A look at the unprecedented Medjugorje commission

March 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


I was one of several American Catholics interviewed recently for this Our Sunday Visitor newspaper article on the vexing subject of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje.

Those who’ve read my previous comments about that on this blog or who have heard me discuss it on my radio show already know where I’m coming from. I consider myself an open-minded skeptic who is not only willing to be wrong about Medjugorje (though I don’t think I am), but I sincerely do hope I am wrong and that it is an authentic Marian apparition. Good golly, do I ever hope I’m wrong about this.

Here’s the article by Emily Stimpson:

Vatican panel to weigh authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions
in Bosnia-Herzegovina

For many, it was an announcement that seemed long overdue.

On March 17, the Vatican announced the formation of a commission to investigate the authenticity of the Marian apparitions centered in Medjugorje. The commission, requested by the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, will take place under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and will begin work almost immediately. Its findings will be subject to the final authority of the CDF.

The announcement was, in many ways, unprecedented.

Franciscan University of Steubenville theology professor and mariologist Deacon Mark Miravalle noted it’s typically the local bishop or ecclesial conference that establishes these types of investigatory commissions.

It is possible for that call to come from the Vatican “if it’s not pleased with what takes place at the local level” or, if the Vatican “thinks things have not gone ideally, for the CDF to step in and take a more active role.”

But, Miravalle continued, it’s usually the local bishop who has the final say on the commission’s findings, not the CDF.

Fruits of visions

The announcement is unprecedented, but, in many ways, so is what’s taking place at Medjugorje.

It all began in 1981, when six Croatian teenagers, who lived in the small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, reported that the Virgin Mary had appeared and given them a message to share with others. Nearly 30 years on, some of the visionaries still claim to see the Blessed Mother daily. The rest say she now appears to them only yearly.

For those inclined to accept the apparitions as true, the number of years Mary has appeared to the visionaries — 29 — as well as the number of messages received — upward of 30,000 — are signs that God is at work in Medjugorje.

“In 30 years you have no notable contradictions between the seers, and no observation — to my knowledge — that any of the messages are in any way off the beaten track in terms of faith and morals,” said Father Johann Roten, director of the University of Dayton’s Marian Library — International Marian Research Institute.

Father Roten pointed out that scientifically and medically the apparitions are among the most studied in Church history.

In addition to the messages themselves — which consist primarily of calls for repentance, conversion and peace — proponents also point to the tremendous fruits that the messages have born in the Church.

To date, more than 30 million men and women have visited Medjugorje, with countless conversions and vocations to the priesthood and religious life resulting from those visits.

“There seems to be an undeniable explosion of supernatural graces in Medjugorje,” Miravalle said.

‘Not good’ fruits

But there also seems to be an undeniable storm of contro-versy surrounding Medjugorje.

“The good fruits of Medjugorje are undeniable,” said Patrick Madrid, director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College. “But we can’t disregard the fruits that aren’t good.”

Madrid, who calls himself “a skeptic, not a critic,” of Medjugorje, points to accounts of scandal surrounding several key figures as an example of those “not good” fruits.

He likewise finds fault in the very thing that so many proponents find good: the messages.

“From very early on, you see an incitement to disobedience in the messages,” Madrid said. “If this really is the Mother of God urging disobedience to the bishops, that seems at odds with her messages to people like St. Faustina, where she urged obedience even in the wake of disbelief and disapproval.”

Both proponents and skeptics have ample evidence to which they can point and ample arguments with which to respond to those who disagree with them. At this point, it can feel difficult, if not impossible, for faithful Catholics in the middle to know who’s right.

Up until now, however, the Church hierarchy has been almost as divided on the question as Catholics themselves. Both of Medjugorje’s local bishops took firm positions against the apparitions, while other bishops, such as Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph
Schönborn, have caused a stir by making pilgrimages to the apparition site. . . . (
continue reading)


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58 Responses to “A look at the unprecedented Medjugorje commission”
  1. Dawn says:

    When Father Neil Buchlein was on Al Kresta to speak about Medjugorje with Pat Madrid, he thought he would be speaking alone. He did not even know that Pat was going to be debating him, because he was not told beforehand. He says so on blessedmotherschildren.com, his website. I love you and Al, Pat, but I find this totally unfair.

    God Bless,
    -Dawn

    • Don’t blame me for any “unfairness.” When the producer for Al Kresta’s show called and asked me to be on, he told me the other guest would be Dr. Mark Miravalle of Franciscan University of Steubenville. I agreed to do the show, no problem. However, when the time came to start, completely unbeknownst to me, they had, at the last minute, switched to Father Buchelein. I had no idea ahead of time that there was going to be any deviation from what I had been told earlier. I had never heard of Father Buchlein before I was introduced on the show that day. So, if you want to level any charges of unfairness, please feel free, but kindly do not level them at me, as I had nothing to do with the arrangement of the show’s discussion, guests, or format.

      What’s more, given that Father Buchlein is a forceful and articulate promoter of Medjugorje, it would not have been even remotely “unfair” for him to have been asked to defend his ideology in a radio-interview discussion with me.

  2. Sam says:

    All I have to say is: Praised be Jesus and Mary!

  3. Diane Korzeniewski says:

    Similarly, if the Church condemns Medjugorje as spurious, we all will have to wonder why that couldn't have been done much sooner, saving a lot of good people a lot of headaches.

    I suspect that the Holy See, perhaps as a matter of prudence, didn't want to deal with it in the aftermath of a terrible war. There are still serious issues in BiH. One news report from two years ago speculated that violence could erupt again. Hopefully, things have stabilized, but as I look at news from BiH, there is a lot of rancor among the three groups: Croatian (mostly Catholic), Serbian (mostly Orthodox), and those whom some refer to as "Bosniaks" who are Muslim (descendants of the invading Turks or those who converted to Islam, and often of varying ethnic backgrounds, including Croatian and Serbian).

    Catholics are a minority now in an area where they were once the majority. I am hoping to write a blogpost in the future which explains the plight of Catholics in that area. There's more going on than Medjugorje.

    I do believe that the time is right for the Commission though. Apparition claims are at an all time high and many of them can be traced back to folks who have visited Medjugorje or have some other link to Medjugorje. This alone is reason to address it.

    Medjugorje has actually spurned anti-ecclesial behavior, which is why I believe the Church will not simply allow it to continue for the sake of good fruits (God can draw straight with crooked lines).

    This anti-ecclesial behavior is visible in the chasm between supporters of the phenomena and the shepherd of the local Church. It is visible when priests and bishops either openly promote it or turn a blind eye to open promotion within their dioceses (such as allowing a "seer" of Medjugorje to have "visions" in their cathedral). It flies in the face of traditional protocol regarding such things. When visionaries are prohibited from having public manifestations of visions within the diocese of origin, other dioceses ought not give those "seers" a platform. But, it happens. This is not ecclesial in nature.

    Yet, we see that in 2007, a memo from the Bishop's of Tuscany to the priest of the diocese offering proof that the CDF was solidly behind Bishop Peric and his prohibitions.

    Every time a bishop sets foot in Medjugorje and celebrates Mass publicly or speaks there without first contacting the local Bishop, we continue to get division.

  4. Patrick Madrid says:

    "Fall back on"? No, that's not it at all. I am just reminding you, in response to your open-ended question, that there have already two negative judgments on this from the bishops of the diocese. Disparaging the bishops and dismissing their determinations on this matter doesn't negate them, much less refute them.

    I would submit that the Vatican's long delay in clarifying and either condemning or approving the alleged apparitions complicated the whole thing. There are plenty of precedents of the Church condemning ongoing alleged "apparitions" (Bayside, Necedah, Holy Love Ministries, etc.).

    If the Church does approve Medjugorje, I hope it happens soon, so people will have clarity and closure.

    Similarly, if the Church condemns Medjugorje as spurious, we all will have to wonder why that couldn't have been done much sooner, saving a lot of good people a lot of headaches.

  5. Markc says:

    @Patrick,

    If you are going to fall back on the personal verdicts of the two ordinaries, then I think you somehow have to respond to Dr. Miravalle's points. He says that normally the local bishop's judgment is dispositive. In this extraordinary case, the local bishop's verdict has been rendered his "personal opinion" and the investigation has been usurped by the CDF.

    "It is possible for that call to come from the Vatican “if it’s not pleased with what takes place at the local level” or, if the Vatican “thinks things have not gone ideally, for the CDF to step in and take a more active role.”

    I would submit that local Bishops' complicated involvement in the Herzigovinian affair and comportment on the the matter of the apparitions have compromised their reliability in the investigation.

  6. Patrick Madrid says:

    My examination of the messages leads me to think that the egregious examples of incitements to disobedience, questionable theology, and just plain odd statements within the messages are found in the early days, months, years of the alleged apparitions. It seems to me that they were quietly shelved, and eventually ignored, as it became clearer that there was a problem here.

    In response to your question, "If there really was an "incitement to disobedience" – then why hasn't the negative judgement already been rendered?" I would respectfully propose that there already have been at least two negative judgments rendered: those of the two ordinaries of Mostar, Bishops Zanic and Peric.

  7. Markc says:

    Patrick,

    Regarding the alleged message: "Do not obey anyone!" (Nemojte slušati nikogo!)", I have never seen that message before and I am a bit perplexed that it is only available from one source, the Italian blogger Marco Corvaglia.

    My first reaction is: this doesn't sound ANYTHING like any message I have ever heard from Medjugorje – is it authentic? What is the true context, sense and who is the intended audience? If this were truly a "smoking gun", why is it in the possession of one source only? How is it that three previous commissions could have failed to note it? As you know, while a declaration of "supernatural origins is established" would be highly unlikely during ongoing apparitions – a negative judgment could have been rendered at any time (although I would note that at Kibeho, a positive declaration was made to the core events and some but not all of the visionaries – a certain "firewall" of parts of the events). If there really was an "incitement to disobedience" – then why hasn't the negative judgement already been rendered?

    Certainly, we can wait for the IC. Anyone who is really following the core messages of Medjugorje (prayer, fasting, confession, the bible, and the Eucharist) would not be troubled – even by a negative verdict.

  8. Patrick Madrid says:

    Markc, perhaps we can agree on at least a few aspects of this matter (I do hope so), though I am at a loss to know why you did not reference the examples I posted above of messages which entail incitements to disobedience. Perhaps you missed my response? If so, I will post it again here. Please be sure to visit this site for ample documentation of several such instances.

    *****
    Markc,

    There's no need for you to keep waiting. I already responded on March 31 with a few examples of the incitements to disobedience. You probably just missed them.

    What's more, I see that Louis also added a number of such examples. They are further examples of what I spoke of in my interview with OSV.

    But if you would like even more examples of incitements to disobedience against the bishop, surely you will be interested in examining these examples.

    In addition to the English and Italian translations of the messages in question, the site I linked to also has the Croatian original and the images of the original hand-written documents.

    The relevant section begins thus:

    "Do not obey anyone!" (Nemojte slušati nikogo!): with these words, according to the "visionary" Vicka, on 15 April 1982 Our Lady spoke to the two rebel Franciscans Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, inducing them to disobey the local bishop and the general vicar of their order.

    Let us reconstruct and, above all, prove by documents these events.

    The Holy See, in 1975, issued the decree Romanis Pontificibus , which required to entrust to the secular clergy (i.e. priests, not members of religious orders) a number of Herzegovinian parishes which until then had been governed by the Franciscans.

    In pursuance of the Vatican decree, in 1980, the year before the apparitions, the then Bishop Pavao Zanic decided to found a new parish in the city of Mostar, entrusting it to the secular clergy and reducing the size of the existing Franciscan parish.

    The fathers Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, chaplains in Mostar, like other Herzegovinian Franciscans, opposed the enforcement of the decree.

    Let us recall first what canon law says about the vow of obedience (which by the way is an obligation in itself, no matter who is right or who is wrong):

    Can. 601 "The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one's will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with each institute's own constitutions".
    Moreover, can. 201: "Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary". . . .

  9. Markc says:

    Patrick,

    I'm not surprised by your position of " skepticism" (which seems to be shared by several of the CA hosts) towards Medjugorje. As a Catholic apologist with a large listenership – an informed skepticism would seem to be the prudent and healthy course. Arguments, positions and sources should be scrutinized carefully because of the potential for deception and scandal.

    By the same token, however, I think your "counter" arguments and sources should be scrutinized closely too. For example, I remain perplexed how you can continue to trumpet on your Blog and Facebook page the accusation that the public has been "mislead" and "deceived" by a "faulty" translation of Archbishop D'errico remarks at the conclusion of the 48th Bishop's Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This argument is based upon false premises and is undocumented!

    Similarly, in your March 31 combox response, you provided two "examples" of "incitement to disobedience" in the messages (I suggested it would be nice if your would avoid simply linking to sites which selectively present facts to promote a particular conclusion – but you elected to do so):

    First, you point to the Diocesean website which alleged the messages had accused the Bishop of acting "too hastily" in the Herzegovinian Affair. Second, regarding the same situation, you reference a complaint made by the Bishop made a complaint about something he alleges the apparition DID NOT SAY:

    "not even a single “message” amongst the tens of thousands of “apparitions” has been sent to alleviate these scandals. A very strange thing indeed! . ."

    On April 1st, I pointed out that the Herzegovinian affair PREDATES the Medjugorje apparitions, so it is hardly fair to blame the apparition for the discord between the Bishop and the Franciscans. Second, even if the message that the Bishop acted "too hastily" could be directly attributed to the apparition – I do not see that that necessarily rises to the level of "incitement to disobedience". Is the Bishop infallible and above reproach on the Herzegovinian matter?

    Second, the implication that BY OMISSION, the apparition has caused "incitement to disobedience" by failing to "alleviate these scandals" is laughable. The very core of the message is "conversion" and "reconciliation". In fact, the apparition was marked with the words "MIR, MIR" (peace, peace) written in the sky. Also, the apparition has claimed the title: "Our Lady of Peace". So, it cannot be seriously alleged that Our Lady has failed to counsel a message of reconciliation.

    Again, I appreciate your skepticism. But I would you would be as skeptical of the arguments and claims of the Medjugorje detractors as you are of the supporters!

    MIR! MIR!

  10. Louis Bélanger says:

    @Markc (continued)

    «April 26. 1982 – Monday – "The Bishop himself does not even have any true love of God for those two. May Ivica and Ivan remain undisturbed
    with regard to the Bishop, for he has put a heavy burden on them just to be free of them. He has started with the youngest and he is thinking of slowly going further. I know that this is a great blow to them. But they are not to worry, let them wipe that completely out of their minds, may they know what it means to suffer for justice. What the Bishop is doing is not the will of God: innocent, without fault, and punished in such fashion! God would not allow this, but the Bishop is not acting by God's grace, and so he can do what he wants. But justice, which has not been seen for a long time, will be seen one day. I will start to calm everything down, and many Franciscans will be suffused with great happiness."

    «End of Auzust, 1982 – The Gospa told me that Ivan and Ivica are not to leave Mostar.

    «September 29. 1982 – Wednesday – Father Ivica asked: "Are we to leave Mostar or are we to stay?" The Gospa answered: "Stay."

    The first part of Vicka's Diary was also published as Appendix 4, in «The Hidden Side of Medjugorje», p. 243-251, in 1989…

    Concerning Dr. Miravale's work, you don't present his justification for asserting «quite the opposite» in his doctoral thesis (an incitement to disobedience in the messages).

    As far as I know, he has not taken into account Vicka's Diary in his thesis. As far as I know, he has not analysed/published all the messages. But you may know more than me and I would be very grateful to you if you could put me in the know concerning that important topic.

    Many thanks in advance for your collaboration.

    Cordially,

    Louis Bélanger

  11. Patrick Madrid says:

    Markc,

    There's no need for you to keep waiting. I already responded on March 31 with a few examples of the incitements to disobedience. You probably just missed them.

    What's more, I see that Louis also added a number of such examples. They are further examples of what I spoke of in my interview with OSV.

    But if you would like even more examples of incitements to disobedience against the bishop, surely you will be interested in examining these examples.

    In addition to the English and Italian translations of the messages in question, the site I linked to also has the Croatian original and the images of the original hand-written documents.

    The relevant section begins thus:

    "Do not obey anyone!" (Nemojte slušati nikogo!): with these words, according to the "visionary" Vicka, on 15 April 1982 Our Lady spoke to the two rebel Franciscans Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, inducing them to disobey the local bishop and the general vicar of their order.

    Let us reconstruct and, above all, prove by documents these events.

    The Holy See, in 1975, issued the decree Romanis Pontificibus , which required to entrust to the secular clergy (i.e. priests, not members of religious orders) a number of Herzegovinian parishes which until then had been governed by the Franciscans.

    In pursuance of the Vatican decree, in 1980, the year before the apparitions, the then Bishop Pavao Zanic decided to found a new parish in the city of Mostar, entrusting it to the secular clergy and reducing the size of the existing Franciscan parish.

    The fathers Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, chaplains in Mostar, like other Herzegovinian Franciscans, opposed the enforcement of the decree.

    Let us recall first what canon law says about the vow of obedience (which by the way is an obligation in itself, no matter who is right or who is wrong):

    Can. 601 "The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one's will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with each institute's own constitutions".
    Moreover, can. 201: "Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary". . . .

  12. Louis Bélanger says:

    @Markc (continued)

    «April 26. 1982 – Monday – "The Bishop himself does not even have any true love of God for those two. May Ivica and Ivan remain undisturbed
    with regard to the Bishop, for he has put a heavy burden on them just to be free of them. He has started with the youngest and he is thinking of slowly going further. I know that this is a great blow to them. But they are not to worry, let them wipe that completely out of their minds, may they know what it means to suffer for justice. What the Bishop is doing is not the will of God: innocent, without fault, and punished in such fashion! God would not allow this, but the Bishop is not acting by God's grace, and so he can do what he wants. But justice, which has not been seen for a long time, will be seen one day. I will start to calm everything down, and many Franciscans will be suffused with great happiness."

    «End of Auzust, 1982 – The Gospa told me that Ivan and Ivica are not to leave Mostar.

    «September 29. 1982 – Wednesday – Father Ivica asked: "Are we to leave Mostar or are we to stay?" The Gospa answered: "Stay."

    The first part of Vicka's Diary was published as Appendix 4, p. 243-251, in«The Hidden Side of Medjugorje»in 1989.

    Concerning Dr. Miravalle's work, you don't give his sources for asserting «quite the opposite» (incitement to disobedience in the messages).

    According to your reading, has Mark Miravalle taken into account Vicka's Diary in his thesis? According to my reading, he has not.

    What messages has Dr. Miravalle chosen to analyse/publish in his thesis? Has he analysed/published all of them?

    I would be very grateful to you if you could answer those important questions.

    Many thanks in advance for your collaboration.

    Cordially,

    Louis Bélanger

  13. Louis Bélanger says:

    @Markc : «Still waiting for Patrick to back up his claim there is "an incitement to disobedience in the messages". This is a very serious charge and should be easy to catalog. Which messages, please?»

    Patrick must have his own sources. May I submit mine?

    In «The Hidden Side of Medjugorje» (see my URL), you find an answer to your questions. It's in «Vicka's Diary». I quote Father Ivo Sivric, p. 120:

    «Father Grafenauer copied the passages from Vicka's Diary which dealt with the Bishop. Mgr. Zanic recopied these passages for his own guidance. The passages cover the period from December 19, 1981 to September 29,1982. These were translated from Croatian to English,and a copy was sent to Father Michael Scanlan, president of the University of Steubenville, Ohio. I must say that I can't understand why Father Scanlan did not publish such a significant text in Father Kraljevic's work «The Apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorie», which he edited.

    Father Grafenauer only copied the passages on Bishop Zanic. These contain questions from Vicka to the Gospa about the young Mostar
    Franciscans, Fathers Prusina and Vego:

    «December 19, 1981 – (Saturday) – I asked the Gospa about the Herzegovina problem, especially that which relates to Father Ivica Vego. The Gospa said that Bishop Zanic is the one most guilty for all these disorders. As to Father Ivica Vego, she said that he is not guilty, but that the Bishop has full power. She told him to stay in Mostar and not to leave there.

    «January 3. 1982 – Sunday – All the seers have asked the Gospa about Ivica Vego. The Gospa answered: "Ivica is not guilty. If they discharge him from the Friars Order, let him be courageous. Every day I say: "Peace! Peace!" yet there is more and more unrest. Let him stay! Ivica is not guilty." She repeated this three times. We all heard,and told him. "The Bishop is not bringing about order, and so he is
    guilty. He won't always be the Bishop. I will show justice in the kingdom." This lasted ten minutes, and was all about Ivica.

    «Januarv 11. 1982 – Monday – We asked again about the two chaplains in Mostar, and the Gospa
    repeated twice what she had said before.

    «January 20. 1982 – Wednesday – We asked what Fathers Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina were going to do now that they have been discharged. The Gospa answered: "They are not guilty. The Bishop
    has acted rashly in the decision. Let them stay, they are to pray often, and all others are to pray for them."

    «April 16. 1982 – Friday – I put forth some questions for Father Ivica Vego and Father Ivan Prusina, and to every query the Gospa gave me an answer. "My Gospa, the newspapers write that Ivica and Ivan have been discharged from the Franciscans." She answered: "They are not discharged!" She smiled. "Tell them, however, to be quiet and courageous. There are many trials. They must persevere! Let the papers keep writing! They are not to pay any attention to that, because that is not important." "My Gospa, settle this once and for all, so that Ivica and Ivan don't have any problem any more!" The Gospa answered: "I will calm everything down." She also mentioned a few Franciscans from Mostar, but she added: "Never mind, I will have a chance to tell them, there are three major persons." "My Gospa, what about the Bishop? Will he change his behavior? The
    Gospa answered: "I am not in a hurry. I am waiting to see if he will give in after those messages of mine which I sent through you." But
    for me Vicka this is so painful. It is too much for me, let alone for Ivan and Ivica. Yesterday, while we were with the Gospa, we asked her, can we pray an Our Father for those two? Immediately, she answered: "Yes." And, she started to pray. When we finished, she smiled and told me: "You can't think of anything but those two." I said: "Well, I can't!"

    (to be continued)

  14. Patrick Madrid says:

    Attn: Paul Baylis.

    I sent you a personal e-mail last week (sent to xmariantimes01@yahoo.com) but have not heard anything back from you. The e-mail did not bounce back to me, so I assume you received it. I look forward to your response.

  15. Markc says:

    Still waiting for Patrick to back up his claim there is "an incitement to disobedience in the messages". This is a very serious charge and should be easy to catalog. Which messages, please?

    Dr. Miravalle has asserted quite the opposite in his doctoral thesis (successfully defended at the Angelicum in Rome): The Message of Medjugorje: A Postconcilar Formulation of Lourdes and Fatima.

    Also, what "accounts of scandal surrounding several key figures" do you see as invalidating the claim to authenticity?

  16. Anonymous says:

    They have been successful in separating the people of God from their Bishops in the True Catholic Church by inundating them with what are supposed daily messages straight from Heaven via the ‘Mother of God’, thereby deceiving untold thousands through brainwashing techniques accomplished with the help of internet technology and old fashion gullibility. It’s been an amazing feat to observe. Truly the work of some of the best con men the world has ever seen. The used car salesmen’s old bait and switch pales in comparison to what we have been seeing take place right before our eyes.

    The connection between Jansenism and Medjugorjeism is spiritual in nature. Basically, it’s the same demon. The little rat has been hovering around in that area just looking for his opportunity to strike; and he found it in the disobedience of the six minions of the fallen angel that have been perpetrating this fraud for over twenty five years. When disobedience in not checked, it leads to rebellion. And this is exactly what happened in the former Yugoslavia when six young people refused to obey their Bishop.

    And when rebellion is not put down swiftly, it leads to mutiny! Now, somebody’s got to die in an attempt to restore order, regain control and prevent chaos. And that's exactly what happened to the first bastard producing franciscian that started medjugorje; God smote him dead right there on his hill of "aberation".

    It was unsuccessful in stopping the rebellion however, which led to witchcraft.

    *Rebellion is as the as the sin of witchcraft.*

    There is nothing more powerful in opening up a way to the demonic spirit world than rebellion; it’s more powerful that pharmaceuticals. And the devil has taken advantage of this to demonstrate his wares to his unsuspecting visitors. Nothing has ever happened at Medjugorje that the devil couldn’t do. So beware, my friend – Beware.

    RbM

    P.S. No one has ever seen her ears or her feet !!

  17. Louis Bélanger says:

    @Susan L : (followed)

    Let's say that you and me fully agree on those «rules».

    If you and I discover an error or happen to hear or to read that an error is discovered, it is our duty to report it. This is my interpretation of the Sensus Fidelium in sharing a co-responsibility of discernment with the «Teaching Authority». Do we agree?

    Now, there is a little problem for me, as a critic of Medjugorje. Father O'Carroll is «on your side».

    He has also published in 1986 : Medjugorje : Facts, Documents, Theology, in which he wrote at page xi : «It is clear from my book that I cannot accept the Bishop's opinions; nor do I now feel obliged to do so. My hope is that he will change his outlook and his assessment of the mighty events that have occurred within his diocese.»

    His position irritates me, makes me a bit angry, but it should not be a problem because we share the rules, and we agree with them. Apparently, we don't apply them the same way, but we know that what is important is not that I am wrong and that he and you are right, but that the truth be discovered by researchers of good faith, as you and I pretend to be.

    I just mentioned «irritation» and «anger» and it happens on both sides. Paul also said something to the Ephesians about these emotions : «Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.» 4, 26.

    I have had the opportunity to be often angry after I met some untruthful persons and observed strange behaviors during the course of my «research pilgrimage» in Medjugorje. I felt the obligation, as my Franciscan friend Ivo Sivric who passed away in 2002, to denounce lies, stratagems and artifices concerning Medjugorje.

    I don't think we have «sinned»! You will appreciate if our anger has been tamed by consulting the result of our research in «The Hidden Side of Medjugorje» and on the new blog [www.medjugorje-artifice.info] that will be launched next week.

    I will need persons like you, Susan L, who will still consider me as a friend, even if I am a critic of Medjugorje, provided that you won't be disappointed with me and that I will present, as member of team «criticus», my arguments with documented facts and respect for the members of team «fervens».

    Our motto : benevolence and rigour. Yes to fair game and good pass, no to foul play and cross-check, the latter permitted only for documentary sources…

    Aren't we members of the same League : Communio Sanctorum?

    Cordially,

    Louis Bélanger

  18. Louis Bélanger says:

    @Susan L : «Don't be angry with us, our friends on the other side of the issue. Please remember…we're all in this together.»

    Your two little sentences touch me deeply.

    First, I am «on the other side of the issue» and you consider me as a friend. Thank you!

    Second, I could never be angry with you because of what you just said.

    Third, I will always remember that we're all in this together.

    And here is another quote that links us : «From now on, no more lying; that each one speak the truth to his neighbor; aren't we members of one another? Ephesians, 4, 25.

    As members of «Communio Sanctorum», the Communion of the Saints, you, Susan L, «believer in Medjugorje», and me, Louis B, «critic of Medjugorje», are invited to give our opinion on the case of Medjugorje within the scope of the «Sentiment of the Faithful» [Sensus Fidelium] as is expressed in the «magnum opus» of the late Father Michael O'Carroll – Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p.48.

    Let me quote some important excerpts that concern our respective «duties» according to Paul's admonition to the Ephesians.

    «Private revelation made public for any reason — because, for example, of a message intended for others — claims the attention of the Church for different reasons, principally because it must be related to public revelation and must not upset right public order. Then the first task is to establish genuineness.

    «The norms of critical history must be strictly applied; the resources of normal and paranormal psychology, fully used. Error can enter at any stage of the alleged communication.

    «If error is clearly discovered, through deceitful testimony, psychiatric disease, mistaken observation, or defect in a spoken or written narrative, an adverse judgement may be pronounced to avert further harm. If a message or meaning contrary to Church teaching is attributed to the event, the decision will be stricter.

    «If there is no reason for an intervention of this negative kind, the Church authorities may still show nothing more than tolerance, permission for the common acts of worship on the spot
    where the apparition is said to have taken place, and approval of certain prayers linked with it.

    «Competence lies with the bishop of the diocese. Commissions of inquiry have generally been established to help the local authorities to reach a decision.

    «Benedict XIV (qv), in his classic treatise on the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God, insisted on the fact that the assent to apparitions was of human faith following the rules of prudence.

    «In summary the extremes of naive credulity and irreverent scepticism are to be avoided. Charity must be observed to all, even to authentic visionaries.

    «The Teaching Authority and the Sentiment of the Faithful (qqv) must work together.»

    (to be followed)

  19. Jude says:

    The money is what gets to me, Ivan's money in particular. I was in Medj. and saw first hand his beautiful home, manicured lawns and beautiful chapel in the rear just for his apparitions. do you think Mary cares what is around when she "visits" and what the walls look like or if the altar is new or not!!!!
    He is worldy, in my opinion, has a beauty queen for a wife and more than 1 home.
    Did St Catherine of Laboure or the children at Fatima have new homes, gold watches and expensive clothing?

  20. David Zacchetti says:

    Given all the problems associated with Medjugorje, why do you "sincerely hope" that you are wrong?

  21. Easter Messages says:

    A very informative article. Thanks for the information…

  22. Susan L says:

    I don't think that Patrick is afraid of anything. He has been very honest and sincere. He has said that he would love it (and really wants it to be true) but is skeptical. I believe him. I have no problem with that.

    The devil has really been messing around with us. He's got us pit against each other.

    If these are false apparitions then God still brought good things out of it. If Mary IS appearing to those 6 people then it is a gift from God and we should embrace it. (Personally I still think Mary really is appearing there).

    Don't be angry with us, our friends on the other side of the issue. Please remember…we're all in this together.

  23. PRAISE GOD says:

    Hi Patrick….I don't understand why you don't just go to Medjugorje and experience it for yourself….I think you might be afraid…of what….of actually not believing when you have the miraculous happen to you…I was alwys told before I went there to never doubt when something of the miraculous happens…hey, we had so many things happen to us , in us, etc….there is no way that it could not be from God…we have been devoute Catholics for 20 years now and I left the church and my husband never wanted to be a Catholic at all!…hiw could my husband see Jesus on the altar an know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was truly present in the eucharist when he didn' tknow that at all….and how could I see a whole picture show in the sky with the Blessed Mother at the end standing before me with her arms open?….how can the huge cross on the mountain turn and spin and light up?…and how can all of this infuse knowledge of holy and godly things into our hearts and minds?…to make us go to daily Mass and Adoration and make 8,000 rosaries and give them away and pray the rosary and help others and have our whole lives change so drastically for God????….tell me how this could happen if Our Blessed Mother wasn;t really appearing in medjugorje??/

  24. Paul Baylis says:

    Response to Daniel:

    Yes, marian-times is a marian devotional site, which became an anti-anti-Medjugorje site after I heard about the untruths that Richard Salbato and E Michael Jones and others had been spreading, such as this….from a recent stoush I had with Jones:

    JONES: The bishop cannot show disobedience. There is no authority in the church higher than the bishop.

    BAYLIS: If this belief is sincerely held by Jones, then that explains a lot indeed. We have this loose cannon running around creating division in the Church based on absolute garbage.

    Promotion? No, I honestly don't consider myself a promoter. I have no vested interest in that. I pay for the site hosting. There aren't any "Donate" buttons on my site. There nothing going on here but a sense of justice.

    The loudest promotion was coming from the militant anti-M sites. My site was a defence against that, so that people reading all this stuff on the internet could also readily find the other side of the coin.

    I am particularly interested, in case you haven't noticed, in protecting the hearts and minds of atheists and unbelievers who hear about Medjugorje, and feel a call to conversion, but then change their minds after a few minutes of googling up the crap on Rick Salbato's site. I spent a lot of time on atheist message boards, just trying to get people to believe in God, let alone what religion to join. It's them that God is interested in. It's them Christ came down to save. Through apparitions such as Medjugorje, we get prodigal sons back again. We are the son that stays home and behaves himself. Not much in it for us right now. Catholics shouldn't need apparitions.

  25. Markc says:

    Patrick,

    When I saw you quoted as saying, "you see an incitement to disobedience in the messages", my impression was you could point to specific messages which are an "incitement to disobedience". Instead, you point to the website of the bishop of Mostar. Also, you "pointed to accounts of scandal surrounding key figures"; however, I was hoping for specific examples which you believe invalidate the apparitions. Medjugorje is probably the most closely watched and heavily scrutinized apparitions ever, so there is very little the visionaries themselves do or say which is not dissected closely. The job of the International Commission is to discern which of the stories and documented charges are really relevant to the apparitions.

    We know that historically there has been a deep tension within the Mostar diocese; but this situation predated the apparitions and should not be attributed to them.

    Initially Bishop Zanic was sympathetic towards the apparitions, and even stated publicly that "No one has forced them or influenced them in any manner. These are six normal children; they are not lying" He and Fr. Zovko, the pastor, were taken into custody by the communist secret police. Fr. Zovko was considered the "ringleader" of the apparitions and sentenced to three and a half years of harsh imprisonment. Bishop Zanic, on the other hand, changed his opinion and became the main critic of the apparitions.

    Bishop Zanic appointed the first investigative committee in 1982, but was not satisfied with the results and commissioned another inquiry in 1984. Nine of the 14 members of the second commission were seen to have been chosen for their skepticism concerning supernatural events. In October, 1984 Bishop Zanic released a statement asserting "moral certitude that the Medjugorje events are a case of collective hallucination." Cardinal Hans Urs Von Balthasar, a noted theologian and Ratzinger's doctoral director, responded with his own letter to Zanic:

    “What a simply sad document you have dispatched throughout the world! I was deeply hurt to see the office of Bishop degraded in this fashion. Instead of having patience as You were advised by Your superiors, You thunder and hurl jupiter’s arrows, blackening renowned and innocent people, worthy of Your respect and protection. You repeatedly come up with accusations which have been proven untrue a hundred times over.”

    Archbishop Franic wrote to Ratzinger, noting that seperate teams of Yugoslav, Italian and French doctors had examined the seers, finding no fakery or hysteria. In 1986, Zanic traveled to Rome to inform the CDF of his views on Medjugorje, but instead Cardinal Ratzinger dismissed him from the investigation and transferred decisional authority to the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference.

    After an exausting "tug-of-war" within the Episcopate, and not wishing to directly contradict Bishop Zanic, the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, in 1990, approved the Zadar Declaration:

    "we cannot affirm that there have been supernatural apparitions or revelations … nonetheless, the continuing gatherings of faithful, inspired by religious motives and arriving from various parts of the world, necessitate the Bishops' constant attention and concern."

    The Archbishop of Split, Frane Franic, stated that only the ferocious opposition of Bishop Zanic, who refused to budge from his own verdict, had impeded a positive decision on the Medjugorje apparitions: "The bishops do not wish to humiliate Monsignor, Zanic," Franic stated, "And when it was brought to his attention.. that his opposition was unfounded, he began to cry and shout."

    In short, the opposition of the Bishop Zanic (and his successor Bishop Peric) is well known and cautionary; however, not without it's own controversy. Ultimately, the investigation is out of the Bishop's hands now and the IC is reported to be working towards a major announcement by the end of 2010.

    Peace and Easter blessings!

  26. Susan L says:

    You guys just can't resist a good fight, can you?

    Put all of this angst away and concentrate on Holy Week, ok?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the disobedient Franciscan priests, in the end, they would have been helping the cause for accepting Medjugorje if they had exercised obedience and patience – like Padre Pio. We should all be patient.

  28. Patrick Sweeney says:

    I overhead at a recent Divine Mercy conference, three attendees who are advocates of position that the Blessed Virgin Mary has spoken to six children in 1981 and thereafter, state in a tone of triumph that appointment of the commission was implicitly voided all judgments of all the bishops prior to 2010. Their attitude was the Pope Benedict just his papal "reset button".

  29. Steven says:

    I am new to the apparition's of Mary which have occurred at various times through the years. What I find troubling is why Mary would appear and give a different message from one she had given in another apparition many many years before which hasn't been accomplished. It seems to me one thing at a time, like okay you've fulfilled what I asked here now do this. Or why does Mary not say at Medjugorje you still have not done what I asked at Fatima. Is Mary divided? This doesn't make sense to me. Can you help with this? We live IN time and space, so I won't except an argument with that as a premise or part of the explanation, because that makes no sense either.

  30. Daniel says:

    Paul Baylis, are you the editor of Marian Times that provided most of the rebuttal there? Would it be fair to acknowledge that you are in the business of promoting Medjugorje as authentic?

  31. Diane Korzeniewski says:

    Paul Baylis said: And according to sources you've conveniently ignored, the Bishops' Conference's main reason for not approving the apparition immediately was to allow Zanic to save some face

    I'm sorry Paul. I'm interested in Church documents, not creative opinion based on reading tea leaves. This is the Catholic Church – a serious institution. I prefer to use records offered by Her and members of the hierarchy as recorded in official chronicles of the diocese and bishop's conference, for example.

    The many who support women's "ordination", among other dissident issues, love to use pseudo-magisteriums to make their arguments. We have a similar tact going on in many promoter sites. I'm simply not into pseudo-magisteriums.

  32. Diane Korzeniewski says:

    Paul Baylis said: "…"is and remains" is key…"

    "is" the personal position and conviction of the local bishop, which he stated himself in the letter I referenced in my earlier comment (so people are free to read it in full context).

    "and remains" because once the responsibility for final judgment goes up to the bishop's conference, it would not be logical for it to come back.

    I provided three documents which explain why it went from the local bishop to the bishop's conference, and all three state the same thing: It went beyond the bounds of the diocese.

    While Paul Baylis cannot accept this, I believe most reasonable people, reading such documents, will accept the explanation. Otherwise, we would have to conclude that Cardinal Kuharic told an untruth to the public, and Fr. Lombardi repeated the untruth. I'm not willing to go there and I don't see a need, since the explanations provided coincide with provisions in the 1978 criteria.

    Further, with regards to Archbishop Franic, people should understand that he was one man out of 20 bishops of the former Yugoslav bishop's conference who spoke up in favor of the apparitions.

    What of the other 19?

    So, when the Supreme Court of the United States has one dissenting opinion, is that lone dissenting opinion what is given weight, or is it the opinion of the majority.

    Abp Franic offered his opinion, and it was in an even greater minority since there were 20 involved.

  33. Susan L says:

    May your Holy Week be one of deep love and prayer. May your Easter be truly Blessed.

    I am not worried about Medjugorje.

    Jesus, I trust in thee.

  34. Diane Korzeniewski says:

    Kathie,

    Recall that even the sorcerers duplicated the many wonders performed by Moses.

    It really doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong. Where is the truth? That is what matters.

  35. Paul Baylis says:

    Diane: "The batan had already been passed up to the bishop's conference and Bp Peric knew this which is why he stated that it was "my position and conviction", not the "Church's position"….."

    Well, Diane, spin away girl! It sounds so hollow. The meaning is extremely clear, as was the meaning of B16's recent negative statement against those who have found so much fault with Medjugorje against all the obvious good fruits.

    Bertone's letter most definitely WAS a statement against the local bishop once you read the entire thing IN CONTEXT. The context is of confused pilgrims wanting to know if they must heed the bishop's anti-apparition stance and obey his pilgrimage prohibitions or whether they could pilgrimage in peace. The answer provided by Bertone should be read in THIS context and no other.

    "is and remains" is key, i.e. that was the Bishop's conclusion after months of investigation and the conclusion has not been promoted to any higher level of credibility since we passed it to the YBC. THEREFORE, NO..you don't have to attach any credibility to what he has said that we haven't attached. It's his personal opinion. You're free of it. Go and pilgrimage in peace!

    And according to sources you've conveniently ignored, the Bishops' Conference's main reason for not approving the apparition immediately was to allow Zanic to save some face. Why have you ignored those interviews with Frane Franic? Do you doubt their authenticity, just like to doubt John-Paul II's many statements of support and tacit approval for Medjugorje? They cast precious light on what actually occurred. Shouldn't we desire the truth?

  36. Paul Baylis says:

    Patrick said: "I would absolutely LOVE it if our Blessed Lady were in fact appearing. What a gift that would be to the whole Church."

    This is a great sentiment we all should share. The fact that one or two anti-M'ers have asked you why you hold this sentiment is a little scarey. It reminds me of hard-core atheists' response to one of their peers who dares to express such a sentiment as "I really hope God exists, but…". Their inevitable response is "Why do you hope God exists?".

    I want to ask you, though, how you would feel if Medjugorje IS approved and you begin to appreciate the great gift and begin obeying Mary's calls to fasting on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 rosaries per day, etc, would there be any regret that you perhaps hadn't taken a more unbiassed, diplomatic role (although I have seen more diplomacy in your recent statements). As a senior international Catholic role model, universally admired, I think there are certain responsibilities that come with that. I'm sure, if it were proven that Mary were indeed appearing at Medjugorje with the blessing of Our Lord God Almighty, you would not want to have any sheepish explaining to do. You wouldn't want to be standing in the corner, wringing your hands and sweating while others are celebrating. I don't either!!!! Nobody should risk such nastiness.

    Don't forget what Pope Urban (allegedly) said "In cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe than not to believe, for, if you believe, and it is proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because our Holy Mother asked it. If you believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true."

  37. Paul Baylis says:

    "The good fruits of Medjugorje are undeniable," said Patrick Madrid, director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College. "But we can’t disregard the fruits that aren’t good."

    One of these fruits is the wheat, the other are the weeds that grow alongside. The task of the Vatican will be to determine which is which. I sense the Vatican leaning towards Medjugorje and I judge this particularly on recent events which appear be decidedly pro-Medjugorje and to be a start on this weeding process, e.g. the laicisement of Vlasic and, more recently, Benedict's symathetic statements, high-level clerics (e.g. Shonborn) sensing a freedom to act and speak positively, talk of creating a new parish for Medjugorje separate from Mostar.

    I don't see much that points to a negative decision, but I watch with great interest at developments.

  38. Kathie says:

    I'm remembering the investigations in the 80's and the films of the children as they were "entranced" during the alleged visits. At that time, scientific/psychological evidence could not dispute that they were indeed not faking it.

    Additionally, rosaries where turning from silver to gold as they were blessed.

    But, this is what I have come to be confused about…..I hear that as adults, they have begun to be quite materialistic about it. So, what if they were real to begin with and after a time, the seers started to listen to the wrong voice.

    I knew an older couple in the 1980's who went there. They took my deceased grandma's rosary to have it blessed. The rosary really is the same rosary before and after….I mean the prayers are the important part, are they not?

    Whether the apparitions are true or not, the bottom line is that we can be as blessed sitting in our living room IF we have the prayer of the heart. And this prayer centers on thanksgiving and praise of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Are we less blessed because we cannot afford to travel anywhere on a pilgrimage?

    Yes, it's important for the Church to be absolutely sure. I completely agree with that. It's crucial really.

    I will look to Holy Mother Church for the decision and in the meantime, I must realized I am blessed right where I am.

  39. Daniel says:

    I found it interesting that in the previous blog, an apparition advocate did not deny that the "seers" had made incorrect statements. When they had, they were just making them up and so they were scolded (by the vision?)for it. They admittedly made up things at the beginning, but we should trust them now because they have developed. So just understand that if they said something wrong, they must have made that up. All the other messages that are say "consistent with Fatima" should on the other hand be considered authentic (well at least when they were spoken at Fatima they were).

    It therefore pretty much seems agreed that the story goes like this: the vision first occurred to two thoroughly modern teenage girls out for a smoke which they tried to cover up from their parents by claiming to have been watching sheep and having a vision. Soon thereafter, they made up a story in which they said that the visions would soon end, and were scolded for it. Ivan made up a story in which he invented a date for a promised sign, and he was scolded for that. Vicka was merely insistently repeating what she was told to say, that despite the lack of permission two Franciscans should continue to hear confessions because Our Lady says so.

  40. Diane Korzeniewski says:

    Hmmmm… I was hoping this would come out after Easter so we could set aside Medjugorje to focus on Holy Week. But…. it's out there now, so there is one thing in particular I want to address.

    I submitted this to OSV's combox and it is awaiting moderation. I could not offer links there, but here I can, so I will add them and may touch up my post a bit with formatting and other tweaks:

    Can Dr. Miravalle please cite some source for this:

    MIRAVALLE: "It is possible for that call to come from the Vatican “if it’s not pleased with what takes place at the local level” or, if the Vatican “thinks things have not gone ideally, for the CDF to step in and take a more active role.”

    According to the 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions there are several ways that a national or regional conference, the CDF or the Apostolic See can intervene.

    The documented reason given for the last elevation to the bishop's conference of the former Yugoslavia was, "During the inquiry these events under investigation have appeared to go much beyond the limits of the diocese." This coincides with provision III.2.a-b of the 1978 criteria. (January 18, 1987, Glas Koncila, Cdl Franjo Kuharic).

    Vatican spokesman, Fr. Lombardi provided the same explanation on March 17, 2010: "When it was seen that the 'phenomenon was broader than the diocese,' it was passed on to the episcopal conference of the former Yugoslavia, which, he noted, no longer exists.

    There is a provision in the 1978 criteria stating the Apostolic See can intervene, "…either at the request of Ordinary himself, or at the request of a qualified group of the faithful…"

    Bishop Peric has been practically begging the Holy See for years to take on the case – I believe first mentioning it on October 2, 1997 (Prot.: 1267/97 – see paragraph 5) where he said, "…Nevertheless I am open to a study that the Holy See would undertake, as the supreme court of the Catholic Church, to speak the supreme and definitive judgment on the case, and that as soon as possible, for the good of souls and for the honor of the Church and of Our Lady…"

    I am unaware of any documentation which cites displeasure with the bishops of Mostar, thus placing it into the hands of the bishop's conference, then the Holy See.

    Perhaps Dr. Miravalle could offer clarification on his statement.

    That ends what went into OSV.

    *****

    I want to make another point here: Some people are misconstruing then Archbishop Bertone's response to Bishop Peric's letter referenced above in which he said (in paragraph 4), "my conviction and position is not only non constat de supernaturalitate [the supernaturality is not proven] but also the other formula constat de non supernaturalitate [the non-supernaturality is proven] of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje."

    +Bertone responded in 1998 to Msgr. Aubry (Pr. No 154/81-05922) stating: "…should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion…"

    This is not a negative judgment on +Peric as it is often made out to be, but repeating what Bishop Peric himself stated – it was his personal conviction. +Berone makes it a point to state he has a right to express it.

    The batan had already been passed up to the bishop's conference and Bp Peric knew this which is why he stated that it was "my position and conviction", not the "Church's position".

  41. Patrick Madrid says:

    Kevin, thanks for your question. The reason I say I hope I am wrong about this is that (aside from the fact that I have been proven wrong about other things before and am always grateful for being shown the truth, even when it's humbling) I would absolutely LOVE it if our Blessed Lady were in fact appearing. What a gift that would be to the whole Church. The fact that I am very doubtful about the claims that she has been appearing at Medjugorje notwithstanding, if it turns out that my concerns and doubts have all been misplaced and incorrect, I will be the happiest of anyone. I agree that the many serious problems with things like incitements to disobedience seem highly problematic, but I leave open the possibility that somewhere, somehow, if the alleged apparitions are in fact true, the truth became obscured by human obstacles. I don't think that's the case, but I am quite willing to discover I was wrong.

  42. Anonymous says:

    You masquerade as a "skeptic", but you are truly a critic as is evidenced by all of your postings on the matter. It is as if in all of your travels you had never even encountered some of those millions of lives that have been touched by the "Queen of Peace." Or if you were historically ignorant of the controversies surrounding countless private revelations in the history of the Church. All those writings of saints like Faustina, that were banned before they were approved.

    As I commented before – leave the speculation concerning matters like this to the competent ecclesiastical authorities, lest anyone err and be guilty of the sin of false judgement (8th commandment)!

    If Patric was a critic, he would make the following accusations against Medjugorje and its supporters:
    - Medjugorje is false no matter what
    - The supporters are liars and lunatics
    - The visionaries aren't Catholic
    - The supporters don't love God or Mary
    - The visionaries are possessed by Satan
    - The supporters follow an evil cult
    - The supporters hate the Church
    - Medjugorje is Hell on Earth

    All the above accusations have been made by Medjugorje supporters against the Church and skeptics. In addition, I have heard the following from Medjugorje supporters and from residents within Medjugorje:
    - The Church will become the Medjugorje Church
    - Catholics must believe in Medjugorje or else go to Hell
    - Catholics must listen to the apparition or else go to Hell
    - The Church cannot condemn Medjugorje or else God will punish the Church

  43. Patrick Madrid says:

    No, Anonymous. You are wrong about that.

    If you would take time to listen to what I have said about this on my show (see here, for example: http://patrickmadrid.blogspot.com/2009/11/caller-to-my-open-line-radio-show-asks.html), you will discover that I readily admit the fact that countless people have experienced God's grace, repentance, and conversion, in conjunction with Medjugorje.

    Please don't make the mistake of distorting what I have consistently said simply because it irks you that I am skeptical about Medjugorje.

    Rather than attack me for raising inconvenient questions about problematic aspects of this phenomenon, I invite you to simply deal with the information I have presented.

    You're free to disagree with me, of course, but it does you no good to accuse me of "speculation," and "false judgment," when you know as well as I do that I am not engaging in either. I have presented in this post the declaration of the Bishop of Mostar himself. If you wish to brand him a liar, simply because you cannot bring yourself to consider the possibility that he may just be telling the truth, then that's between you and God.

    In any case, I wish you peace and joy this Easter. God bless you.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Patrick,

    You masquerade as a "skeptic", but you are truly a critic as is evidenced by all of your postings on the matter. It is as if in all of your travels you had never even encountered some of those millions of lives that have been touched by the "Queen of Peace." Or if you were historically ignorant of the controversies surrounding countless private revelations in the history of the Church. All those writings of saints like Faustina, that were banned before they were approved.

    As I commented before – leave the speculation concerning matters like this to the competent ecclesiastical authorities, lest anyone err and be guilty of the sin of false judgement (8th commandment)!

  45. Nick says:

    The apparition claimed a Franciscan didn't father a child and that the charges against him were false. This would be a good fruit if it wasn't for the fact that a) his child was found, b) the nun who he impregnated came out to tell the truth, c) the Franciscan himself admitted to having sex with the nun, and d) the Pope himself dismissed him from the Order of Saint Francis and ordered him to leave Medjugorje and not to celebrate the sacraments as punishment for his crime (in light of Canon Law). The apparition obviously lied about the Franciscan. How anyone can trust a liar to be Mary Immaculate is beyond me.

  46. Timothy says:

    Those aligned against the Medjugorje phenomenon feel threatened by the real possibility that the Mother of God is actually appearing in our day and age. This is not a comfortable thought to most in today's science-based societies where such beliefs are tantamount to superstition. Also, it is difficult to follow the true devotions requested by Our Lady in the messages. It is far easier to reject the phenomenon based on contrived 'bad fruits'. If there are any bad fruits, it is from people not living the messages given by Our Lady. Anyone who has been to Medjugorje knows that the good being done their to build the Church completely outweighs anything perceived as bad fruits. With regard to obedience to the Bishop, this too has been sorely misunderstood and used as a smokescreen to justify not needing to live the messages. For example, I doubt anyone who is aligned against Medjugorje fasts on Wednesday and Friday. So they need to find reasons to not let anything disturb their comfortable, smug, and arrogant lifestyle. God didn't say blessed are those that are 'right' or 'righteous' but rather blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

  47. Patrick Madrid says:

    This link was also brought to my attention.

    http://chonak.tripod.com/documents/medj_index.html

    It provides documentation on several problematic issues associated with the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. I recommend folks of any disposition toward Medjugorje to take these into account as well. Thanks.

  48. Patrick Madrid says:

    Here is another relevant declaration from the Bishop regarding the problem of disobedience associated with the alleged apparitions. (Taken from the same official diocesan website; see the link above). — PM

    Regarding Medjugorje, there exists a real danger that the Madonna and the Church could be privatized. People could start contriving a Madonna and a Church according to their own taste, perception and deception: by not submitting their reason as believers to the official Magisterium of the Church, but rather forcing the Church to follow and recognize their fantasy.

    Naïve believers could easily then leave the living fountains of grace in their own parishes to travel down to Medjugorje or follow the “seers” around the world, who by the way, thanks to the “apparitions” have good homes and a comfortable existence – at least that’s what the media says.

    There are at least 6 or 7 religious or quasi-religious communities, in fieri or already formed, of diocesan or no right, that have established themselves in Medjugorje by their own will, without submitting themselves to the Diocesan Chancery. These communities are more a symbol of disobedience than a charismatic sign of obedience in this Church!

    In the diocese of Mostar-Duvno there exists a problem which in recent years has practically become a schism. At least nine Franciscan priests, who have been expelled from the Franciscan OFM Order and suspended a divinis, have rebelled against the decision of the Holy See and have not allowed the transfer of some of the parishes from Franciscan to Diocesan administration. They forcefully occupy at least five parishes, all the while continuing with all priestly functions. They invalidly perform marriages, hear confessions without canonical faculties, some of them invalidly confirm youngsters, and in 2001 they invited an old-Catholic deacon who falsely presented himself as a bishop to “confirm” about eight hundred young people in three parishes. Two of these expelled Franciscans even went as far as asking the Swiss old-Catholic bishop, Hans Gerny, to ordain them as bishops, yet they did not succeed.

    So many invalid sacraments, so much disobedience, violence, sacrilege, disorder and irregularities and not even a single “message” amongst the tens of thousands of “apparitions” has been sent to alleviate these scandals. A very strange thing indeed! . . .

    This is the state of things today. How will things be tomorrow? We’ll leave them in God’s hands and under Our Lady’s protection!

    Mostar, 1 September 2007
    + Ratko Perić
    Bishop of Mostar-Duvno

  49. Ron says:

    In the end, it doesn't matter if Medjugorje is authentic. If it isn't, many souls will perish if it has drawn them away from the Church.

    The burden of proof relies on the supporters, even if detractors are uncharitable about it.

    In other words, arguments shouldn't even exist in favor of Medjugorge. If it's authentic, Our Lady can handle it.

    But, if it's a hoax, then it's a very real and serious danger indeed.

    This is a principle that I believe people should take to heart.

  50. Patrick Madrid says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments, everyone. Even if I might disagree with your conclusions, I do appreciate your contributions.

    I have been asked to offer some examples of what I find problematic about Medjugorje, especially in the area of what I see as incitements to disobedience against the bishop. Perhaps the best persons to address that question are the bishops themselves (i.e., the bishops of Mostar, Msgr. Peric and Msgr. Zanic.

    The following example is taken from the website of the Diocese of Mostar (http://www.cbismo.com/index.php?mod=vijest&vijest=101).

    As time permits, I will post more things that I find difficult to reconcile with the claim that these messages are coming from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thanks.

    The First Church Commission (1982 – 1984)

    Bishop Žanić established the first Commission on 11 January 1982, which investigated the events until 1984.[16] It was comprised of four priests, 3 diocesans and 1 religious franciscan.[17]
    The bishop’s new discoveries. The Commission hadn’t even gathered yet when on 14 January 1982 something happened that marked the bishop’s position once and for all. That day, three of the “seers” came to Mostar with the “Madonna’s” message that the bishop, regarding the famous Herzegovinian Affair acted too hastily, because he sought the removal of two Franciscan associate pastors who were causing problems in Mostar. The bishop, who during his lifetime venerated the Madonna with numerous devotions and pilgrimages, upon hearing that the phenomenon in Medjugorje was accusing him of irreligious disorder in reference to the parishes; that it didn’t recognize in him a faithful son of the Church and the Madonna, the Mother of the Church, to whom a year earlier in September 1980, the Cathedral church of Mostar was consecrated; that the phenomenon was defending disobedient religious friars who were obstructing the normal functioning of the Cathedral, began to look with suspicion upon the “messages” and the “apparitions” in Medjugorje. Despite all this, the Commission began its work.

  51. Daniel says:

    A site that provides facts that present a negative conclusion seems to be what is meant by one "which selectively present facts to promote a particular conclusion." Unless one is promoting the visions, it is not considered objective. There is plenty of documentation on the site of the bishop of Mostar at http://www.cbismo.com, though I'm sure supporters wouldn't give any credence to anything reported by the bishop. It sure does show a fair amount of scandalous behavior and disobedience though. But that's from the bishop, so supporters must rule it out.

  52. Nick says:

    I'd rather trust the Bishop than so-called "visionaries". Jesus said the Church is in the Bishop and He is the Truth. As for the so-called "visionaries", they don't even come close to the same credibility that Christ and His Church have. So I'd rather listen to Christ in His Church in His Bishop than to a group of "visionaries".

  53. pilgrim says:

    PM said: “I consider myself an open-minded skeptic who is not only willing to be wrong about Medjugorje (though I don't think I am), but I sincerely do hope I am wrong and that it is an authentic Marian apparition. Good golly, do I ever hope I’m wrong about this.

    Hope comes through faith.

  54. Markc says:

    Patrick,

    You are aware that passions are very high on this issue and the waters are very muddied by career Medjugorjistas on both sides. You have a great deal of good will and trust in the Catholic community. Would you please document what you mean when you make the following serious charges:

    “From very early on, you see an incitement to disobedience in the messages"

    and,

    "accounts of scandal surrounding several key figures"

    As you know, "facts" and "stories" can be presented in very creative ways to push predetermined conclusions (i.e. innuendo, guilt by association, half-truths, speculation). Please avoid simply linking to sites which selectively present facts to promote a particular conclusion. It would be great if you could present you own catalog of "facts" or "statements" which you see as confirming your two serious caveats.

    Peace!

  55. kevinrbranson says:

    Patrick – Do you mind explaining why you hope you are wrong about this? The supposed messages from Our Lady encouraging disobedience to the Bishops would seem to be reason enough to not only be cynical of these supposed apparitions, but to also cause one to hope and pray that they are officially found to be constat de non supernaturalitate.

    Perhaps I misunderstand you.

    Blessings and peace

    Kevin Branson

  56. Gina says:

    It's interesting to be sure. Until a decision is made regarding Medjugorje, though, perhaps it would be better if Catholics spent more time examining APPROVED apparitions of Our Lady. Kibeho, for example.

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