Thursday, October 08, 2009

Medjugorje: Holy See to speak officially

The Holy See is going to make an official announcement in the near future regarding the Medjugorje phenomena, according to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, head of the bishops’ conference in Bosnia.

As I have pointed out over the last few days the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is hardly likely to be positive. I understand one of the reasons why the Holy See is being compelled to act rather than following its strategy of merely referring enquirers to the statements made by the Bishop of Mostar is to prevent acts like the September 15th event in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, were Cardinal Schönborn welcomed the "visionary", Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti. The Cardinal, incidentally, seems to be seen increasingly as a loose canon.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

I trust the local ordinary's decision

berenike said...

Fr Ray Blake, Bane of Medj-heads...

gemoftheocean said...

If the pope really wants to get a grip he should retire Cardibnals like the Guy in Vienna (and Mahoney!) sooner and not wait until they are 75

I can also think of an Archbishop in Ghanna who needs to be removed immediately, for pinning his misguided hopes on Obama as a saviour of the world. People that far gone need to be put out to pastu, rather than wait for God to call them to the glue factory.

On the side of the angels said...

You're right about His Eminence - his inherent ineptitude and lack of understanding is written all over the chaotically constructed , imprecise and doctrinally obfuscating construction of the catechism - small wonder His Holiness had to write an indepth commentary on the whole thing where nothing was devoid of reclarification.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gem, No more about Obama, unless it is on topic, it is getting like a cracked record.

Michael Petek said...

When the Holy See makes its announcement it will most likely to confirm what has already been divulged by Bishop Peric:

(1) No certainty as to the origin of the apparitions.

(2) They are private messages from private persons, for private purposes.

(3) Church premises off limits.

I would be very surprised for the Holy See to declare the whole thing fraudulent, because it would first have to find that each and every one of the seers (witnesses) is not merely mistaken, but asserting what they know to be false or do not believe to be true.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think it will go further than that.
It will leave open the question of whether the "seers" or their "guides" are fraudulent, diabolic, mistaken or delluded.

Those are not the questions, the question is: are these genuine appearances of the BVM?
The answer will be: No!

There will also be pastoral directions to bishops.

Michael Petek said...

What you're expecting, Father, is a determination of constat de non supernaturalitate in respect of each and every alleged apparition and in respect of each and every seer.

I should also expect that the Holy See will set out detailed justification for any adverse judgement, with a warning against any sinful accusations of fraud.

Crux Fidelis said...

"a loose canon"

Was that an intentional pun or a typo? If the latter it was serendipitous.

I have a neighbour who is an enthusiastic devotee of Medjugorje and has been several times. She is in her seventies and is a good old-fashioned, daily mass attending, rosary reciting, faithful Catholic. I wonder how she'll take any negative statement by the Holy See.

Just another mad Catholic said...

there was a time when I thought that the Cardinal of Vienna was a sane man, this collaboration with the medj-heads only proves the fact the he IS loose cannon, perhaps he and +Williamson should get together:)

becket said...

I wonder what ever happened to Eileen George. Wasn't she a visionary as well, or was she a fraud also?. Curious!

becket said...

Here she is. "Eileen George"
You determine!.

becket said...

Check her (Eileen George's "Credentials" out.

Roger Mahony is on the list.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

M.P. asks: with a warning against any sinful accusations of fraud.

Does calumny against the bishop count?

I'm with Fr. Ray. I don't believe the Holy See is going to take time out of it's day to create more guidelines which can be loosely interpreted or perverted. If there is a loophole, it will be found. Therefore, it has to be sealed shut.

I believe that is why we have seen these series of statements coming out of the diocese, and homilies: I think we will see the Holy See point to these documents.

If they do, I hope people will do a thorough examination of conscience in all the way theys impugned the bishops of Mostar.

When people attack the bishops of Mostar (Zanic, and now Peric), they attack a sacred person who is acting as pastor of the place. This authority - to continue to be responsible for pastoral activities (note I did not say final judgment) in Medjugorje, was made clear in the 1991 Zadar Declaration. Cardinal Bertone's statement about the bishop's "personal opinion" was limited in scope to any kind of final judgment, which rests with the Holy See. The bishop was not "castrated" (pardon the expression) in his capacity to handle pastoral matters which is what we see happening on that diocesan website in the past year.

By attack - I mean by engaging in rash judgment of his motives and calumniating him.

Since discernment criteria of 1978 looks not only at the "seers" themselves, but on their closest associates, this includes any of those Franciscans judged by the Church to be "spiritual advisors".

No matter what members of the Medjugorje movement may say about Vlasic not being a spiritual director, the local authority has explained - in that three-part statement released on Sept 26 - how it arrived at that judgment.

I believe we will see the Holy See validate that judgment through acknowledgment in whatever statement is forthcoming.

Time will tell.

gemoftheocean said...

I thought it WAS on topic, in the sense that if you have an Archbishop so far gone as to pin his hopes on Obama rather than God, then something is amiss with that Archbishop and he needs to be taken to the woodshed or retired.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

I think the term " Medj-heads" is unbelievably hurtful & uncharitable. What was that about allowing one's blog to damn oneself? Just because we believe something fraudalent doesn't mean we have to call people horrible names. This is what infuriates me about the holier than thou anti- Medj brigade! Nasty that's what they are. Some aren't Donal Foley is very careful not to throw accusations at people who though well meaning have been taken in. Fr Ray I'm surprised you encourage an uncharitable mindset..I'm sure Rome will do a better job!

Michael Petek said...

Diane, I would say that calumny of a Bishop might count, if calumny it is.

But the Bishop is not under evaluation here. The seers are, and it is they who are typically accused of fraud.

The following issues ought to be dealt with distinctly.

(1) The seers - all six of them - are competent witnesses of what they see, so the question that must be asked of them is whether there is moral certainty that they are asserting what they know to be false or do not believe to be true. (If they did so in a civil witness statement in England they could be held in contempt of court).

(2) The disobedience of Franciscan friars, even if established, is not relevant, for sin in a priest - or a Bishop - has no effect on the validity of the sacraments he administers, nor on his authority in the Church.

(3) Mirjana and Marija ought to be evaluated distinctly because they put messages into the public domain which could engage the rule of faith and morals. The other seers do not, or do not do so any more.

(4) Father Peter Joseph, in his "Apparitions True and False" at states that, if some detail or other in a revelation is false, it is not necessary to reject the entire revelation; the remainder may be authentic.

(5) The major apparitions at Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima were confirmed by external proofs: the tilma in the case of Guadalupe, the springs of water at Lourdes and Banneux, the verified miraculous healings at Beauraing and the solar miracle at Fatima. The fact that Medjugorje lacks similar morally certain confirmations is probably the main factor standing in the way of a judgement of constat de supernaturalitate.

(6) In its evaluation of facts, the Holy See in the person of the Pope can infallibly determine dogmatic facts: any fact connected with a dogma, and on which the application of the dogma to a particular case depends. So the Pope could, if he chose, declare definitively that a particular apparition is (or is not) contrary to faith or morals, and such a determination must be free of error.

(7) Outside the remit of infallibility, the Church can find any fact it truthfully can, taking account of all that is relevant and excluding the irrelevant. It can then make such inferences from the facts as are proper, but cannot legitimately make a decision which is impossible for a reasonable person acting reasonably. This gives her a very wide discretion, though not an unlimited one.

B. said...

I don't see any change happening. If the Vatican declares that the apparitions are not supernatural, the Medjugorje-Fans will say that it's just the Vatican's opinion, and that there is nothing in the CIC that prevents them from believing in it.

If the Vatican prohibits pilgrimages (which are already prohibited), the Fans will simply say, that they are making holiday there and praying, and the Vatican can't prevent them from doing so.

The only case in which anything interesting would happen, would be if the Vatican threatened excommunications. But that isn't going to happen as the Vatican fears another SSPX-type desaster, and a good portion of the Medju-Fans is ready to go into schism over it.

I have been told that I would have to answer to our Lord on the day of my death for not believing in Medjugorje.

Melchoir said...

What was that about allowing one's blog to damn oneself?

I am sure whoever wrote this, knows from experience.

gemoftheocean said...

jackie, I think you're taking offense in the wrong way.

It doesn't do the church any good to let people be deluded by fraudulent claims. Athough no one is obligated to believe in ANY private revelation (Lourdes, Fatima, Knock and a host of others) it does behoove the church to point out when there are grave problems with a given set of appartitions. This is why the church is so cautious about them. While at first I can see how many believed as time went it it became more and more apparent that a lot of this was a power play between diocese/religous order, etc. I wouldn't claim to be an expert but as a rule of thumb Our Lady does not visit you daily to say mundane things like "Eat your Wheaties."

I wouldn't want anyone to be sucked into worshipping the image of Christ on a piece of toast either -- no matter how many times it inspired someone to go to confession.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

M Petek:

I can't even begin to address the problems in your statement without writing a, I'm not going to bother addressing the problems in your comments.

We are on entirely different planes which do not intersect.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I'm in agreement with Jackie on something.

While I disbelieve that Our Lady is appearing to anyone associated with Medjugorje (which includes the dozens of spin-offs), I think we need to consider whether our language meets a reasonable charity test.

Would those of you who use consdescending expressions like "Medj-heads" use them in an ordinary conversation about Medjugorje with Pope Benedict XVI?

Would you expect that kind of language out of His Holiness?

Mentally, always place yourself before someone very holy and virtuous.

Further, I have found that anonymity and pseudonames enable people to say things they would not if their real names were published. This says alot.

On the other side of the coin, those who support Medjugorje have a tendency to view any criticisms, including those delivered as a matter of documented facts, substantiated through official sources, as "uncharitable".

Substantive, objective information is not uncharitable. The tone in which it is delivered can be.

When something appears on a Vatican, diocesan, or religious order document, I consider that a valid source. When that is pitted against information and explanations on promoter sites, I have to side with the religious order, diocesan and Vatican sources.

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

Rome is going to be careful here, I'm sure, because it has damaged its own credibility in various past interventions in alleged mystical phenomena. The Holy Father is well aware of this.

The most celebrated example is the forbidding of the Divine Mercy devotion by Rome for many years prior to the election of John Paul II, who triumphiantly rehabilitated it, promulgated it and canonized the visionary. Clearly, this is a vastly different case from Medjugorje. But that subtlety will be lost on many.

The unintended consequence of the Divine Mercy U-turn is that followers of every off-beat private revelation that gets the thumbs-down from Rome will always say, "Ah, but that's what they did with the Divine Mercy. Rome will see the light one day."

If the Medjugorje apparitions are false but some of the indirect fruits are praiseworthy (as you intimate in one of your earlier posts), the way forward may lie in separating the visionaries and their spiritual directors from the rest of the rest of the phenemenon, rather than attempting to squash the whole thing. Would it be possible to promote "Medjugorje spirituality" -- conversion, fasting, penance, daily Mass, monthly confession, daily Rosary, etc. -- and encouraging retreats to Medjugorge while at the same time replacing the Franciscans and ordering the visionaries, under obedience, to cease promulgating all messages?

I remember someone commenting on Medjugorje to the effect that even if the apparitions are not of supernatural origin, the arrival of millions of pious visitors might well be.

SunnaB16 said...

May both of those courageous and
savagely vilified Bishops of Mos-tar/Duvno be vindicated at last.

But if Medjugorge is given the thumbs down, will the new target be Pope Benedict, who will be
labelled an "antiPope" as a res- ult of claims made by some other unapproved phenomenon (was it Garabandal?)?

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I was just sent a link from a 2008 article in Portuguese (not sure if it is from Portugal, Brazil or elsewhere). In it, the author states that the commission, which has been working discretely for three years now, is expected to conclude at the end of 2009.

It's interesting to note that this article was written in December of 2008.

It also mentions that Ivan managed to raise $70,000 at an event from private donations. Whether the article was truly US dollars or other, I don't know, but the article uses what appears to be dollars.

You can read the article with the use of Google Translate and it did a very good job of getting it from the original Portugese into English (far better than it does German into English).

Here is the original link.

Here is an attempt to connect right to a google translate version.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Richard Chonak has translated into English Part 2, in which Bishop Peric discusses the problem of the Gospa's birthday as related by the alleged apparition.

This is interesting...

Medjugorje Context, part II: what is Our Lady's birthday?

I also received word back from the diocese of Mostar Duvno that we can expect official translations of this three part statement, in English and German, soon.

Hestor said...

But if Medjugorge is given the thumbs down, will the new target be Pope Benedict, who will be
labelled an "antiPope" as a result of claims made by some other unapproved phenomenon (was it Garabandal?)?

From what little contact I have had with Garabandal promoters, they do not consider Medjugorje to be authentic either. The only thing that goes in favour of Garabandal is that Padre Pio allegedly said to Joey Lomangino that it was true and that he cordially received one or two of the visionaries.

Michael Petek said...

SunnaB16, I should find it interesting if a body of Catholics should brand Pope Benedict an antipope for an adverse judgement of Medjugorje, while the visionaries themselves remain in full communion with him.

I wouldn't presume that the Pope will take the case himself personally, much less approve the decision in forma specifica.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith usually rules on cases like this, and as long as it makes a proper finding of facts and draws such conclusions from them as are open to a reasonable and faithful Catholic acting reasonably, then no problem.

John Kearney said...

But how can Rome make a judgement on Medjuogrye? They have made no examination of the evidence and the judgement of the local bishop though sound is not infallible. Catholic Mum of 10 is right to point to the lack of charity, indeed almost hatred shown in the comments. This is a very poor reflection of Catholicism. Rome is going to act has been the story over the past thirty years but it never has. When it does it will choose the wise course. Only one visionary now sees Our Lady it is claimed. When this ceases the matter of the visions will be solved. But do not think for one moment pilgrims will not continue going to Medjugorye. And do not believe that Our Lady is not spiritually with the pilgrims - she is now and she will continure to be. No, I do not believe in the visions but I treat Medjugorye pilgrims as a Catholic should - with love and charity

Michael Petek said...

John, Rome can make a judgement on Medjugorje, whether infallible or not, and any level of Church authority can make an authentic one.

We don't know that Rome hasn't taken evidence. If it hasn't, then it couldn't reasonably make a determination of any kind.

shadowlands said...

Cardinal Arinze says

"You can have your opinion,but it is not our faith! The Church teaches us what to believe and what not to believe"!

SunnaB16 said...

From Michael Petek
"...I should find..."

Michael, you don`t seem to be aware
of the intensity of feeling among
Medjugorje supporters, at least in
this part of the world - 80km south-west of Sydney NSW Australia.
One Medjugorje promoter who also
promotes Garabandal, Fr. Gobbi, the
Divine Will Movement, Dozule, Maria
Valtorta, Vassula Ryden etc, said
to me a couple of years ago:
"You`re going to have to answer to
God for rejecting Medjugorje, Gara-
bandal, Maria Valtorta(etc)...".
She is not the only one to have
that attitude. Most of these folks
don`t know the Church`s teachings
on Private Revalation, AND THEY
DON`T WANT TO KNOW! They think that Heaven overrides the local
Bishop`s authority. WRONG! Saint
Pio, among others, could set them
In the same way, they refuse to
consider anything negative.
In regard to Bishop Peric, another
Medj supporter said to me:
"He`s a BAD Bishop."
My reply: "Why`s he a bad Bishop?"
Her reply:"Because he is!"
The poor Bishop`s only sin is his
refusal to accept the "Apparitions"
The same charge is hurled at the
previous Bishop whose character was
assassinated by the film "Gospa".
The same person who trashed Bishop
Peric (above) also said that she
regards Our Lady as an extension
of The Blessed Trinity...

These "apparition chasers" are the
most devout folks you could find
anywhere, but they prefer to fill
their minds with questionable mat-
erial, rather than with solid Church teachings. There`s also the matter of elitism.

One of the fruits of Medjugorje is
a tendency to treat Bishop Peric`s
authority with contempt, and to
have no problems with disobeying
him. This attitude is promoted by
a lot of the mountain of proMedj literature. A dangerous follow-on
is to regard other Church authority
in a similar way, even if not con-
sciously - the seed has been sown.
The Devil must be happy with the
resulting disobedience.

Getting back to Garabandal (Phew!):
one of its "messages" said that the
Pope who turned out to be John Paul
II would be the last Pope. After
the election of Cardinal Ratzinger,
the "message" was reinterpreted to
mean "...the last Pope of this age"
But DOUBT had already been planted
in a lot of people`s minds - they
were jittery, at least around here
they were, and the term "antiPope"
was thrown around as a title for
the next Pope. It could take only
a negative judgement on Medjugorje
for a lot of people to re-reinter-
pret that "message".

Don`t kid yourself: a lot of people
would refuse to accept a negative
judgement, and regardless of who
was responsible, or who made such
an announcement, the Pope would be
blamed for letting it happen. I`ve
already been told that those of us
who are against Medjugorje are
working for the Devil.

I sincerely wish your statement:
"The Congregation...then no prob-
lem." were correct...but I don`t
think and I are rational,
and will abide by the Church`s rul-
ing (if it does give one), but so
many of "them" are not and will not.

Garabandal doesn`t say "antiPope,
but various other unapproved or condemned sources do: eg John Leary
the false locutionist from Rochest-
er NY. So there`s a reinforcing
effect. In any case, Medjugorje
can`t be looked at in isolation - it interlocks with others such as
Fr. Gobbi and Maria Valtorta. If
one of these interlocking parts
were to fall...a chain-reaction?

Longwinded...sorry, but this thing
is a monster, and there was so much
background to explain, but still
even more left out...

I can`t help feeling that Medjugor-
je and the others are just one great demonic deception, subtle and sometimes not so subtle, to lead astray many of the more devout
among us, to split the Church even
more than the religious Left and to
a lesser extent, the Right, have already done...the Devil has a trap
for each of us...

Is Rome dropping hints now so that
when the shock comes it won`t be so

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Thanks Diane & in all things. We will be studying " Understanding Medjugorje" in our Catholic Women's Book Club..up here from priests & people I've only heard gentleness & charity from those on both sides of the fence. I think Fr Ray as priest & this being his blog should moderate nasty descriptions of well-meaning people. I don't buy your approach Karen..too abrasive & self-righteous..sorry if that is uncharitable but as you say we need to speak as we find.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I love the internet because it is relatively free of censorship. I don't believe in putting a bluepen through things unnecessarily, though I remove the overly long winded, excessively nutty or tedious and obscene.
I can cope with the occassional bit of rudeness, I expect others to do the same. I also expect other who comment to corect faults in others.

I think you are complaining about "Medj-heads", it is not kind but it does describe the type of person SunnaB16 describes, someone so intoxicated with the "happening" they are incapable of evaluating the evidence.

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Oh well that's me censored then!

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Err btw what's 'excessively nutty?' it against the mentally ill or something?

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Anyway I'm just winding you up as usual..will go back to listen to the X Factor on my own blog..I mean I've got the Medj Head experts over who has been 5 times, priests who have & haven't & Donal Foley doing stirling work.." tatty bye! "

Fr Ray Blake said...

Forgive me, don't be offended but the world does not revove around you, nor do my comments!

Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Oh strange that! That's what my kids tell me.." Mom, it's NOT all about YOU! " Isn't it??

Michael Petek said...

Long-winded, SunnaB16! You're not kidding, are you!

Can heaven overrule a Bishop's authority, or for that matter the Pope's?

The obligation to obey public authority in Church or State extends to whatever is not sinful and which concerns the common good of either society respectively. So, on these terms, the answer is 'yes'. What is and is not sinful is determined according to the public deposit of faith and morals.

That is the outer limit of social authority. Within that limit, anyone exercising it must act only in ways open to a reasonable person acting reasonably. This includes taking evidence and evaluating it logically and correctly.

As long as they do so, then they must be obeyed even though they may be mistaken in their measures.

I understand your point about 'apparition chasers'. But you need to understand that many Christians have a legitimate hunger for the truth concerning the things that must happen before the Last Judgement.

Unfortunately, the hierarchy hasn't taught too clearly, if at all, on this point. So it's no wonder that Millenarianism of one sort or another tends to fill the vacuum.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Strange you should mention it, but I wasn't actually thinking of SunnaB16 in terms of being long winded.

Michael Petek said...

Point taken, Father!

tempus putationis said...

Hallo Father,
Back again, after a long drive.

The long-windedness score, incidentally, is MP: 187 words and
Sunna B16: 666 words. Hmmm.

I wonder whether you are basing this post simply on Reuter's reporting of Cdl Puljic's statement which confuses tenses and moods so much as really not to say anything new:
"We are now awaiting a new directive on this issue,” said Puljic, the Sarajevo archbishop who survived the city’s long wartime siege in the 1990s. “I don’t think we must wait for a long time, I think it will be this year, but that is not clear… I am going to Rome in November and we must discuss this.”
If that's all there is to this news story, then there is no story!

Also, I wonder how many times the Vatican spokesperson has to keep saying, as Dr Navarro Nalls did in 1996:
"You cannot say people cannot go there [to Medjugorje] until it has been proven false. This has not been said, so anyone can go if they want.
...When one reads what Archbishop Bertone wrote, one could get the impression that from now on everything is forbidden, no possibility [for Catholics to travel to Medjugorje] ... nothing has changed, nothing new has been said.
...The problem is if you systematically organize pilgrimages, organize them with the bishop and the Church, you are giving a canonical sanction to the facts of Medjugorje. This is different from people going in a group who bring a priest with them in order to go to confession.
...Has the church or the Vatican said no [to Catholics visiting Medjugorje]? NO. ... The difference, in the terms of canon law, is that an official pilgrimage, organized by the diocese with the bishop, is a way of giving a juridical sanction to the facts; you are saying this is true".
This is reported all over the web: I took the above from EWTN.

All the people I have met, by the way, who have been to Medjugorje, display an unfailing loyalty to the Holy Father and would abide by any decision coming from him. No doubt there are the odd nutcases, but it is not helpful to base an argument on the testimony of a nutcase. (Yes, I am being nutcasist here!)

bernadette said...

May I ask what happened when you visited Medjugorje, Fr Blake ?

It must have been something quite awful to have provoked this vitriol against people who only want to attend daily Mass and say the rosary...

What on earth happened when you visited the place ? Do tell.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I have never visited Medjugorje and would never dream of doing so. The local bishop has spoken and I would obey him in his diocese.
Without filial obedience we have anarchy, not have the Church!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Father, Despite your feelings or even experiences we have a duty to obey.
I do not think allegations laid on one bishop should be used to undermine the authority of another.
I am sure it was not you intention but it gives the imporession of an attempt to smear.
Neither do I think it helpful to share rumours or speculations from Roman Universities which are known for a certain culture of gossip.