conclusion.

God bless and prayers for you this day. Offer pu any suffering and pain you have for some intention as such things are precious to God.

The French Bishops laid it out beautifully (see my original post here for a link. Read especially, their conclusion on the string of letters regarding pilgrimages. It is very logical and - buzzword coming - collegial!!! It is also written pastorally.

Diane

Interesting set of dates picked up, in this post on Catholic forums:

A major test of any apparition is "Prophesy". Almost all true apparitions of God have some short-term prophesies and some of long duration. Never will God ask us to believe a prophesy without first proving the prophet with a short-term prophesy that has already come true.

In Fatima twenty-nine of the thirty prophecies have already come to pass: the two children's early death, Communism, the miracle of the sun, the end of World War I, World War II, the fall of Russian Communism, etc. Since only God sees the future, it is one way He proves the authenticity of the seer. God cannot make mistakes, therefore, the prophecies must be 100% correct. How about Medjugorje?

On July 3, 1981, the "Virgin" promises a sign.

"It will be permanent...It will not be possible to annihilate it...It will be visible for everybody."

August 27, 1981: "It will come soon."

August 29, 1981: "A little more patience."

Later...."It will be on December 8, 1981."

Later...."It will be on Christmas."

Later...."It will be January 1982."

It is now 1996 and there is still no sign. Prophets?

Diane

I hit that "post" button too quick. That previous post was copied entirely from the link provided.

If I recall, it was Bishop Zanic who said that the biggest sign of all for him, was no sign at all.

Felicity

Bayside was condemned while it was still ongoing, but it hadn't gone global.

One of the problems with Medjugorje is that it was promoted from the get-go by the worldwide Charismatic movement, so it spread like wildfire and couldn't be reined in. None of the principals exercised any caution about it: seers, local Medjugorje priests, Charismatic leaders, all promoted it as if there were no questions about its authenticity.

My local diocese has a Medjugorje anniversary celebration every year in late June; the sponsoring parish rotates, but the parish is advertized as a co-sponsor. Medjugorje devotion is integrated into an all-day event with Mass, a crowning of Our Lady of Medjugorje, etc. This is absolutely forbidden. The Vatican forbids pilgrimages sponsored on the diocesan and parish level because such would undermine the Church and mislead the laity. So if that's true, then you shouldn't have a cultus of Our Lady of Medjugorje and you certainly shouldn't be involving Medjugorje in the Mass. But that is one of the consequences of letting this thing go without trying to pull it back.

I'm with Mark Shea on this. If the "seers" continue to make public announcements (not to mention running their own pilgrimage operations), then the question is settled. It's false.

Jeffrey Smith

I've been disturbed about this for some time. The Medjugorje devotees simply refuse to recognize the authority of a bishop. Would they obey the pope? I'm inclined to wonder. Are we to believe that these "seers" are given authority superceding all others?

diane

So much disinformation!!! The devil must be having a field day.

The Vigin NEVER ordered the seers to become religious. Where on earth does that canard come from?

She recommended religious life but left it entirely up to their free wills. The seers reported on this very early on; I read about it in a book published in the early days of the apparitions, when the visionaries were still kids. So there's no way that this is after-the-fact spin.

As for the "authority" of the local bishop: This is an extraordinary case. Rome has pointedly intervened and has explciitly taken ALL jurisdiction for the Medjugorje investigation OUT OF the hands of the local ordinary. Moreover, the local bishop has been forbidden to spout off against Medj publically. It is the bishop who is in disobedience, not the seers.

When have the visionaries ever been disobedient? Accusations are thrown around right and left, but no one ever provides proof or even hard evidence. This is slander, folks. Catholic moral teaching forbids slander. Please, let's be careful and cautious here, out of Christian charity.

To the best of my knowledge, the seers have always been obedient to a fault. Thus, when former Bishop Zanic ordered the seers to move from one venue to another, they always complied. When he subjected them to ridiculous tests--like shoving needles in their arms to see if they registered pain during ecstasies!--they submitted.

Rome trumps the local bishop...and when Rome takes the extraordinary step of removing jurisdiciton over XYZ from the local bishop's hands, then that means the local bishop no longer has authority over XYZ (until Rome says otherwise). What part of this are we not getting?

Moreover: Bishop Peric's claim that the pope said such and such is hearsay. It wouldn't stand up in court and it certainly shouldn't be taken as Gospel here.

There are numerous reports (including some from prominent bishops) that the late Pope John Paul the Great repeatedly expressed enthusiastic belief in Medjugorje. Whenever pro-Medj folks bring that stuff up, we're told, "That's just hearsay...not binding...not official...no one has proof," blah blah blah. But when Bishop Peric reports an alleged off-the-cuff conversation, suddenly we're supposed to accept that as Holy Writ? That's a double standard. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

As for Unity Publishing: It's sheer nuttiness from one end to the other.

Blessings,

Diane

P.S. For the other Diane above: Where did you find alleged messages in which the Madonna gave dates? This is the first time I've ever heard of any dates in connection with Medj. The seers repeatedly insist that the dates of the Secrets are precisely that: secret. They will be revealed eight days before the events occur. So, if someone is telling you that the Gospa is "giving dates," well, I would respectfully suggest that someone is giving you the business.

diane

As for private pilgrimages to Medjugorge: Rome ahs officially OKd them and has even commanded that priests are to be available to minister to the pilgrims. How can Bishop Peric possibly trump that? Y'all: Since when can a local bishop OVERRULE Rome? Doesn't Rome matter anymore? Can local bishops run roughshod over Rome's decrees?

Exactly who is being disobedient here? ISTM it ain't the seers.

Pleae, get all the facts before passing judgment. It's fine to say you don't know the facts, but it's not fine to pass judgment in that case. Please get the facts before passing judgment and possibly committing slander.

God bless,

Diane

Mark

According to the University of Dayton's International Marian Research Institute (http://www.udayton.edu/mary/questions/faq/ faq27.html)the ordinary of Mostar has not been in charge of this question since 1986. Cardinal Ratzinger relieved Mgr. Zanic of the dossier and put the matter in the hands of the Yugoslavian Bishops Conference. It would now pertain to the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina to decide.

Glenn

Since it has been stated here several times, could someone please provide the document whereby Rome officially took the authority away from the local Bishop to judge the events of Medjugorje?
(an official document stating exactly this please)

My guess is that there is no document and that it is simply not the case. That is why the local Bishop has just publicly made the prohibitions and the request for obedience, of which he has the authority and the right to do so.

Certainly he would not have made the recent prohibitions if Rome had "took away his authority" as some have suggested.

God bless-
Glenn

David B.

Diane,

Well, I myself wasn't spinning the story concerning the religious life and the 'seers', I was just repeating what a trusted friend told me.

P.S. I'm not saying you're spinning the truth either, but it seems to me that everything wraps itself up just a little too neatly in your view.

Honora

On my own, I sometimes can't discern mustard from maple syrup (which makes for some interesting pancakes), so in matters of apparition, I look to Rome for clarification -- unless it is something obvious, like Taco Mary, Bridge Abutment Mary, Window Water Stain Mary, or (let me re-ignite a worse argument within our faith) the Lady of All Nations.. "who once was Mary".. (Who once was Mary? Mother to the Son who once was Jesus? Daughter of.. of a couple who once were Anne and Joachim? *sigh..)

I got more than halfway through, "Visons of the Children" before I set it down, wondering why all Mary's messages sound alike. On the other hand, I have spoken with some who've been to Medjugorje, and for them, it was a holy time. One of them observed a miracle (along with others).. the sun appeared as a Host, with changing black silhouette scenes of Christ's life playing out as the people in the scenes spoke.. The person who observed was so astounded-- and baffled by his own reaction. He said the whole time he watched, he could not keep his hand from covering his mouth --for all the stupid, ugly, horrendous things it had said into the world which so departed from the holiness now before him. That made great sense to me.

However, it's not up to me, so I look to Rome. Pending Rome's answer, the one thing I have learned to ask is this: Is it necessary for salvation that I believe in this or that? When it comes to apparitions, the answer is 'no'.

Desmond

I have already posted my comments on Medjugorje elsewhere when I came upon a link to your blog. I am firmly on the side of those opposed to the idolatry there and believe it should be closed down. I worked with the international community in that area and also found cause for concern with the Bishops position and the secretive ( they would not talk to outsiders) militancy of the church in Mostar. I find the entire church there to have been skewed by nonsense ideas of race/religion/siege-mentality- and empire- theories about being the bulwark of 'civilisation' against the forces of darkness from the East - read: 'Islam'. Consider: 'we are the first line of defence of the Holy Roman Empire against the enemy'! Consider the armed clergymen who participated in the deliberate assault against their Moslem neighbours in Mostar during the Yugoslav civil war. It reminds me so much of the alliance of Nationalism and Roman Catholicism in my native Ireland at an earlier time. Then perhaps justified but what does it grow into?

kevin

Regarding M. I leave it up to the Holy See and it seems those that were given the authory to judge-- the Bishops conference. I have seen good fruit --but I have my questions and reserve my final judgement.

As for the post on Our Lady of All Nations -- this has been approved! http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/our_lady_of_all_nations.htm

Liz

One thing I read in a book by Janice T. Connell disturbed me. The book contains interviews with the alleged seers. One young man described an apparition in which he reached out and touched the veil or mantle of the blessed Mother, he recounted that HER VEIL/MANTLE TURNED GRAY. This is a red flag to me. He said that the apparition explained to him that it (the mantle of Mary turning gray!) was due to his sins! Now I think first of Our Lady who is Immaculate. Does this image make sense, that Mary's garment is tarnished by the touch of one of her sinful children? The Woman clothed with the Sun. Would God allow this ? A manifestation of His Immaculate one to be wearing a garment turning gray from a man's sins! Mary is always described as protecting us with her mantle- a symbol of her maternal protection; Mary is the refuge of sinners and her mantle is the symbol of refuge. And I think of the woman in the Gospels who said of Jesus, "If I can only touch the hem of His garment," and this brought healing.

This was a red flag to me, but also the disrespect, disregard, and lack of love I have heard toward the legitimate Church authority there from otherwise faithful Catholics Sorry, but I just cannot believe that the Blessed Mother would not instruct the seers to have greater respect for the authority of the Church (their Bishop) and the potential pilgrims to have obedience to the instructions not to organize pilgrimages there. I find it outrageous that here are many priests and parishes who still encourage trips there today. Really, does Mary bring schism or does Mary bring unity?

A.M.

Liz says: One thing I read in a book by Janice T. Connell disturbed me. The book contains interviews with the alleged seers. One young man described an apparition in which he reached out and touched the veil or mantle of the blessed Mother, he recounted that HER VEIL/MANTLE TURNED GRAY. This is a red flag to me. He said that the apparition explained to him that it (the mantle of Mary turning gray!) was due to his sins! Now I think first of Our Lady who is Immaculate. Does this image make sense, that Mary's garment is tarnished by the touch of one of her sinful children? The Woman clothed with the Sun. Would God allow this ? A manifestation of His Immaculate one to be wearing a garment turning gray from a man's sins!

This does not bother me. St. Louis de Montfort tells stories of Our Lady appearing in rags to people in order to demonstrate to them how poorly they were praying. And, of course, Jesus -- the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God Incarnate, the Lord of the Universe -- was actually scourged, spat upon, crowned with thorns, loaded down with a heavy cross, nailed to a cross, and died a horrific death. If there is anything not right about the story of Our Lady's mantle turning gray at the touch of a sinner, maybe it's that it only turned GRAY, instead of deepest black.

The disobedience is something else entirely. Obedience to church authorities is a hallmark of approved apparitions. One thing that struck me about the diary of St. Faustina, for example, was how, whenever Jesus appeared to her and asked her to do something, she would always run it by her confessor or her superior; if she was denied permission to do it, then she wouldn't do it, even though Jesus Christ Himself had told her to do it! She records that Jesus commended her for this. This makes sense, since God is the source of all rightful authority. What doesn't make sense, as Liz says, is that Jesus or Our Lady would ever undermine lawful authority by inciting people to schism and disobedience.

diane

Other Diane, above: Would Our Lady ever [i]command[/i] someone to enter religious life? Would she ever steamroll over free will? That is not the way Heaven works! No one is under compulsion to become a priest or religious. I'm sure the Church recognizes this as well; that is why there is a discernment process. Would Our Lady go against the Church?

It would be a huge red flag for me if Our Lady [i]had[/i] been reported to have [i]commanded[/i] the seers to become religious--because this is simply not the way Our Lord and Our Lady operate.

In the books I read, which included interviews with the seers (from back in the 1980s), they reported that she encouraged them in the direction of religious life but that she left them perfectly free to say yes or no.

The same, BTW, is true for anyone discerning religious life. Our Catholic tradition does not overrule free will!

I think your friend who claims Our Lady [i]commanded[/i] the seers to enter religious life is rather confused. :)

God bless,

Diane

diane

A.M. Can you document instances of disobedience by the Medjugorje seers? I have always been led to believe that they are obedient to a fault. When have they disobeyed the bishop? Do you have examples---dates, times, details? I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide substantiation. Thanks so much!

God bless,

Diane

Glenn

From Apparitions true and false:
http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2004/features_oct04.html

"Even should the local Bishop mistakenly disapprove of a genuine revelation, obedience to the Church remains paramount. It is a sin to propagate a private revelation disobediently, but it can never be a sin not to propagate one. This applies both to claimed seers and to followers. In fact, if an alleged visionary disobeys a legitimate order from the Bishop, and claims God’s backing for the action, this is a sure sign that the message is not from God. Even if a genuine private revelation has been given, not even God Himself would want or command a seer to spread it against a lawful decree of a Bishop to desist. In fact, there are occasions in the life of St Teresa of Jesus of Avila (died 1582) and St Margaret Mary (died 1690) and Sr Josefa Menendez (died 1923) where Our Lord gave them a directive, but then their superior forbade it. What did they do? They obeyed their human superior on earth. What did Our Lord then tell them? -‘You were right to obey my representative.’
On one occasion, the Sacred Heart of Jesus told St Margaret Mary to do something, but her Superior did not approve. When He came again, she asked Him about this, and He replied: "…not only do I desire that you should do what your Superior commands, but also that you should do nothing of all that I order without their consent. I love obedience, and without it no one can please me" [Autobiography of St Margaret Mary].
Spiritual writers have an axiom: A Superior may or may not be inspired by God in his command, but you are always inspired in obeying. (Of course, we’re not talking about where a Superior commands a sin; and, as I said above, it is not a sin to drop a private revelation).
Satan may really promote good things for a while, provided that he gains in the long run. The revelations of Necedah, Wisconsin, seemed to have good fruits, yet were false. Rosaries were said to change to gold. Similarly for Bayside. But disobedience showed them false. St Margaret Mary was told by Our Lord: "Listen, My daughter, and do not lightly believe and trust every spirit, for Satan is angry and will try to deceive you. So do nothing without the approval of those who guide you. Being thus under the authority of obedience, his efforts against you will be in vain, for he has no power over the obedient" [Autobiography].
After error itself, the mark of a false mystic is wilfulness and disobedience. I love this quote from Saint Faustina Kowalska: "Satan can even clothe himself in a cloak of humility, but he does not know how to wear the cloak of obedience." (Diary, par. 939). Genuine mystics, like Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), are models of obedience. They never pretend to set up Christ against His Church.
Everyone is free to have an opinion, but all have to submit to the judgement of the Church with practical obedience. What I mean is: you are still free to disagree (the Bishop is not infallible in this matter), but you owe him practical obedience, that is, you may not act against the decree; you may not propagate a revelation that the Bishop has judged negatively, or continue to say publicly that you regard it as genuine. Remember, a Church commission may give a negative verdict for reasons which it cannot state publicly, e.g., it may have found out things against the character of the seer, but will not say so publicly, even though this would justify the decision and help people to accept it."

chris K

Actually, under canon law, the local Bishop or Ordinary has the investigative authority over such event in his Diocese. This means that statements by the Bishop of Mostar have the effect of a declaration on whether or not the claimed apparitions can or cannot at this time be considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church.

This misinformation about the specifics of the Medj. case are repeated here several times and at other blogs. This alone shows that people are commenting without all the facts. The closest to including all of the history has been "pilgrim". Strange how this bishop's predecessor (with whom he agrees) made trips to Rome to present his findings of negativity and to his surprise of a seemingly done deal was told by then C. Ratzinger to soft pedal his views and wait for more to develop. Finally during what he thought would be a last trip with the anointing of the Vatican for his personal judgment, he returned rather in shock that not only was his judgment denied but the authority which normally is never removed from the local bishop was taken from him and given to the larger bishops' conference to form a new commission. It was to that judgment by the larger bishops' commission, of what the Church considers to be a "wait and see" decision, the Zadar declaration, that the Church has spoken to as being accepted ... still allowing private pilgrimages to go forward with the possibility of some future re-examination by a newly formed commission in 1998. The head of this commission has stated that the Church isn't expected to make any final decision before events end there. The bishop is supposed to be cooperating with the bishops' commission and has been warned about giving only his opinion as if it overrules the official commission's decision and oulined guidance. Now, is he himself in obedience to that?

People really need to acquaint themselves with the unusual entry of the CDF into this particular apparition's history. Or else people are denying the ability of the Vatican to overrule a local bishop.

I do not know about the Louis de Montforte report of Mary appearing that way. But I really can't see the Immaculate Conception wearing a mantle blackened by sin.
However, I read our Lord has appeared as a poor person and beggar to Saint Faustina and as a leper to St Francis. It is not the image of our Lord appearing this way- or even if the the blessed Mother would appear in a humble way that is disturbing, as much as it is the image of Our Mother, Mary, the Refuge of Sinners having her mantle turn gray when a sinner reaches out to her.

I do wonder about the difference between ecclesiastical obedience for religious vs. lay persons. The defense of those pilgrims that disregard the local Bishop of Mostar is that they are not bound to listen to him. I am not sure what the seers claim as license to ignore his guidance (other than to say that the Blessed Mother trumps a bishop!)

In any event, all the faithful are called to love thy neighbor ( including Bishops), respect legitimate authority (yet not be led in sin by authority) and not to slander. Unfortuantely the opposite is some messages I heard that it was attributed to Our Lady to critize the Bishops and encouraged followers of Medj. to disreagrd the Bishop of that area:

"April 26, 1982. Our Lady: "The bishop has no real love of God in his heart. Regarding the bishop, may Ivica and Ivan remain calm. What the bishop is doing is contrary to the will of God, yet he can do as he pleases, but one day justice as you have never seen shall be revealed."

That is a far cry from:

My little son, am I not your Mother? Do not fear. The Bishop shall have his sign. Come back to this place tomorrow. Only peace, my little son."
-Our Lady, at Guadalupe

If anyone wants to read about disobedience or lies of the seers consult "The Truth About Medjugorje" by
Msgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar (Bishop Pavao Zanic, presided over the Diocese of Mostar, from 1971-1993.
He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje,
which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He published the article in 1990. http://www.newjerusalem.com/bishop-truth.htm )

He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje,
which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He published the article in 1990. http://www.newjerusalem.com/bishop-truth.htm )

But NOT over the decision/guidelines for the apparition investigation which, again, was removed from him and placed with the bishops' conference which formed the recognized commission. If you have a beef with this ability by the Vatican through the CDF to overrule the bishop's personal views, take it up with the CDF, but please don't continue not to differentiate between the bishop's usual diocesan authority and, in this case, the CDF's authority. Obviously you are not up on the historical facts.

HEATHER

"apparitions" are only there to lead us to Jesus, the main message from M is conversion and prayer perhaps if we all concentrated on that those things then the arguments would cease
Praise be Jesus and Mary

Liz

*****anonymous wrote: He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje,
which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He published the article in 1990. http://www.newjerusalem.com/bishop-truth.htm )

But NOT over the decision/guidelines for the apparition investigation which, again, was removed from him and placed with the bishops' conference which formed the recognized commission. If you have a beef with this ability by the Vatican through the CDF to overrule the bishop's personal views, take it up with the CDF, but please don't continue not to differentiate between the bishop's usual diocesan authority and, in this case, the CDF's authority. Obviously you are not up on the historical facts.*****


The quote in italics is from the website linked within the statement. It was apparently added as an introductory summary to the website document (written by Msgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar, in 1990) In the letter from the Bishop of Mostar he gives lots of details of why he is opposed to the "apparitions," and gives evidence why he intends to conclude in the negative.

"He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje,
which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

That sentence was include here by cut & paste error.
However, your statement is false:
"the decision/guidelines for the apparition investigation ...was removed from him and placed with the bishops' conference."

but since we are on the subject that Yugoslave Bishops commission also found it to be

"'non constat de supernaturalitate.' "

This history is explained well here in 2002 by
Msgr. H. Brincard, Bishop of Puy-en-Velay, responsible for overseeing the Association of Marian organizations :

http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=4314

Within a careful explaining of the history, Msgr. Brincard states:
" It is therefore not correct to state that Bishop Zanic was relieved of the dossier. "

So why with commissions and facts and investigations completed do people insist the matter is open? Because they know more than the Bishops and experts. because personal experience with spiritual matters is more important than doing what is right. because now that the Church is so battered, the enemy sees opportunity to use this to destroy obedience further- especially in the devout, to destroy faith. and he says it is fine to slander Bishops too.

A. Murray

Have any of you people visited Medjugorje? Before you make comments of "Profane" and such like, go and see and hear for yourselves. The fruits of Medjugorje are proof of themselves. "By their fruits,so they'll be judged"

Papierlady

I went and I saw commercialism and not the large crowds that many publications boasted. I saw people trying to believe they saw The Blessed Mother appear in the clouds and every blade of grass. I felt very uneasy and very skeptical as the pilgrims ran form one visionary to another in awe as if they wrere seeing the Virgin Mary herself. The scheduled apparitions were another big tip that something wasn't quite right there. I went a believer and came back with another point of view. I wasn't the only one. There were others on my trip who felt the same way as I did. No one writes about people who go there and see it for what it is. I have done a lot of investigating since and I see something very ugly and destructive in this whole circus. I felt angry that the church didn't come out long ago with a definitive announcement.

Now I believe I know why it was taking so long for the church to come right out and condemn these apparitions. One huge reason now seems obvious, the possible schism that might be inevitable when they do come out and condemn them. The Medjugorje apparitions have become a huge multi-billion dollar industry, and I believe it has the potential to scandalize the church in the same way the sex scandals did. If they condemn it, which I believe they must and will, they will be asked why they waited so long, and that is a legitimate question. The answers will bring out even more garbage that the church doesn't want to air. Do you think they are going to want to tell the world about the Franciscans at the bottom of this? I think the church didn't know how to handle it, or handled it in just the same way they did the sex abuse scandals. They hoped it would go away. They hoped that by backing the previous commissions that people would get the picture. They never counted on people being so desperate and so eager to believe that anything less then a condemnation from the lips of the pope would be construed as an endorsement. They never dreamed it would take on the financial power it did, and now they are not dealing just with some poor visionaries and a few eager and gullible devotees, or even renegade priests, but they are dealing with organizations and large groups that have a real financial stake it the continuation of the apparitions. There is everything, sex, lies, and fraud, in the real story to make a blockbuster movie. Many people will loose more than money when the truth becomes common knowledge. (Thanks to the Internet it will.) They will lose their faith. Sadly, there will be those who will remain faithful to the end following the visionaries into a schism.
Whether it was the Franciscans there in Medjugorje, or the so called visionaries who started and perpetuated this hoax, one thing is certain, the exploitation of the Blessed Mother and those who obviously need to believe has got to be one of the most evil forms of exploitation there is.

I think the real shame of this whole affair is that so many people are so desperate for miracles. Isn't Christ enough? He died for us. Do we really need some alleged visionaries to give us thousands of banal daily messages to give us the desire to get down on our knees and worship?

MaryC

Two bishops of the diocese concerned have concluded that nothing supernatural has occurred. Therefore the case is closed.

Rome has never overturned the negative declaration of a local ordinary. Why cannot people accept this in a spirit of obedience.

Regina

Medjugorje is going on a long time. I have been there myself and never experienced anything amazing. People can too often go to these places looking for the sensational. St. John of the Cross warns us about visions in his writings. The Lord asks us not only to pray but also to do good works for our neighbour as well. What are the Medj flock doing when they go back to their homes ?? Do they help the poor and needy around them in their own areas ? Also, I know some people who have come back from Medjugorje more depressed and lost than they were when they went. That, I find scary.

Paul

Diane, you are wrong. It's not your fault because the anti-medjugoje noise has been very loud. But, please get informed. The following website clears the air on many misunderstandings and disinformation. Satan is clearly at work trying to confuse and lead people away from Medjugorje.

The website is http://www.marian-times.com

The Bishop continues to say there is nothing supernatural going on. The first time he said it, the vatican dismissed it and the vatican continues to distance itself from these pronouncements of the Bishop of Mostar. Please read this letter from the vatican clearly showing this fact.

http://www.marian-times.com/articles/medjugorje/vatican-letter1.cfm

Paul

Apologies, not Diane. I was addressing Mary C.

Esau

Paul:

The good news is that the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith actually spoke to this point, not definitively or finally, but spoke to the point in 1998. There, the Church has told us that as of that point in time, in 1998, the Church, the Scared Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared that the Church is in agreement with the local bishop when the bishop said that up until that point, there is no evidence of anything supernatural occurring; that’s what the Church said. Now, the Church says – and, by the way, Cardinal Ratzinger was then prefect – now Pope Benedict XVI – he said, or the Congregation said, ‘This is not a condemnation’ and made very clear that this was not a condemnation; of course, it’s not an approval because the apparitions were still ongoing. So, they’re still under investigation. However, the Church did say – and that’s a pretty strong statement – that there’s no evidence of anything supernatural up to that point. But, again, that doesn’t mean that it is condemned.

Now, the Church went on to say that there could be no official pilgrimages to Madjegoria. We cannot pray to Our Lady of Madjegoria, it mentioned officially. Well, what do you mean by ‘officially’? Well, liturgically-speaking, private Catholic people – be they a bishop, a priest, or a lay person – can go there as a private individual, but we cannot make any official sort of proclamation that there’s Our Lady of Madjegoria, and have liturgical prayers to her, as such. Basically speaking, the Church has not affirmed it, has not condemned it; it has put out a bit of a caveat there. So, it’s a problem if or when you have a priest, or let’s say, even a bishop, who would go and make any sort of official statement, you know, praying to Our Lady of Madjegoria; that would be a problem.

Inocencio

Paul,

"Rome has never overturned the negative declaration of a local ordinary."

MaryC is correct. The local ordinary is the authority in this situation and we should accept his decision.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Terence M. Stanton

A.M.D.G.

Several weeks ago I heard Mr. Tim Staples comment on Medjugorje on "Catholic Answers Live". He stated that back in 1998 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that it would neither support nor condemn the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. They would wait until these alleged visions stopped happening, but said that up until that point nothing supernatural had happened their in their opinion. That has obviously been echoed by the local bishop.

I am not a believer because the Church hasn't ruled on it. However, even if the Church approves it eventually we are not required to believe in any apparition because it isn't divine revelation. As all the fine Catholics reading this know that ended with the death of the last apostle.

When I think of the fruits that these events have caused (rampant disobedience, confusion, personal attacks, etc.) I am personally inclined to stay away from them. If folks were putting a lot of stock in this and then it all turned out to be a sham...

My advice would be to stick with the approved apparitions if you feel called to such a devotion, but above all else know the Faith in all its fullness and beauty.

David

Hello, first time poster here. My 2 cents: I first learned of Medjugorje in High School but didn't appreciate it as much as I do now. I frequently visit Medjugorje.org for various and sundry reasons and look forward to a pilgrimage someday. If you look at Mary's five main messages (and skim through her messages over the last 25 years), you won't find confusion or consternation. In fact, I get a tremendous sense of hope; I've started praying the rosary every day, go to confession every month, go to church when able, try to give up something on Wed. and Fri, and am more familiar with the Gospels (but have a long way to go). And to be quite honest, it's touched me in such a way that I have much, much more devotion to Mary and greater love for God than I ever have. (Incidental benefits: my blood pressure is now 95/60, I'm not as quick-tempered, and have learned A TON about Catholicism). Could I have deepened my faith without knowledge of Medjugorje? Perhaps, but maybe this was God's way of getting me to truly become closer to Him (and to come to love Mary and her tireless intercession for us).
YMMV...

Patizia

I just returned from a visit to Medjugorie, I stayed with one of the visionaries who was quiet and humble with a true servant spirit. My stay consisted of 2 Masses a day; a Rosary every evening; stations of the cross while going up cross mountain and every day beging and ending withprayers for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. All have been a blessing to me. I also witnessed lines to the confessionals that lasted through out the day with scores of priest available. The evening I joined the line, a priest came out of one of the small confessionals, and appologized that he needed to take a break after hearing confessions for 4 hours straight. Confessors where available in all major languages and people where of all races.
Every mass I attended had an altar overflowing with Priest and Deacons. Sometimes the Gospel was read in as many as six languages.
I witnessed countless pilgrims from France, Italy , Ireland, Germany with small children in tow. I was encouraged for the future of Western Europe that I believed was almost completely secular. Peace, prayer, conversion are the message and fruits of Medjugorie-I only wish the whole world was like this place-coming home and living the messages is now my mission.

Pete

I don't know either way, but I do recall during the major Marian apparitions that it was the local priests and faithful that were the most skeptical. Are bishops infallible in their statements? If Medjugorje is the devil's work, then he is kicking himself terribly because of all of the conversions to Jesus.

Bob

Tim Staples, Jimmy Aiken, all these supposed experts pronouncing some level of judgement.
Please reread Acts 5:33-39, until you understand it. They are referring to the APOSTLES here !

Medjugorje, like the Apostles, will either stand the test of time or it will not. I sense a certain 'scholar's pride' in all these learned judgements.
I too was disturbed by all the (80% negative) stuff I read about Medjugorje. So disturbed that when my dear wife insisted that we go there on pilgrimmage, I was beside myself with anger at her and the whole "sham". My late conversion from Protestant to Catholic might help you understand my anger at what seemed to me to be rediculous 'Mary worship'.

For the sake of brevity, I'll finish by saying that after being there 9 days (first 3 days still in a rage), ...I would have found a way to stay there if it weren't for my kids and grandkids back in the states.... the place is total peace if you open your heart just a little. But the real event was NOT Medjugorje, it was the deep conversion of my life in the weeks after I returned home. Suffice to say that no corner of my life is the same as it was before Medjugorje. I have to agree with the frequent observation that 'If Satan is behind Medjugorje, it is his biggest blunder of all time'.

All this blog stuff is so much noise, because most people writing here have not experienced it first-hand. If you want to find out the truth, talk to someone who has actually been there, for starters, not those "gathering enough evidence to make a decision". You could do that forever concerning the existence of God Himself, and never prove anything. Proof of such is ONLY possible thru direct personal experience.

If anyone wants to discuss it they can reach me at bobandmary@centurytel.net. I have no agenda, beyond what I know has been the truth in my life since we went there in 2005.

Beware, brothers & sisters, of Acts 5:39 !

Peace of Christ to you,
Bob

bill912

Or, one could believe in the apparitions which the Church has approved, condemn the apparitions which the Church has condemned, and not get involved in the apparitions which the Church has yet to judge.

David B.

I would have found a way to stay there if it weren't for my kids and grandkids back in the states.... the place is total peace if you open your heart just a little. But the real event was NOT Medjugorje, it was the deep conversion of my life in the weeks after I returned home.

Hi Bob,

I just would like to say that finding peace and joy on a pilgrimage sometimes has more to do with one's openness to Grace, and the direct gift of Grace by God, than the apparitions themselves. I do not know those claiming that apparitions have occurred, so I want comment on the question of their sanctity. That's God's department. However, when I have heard people tell conversion stories in relation to Medjugorje, none (as far as I remember) has attributed their conversion directly to the seers.

Jimmy is merely being cautious, as we all should be when the Church has not declared anything.

ke

I find it very odd that a paper with the secrets on it isn't visible until they occur (one by one). Somehow I draw a comparison with the golden plates given to Joseph Smith by an angel to be deciphered and then vanish back to heaven.
I've watched this phenomenon for too many years and remain unconvinced of any auhenticity.

ke

This parchment nonsense just gets better and better. what a hole is being dug. it's like a parent who doesn't remember who the father is but is sure he died a year ago.
something just doesn't jive.

i think it's time to admit that yes conversions can occur there due to mass hysteria--perhaps some good results. but the visionaries stories just have too many loose ends requiring Columbo to piece them all together.

Perhaps something did occur when younger but the continuation and elaboration and ridiculous stories just add to a general gullibility for those who continue to believe

David.

Way too many half truths flying about regarding Medjugorje and so I highly recommend the book; `Understanding Medjugorje` by Donal Foley.

http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/books/medjbook/medjbook.html

Peter

Jimmy, How did the Pope "rein in" the Neo-Catecuhmenal Way? Zenit reported that he gave them thanks for 40 years of service last Saturday?

Michael Shannon

Bishop Peric said "They particularly do not seem to be authentic," the bishop observed, "when it is known before that these so-called 'apparitions' will occur." Bishop Peric cited the schedule that the Medjugorje seers have provided, listing the times and places at which they claim the next visits by the Mother of God will occur.

At Fatima Mary told the seers when she would appear and when WW II would start if enough prayers weren't offered so his argument shows ignorance of Marian apparitions. Could it be Mary knows the future ???
ALSO,
The apparitions are not supernatural claim by Peric also shows an ignorance of extensive testing that showed activities that were certainly not normal, for instance the seers pupil not contracting when a flashlight was shone in it. Also they put a device on the heads of the seers and found they were all looking at the same point in space. You may think that is easy but try it with 5 people. Medjugorje is real because Mary sees the absolute need of preparing the world for the chastisements and the decrease of its bad affect. Why Chastisement(s) ? 4,000 babies are slaughtered daily in America. This alone is worthy of God's major punishment. But the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart is also promised and may be imminent. But Bishop Peric's statement above is downright embarrasing to himself. Another dumb reason put forth by another priest was there were too many apparitions for the phenomenon to be real. That's like saying Mary has too much love for us.

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