Saturday, September 26, 2009

Medjugorje: what sense "supernatural"?

Yesterday I put up a post about Medjugorje, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith backing the Bishop of Mostar and referring anyone who asks about Medjugorje to the Bishop's statements about the absence of supernatural intervention.
Despite his words, despite his prohibitions of pilgrimages, lay people, priests, even bishops, even some English ones, flock to Medjugorje. These bishops and priests claim their pilgrimage is private not public, when questioned about this they insist their visit is to support the pilgrims, not because of the seers. This is just plain stupid, Medjugorje exists only because of the so called seers.

The other claim they make is that nowhere else do they experience such a hunger for the sacraments, for Communion, for Eucharistic adoration, for the Sacrament of Penance, for devotion to Our Lady. The people that go to Medjugorje are otherwise mainstream Catholics who claim the experience a deepening of faith, and in some cases conversion. Following Jesus' teaching about rotten trees producing rotten fruit, good trees producing good fruit, the extrapolation is obvious, the fruit is good therefore the seers are good. It is an inversion of Catholic moral teaching, though God can bring good out of ill, we may not do wrong in order to produce good.
Even then we have to ask deep rooted are these conversions and this fervour. Is it really like the seed planted in shallow soil, it springs up full of promise and then whithers and dies. One hears of many short lived conversions in the hills of Medjugorje. Faith based on signs and wonders alone tends to reduce God to the status of the genie in the lamp.
Why is it that Rome's condemnation is put in terms of a reference to the Bishop Mostar's judgement?
First of all because he is the successor of the Apostles in his diocese. The principle of subsidiarity means it is his responsibility. The default position is that the local bishop's decision stands until Rome overturns it. Never has Rome done this in the case of Medjugorje.
Secondly, I suspect it is because Rome really wants to keep the whole issue at arms length. The condemnation of Garabandal appearances distanced many simple believers, who preferred to believe fraudsters rather than submit to the Church. The post-Concilliar post-Humanae Vitae Church is conscious of the tenuous and fragile links people often have with it.

If these visions do not come from God then where do they come from?
As far as I know the local Bishop has rather judiciously neither condemned the visionaries directly of fraud nor the visions as diabolic, he has merely said that they not of divine or supernatural origin. He has certainly brought action against the friars who were involved with the seers, as one of the commentators on yesterday's post says:

The 'succes' of Medjugorje is due not to the 'seers', but to the franciscans, who did exploit this 'goldmine'. But what happened to the 3 big names who did run this hoax? They all 3 played the role of 'spiritual leaders' of the 'seers'!...
1 Fr. Slavko Barbaric ofm :It was forbidden to him by the bishop of Mostar to stay in Medjugorje, where he died in disobedience...
2 Fr. Jozo Zovko ofm : He has been suspended in 1989, in 1994 and in 2004. Now he has been exiled by Rome to the island Badija
3 ex-Fr. Tomislav Vlasic ex-ofm :
He has been suspended last year and is now reduced to the lay-status by Rome. So he is even no more priest
By their fruits .... ?

If it is merely a matter fraud then there is substantial evidence that Medjugorje collectively has done well out of the "religious tourism" as have the parish clergy, as have the seers.

I find it difficult to attribute human folly or sinfullness to the devil, let's not give him too much credit, but in the case of mysterious happenings, if the visionaries are not fraudulent or deluded, if rosaries are being turned gold, if the sun truly dances or spins and there is no natural explanation then we have to look to a supernatural explanation. The Church, through the bishop and the CDF have discounted a divine origin, therefore the only other supernatural explanation is diabolic one.

What is devil's interest in it?

The most obvious, is the seperation of the sheep from the shepherd, from the local ordinary and if he condemned it directly, from the Pope.

An over-emphasis on charismatic gifts and personal revelation.

A distortion of the image of God.

I am sure you can add to the list.


Michael Petek said...

From the Bishop's homily:

"2 - On the basis of Church investigations of the events of Medjugorje, it cannot be determined that these events involve supernatural apparitions or revelations. This means that till now the Church has not accepted, neither as supernatural nor as Marian, any of the apparitions."

In other words, the no-evidence rule of judicial review applies: He who asserts must prove, and there is as yet not enough evidence, or any at all, on which a reasonable person acting reasonably could base a determination of any kind to the required standard of proof.

The standard of proof laid down in the Vatican criteria is moral certainty and is the standard universally applied in ecclesiastical tribunals even in non-penal cases. In familiar terms it means proof beyond reasonable (prudent) doubt.

This allows people to hold - for what it's worth - that Our Lady is more probably appearing in Medjugorje than not, or that probabilities are equal, or that they are reversed.

As for diabolic manifestation, I would find it inconceivable that a person who has been trafficking with evil spirits so frequently and for so long would not be very heavily possessed.

I refer to the late Father John Hardon SJ,

s.v. Demonology; Exorcism:

"Especially, he [the exorcist] should not believe too readily that a person is possessed by an evil spirit; but he ought to ascertain the signs by which a person possessed can be distinguished from one who is suffering from some illness, especially one of a psychological nature."

s.v. Demonology; What are Possession and Obsession by the Devil?

" . . in cases of possession there will always be the strong aversion to the sacred or anything that was a source of spiritual consolation before the possession. In many cases this aversion may extend to the moral and physical order."

" . . one prime key to distinguish possession from psychopathology is the universal opposition, even hatred of everything which has to do with God, or the Eucharist, or the Blessed Virgin, or the saints or, in general, whatever is sacred."

"Before we leave our reflections on demonic possession, no matter what type it assumes, one thing must be reemphasized. What is never absent in a possessed person is the inhuman hatred of anything having to do with God."

"Before we finish this part of our conference, I must repeat that the phenomena exhibited by possessed people may have all the signs of psychopathology. But one phenomenon is unique: a virulent detestation of everything divine."

berenike said...

I think it all seems highly dubious. But off the top of my head, I can think of three *very converted* people among my friends, who converted in Medjugorje (actually, all of them on the bus there or back, oddly). One of them calls it Megaforgery these days, but doesn't deny that he had a major conversion on his trip there. And I know a very holy, very "sound" priest, who is very suspicious of the apparition claims, but accompanies groups there because he says it is the most remarkable place of prayer. And there are many lasting conversions on the trips.

In fact, all three of the people I am thinking of are very suspicious of the apparitions themselves, or at least are not at all interested in them.

Perhaps the devil had a Cunning Plan, and it's all blown up in his face?

Embajador said...

Father, I totally concur with your view on this matter. However, there are some small details that are not clear to me. I would appreciate your assistance in . These are:

1. You put forward the possibility of the Devil's involvement in all this. In my mind that would also be "supernatural". So, wouldn't the local Church's decision as to "non constat de supernaturalitate" exclude also the Devil's intervention?.

2. I always thought that Garabandal had been disallowed rather than condemned, as you say.

3. I have some friends that have become rather attached to Medjugorge. They were solid and devout catholics well before their involvement. They tend to agree with the possibility of there being diabolic intervention in all this. However, they think that the Devil would not lead people to confession and, most of all, Eucaristic Adoration even if in the ultimate pursuit of our souls.

For this reason I tend to believe more on "human" rather than diabolic intervention. But then everybody is reporting extraordinary events happening. The only way out is, therefore, mass delusion. Maybe you can comment on this.

Thanks very much in advance.

me said...

Initially I 'felt' upset that Medjugorje was not being accepted as authentic by the Church.My parents went there in the eighties and although they didn't witness any phenomena,they certainly enjoyed it.However,my personal journey as a Catholic has lead me to only truly believe I am safe when I am doing my best to obey what the Church teaches.Authority is given to the Magisterium,what is declared on earth is acknowledged in heaven.My feelings and opinions will not be worth tuppence on Judgement day as a means to vindicate myself for disobeying God's Laws.How many sins have I committed through some person,place or event 'seeming' and 'feeling'to be right? Too many to mention.No,I prefer to try to stick to what the Church teaches and advises.You see,that way it's actually my spiritual leaders who will have to give an answer for me,so it's a bit of a sneaky cop out,this doing as you're told business.It's also scriptural so the sola scriptura crew should take a leaf out of their own book(if you'll pardon the pun)."Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God". (Hebrews 13:17)
So fellow Romans,there we have it.Obedience is the key,and a resistance to the latter is not from God.Not all the fruit in the garden is meant for eating,from what I remember of Eden.

Mater Dolorosa said...

Proponents of Medjugorje often say that the 'messages' have to be from God, and are therefore true, because the devil wouldn't encourage you to go to Mass & receive Communion, to go to confession and say the Rosary; but the sad fact is… he most certainly will! Here is a concrete example of that method in action.

I don't know if you are familiar with the Palmar de Troyer 'apparitions'? Here are two examples of their ‘messages’:

15th of April 1970. Our Lady of Mount Carmel speaks: “...But I ask you all to try daily to hear Holy Mass, principal prayer of all Catholics; to receive My Divine Son in the Eucharist; to visit daily My Son publicly exposed in the Blessed Sacrament; to make the Way of the Cross; to pray the Holy Rosary of Our Fathers.”

24th of June 1971. Our Lady of Mount Carmel speaks: “My children, I come as Mother of Jesus and your Mother to remind you how abandoned is Jesus in the Eucharist. He is very much alone. “Again I ask you to visit Jesus in the Eucharist more frequently, to hear Holy Mass. Always attend Mass with great devotion; it is the Sacrifice most pleasing to the Eternal Father, in which Christ is offered as Victim for us. “ Do not forget: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the renewal of Golgotha, in which Christ in unbloody manner renews the Sacrifice of the Cross. “Oh My children! Keep in mind always the Blood shed by your Redeemer; the Divine Blood He gave as price of your redemption. “...My children: many of you who come to this Sacred Place have abandoned Jesus in the Eucharist. Some of you go only to Sunday Mass.... “Try also to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, especially when It is exposed... “Thus you now know, My little children: hear Holy Mass often and receive the Holy Eucharist. I bless you.”

After eight years of messages such as these, the Palmar adherents were ripe for what was to come next: the message that, after the death of Paul VI, Rome had lost all authority, and that the Papacy was to be transferred to Palmar, and, surprise surprise, the ‘Seer’ was chosen by Christ to be the next Pope! So with the encouragement of these so called apparitions to go to Mass etc, the Palmar followers were made into schismatics.

Also, there is much disobedience encouraged at Medjugorje; by the seers in the name of Our Lady & by the Franciscans themselves. I have been through the messages of several approved apparitions; for example, those of St. Margaret Mary, and have put together the quotes which relate to Our Lord extolling the virtue of obedience to Religious Superiors, even if those same Superiors were to explicitly go against His will as made known via the seer! It’s quite handy to keep for future reference.

As St. Faustina wrote: Satan can even clothe himself in a cloak of humility, but he does not know how to wear the cloak of obedience."

Anonymous said...

A lie, and who's the father of all lies?

Michael Petek said...

Mater Dolorosa, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see through the Palmar de Troya events.

See my article in This Rock published March 2000, entitled "Do-It-Yourself Popes - The Wacky World of Sedevacantists"

Embajador said...

Father, I have taken the liberty of translating the whole post which I will publish, with the appropriate reference in my own blog. This has led to a more careful reading which has answered two of my questions (Nos. 1 and 3)in full. Thank you.

gemoftheocean said...

Personally, in reading accounts of different places where visions are alleged (and I DO believe in some places *have* appeared) to have appeared, more than just people of faith have seen observable phenomenon.

For instance, I believe in Fatima, the secular press recorded at the time, that non-believers had also seen "the sun dance" or appear to. I'd never heard of any non-believers seeing things like gold rosaries and the like. A friend of mine when there in the early 80s a few times, but when she told me of the gold-rosary business I was suspicious.

As to "where it comes from?" Pure hypothesis on my part, but it could have well been a practical joke gotten out of hand. My friend related to me that it was some time before the two (or however many) original seekers had admitted that they'd gone to the isolated spot to sneak a smoke. I can well see how two kids might say "Hey, let's tell X we saw a 'vision' s/he's so gullible s/he'll buy anything." Then X DOES "Fall for it" to the point where they are taken to the spot and now think that they see visions too, because of an active imagination. Then A and B don't realize that X is *really* suckered, and goes home to tell friend/family. Now A and B don't want to admit they'd taken X for a ride... and something like that could snowball from there. Now they've got seekers from neighboring towns [and they were under communism too] *want* to believe etc. The teens start seeing the by effects of their prank and because suddenly dad sells some extra stuff from the vending cart, and "Bob" across the road has been able to put up some visitors and make a little on the side...and now if they admit their joke has gotten out of hand, they're in too deep. JUST my theory.

People can "see Jesus" in a piece of burnt toast. It's an accident, but "big money" on e-bay for gullible people. [And sometimes it does "look like Jesus, in the way that a cloud could remind one of a dragon.]

:-D There was a Ballykissangel episode in season 3 (I think) where Liam and Donal had smeared some chip fat on the BVM statue in the church as a "sign." What was fun about the episode was that the two priests, Fr. Mac and Fr. Stephen were immediately skeptical, but Fr. Mac had enough sense to channel the people in the right direction of prayer, until they figured out who the culprits were!

Also with Medugorie, I can't think of anything similar where she was appear thousands of times and saying trivial trite things, as the Medugorie "visions" increasingly became. Mary comes, does her work for a while and then she's "done there."

Also I don't think a lot of people realize that where or not one believes in a given revelation is strictly a personal decisions because it's still considered a "private revelation." As long as the official church hasn't spoken against a supposed private revelation, one can chose to believe or not believe.

[Sorry if this is a double post, my internet connection timed out just as I was posting]

John Kearney said...

Having gone to Medjugorye and now reject the visions for the very reasons you give, Father, I think that many attacks on it and the pilgrims are actusally counterproductive. I did wonder that people who claimed to have seen Our Lady every day had so little to say for themselves. They were paraded in the town like film stars. I soon lost belief in the visions but the other side of Medjugorye you dismiss too lightly. The former Bishop of Mostar never denied that Medjogorye was bearing much fruit but as he said this was through the work of the many priests who visited the town and the good Franciscans Friars. At pilgrim level priests sat down to hear one confession and suddenly they found more and more people coming and could be hearing confessions for up to four hours without a break. This has to be good. I will never regret my visit there for there I had the courage to say a Confeswsion which was long overdue. And there were no charismatic shindigs everything I experienced was very catholic and very traditional and the priests at Mass taught Catholicj Doctrine, Humane Vitae and all. People then who enjoy my expereince do not welcome the bland dismissals too many people make when dealing with Medjugorye pilgrims.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Priests have an added responsibility in the eyes of God. As shepherds they have to lead the sheep to Heavenly safety. When they get to meet Him, He will ask them how well they did this.

The sheep are confused. They don't know whether Medjugorje is genuine or not.

Some shepherds say not; others lead their sheep there - albeit in a private capacity (whatever that means).

In all naivety I ask: Whose responsibility is it to clarify this whole situation? For the sheep as well as the shepherds?

Mater Dolorosa said...

Michael Petek:
"you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see through the Palmar de Troya events."

By the same token, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see through the circus of Medjugorje; but the sad fact is that people don't see through it, just like people obviously didn't see through the madness at Palmer. Remember, at the beginning, Palmar wasn’t the freak show that it is now: it wasn’t always self appointing blind ‘popes’. Just look at the two ‘messages’ which I quoted earlier, there’s no trace of lunacy there; nothing to auger what was to come.

Do you not think the whackos of Palmar are just as sincere in their belief in their false apparitions, as the people who follow Medjugorje are in their belief? You could point out all the faults of Medjugorje to those who believe and they still won’t accept what you’re saying. You can show hard evidence of the Medjugorje seers being caught out lying; you can show them examples of the ‘Gospa’ promoting religious indifferentism and disobedience to lawful authority, even insisting that suspended priests could still offer the Sacraments, and they just won’t accept it; one woman said to me that “that wasn’t a description of the seers that she knows”.

As for the potential for the Medjugorje visions to end in schism, just as it did at Palmar, what do you think will happen if the Holy See were to declare right now that the visions of Medjugorje were false? After 28 years (as opposed to the 8 years it took before the schism of Palmar) of people investing their time, money and emotions into the seers and message of Medjugorje; do you think that they will accept the decision with tranquillity? I have already heard people say that they would believe the visions over the Pope if he were to declare against the Gospa.

And yes, I have previously read your article on Palmar! :c).

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Although I wrote a review of Donal Foley's Book " Understanding of Medjugorje " against the apparitions, the more I see the recent developments of the dignity of the 'alleged seers' the more inclined I am to support the phenomenon again. I don't know one single person who didn't come home enriched by Medjugorje..indeed it was the catalyst to transform our family into a life of prayer, fasting, frequent confession & daily Mass. The article re the Bishop you use is over 3 years old now..& ultimately I have to say that a lot of anti- Medjugorje people are rather lacking in charity. Ultimately I'm happy for Holy Mother Church to make the final pronouncement & don't worry about the rest. I think I might make a 6th visit soon & do a personal update.

Nicolas Bellord said...

With my wife and friends I visited Medjugorje three times before the Yugoslav civil war. I think it was a time when many were looking for the supernatural and it did evoke a great deal of devotion and prayer. However there were aspects that bugged me. I suspected that "golden" rosaries were just rosaries that had suddenly been used so that the silver rubbed off and the brass underneath suddenly appeared. I did not see any spinning suns and as for being "slain in the spirit" all I could think of was the bad breath of the person trying to push me over. Subsequently politics seem to obtrude which hardly conformed to the teachings of the Church.
Last year I met a lady who had been such an enthusiast that she bought a house in Medjugorje and lived there for four years. She told me that it gradually dawned on her that there was something very amiss and she now thinks it was probably all faked or over-enthusiasm at the very least.

Michael Petek said...

Catholicmomof10: I found the following posted on the Internet about Palmar de Troya.

"In 1969, Dominguez installed his followers in the southern Spanish town of Palmar de Troya, near Seville, a year after four teenaged girls claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in a nearby field. A legitimate Catholic bishop dismissed those apparitions as illusions. The girls, now in their 50s, are now said to wish to only forget the past and to have no connection with the Palmarian Church.

But that didn't stop Dominguez, who claimed within a period of five months to have seen not only Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, but also St. Joseph and other saints - not to mention a flock of angels dressed as Dominican friars. Dominguez always felt a special affinity for the Dominicans. Averring others observations of Dominguez´ antics, his own mother once described him as "a little touched in the head."

Dominguez had barged his way in and appointed himself as the chief seer. There's material about him on the Internet that would make your teeth itch if you read it.

If you visit this site:

you'll find a lot of other things about him, including the fact that he was a known homosexual.

The Palmarian liturgy was reduced to almost solely the Eucharistic words of consecration. The 'See' of Palmar de Troya has also declared the real presence of the Virgin Mary in the Sacred Host and the bodily assumption into heaven of Joseph to be dogmas of the Catholic faith. By 2004, they had their own version of the Bible, revised by Domínguez on claimed prophetic authority.

As far as I know, the Medjugorje seers are all married, keeping their vows and raising well-adjusted children.

Melchoir said...

...ultimately I have to say that a lot of anti- Medjugorje people are rather lacking in charity.

The worst thing you can do is be charitable to a blatant forgery.

Michael Petek said...

Melchoir, how can you say that it's a blatant forgery when the Church hasn't yet?

The Church's position is: no proof as yet to the standard of moral certainty of constat de supernaturalitate.

While we're on the subject, no proof as yet to the standard of moral certainty of constat de praeternaturalitate (Assuming there is such a category).

So it's a matter of probability: probabilities equal, or else more probably positive, or more probably negative.

me said...

A lot of people here are commenting with their opinions and ideas and views on what they personally believe to be happening in Medjugorge.If they are not Roman Catholics,then fine.Personally comment and judge as you are so inclined.However,if you are a stand up and be counted Roman,then don't waste time speculating or offering considerations of distant cousins, once removed past experiences for proof.Our opinion is simply that,an opinion.There are over thirty three thousand Protestant religions,all with differing doctrines on how the gospel will be played out. Our strength as Catholics is in our obedience and adherence to what is coming out of the Magisterium.We don't need to fret or harbour any sense of pressure to accept these goings on at Medgugorje.As far as I am aware,even if the visions are confirmed as Our Lady,we are still not commanded to accept them,so why try to push what the teaching Church will confirm or reject? Mary submitted to the laws of her time,out of obedience.We must follow her example,not start a cause based on sentiments and feelings.If anything,our resistance should reveal the inner struggle within us to obey the Church,why is that? Is it to do with an unsurrendered part of our will? A defect of character that 'knows' best? What is our reaction to this situation showing us about ourself? As A Catholic,that is.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Thank you, Father, for your thoughts.

One voice of reason some years ago was +Henri BRINCARD
(Bishop of Puy-en-Velay
Accompanying Bishop of the Association of Marian organisations) writing on behalf of the French Bishops. The entire piece is worth reading, but I'll pull out a relevant quote for this post. On the matter of pilgrimages, after acknowledging all of the clarifications on pilgrimages thus far, he writes:

Let us recognise that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organise a private pilgrimage without it being motivated by the conviction that the events of Medjugorje are of a supernatural origin? Since this conviction is at the origin of the pilgrimage, does not this latter not become de facto "an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church"?

For those who have not read this statement, it is still well worth taking the time to read slowly.

French Bishop's Statement

Often left out of the discussion of fruits is the division within the Church on Medjugorje. I've heard from people where there is division within individual parishes.

The attacks upon the bishop, if if only in the hearts of some supporters, is a manifestation of this division.

If after careful thought, prayer and reasoning, an individual cannot accept Medjugorje, they are expected to be silent. Supporters feel it's ok to promote it, but it's not ok for those who don't feel it is aunthentic to talk about those objections.

There are uncharitable people on both sides. Unfortunately, there is a tendency among supporters to look upon anything said which is not supportive, as uncharitable.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Catholic Mom of 10 says: The article re the Bishop you use is over 3 years old now

The reason the 2006 homily is reference is because it was the 2006 homily to which the CDF referred the Toscani bishops.

Physiocrat said...


When Our Blessed Lord Himself is present in our local church and we can partake of His Body at Mass, what more miracles do we need and why traipse halfway across Europe to see some kitschy stuff?

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

i'm finding discussions on Medjugorje even worse than uncharitable..just plain boring! About 30 members of my family have been to Medjugorje some regularly. They all practice their Catholic faith. They are not liberal nor traditional..just Catholic following the magesterium. In fact we have lots of converts. Anyone marrying into our family asks for conversion. The young families are large & active in youth ministries, the widows are devoted to the's not a problem for us..I haven't ever witnessed anyone lose their faith in Medjugorje. I'm not saying it's authentic..not my place. Will leave it at that & let the battle continue! Our Lady will win anyway..

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

Let's not forget that the Church doesn't use a black and white system for evaluating apparitions: "accept" vs. "reject." There is, as it were, a red-amber-green system with some nuances.

Green: constat de supernaturalitate -- the local Bishop has determined that the apparition was from God. Lourdes and Fatima have this level of approbation.

Amber: non constat de supernaturalitate -- the local Bishop has not determined that the apparition was from God, i.e. he's either reserving judgement pending further investigation in order to finalize a red or green decision (e.g. if the phenomenon is ongoing), or he's chosen to leave it at that as the situation is unclear (e.g. the visionary passes away before sufficient evidence can be collected).

Red: constat de non supernaturalitate -- the Bishop has made a clear determination that whatever happened was NOT from God (i.e. fraud, delusion, diabolical intervention, etc.)

Medjugorje's official status in this schema is currently amber. Anyone thinking of going there should be familiar with the Canonical restrictions that apply to "amber" apparitions. They are not trivial.

Mary Rose said...

'Our Lady will win'
I have been many times and have had my faith renewed. Also my children who are now in their 20's have been and have got married without the modern idea of cohabitation before marriage. My son in Law went once and converted to Catholism after his visit and is now a regular church attender. I have nothing but good to report. Padre Pio was silenced for many years. I believe that Medgorje will be vindicated yet when it comes to completion. In the meantime lets be charitable and not so quick to condemn those who go there and find grace for their lives. Medugorje on my last visit just 1 week ago was full of young people and 10,000 people attended conducted adoration. I am sure the visionaries struggle with sin and tempetation the same as the rest of us. lets focus on charity and prayer for each other.

Timothy said...

Father ...

With all due respect, your continuing to post negatively on Medjugorje without having visited the Shrine does not reflect well upon you. If Medjugorje is that important to you then go there and honestly 'test the spirit'. Speak one-on-one with the visionaries. You will then have a much better perspective from which to make judgement. Otherwise, you are in danger of bearing false witness. Other religious, priests, bishops, cardinals, have been in your shoes but they visited and were surprisingly transformed by what they found.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I prefer to listen our Mother the Church and to the successor of the Apostles than disobedient laypeople, who have associated themselves with sinful and discredited friars.

tempus putationis said...

Dear Father, (hoping you have calmed down!), yes, let us listen to Holy Mother Church. Who better to speak for her than Cardinal Bertone, who, speaking of Medjugorje in his book 'The Last Secret of Fatima', published last year by Doubleday, says:
"Bishop Peric’s statement expresses a personal opinion of his own. It is not a definitive official judgment on the part of the Church. The Church defers to the Zadar statement issued on 10th April 1991 by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia and the statement leaves the door open to further investigations of the affair. So the process of verification needs to move forward.
In the meantime, private pilgrimages with pastoral provision for the faithful are authorised. Any Catholic can go as a pilgrim to Medjugorje, which is a Marian shrine welcoming all forms of devotion".
And in case anyone doubts Cdl Bertone's credentials (!), his book has an introduction by the Holy Father himself. God bless.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I tend not to lack calmness, if I did I might not publish comments that began, "Dear Father, (hoping you have calmed down!)".

Ttony said...

Father, I've waited until the fuss has died down, and you don't have to publish this anyway, but Garabandal seems to be a very different kettle of fish from both Palmar de Troya and Medjugorje, ot least because of the obedience shown to ecclesiastical authority by all concerned.

more romano said...

Juridical measures taken with regard to apparitions and private revelations are restrictive.

The 5th Lateran Council in 1516 said this:

«We wish that, according to the law, the above mentioned inspiration may be henceforth reserved to the examination of the Holy See before being published or preached to the People of God. It there is no time to wait or if someone urgently advises differently, than the question should be reported to the local Ordinary Bishop. The Bishop with three or four wise and trusted men will carefully examine the case and if he sees fit, he may grant permission, and we bear the weight of his conscience».

The Council of Trent said the following on the subject:

«A new miracle shall not be admitted unless it is recognised by the bishop, who, as soon as he is informed, will consult theologians and other men of faith and decide according to truth and piety. If it is necessary to eliminate some abuse which poses doubts or difficulties, or if some more serious pertinent problem arises, before settling the controversy the bishop will wait for the opinion of the archbishop and the other bishops of the province gathered in provincial council, in such a way however, that no decision is taken without consulting the supreme pontiff in Rome».

In the 18th century Benedict XIV defined the statute of the apparitions and their value and established the function of the Magisterium in this field in a document which retains all its value today:

«We announce that authorisation granted by the Church to a private revelation is none other than consensus granted after careful examination, so that this revelation is made known for the edification and the good of the faithful. To these revelations, although approved by the Church , assent of Catholic belief need not be granted. In keeping with the rules of prudence, it is necessary to grant the assent of human belief, –assensus fidei humanae iuxta prudentiae regulas– since these revelations are probably fully credible. Therefore one can refuse to assent to these revelations –posse aliquem assensum non prestare– and not take them into consideration, on the condition that this is done with opportune reserve, for good reasons and without feelings of scorn».

Fides Service - Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...