Monday, July 3, 2006

Homily of Bishop Ratko Peric of Medjugorje - June 15, 2006

The text of the June 15, 2006 homily of Bishop Ratko Peric was just sent to me, and after confirming authenticity via the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website, where it is posted in Croatian, English, and Italian, I am going to post it here, in its entirety.

The website for Mostar-Duvno is built with some kind of frames that do not allow me to link directly to a specific statement, unless someone can explain how after visiting the site. I will provide the diocesan site at the conclusion, but it will be easiest to read it here, then I will provide a roadmap on how to get it at the bishop's site.

This will be a very long post as it is the entire homily. The setting is Confirmation at the Parish of St. James in Medjugorje. He addresses the candidates in the first part, then moves on to discuss Medjugorje in the second part. I know you may be tempted to jump forward, but please read what this man has to say about confirmation itself. It is very rich.



Photo Source and related article. You will need to scroll down to find it. Note that there is no mention of the critical 2nd half of the homily. This kind of selective coverage is deceptive to say the least. I speak limited Croatian and attempted to watch the Real Video, but nothing happened when I clicked it.


As for the second half, I know this will hurt or anger some people who are very close to Medjugorje. But, what we must keep in mind is that this man is the apostolic successor of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and we owe him respect as such. At the very least, his words should be read and reflected upon, not ignored. I pray that Medjugorje websites will offer these words to you, as well, but since that is not likely, I will provide them here.


I believe this will be seen in Catholic media in the coming hours, weeks, and months.


SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
MEDJUGORJE, 15 - VI - 2006


Dear brothers and sisters,

Dear candidates for Confirmation, I am happy to be with you and your families here today for the conferring of the sacrament of Confirmation. Through the required instruction and the sacrament of Reconciliation you have prepared yourselves to faithfully receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel, are concerned with our minds, with the enlightening of our use of reason; while the gifts of fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord, regard our hearts and the strengthening of our free will. These are not fleeting gifts that you will joyfully receive today as candidates for Confirmation and which will be gone tomorrow. This is the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once sealed you always remain sealed with the Holy Spirit! However, each of these gifts requires your efforts in conformity with your growth in knowledge and witnessing through a life of faith.

I. - GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT. Hence, be not afraid young friends, to be wise in God’s eyes, even if it means appearing foolish in the eyes of people. God’s “foolishness” is wiser and more prudent than the wisest of people.


Do not fear to be strong in God before people, even though the world may consider you cowards and backward. Christ the Lord, God’s Truth, teaches us: "Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven (Mt 10:32).

Do not be ashamed to be fearful of the Lord and pious, full of awe towards God and his holiness, even though this passing world may ridicule and mock you. The world has no fear of, nor sense of shame in transgressing God’s commandments. We on the other hand, are believers and worshipers of God, who adore him in spirit and truth.

The world counsels on how you can most easily lose yourself in fleeting passions, but the Holy Spirit counsels us on how we can most easily reach eternal life. Whoever then takes truthful counsel, is lead by the Spirit on the right path.

The world tempts you and invites you to behave according to its perverted fantasies and passions, yet the Holy Spirit lets you learn and discern by acquiring unending knowledge that leads to the Father’s house. Today, do not allow yourself to just receive the seal on your forehead and then continue living as if you do not possess the Holy Spirit within you.

II. - SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.

The Church celebrates today the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. We Catholics believe that the historical event of Jesus’ Last Supper, described in each of the four Gospels, is one of the greatest mysteries of our holy faith. During that evening, the Lord Jesus, while he ate with his disciples, took bread, blessed it, broke the bread and gave it to them saying: “Take; this is my body”. He then took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them. And all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk 14:22-23).

Eucharistic sacrifice. The mystery of the Lord’s Supper is first of all a sign of Jesus’ sacrifice through his death on the cross and resurrection to new life, which he offers us as a divine gift. Why is this at the very core of Christian faith? Because this is what God desired and accomplished! If the all-wise God decided on this path of salvation, then his entire divine intervention is nothing else than wisdom and goodness. We become wise and prudent when we accept this sacrifice as an expression of God’s grace and love. The sacrifice can only be understood and accepted in the context of love. Sacrifice is the most convincing demonstration and evidence of love. God is Love. Therefore, the Eucharistic sacrifice is an expression of God’s love towards us. In a specific historical moment on Calvary, Jesus offered the sacrifice of himself to his Father, as a testimony of his complete Love of God and of humanity. We through our own efforts of piety of heart and mind, participate in the liturgical celebrations and daily offerings of ourselves to God.

Eucharistic banquet. This mystery of Jesus’ love is not only his divine sacrifice for us weak people, but it is also our spiritual food for our journey towards eternal life. There is no health, nor life without bread. Mankind does not know all the ingredients of bread and wine, yet he still eats and drinks of them with joy and moderation. Are we even aware of the process of how wheat and grapevines grow? How does a seed sprout or a grape mature? How is the seed transformed into bread, or the grapes into wine? Do we know how bread and wine are then transformed in our living organisms? Despite our lack of knowledge, this does not lessen the strength of bread nor wine to sustain our lives in good health through their nourishment.

Something similar occurs with our spiritual health. We cannot understand what the Holy Eucharist is, but we accept it with faith and partake of it with the greatest respect of heart for our eternal salvation. Jesus said to us: “Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). While our earthly bread and wine serve for this life, so too Jesus’ Body and Blood serve for spiritual and eternal life. None of us are worthy of this for we are all sinners: in our thoughts, words and actions, as well as through our omissions in doing the good that we should do. Whoever unworthily eats and drinks of this Sacrament, that is, while in sin, in disorder, in obstinacy, that person is guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood. However, those who confess and repent for their sins, God grants them forgiveness and feeds them with the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us give thanks to God who first of all sets us free from our sins in the sacrament of Confession and who nourishes us with his Eucharistic Body. The Mass is therefore the center of our personal and communal lives. This is the will of our heavenly Father, established by the Son of God, which happens through the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the words of Christ, for his words “are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63).

In memory of him. The Lord Jesus left us a great divine truth and mystery: “This is my Body”. “This is my Blood”. These words were spoken by Christ himself. From the very beginning, the Church has always literally understood this holy text and message from Jesus’ Last Supper. Not even a single letter has ever been changed, nor have they been understood according to other symbolic meanings in order to make them more acceptable to people. Jesus said these words once and forever! He also commanded that this be done in memory of him! In memory of God’s great works of salvation. We acknowledge and believe in what has been communicated to us! We celebrate the liturgy in the same fashion as we have received it. Let us give thanks to God for the immeasurable gift of Jesus’ Most Holy Body and Blood. This act and mystery contain the past: “Christ has died”; the present of Christ’s resurrection: “Christ has risen”; and the future: “Christ will come again”, when he shall come and prepare a place for us so that we may be where he is (Jn 14:3).

III. – “APPARITIONS”. First of all, the fact that a person makes a humble Confession and receives Holy Communion in this parish church and that this person feels spiritually well due to God’s forgiveness, each and every believer will recognize and give due praise to God for this, who is the source of all graces. At the same time, this person will take care not to proceed from this state of grace towards an illogical and inconsistent conclusion: “I made a Confession. I feel good and now I am converted. Therefore the Madonna is appearing in Medjugorje!” This type of believer and penitent is nonetheless obliged to go to confession, receive the other sacraments, observe the Commandments, whether any private apparitions are recognized or not.

Secondly, I would be an irresponsible minister of the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, if today I were not to publicly advise, from this place and on this occasion as well, to all those interested throughout the world, that in this local Church of Mostar-Duvno, there exists something similar to a schism. A number of priests that have been expelled from the Franciscan OFM Order by the Generalate of the Order, due to their disobedience to the Holy Father, for years now have been forcefully keeping a few parish churches and rectories along with church inventory. They have not only been illegally active in these parishes, but they have also administered the sacraments profanely, while others invalidly, such as Confession and Confirmation, or they have assisted at invalid marriages. This type of anti-ecclesial behaviour is shocking to all of us. At the same time, this scandal of sacrilegiously administering the sacraments, especially of the Most Holy Body of Christ, must shock all the faithful as well who invalidly confess their sins to these priests and participate in sacrilegious liturgies. We pray to the Lord that this scandal and schism be uprooted as soon as possible from our midst.

Thirdly, I am truly grateful to the Holy Father the Pope, to John Paul II of blessed memory and to the reigning Benedict XVI, who have always respected the judgements of the bishops of Mostar-Duvno, of the previous as well as the current bishop, regarding the so-called “apparitions” and “messages” of Medjugorje, all the while recognizing the Holy Father’s right to give a final decision on these events. The judgements of the bishops, after all the canonical investigations made thus far, can be summarized in these following points:

1 - Medjugorje is a catholic parish in which liturgical and pastoral activities are carried out, just as in all the other parishes of this diocese of Mostar-Duvno. No-one except the official Church authorities is then authorized to attribute the formal title of “shrine” to this place.

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.

3 - Priests who canonically administer this parish of Medjugorje or those who come as visitors, are not authorised to express their private views contrary to the official position of the Church on the so-called “apparitions” and “messages”, during celebrations of the sacraments, neither during other common acts of piety, nor in the Catholic media.

4 - The Catholic faithful are not only free from any obligation to believe in the authenticity of the “apparitions” but they must also know that church pilgrimages are not allowed, whether official or private, individual or group, or from other parishes, if they presuppose the authenticity of the “apparitions” or if by undertaking them attempt to certify these “apparitions”.

5 - As the local Bishop, I maintain that regarding the events of Medjugorje, on the basis of the investigations and experience gained thus far, throughout these last 25 years, the Church has not confirmed a single “apparition” as authentically being the Madonna. The fact that during these 25 years there has been talk of tens of thousands of “apparitions” does not contribute any authenticity to these events, which according to the words of our current Pope, who I encountered during an audience on 24 February this year, commented that at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith they always questioned how all these “apparitions” could be considered authentic for the Catholic faithful. They particularly do not seem to be authentic when it is known beforehand that these so-called “apparitions” will occur:

To one of the “seers” on the 18th of March every year, but along with this she will also receive an “apparition” on the 2nd of each month, with “messages” which you can expect, according to the established procedures;

The second will receive an apparition on every day of the year, and if this were not enough, an added special “apparition” on the 25th of each month along with a type of press release, which once again you can foresee and expect;

The third will receive an “apparition” on the 25th of December, on Christmas day, along with a message similar to the ones already mentioned;

The fourth will receive an “apparition” on the 8th of September every year along with a specific message;

The remaining two will receive the same, every day along with “messages” that can be anticipated since they are variations on the same theme. This fact and the flood of so-called apparitions, messages, secrets and signs, do not strengthen the faith, but rather further convince us that in all of this there is nothing neither authentic nor established as truthful.

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church. Our faith is a serious and responsible matter. The Church is also a serious and responsible institution!

Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the greatest possessor of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, who through the same Holy Spirit conceived in her body and gave birth to the Second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, who gives us his Most Holy Body and Blood for eternal life, may He - who is the Way, the Truth and the Life – help us so that the truth of the Blessed Virgin, his Mother and Mother of the Church, Seat of Wisdom and Mirror of Justice, may shine forth in brightness in this parish and diocese, without even a hint of incredibility, yet all in accord with the constant teachings and practice of the Church. Amen.

Ratko Perić, bishop



IN CLOSING THIS POST

I've maintained for some time now, that the messages themselves are a "forbidden fruit". As far back as 1984, preceeding Ordinary, Bishop Zanic (deceased) ordered in writing that messages cease being made public. Each message read over the last 25 years, is a message that was obtained through an act of disobedience to that order by the competent authority. The Blessed Mother being a model of such obedience would surely have encouraged the "seers" to humbly follow the orders of the Bishop and extraordinary virtue would have been visible had they complied with the directive.

There is no doubt that many have been brought to the faith through Medjugorje. Medjugorje has yielded many vocations. But was it truly an apparition which yielded these fruits, or was it the grace of God coming through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession? I am in a parish right now, where these two things are highly valued - just scroll through the blog to see photos. Many who come to this blog yearn for these things in their own parish so why not provide them? I have no need to make a pilgrimage half-way across the world because my pastoral needs are met through the hard work of priests who nurture the many things valued by Catholics who frequent Medjugorje: Eucharist, adoration, benediction, devotions, rosary, silent meditation, frequent confession, mortification, etc.

Priests need to bring these things to all parishes because Medjugorje proves without a doubt that the faithful want them - including non-Catholics who go there and are converted. It has proven without a doubt that these things lead to vocations.

We should all pray for Bishop Peric, the Holy See, the "seers", and the followers of Medjugorje - that God's will be done in all things pertaining to Medjugorje.


One of the best thought processes I've seen, very abbreviated was written by Bishop Henri Brincard of the French Bishop's Commission on Medjugorje, written in 2002. Carefully, jurisdiction is laid out, various claims are explored and addressed, with regards to that jurisdiction. The need to see the "events" ahead of judging the fruits is looked at, as well, along with the need to balance good fruits, and bad fruits. The latter simply cannot be ignored because good things are happening.

French Bishops Commission Statement

Just as we need to be careful with how closely we attach ourselves to any one priest, we must constantly evaluate what we are basing our faith on. Is it the sacraments? Or, is it a favored priest? Is it an apparition, or set of miracles or messages? Can our faith stand if a favored priest moves on, or without a phenomena such as that offered at Medjugorje?

Parish priests must explore what pulls people to Medjugorje, then offer it right in their own parish, and I don't mean apparitions or "seers".

If you would like to see this on the Bishop's website, in English, Italian or Croatian, please click the link below. When you get there, click on Medjugorje, then scroll through the frame on the right until you see the title with this in it: MEDJUGORJE, 15 - VI - 2006. Note: There is no chronological order that I can see, in how the documents line up in this frame window. So, just keep scrolling.



http://www.cbismo.hr/

Related links:

NEW on JULY 23: "Surprise from the Vatican: Hole See takes Medjugorje Phenomenon into its own hands"


What truly leads people to Medjugorje?

2001 - Cardinal Puljic called Medjugorje Divisive at Synod



Te Deum Blog Home Page

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

In reality, the Holy See has stated that people may go on pilgrimage to Medugorje and that priests may go with them to care for their spiritual needs. They go on to state however, that official pilgrimages from dioceses or churches are not allowed because they would be a presumption of authenticity. So, the conclusion is that Bishop Ratko is wrong in stating that pilgrimages are forbidden! Also, to turn a beautiful celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation to focus on alleged apparitions is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

The Lord has led me to a deep and beautiful conversion through Medjugorje. I have known beautiful priests and laypeople who have had similar graces granted through Medjugorje. Perhaps the good Bishop should come to the United States and see abuses. Terrible abuses are allowed to go on here without a sound from the Bishops, homilies contrary to church teaching, strange "Masses," etc. I have been many, many times to Medjujorje. Never have I seen extraordinary ministers used for Holy Communion...whereas here if there are more than 30 people in the church the EMs go parading up to help distribute the Body of Christ. Never are laypeople purifying sacred vessels and freely accessing the tabernacle. Never have I heard a homily expressing the "antiquated" teachings of the Church, etc., but always faithbuilding, beautiful homilies. And I agree with the previous comments, to use the time of the Sacrament of Confirmation to go into this "directive" is truly sad. It was my understanding that several years ago the Bishop was released from making judgements on Medjugorje and that Rome had appointed a special commission for this purpose. Has this changed?

Diane said...

To the "anonymous" which posted at 1:41 PM, I would like to address the issues you bring up about reverence, EMHC's, good homilies and teachings, strange masses here in the US.....

I agree whole heartedly that when one goes to Medjugorje, they encounter the utmost respect for the Blessed Sacrament. They get solid homilies, rather than watered-down namby-pamby. However, one should not need to travel to Medjugorje to get the very things that are rightfully theirs because they were given to us by Christ!

I pointed this out in my original post - that if millions of people every year are traveling half way across the world to get a reverent, solid Catholic experience, a whole lot of priests need to ask themselves if they are fostering this kind of thing in their own parish. It has proven to be fruitful, not only in Medjugorje, but in parishes like mine where we have Adoration 6 days per week, Benediction opportunities daily, including a procession with the Blessed Sacrament after the noon Mass in the summers. Confession lines are very long in my parish, not because anyone is claiming to have apparitions, but because the priests put the time in to hearing confessions, very generously. They even go to their confessionals when there are no scheduled confessions if there are people present, and people respond to a priest in the confessional.

People are prompted to reflect deeply by the robust, and solid sermons which preach the fullness of the faith, not just the feel good and comforting parts of it.

I pray my good friends - both anonymous posters, and anyone else reading these comments, that you will soon find priests who value these things and bring them to you because they are rightfully yours.

Respectable Fr. Donald Calloway, who was converted through a "medjugorje" experience, has stated, very boldly, that priests in Cassocks - they're coming to a parish near you! Those cassocks stand for something - orthodoxy, fullness, and devotion, and so much more.

The Catholic faithful have been long deprived of the very things they seek in Medjugorje because certain people promoted "all sorts of strange teachings" in order to promote a namby-pamby agenda. What has it given us? Low vocations, indifference to the Catholic faith, and a whole lot of uneducated, misinformed Catholics who simply don't have a clue. I was one of them until I found Assumption Grotto.

The biggest miracle happening at my parish, aside from the Eucharistic Sacrifice, are the simplicity of the priests, and the generosity with which they are willing to carry out their calling. I was awakened by a dying pope, then driven by his successor. God knew exactly what I needed when he pointed me to Assumption Grotto parish because my continued conversion has left me breathless at times, thanks to the priests just doing their job!

Diane said...

To the "anonymous" which posted at 1:10...

Much "spin" has taken place regarding the whole pilgrimage issue, which is why Bishop Peric speaks of it again.

The French Bishops Commission explained the string of letters stemming from Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and Msgr Bertone. In the end of their statement on that issue, they said:

****************
— On 26th May 1998, Msgr. Bertone replies, this time to Bishop Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis-de-La-Reunion. After having recalled the Zadar Declaration, he adds: "I point out first of all that it is not the habit of the Holy See to assume, in the first instance, its own position vis-à-vis supposed supernatural phenomena."


Addressing the question of pilgrimages, the Secretary of the Congregation points out:



"Finally, concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje which take place in a private manner, this Congregation holds that they are permitted on condition that they are not considered as an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church."

Let us recognize that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organize 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"?


It is just this difficulty which Cardinal Kuharic and Bishop Zanic foresaw in their joint declaration of 9th January 1987.7

****************************

The link to their full statment can be found toward's the end of my post on the Bishop's homily.

With regards to the Bishop speaking about this issue during a confirmation homily, it is up to the bishop to decide when he should address a pastoral issue.

One thing to be noted is that he would not have had to repeat himself during the confirmation homily, if people had responded to all prior requests, especially with the directive to cease the disclosure and publication of messages in 1984.

I don't want to get into any protracted debates in this thread on Medjugorje. I have explained my reasons for posting the homily in its entirety on my blog already, and if Medjugorje sites had done so, it would not have been necessary.

When the faithful following an alleged apparition turn on the local Ordinary in any fashion, whether he is right or wrong, it is a fruit - a bad fruit. It is also a bad fruit to simply disregard anything the man has to say on the subject and this occurs innocently for those who read material on pro-Medjugorje websites, which filter out anything the Bishop has to say about Medjugorje. That's just a very sad way to treat a local Ordinary.

I'm well aware of the history in the region, having read more than the average person who goes there. Franciscans who take a vow of obedience should have given the percentage of parishes up that the diocese of Mostar-Duvno requested long before Medjugorje began. It doesn't matter why the bishop requested those parishes back - they should have done so in true Franciscan spirit - with a smile, in humble obedience. But they defied him, and now pro-Medjugorje websites spin this issue as a "fued", providing none of the details. The Holy See sided with the diocese, in spite of a solid attempt by the Franciscans to explain the problem. They pleaded their case, and they lost. As a result of their disobedience, we have a schism in the region.

Not only would St. Francis be disappointed with such behavior done in the name of his order, but so would the Blessed Mother - the model of obedience!

I'm glad so many people were converted through Medjugorje and I'm glad so many vocations were netted through her, but it is not proof of authenticity of an apparition. Discernment is not based on good fruits alone.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

You state beautifully what we are thirsting for, and you are blessed to experience this at the Grotto. However, we don't have a Grotto in many, many dioceses! May God grant that we do one day!! I am sure that in many cases this longing has been re-awakened in people by what they experienced in Medjugorje, and they have learned that this is what they desire and what they seek. Quite honestly, before I went to Medjugorje I am pained to look back at how lukewarm I was! And I am glad you mention Fr. Callahan~~there is a beautiful example of a fruit of Medjugorje~~and its orthodoxy!

No place on earth is free of scandals~~surely not even our Holy Catholic Church. Does this mean we don't go there and that it is not authentic? And how many are going to daily Holy Mass, praying the Rosary daily, going to monthly confession, reading scripture and fasting because of learning this in Medjugorje!! How great it would be if this were preached from all of our pulpits~~if all our churches were overflowing at Adoration and Holy Mass as in St. James! Also, I thought the following statements still held:

ARTICLE ONE:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After quoting the 1991 statement, Archbishop Bertone wrote, "From what was said, it follows that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, understood as a place of authentic Marian apparitions, should not be organized either on a parish or diocesan level because it would be in contradiction with what the bishops of the ex-Yugoslavia said in their declaration cited above."

Navarro-Valls said, "When one reads what Archbishop Bertone wrote, one could get the impression that from now on everything is forbidden, no possibility" for Catholics to travel to Medjugorje.

But, in fact, "nothing has changed, nothing new has been said," the spokesman told CNS.

"The problem is if you systematically organize pilgrimages, organize them with the bishop and the church, you are giving a canonical sanction to the facts of Medjugorje," which the church is still in the process of studying.

"This is different from people going in a group who bring a priest with them in order to go to confession," the spokesman said.

Navarro-Valls said he commented because "I was worried that what Archbishop Bertone said could be interpreted in too restricted a way. Has the church or the Vatican said no (to Catholics visiting Medjugorje)? NO."

The restriction on official pilgrimages, however, makes it clear to people that the Vatican is still studying the apparitions.

"The difference, in the terms of canon law, is that an official pilgrimage, organized by the diocese with the bishop, is a way of giving a juridical sanction to the facts; you are saying this is true," Navarro-Valls said.

ARTICLE TWO


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STATEMENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE PRESS OFFICE OF THE HOLY SEE,DR. JOAQUIN NAVARRO-VALLS, ON PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE

"No new fact has been undertaken regarding this. As has been already stated on previous occasions, in these cases respect of the immediate competence of the local episcopate is required.

In regard to that, on April 10, 1991 the Bishops of ex-Yugoslavia declared: "... On the basis of the investigations so far it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.

However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who come to Medjugorje prompted both by motives of belief and various other motives, require attention and pastoral care in the first place of the bishop of the diocese and with him of the other bishops also, so that in Medjugorje and in everything connected with it a healthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary may be promoted in accordance with the teaching of the Church...."

One must still repeatedly emphasize the indispensable necessity of continuing the search and the reflection, besides the prayer, in the face of any presumed supernatural phenomenon, as long as there be no definitive pronouncement."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



ARTICLE THREE

[quote] "You cannot say people cannot go there until it has been proven false. This has not been said, so anyone can go if they want," the spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, told Catholic News Service Aug. 21.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diane said...

Anonymous 5:08 (for lack of a better way to identify which one I am addressing)...

I have read all that you have posted, in their entirety, previously. Dates are something to definitely pay fine attention to when sifting through the mountains of data on Medjugorje. There were a string of messages pertaining to pilgrimages that stemmed over several years (I believe 1991 to 1998). The last one written was:

****************************
CONGREGATIO
PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
Pr. No 154/81-06419

Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. Uffizio
May 26, 1998
To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry,
Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion

*****************************

What the French Bishops are citing in their statement, comes from the 1998 statement by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, now the new Vatican Secretary of State. This is what I referenced above when suggesting people read what that commission had to say.

The one you label "Article III" is from August 21. The only statment released on August 21 was in 1996 (CNS).

That string of statements was probably one of the more misunderstood among the vast amounts of information out there. Part of that has alot to do with websites not posting full dates, document numbers and above all, revealing selective parts of it without linking to a full document.

God Bless and I have much confidence that more people will be getting a dose of solid Catholicism in the years to come. I see much promise in seminarians, much like the fervor visible in Fr. Donald Calloway, and his committment to orthodoxy.

One thing I'll give most Medjugorje supporters I know: They are devout and mostly orthodox. A few have strayed in to a new age view of the world, but most are solid Catholics just wanting to give God his due through a better life!

Diane said...

I will add further, and it is just my speculation, that with the change in Secretary of State, and with Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls looking to step down, I believe it has something to do with the Bishop Peric's timing.

Call it just a gut feeling, but Archbishop Bertone was clear in his initial letter, but then Joaquin Navarro-Valls moved to "clarify" it in 1996, which resulted in more questions than answers.

I can't go any further on my own speculation, but I believe clarifications of the clarifications could come sooner than later and they will read much closer to the initial statement initiated by Bertone.

And I do say, it is only my speculation ;)

Kevin Symonds said...

'Utmost respect' for the Blessed Sacrament in Medjugorje?

When I was there, there was a priest who was visibly upset at me when I refused to receive Holy Communion by self-reception. In other words, he held the ciborium out to me and wanted me to take the Blessed Sacrament.

That's a clear violation of the Liturgical norms on the reception of Holy Communion.

For more information, there's a lot documented and some discussion on the following sites:

www.unitypublishing.com

www.kevinsymonds.com/Med.html

Thank you for posting this stuff on your blog. It is good to see other people finally stepping up to the bat on Medjugorje.

-KJS

Diane said...

I would say it could be an isolated incident with a particular priest, Kevin - at least, I hope so.

I will maintain that I know many people who were converted from the experience there in Medjugorje, so for some, it is a delicate issue and one that will take time to grasp.

A priest some months ago said that Medjugorje for some people is the door which leads them to the faith, the sacraments, and ultimately to God. What we need to do is to help them walk through the door now, to let that faith stand in the absence of Medjugorje, just on the Sacraments, the Word, and the Magisterium.

Marian devotion, by all means is part of this, but I look to those which have been authenticated and affirmed by the Holy See.

Diane said...

Some are wondering to which documents I am referring when I claimed that this is not the first time the Ordinary has requested the messages cease.

On March 25, 1985, Bishop Zanic sent a letter to pastor Fra Tomislav Pervan, in which he reminded the priest of their 1984 conversation, in which he said:

*****************

At our meeting, held in the Chancery Office in Mostar on October 31, 1984, I demanded that Medjugorje's occurrences "be toned down and eliminated little by little."

In the meantime, matters remain as they were, and a great disgrace is expected to befall the Church. Now, without any delay, after all this, I demand from you that you remove the "visionaries" from public display and put an end to their "visions" in the parish church. They have had "visions" in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes during 1981. In ten days the new statue of the Gospa in front of the main altar ought to be discreetly removed late one evening and replaced by the old one. You must stop talking about apparitions and also cease publicizing messages. The devotions that grew out of the "apparitions" and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material which propagate the "apparitions" must also stop. The faithful can go to the sacrament of reconciliation and attend Mass. I do not allow the other priests, especially Fathers Jozo Zovko, Tomislav Vlasic and Ljudevit Rupcic, to celebrate Mass for the faithful or to preach.

*****************

Some within the Medjugorje movement, in my discussions with them, have dismissed this letter, stating that the Bishop did not explicitly say the "visions" could not take place in the rectory, which is where they went after his command to cease. Some also took issue with the fact that he said they could have visions in their home as permission to continue. But, this must be read in full context of that conversation, not in isolation.

If a mother tells her child, "you may not have a cookie from that jar, it is too close to dinner", and the child goes to another cookie jar and takes a cookie, does it make it right? Can the child justify having a cookie from the other jar, or is it clear what mother wanted was for the child's belly to not have food so he would eat his dinner?

We could make an issue with the word "may" in my cookie jar example. However, will God judge us on how will we are giving those who have authority over us the benefit of the doubt and following their pastoral advice, as well as their directives? Or, on how well we worked our way via technicalities into continuing what we want to do.

Apparitions cannot be discerned on good fruits alone, and a bad fruit, is one which contradicts virtue. Padre Pio exemplified extraordinary virtue in obeying his authorities, even though he was in the right. This proved out the graces he was receiving.

But any "seer" who excuses disobedience, whether it is to pastoral guidance or a directive, especially coming from the local Ordinary - the one who through apostolic succession has jurisdiction with regards to discernment - reveals a negative fruit, via lack of virtue.

Here is the full text of the letter from Zanic to Pervan

Pilgrim said...

Surely if the Church felt at any time in 25 years that Medjugorje was truly schismatic then it would have taken steps by now to close it down.

What is strange to read is that both Popes have backed the Bishop’s judgement. Yet there has been no move for the Vatican to shut everything down. The truth is that both Popes have never backed the Bishop in his judgement. In fact the opposite. The matter was taken out of the Bishop’s jurisdiction by, guess who, Cardinal Ratzinger!

And then this report quotes the bishop as saying, “while recognizing the Holy Father's right to give a final decision”. This after earlier saying the Pope backed him!

Notice, too, how the bishops words are not absolute... similar to a schism... while recognising the Holy Father’s right to give a final decision on the validity... they particularly do not seem to be authentic... These are all back-covering, get-out clauses, just in case the wind starts to blow the other way and the apparitions are accepted by the Church.

As to the reference that Medjugorje is not a shrine... In August 1993, Cardinal Kuharic, who headed the new commission after it was taken out of the hands of the local bishop, said, “We bishops, after a three year long commission study, accept Medjugorje as a holy place, as a shrine. This means that we have nothing against it if someone venerates the Mother of God in a manner also in agreement with the teaching and belief of the Church. Therefore we are leaving this to further study. We are in no hurry.”

The Holy See’s press office also stated in 1996, “The Vatican permits pilgrimages to Medjugorje as long as they are not regarded as authentication of events still taking place, which still call for an examination by the Church. Neither has the Church suppressed discussion on Medjugorje.”

As to the question of obedience, perhaps the bishop should take the lead and set an example. The Vatican has stated publicly that any comment on Medjugorje by the bishop is purely his own opinion and not that of the Church, and that he should refrain from making such comments. But does the bishop listen or obey?

Peace

Anonymous said...

I am waiting to see what happens. Pray more.

Diane said...

HI Pilgrim, and welcome to Te Deum laudamus. Peace be with you, as well.

If you click the link into the French Bishops statement, you will see how they addressed the allegation that Bishop Zanic was relieved. I will paste in only piece of it as it truly requires reading the document in full as it builds up to this statement, then continues to expand on the issue of jurisdiction.

Here is that segment from the French Bishop's conference (you will find the link in my original post).

**********************

Bishop Zanic did not solicit the intervention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, he well fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him, as this same Congregation affirmed that it "appreciated the work accomplished by the diocesan commission, under the responsibility of Bishop Zanic."

Moreover, let us recall that on 2nd June 1982, Bishop Zanic submits a first report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and, on 26th April 1986, he delivers to Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation, a plan of negative judgement, as the conclusions of the commission of investigation appear to be going in this sense. The Cardinal thus asks him to defer the publication of a definitive judgement

On 2nd May 1986, the commission of investigation votes, in a secret ballot, by 11 votes to 4, against the recognition of the supernatural character of the events: non constat de supernaturalitate. At the same time, having concluded its work, it accepts its own dissolution, the affair being from then on in the hands of Rome.(3) On 15th May 1986, Bishop Zanic transmits to the Congregation the negative finding of the commission.

It is therefore not correct to state that Bishop Zanic was relieved of the dossier.

Furthermore, while the phenomenon "affects a large portion of the Church", the Congregation did not intervene of its own accord.

*******************************

In the book, Medjugorje - After Twenty-One Years 6th edition, page 73, Michael Davies writes:

*******************************

[Begin Quote]Monsignor Zanic resigned as bishop of Mostar in 1993 and was replaced by Monsignor Ratko Peric, his coadjutor bishop, on 24 July 1993. Monsignor Peric had spent ten years in Rome as rector of the Pontifical Croatian College, and was consecrated as coadjutor bishop on 14 September 1992. Rumours have been circulated that Monsignor Zanic was forced to resign by the Pope who did not approve of his intransigent opposition to the veracity of the Medjugorje apparitions. "The bishop of Mostar, Monsignor Zanic, was removed from his post and removed from the commission of enquiry and totally discredited." These claims constitute the type of malicious and totally unsubstantiated calumnies which we have come to expect from the Medjugorje industry. Where there is money to be made basic standards of decency can quickly be forgotten. The truth is that Monsignor Zanic, who was born on 20 May 1918, offered his resignation in 1993 after reaching the statutory age of retirement, and was replaced by Monsignor Peric who is just as opposed to the authenticity of the alleged apparitions as was his predecessor. On 5 February 1996, during a private audience with Cardinal Ratzinger, I mentioned the claim that Monsignor Zanic had been "removed from his post". His Eminence was visibly shocked that such a disgraceful allegation could have been made, and he assured me that the bishop had resigned not simply because he had reached the statutory age, but because he was very tired. In addition to the stress caused by the Medjugorje scandal, the war in Bosnia had caused him great hardship. Monsignor Zanic's residence was destroyed and for a time he had been forced to leave his diocese.[End Quote]

******************************

The sad part is that, considering his age, the war, and the stress that comes from having alleged apparitions in his diocese, people would assume dark reasoning as to why the Vatican accepted his retirement, ignoring those things. From whom do we get inside information that he was relieved due to his position on Medjugorje? Yet a quick google search using the words zanic and retirement will bring up much calumny in this regard. There is simply no other word for it.

Why think the worst of the Apostolic Successor of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, as opposed to giving him the benefit of the doubt?

It all lies in how the issue has been spun. When Catholics drag the good name of a bishop through the mud, whose job it is to discern spirits in his diocese, it too is a fruit. It is one more example of a bad fruit stemming from Medjugorje, and is truly, imho, behind the disunity that has arisen. It's perfectly legitimate to not believe in apparitions, even those which have been authenticated. We are not obligated to believe in private revelations and should not be looked down upon should we choose to do so. Disunity is not caused by those who disbelieve in authenticity, but by those who are angered and disturbed by those who do not believe it is authentic - and among those targeted for attack is the Ordinary of Mostar-Duvno. This is plainly wrongheaded.

Bishop Zanic, God rest his soul, on his deathbed, pondered: How could so much disunity occur within the very diocese where the Queen of Peace allegdly appears?

That diocese is rife with disunity, as is visible in this homily, and in several documents available in the Michael Davies book. The book is available online, just open it and do an edit-find on rebellion or Franciscan and you will see full length VATICAN and religious order documents, in addition to diocesan, documenting the chaos taking place there.

If the Vatican is not backing the bishop, then why are there so many vatican documents backing him?

The book goes on to show how some of the pro-medjugorje books have only selectively provided documents, which can be found in their entirety, for the sake of context, in the Davies book.

As Bishop Peric encouraged me after I wrote him, he said read the book, then write me back.

I'll encourage people to read the Davies book, available free, online in the link within this comment bar. Then, if you have questions, email me. I'll be glad to give you my 2 cents, for whatever it is worth.

God Bless,

Diane

Diane said...

I would like to re-emphasize my last statement:

1) Read the book

2) Then email if something is troubling you.

3) Or, if you know me in real life - talk to me when you see me. I'm open to discuss the issues.

I am not going to respond to emails sent to me as everything I receive are things I've read dozens of times in the past year. Anything you can paste from the web about Medjugorje, about Michael Davies and so on. I'm fully aware of Michael Davies ties to Una Voce and the comments he made on Lefebre. This has nothing to do with facts he accumulated with the help of Bishop Peric, in the form of documents pertaining to Medjugorje and issues in the region.

In Our Lord!

Joseph Johnson said...

Hi Diane,
Your presentation of the facts concerning Medjugorje are clear and well researched.
Awhile back I spent some time researching the facts concerning Medjugorje and I must say that I too was quite concerned regarding the lack of obedience given the local Bishop by the alleged "seers" themselves and also by certain Franciscan religious who have openly and scandalously disobeyed both the previous and the current Bishops. I agree with you that this disobedience must be seen as bad fruit.
Ultimately the question is --would the Blessed Mother originate perpetuate for 20 years a direct disobedience to a local Bishop who is in union with the Church and the Pope?

Diane said...

Hi Joseph,

I will admit outright, that I was as vehemently defensive about Medjugorje as anyone when I got serious about my faith last year. I was a fervent about following it as best I could 20 years ago, but without the internet it was difficult. I got wrapped up in my career and not only did Medjugorje slip away, I nearly lost my faith as I had become only a lapsed Catholic in the pew.

Upon being reawakened by John Paul II's death, and energized by Pope Benedict XVI, whom I knew nothing about, I began to seek information about Medjugorje online. I was pleased with all of the many websites and began discussing it in online forums. Then one day, a young guy slammed it, most uncharitably, and said even worst things about the Franciscans and "seers". This angered me and I set out to prove him wrong, only to discover after a month of daily research that he was right. He merely made claims and did not back them up with facts. I sought out the facts, and found myself to be in serious error. I discovered that many of the things I had been repeating, from these websites, about the bishop, were seriously flawed, and highly subjective (based on hearsay - not facts).

It would take another month, and while reading the catechism and learning about detraction and calumny that I felt all I had done warranted confession. The guilt was building because I had recognized, through mental prayer, that within me was a distaste for the local ordinary - almost a hatred. At the very least, I blew off anything he had to say in favor of what people like Laurentin had to say. I finally recognized through my prayer and continued learning that the bishop enjoys the protection of the Holy Spirit by virtue of his position as apostolic successor. If he follows a path of sound investigation, and is in communion with the Church, we must trust the discernment of any spirits "appearing" in his diocese. If I turn on the bishop, then I turn on Holy Mother Church herself. I found it was very possible to turn on the bishop interiorly and it was that interior disturbance that prompted me to see my confessor about the issue. I had dragged that bishop's good name through the mud on worldwide forums where thousands had read my venom. It was all cloaked in charity too. I was nice about how I dragged him through the mud, repeating things I had found on those websites.

One of the biggest errors I made was to talk about the "fued" between the Franciscans and Bishop. I learned this was no child's play of a fued and had been in effect before Medjugorje broke out. In fact, just before it all began, a ruling came down that Franciscan priests would need to turn over some of their parishes to the diocese. It is highly unusual for Franciscans to hold on to parishes after they complete a mission, yet they had control over half, if I recall. The Franciscans were brave hundreds of years ago in remaining through the thick of persecution, but this was part of their charism. Now the diocese wanted the parishes back and was exercising its right to slowly transfer some of them back into diocesan hands. But the Franciscans, with their vow of obedience conveniently stuffed aside, got deeply entrenched. It resulted in the Holy See itself coming down on the Franciscan order. They received several sanctions. I don't have time to get into it here, but it is all in the Michael Davies book, recommended by Bishop Peric, who assisted him in accumulating facts. The link is further up.

I hurt deeply inside for all of those people whose faith is very wound up in this. Can tht faith stand without Medjugorje? It is a painful process to become de-programmed, so to speak. That is where I found confession helpful. It is where I found writing an apology to Bishop Peric via email helpful. And the worst piece of medicine, which turned out to be a blessing, was to email that young man back, and thank him for turning the light on, even though it was very uncharitable.

All of the documents Bishop Peric asked me to read are found at the Michael Davies website, once again...

Home Page of Michael Davies

Seat of Wisdom - Pray for us!

JDP said...

Hi

I had a brief visit to Medugorje last Fall. I am not an apparition follower, but I happened to be in the area.

I would have enjoyed the ability to stay longer, but it was not to be.

I have to say something about the conversions that have happened there. This is not necessarily a sign of the authenticity of the visions. I know a woman who was brought to conversion by a bad movie she watched on TV. Conversions happen all the time in any place.

The disobedience of the situation at Medugorje disturbs me greatly. It's as if these people are saying they have a direct line to God and do not need the Church. Hmmm. I know people like that at home, too. They just aren't as numerous!

God Bless

Joseph Johnson said...

Wow!...What a turnabout you have taken, both in your spiritual rebirth and in your position on Medjugorje! One can see in it a very intense desire for the Truth, which is really a search for Jesus--He who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

John 18:27....For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

It's not easy to completely change one's mind, as so many of us are so hard-headed when it comes to our own opinions and beliefs. My hats off to you for the fervor at which you have sought the truth, and having once discovered the facts, for the humility and docility to have completely changed your mind on the matter. Rare qualities indeed. Also notable and much appreciated is the charity in which you present the facts. "And in all things, Charity" St. Paul tells us.

You know, no one can be absolutely certain that the Blessed Virgin is or is not appearing at Medjugorje--ultimately it is up to the Church to decide. But for now, for those who are *sincerely* seeking the truth concerning it, that is, those who sincerely want to know whether or not it is truely of God, -I am certain such persons will come to the same conclusion that you have come to.

I must confess that as for myself I was not quite as fervent in seeking the facts on Medjugoje as you were, but I did spend numerous hours reading through various documents, resulting in having basically the same reservations and conclusions which you present.

Other than what you have already stated the other thing that really concerned me was the apparent lie that was told to the Bishop concerning the very FIRST alleged Appartiton, which I am quoting from:
http://www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/MedjugorjiLies.html

"Ivanka and Mirjana, having finished evening chores, had slipped off to a secluded spot to listen to rock music while smoking cigarettes pilfered from their fathers." These details were, as Laurentin says above, "held back for some time." In other words, another story was given by the children to the Bishop. Put plainly, the seers lied, as the Bishop said. Incidentally, some people have trouble picturing teenagers stealing cigarettes and hiding out to listen to rock music suddenly being blessed by an apparition of the Immaculate Mother of God"
---------
And this is how it all began? This along with the disobedience to the local Bishop(s) and the disobedience of several of the local Franciscan priests towards the Bishop is why I have such serious reservations cocnerning it.

May God continue to guide and enlighten you and all who seek the Truth....The Truth who is Jesus--the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Joseph

Diane said...

Well, in reality, I have not always been charitable when discussing the issue.

When the light first went on, I wanted the world to know. My manner of approaching it was not as harsh as the man who had originally hit me, but looking back, it was still self-righteous talk in some cases.

All of us who do not believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje, must understand that our brothers and sisters who do, deserve love and compassion, no matter how angry they get about the subject. People's lives have been altered by spirituality graced by God for them, even if the Blessed Mother does not appear there. I believe, personally, that the Blessed Mother has cradled and protected those dear souls who went seeking her this place.

Listening to the testimony of Fr. Donald Calloway is what began to soften me on how I was approaching it. I highly recommend listening to his conversion story as testimony that the Blessed Mother indeed has used this place to her advantage, even thought I don't believe she appears there. How else can you explain his turn. Buy the DVD and watch it. You will also get a taste of what kind of priests we have coming through the pipeline. As he said, "priests in cassocks - they're coming to a parish near you". Trust me - the cassock is a sign of rock solid Catholicism!

In the many Medjugorje devotees I know, I see the same love of Holy Mother Church with regards to adoration, eucharist, and penance. This is a sound base.

As I say in my latest post on Medjugorje, it proves what people are after. Hopefully, the worlds bishops and pastors have taken notice and begin giving it to them.

Open the doors and let basic Catholicism in the form of adoration, benediction, penance, mortification, eucharist, processions, marian devotion, and solid catechesis back in, and we will have many, many more priests, and packed churches.

I know many don't believe it is the answer, but I think Medjugorje is just one example of proof.

The BVM really turned that one to her advantage.

Joseph Johnson said...

Diane,
I agree wholeheartidly...Surely those who go to Medjugorje are good souls who are sincerely and devotedly seeking Jesus and Mary. Like you, I too am certain that Jesus blesses those who sincerely go there seeking Him and His Mother, although that is not to say He blesses the matter by which they come to Him. Are there perhaps not safer, truer, more trusted paths to Jesus and Mary?

It is indeed the authenticity of the apparation or the lack thereof that is where the problem lies. And there is the grave possibility that a false devotion could lead one away from the Church through a lack of obedience to the Bishop, as we have seen. A very grave matter indeed....

By the way, my email address is joseph_joseph1@hotmail.com if anyone would like to email me for any reason.
May God be with you,
Joseph

Joseph said...

and after confirming authenticity via the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website, where it is posted in Croatian, English, and Italian, I am going to post it here, in its entirety.

Where on the official Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website is this homily posted, specifically in Croatian?

Diane said...

Hi Joseph,

Because they are using frames, I cannot link you directly to it, but I can get you there through a click road-map.

After you get to the diocesan website, you must click on "Medjugorje", then scroll almost all the way to the bottom to get the bishop's June 15 homily in Croatian. They do not have it ordered chronologically. In fact, it makes no sense how it is ordered. It appears in English, Italian, and Croatian, but they are not together. Scroll through and look for this title and beginning:

PROPOVIJED BISKUPA RATKA PERIĆA

Međugorje, 15. VI. 2006.

Braćo i sestre!

Dragi krizmanici! Radujem se što sam danas s vama i s vašim obiteljima radi podjeljivanja sakramenta


You will find a link to the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno in the body of my article.

God bless!

Diane

Joseph said...

Diane:

Thanks for your assistance on locating the article in Croatian.

The direct (non-framed URL) is:

http://www.cbismo.hr/DHTMLFiles/Opsirnije.asp?P=26

It may not be the permanent URL of the article, but it is for now.

Joseph said...

PS--I am not sure to what you are linking to in the second link in the body of your article. I found the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mostar-Duvno

http://www.cbismo.hr/

through wikipedia.

Feel free to delete this comment if you want. But thanks for all your information.

Anonymous said...

This comment was sent to me via email and it will be posted as "anonymous"

[Begin Quote]
My quick, personal, passing thoughtwould be, frankly, that would it not be nice if the bishop(s)had as much zeal and spoke with such strong tones & tenor in matters that the faithful here and in other countries have been going through - and putting up with - for so so many years regarding the abuses in liturgy,abuses in catechesis and the lack therein, the teaching from the pulpit of clear heresy and more, the undermining of the magisterium in so many wide and varied ways by prelates and priest & religious, etc...

Here we suddenly have a prelate filled with so much unfettered zeal to bring an end to people making prayerful pilgrimages that focus in on Sacred Scripture, the Holy Eucharist, the Rosary, and fasting/penance. In a word, real conversion. Interesting, huh?? The very human, political reality of more of this than you'd care to know or would ever admit to
would be much about "disgruntled" local priests, loss of $$$$ in their collection plates and in the coffers of the diocesan offices, flat out jealousy, and the challenge of ministering to a now converted laity.

Again, I'm not saying Med' is "authentic." Not at all. But, I am saying that the many good fruits that have come from it are undeniable (not to say there hasn't been exceptions).

Truthfully, the credibility of the
local ordinary seems wanting to me - for there seems to be a lack of pastoral charity and balance, as I've said before and continue to stand by. God bless!

Our Lady Queen of Peace, pfu! +++ [End Quote]

Diane said...

I don't really think Bishop Peric wants to end true devotion, and things like Eucharistic adoration. I think he wants to end the cult-like status of Medjugorje.

People can have these things that they get there, and the real question isn't one bishop in Mostar trying to cease a cult following. Rather, it is a question of many bishops and priests not giving the faithful ready access to the very things they seek in Medjugorje. Hence, the reason for my second post:

What leads people to Medjugorje

I don't think the Church needs to lose the things built through Medjugorje. She needs to take a close look and facilitate these things throughout the world so people have ready access to them. That is the key.

Should Medjugorje get shut down officially, perhaps this is the Blessed MOther's intent - to have the masses fully walk through that door and into bliss that is rightfully theirs - but unattached from Medjugorje, and in their own parish.

The parishes and dioceses must do this. Medjugorje has proven what a heavy sacaramental life can do for people, along with fasting, mortification, penance - all things poo-poohed over the last 40 years. Along with that is the value of frequent Mass, adoration, benediction, holy hours, processions, and the like.

God Bless and thanks for emphasizing some of the real problems facing the Church today.

I was only at Assumption Grotto for a few months when I discovered the pastor himself would be teaching an adult catechism. There were a few people converting, but in all - some 25-30 parishioners showed up just to brush up on the CCC. Fr. Perrone came faithfully each Monday night from September to April, and gave us rich lessons for 1.5 hours each time. Consider that after putting in a full day, he had the perfect right to be out on a golf-course, or in his case - playing the piano. But he chose to spend it with us.

Anonymous said...

Great blog - great post - you are right: the pro-Medj. sites do not post this stuff in its entirety, and I hate have information withheld from me! I had a conversion experience during 3 visits to Medj. but I must say: I wasn't ever really "into" knowing or proving that the apparitions were real, but I learned so much about my faith, grew in the sacraments, and grew in my devotion to Our Lady as a result. Those are my fruits. And as you rightly say: those fruits are not dependent upon the validity of the apparitions. Thanks for your blog - I have bookmarked it!

Anonymous said...

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church.

Now this is a bit disingenuous to say the least. Since that "official position of the Church" is, as it stands, the generally accepted neutral position, allowing for things to continue under the outlined guidelines for pastoral care of the millions of pilgrims, the seers are already adhering to "ecclesiastical obedience". One would say that the local bishop is not in his defiance of the accepted decision by the only ecclesially recognized authority for judgment of the apparitions. He has been told to cease and desist from inserting his personal opinion as somehow trying to influence others to something other than what the bishops' commission has decided.

The real elephant in the living room here that no one will touch is that, in an unprecedented manner, Rome has overruled the local bishop who would, if he had his way, shut the whole thing down and tell everyone to go home. Instead Rome is allowing for the continuance of the millions of pilgrimages guided by thousands of priests, hundreds of bishops, knowing full well that all of the emotional, psychological, spiritual effects will be there for the human experience. People will state that they abide by whatever final decision will be made but meanwhile they will continue to experience the "little kisses", the phenomena, the unbelievable conversions, the great devotions, the sharing with other pilgrims, the physical and spritual healings ... unless the bishop can lasso those effects as well and hide them in some closet. The bishop's opinion (both now and the predecessor's) could easily have been allowed to stand by Rome as is the norm in most cases and that would have been that. That did not happen with the unprecedented intervention. Most likely then, since the bishop has been told by the bishops' conference to stop with the media blitz of his opinions, official organizations are honoring that authority recognized of the bishop in the pastoral realm, but also honor the magisterium's guidelines when it comes to what is to be done re: the apparition site itself when they refuse to print the bishop's personal opinions (as was described by the CDF). It would appear then that they are adhering more to the instructions by the ecclesial authority re: Medjugorje, the apparition site, than is the bishop. Instead he is the one who is placing his private opinions before the official position of the Church. about which he has been warned before. Since private pilgrimages are still permitted Rome must have a greater interest in this site than people would like to acknowledge!

Joseph Johnson said...

Dear Anonymous poster at 4:43pm

1) There has been *NO* official declaration from the Vatican including the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF)concerning the authenticity of Medjugorje. The CDF has only given directives of a pastoral order.


Up to this day, only the Bishops of Mostar — Bishop Zanic, then Bishop Peric — and the Yugoslav Episcopal Conference have expressed a judgement on the events of Medjugorje, which are as follows:

1) Both the previous and the current local Bishops (Bishops Zanic and Peric) have given negative judgements on numerous occasions (Bishop Zanic in 1984 and Bishop Peric 1995, and again just recently in a homily (Jun 2006).

2) The judgement of the Yugoslav Episcopal Conference, in the declaration known as the "Zadar Declaration," dated 10th April 1991, was:
""Based on the investigations carried out thus far, it has not been possible to establish that it involves apparitions or supernatural revelations.""
--This is referred to as 'non constat de supernaturalitate' (not established as supernatural).

There you have the judgement of the Church thusfar. Therefore it is an error to state that the Vatican (which includes the CDF) has made official statements on Medjugorje.

May God bless you and yours,
Joseph Johnson

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Johnson,

1) There has been *NO* official declaration from the Vatican including the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (CDF)concerning the authenticity of Medjugorje. The CDF has only given directives of a pastoral order.

And just where have I stated anything different? You appear to be projecting something about a final declaration of "authenticity" that was never even mentioned. But, as I implied, the CDF has accepted the last judgment of the bishops' commission of the Zadar declaration which leaves things in the neutral position. I never said anything contrary to that. Please reread.

There you have the judgement of the Church thusfar. Therefore it is an error to state that the Vatican (which includes the CDF) has made official statements on Medjugorje.

The Church, in its transfer of the dossier over to the Yugoslavian bishops' conference/commission through its authority in the CDF under C. Ratzinger with approval of JPII, has not accepted the ruling of the local bishops, and has stated that it recognizes the judgment of the Zadar declaration as the official last word (not the final) on the subject. It has written that judgment out with the explanation that B. Peric's opinion otherwise should be accepted as only his opinion on the matter. This written answer was sent out by the CDF. Since this is a neutral judgment which allows for a wait and see by the Church, it is considered to be the latest accepted judgment by the Church. I don't think anyone has used "final" in any way relating to this judgment.

As far as the Church currently stands re: Medj. it accepts the Zadar declaration as the final word, officially. It considers the Bishop's personal decision as only to be considered as his opinion. You seem to be giving some equal weight to former decisions made by the local authority that were negative when the Church, through former C. Ratzinger at the CDF, removed the dossier from the local bishop in '86. The declaration accepted by the Church is the '91 Zadar declaration which is in the neutral judgment, a wait and see attitude by the Church, and allowing for a future examination by a newly formed commission which is said to have been formed in Sarajevo in '98. The CDF considers anything else provided to the public by the local bishop as only his opinion which he is free to make, but it is not the one accepted by the Church. The Church obviously does not presently abide by three separate decisions which you seem to imply. Those guidelines that you admit as accepted by the Church are those established by the judgement of the Zadar declaration. Since the CDF gave the judgment over to the commission, not accepting the local bishop's judgment, it has since stated that it abides by this Zadar declaration. If you don't accept that as official Church stance for the moment, then we are merely playing with words and not substance.

Joseph Johnson said...

In reference to Anonymous post above,

>>"The CDF considers anything else provided to the public by the local bishop as only his opinion which he is free to make, but it is not the one accepted by the Church."
-------

The Faithful cannot just discard the local Bishops opinion. The Church has always declared that the local Bishop is the primary authority and judge on matters of private revelations within his diocese, and the Vatican does not normally get involved, as we can see with Medjugorje. Anyway, you seem to contrast the decision of the Bishop and the Zadar decision as if they are at odds.

The Yugoslav Episcopal Conference (Zadar declaration) essentially declared 'non constat de supernaturalitate' (not established as supernatural).

Now the local Bishop (Bishop Peric) has just recently stated the following:
-------------
"I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be seers, as well as those persons behind the messages, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish." In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church."
-----------

Now, as the local Bishop he has every right and authority to make such a request, and the faithful are obliged to give obedience to it. You can't just toss out the Bishops request as "only his opinion" , deferring oneself to the Zadar statement. After all, the Zadar conclusion of 'non constat de supernaturalitate' was not at all a green light nor even a veiled approval of the events. The "seers" and those involved are obligated to give obedience to the Bishops recent request.

May God bless you and yours,
Joseph Johnson

By the way, here is an excellent webpage on discerning private revelations:
Discerning Private Revelations

Joseph Johnson said...

Sorry for the bad link. This is the correct one:
Discerning Private Revelations

or here it is spelled out:
http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2004/features_oct04.html

Mary Fernandez said...

After reading Bishop Peric's Homily and having read quite some more information and data for the last 18 years that we had know Medjugorje... there is something that does not look quite clear to me!
We pray for Peace and Good in Med
jugorje and the whole world and as
you have mentioned several times...
if we HAD!!! what we find in Medjugorje in our Parishes...we
would not have to go so far to find
the answers to our questions! and
the light to the darkness that we
have back home in our Churches!!!
If we could find a Church that gives us what Medjugorje has given
us here in the States...we would
take the people to that Church!!
Peace and Good,
Mary Fernandez
Miami, Fl

Anonymous said...

Anyway, you seem to contrast the decision of the Bishop and the Zadar decision as if they are at odds.

Well, obviously they are.


After all, the Zadar conclusion of 'non constat de supernaturalitate' was not at all a green light nor even a veiled approval of the events. The "seers" and those involved are obligated to give obedience to the Bishops recent request.

Well, obviously too Mr. Johnson, the light is still green for private pilgrimages and dissemination of the messages. And the apparition site itself is under the decided and accepted guidelines from the Zadar declaration. So, if they are abiding by that then they are abiding by what the magisterium officially accepts. Since the bishop has been warned before about overstepping this decision by continuing to broadcast his personal opinion, I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the Vatican does, if anything, about this. So it may be seen that those involved with the apparition site itself are merely being obedient to the magisterium's advice - to follow the guidelines of the Zadar declaration - and obedient to the bishop in his pastoral duties such as the confirmation portion. He is the one in defiance of the accepted ruling.

Apparently you have not seen the answers given by the CDF to how one is to view the public statements against the apparition site by the bishop. He can speak of his opinions, but they are to be seen as only his opinions and not as any substitute for what was decided by the '91 Zadar declaration which leaves things in a wait and see mode with the possibility of some future re-examination.

Diane said...

Anonymous 10:33 said:

Well, obviously they are. [in reference to the local Bishop and the Zadar Declaration]

Please elaborate, and provide actual text from the Zadar Declaration to prove your point.


Well, obviously too Mr. Johnson, the light is still green for private pilgrimages and dissemination of the messages.

This is incorrect for two reasons, in chronological order:

1) March 25, 1985 letter from Bishop Zanic to St. James Pastor, Fra Tomislav Pervan is where we see the first demand that public spread of messages cease, as follows (emphasis in capes is mine):

Even before this, the Ordinary had come to the firm conclusion that the apparitions of the Madonna in Medjugorje are not a reality. Meanwhile, in 1982, the Bishop's Office had formed the Commission to investigate the events and to study the case thoroughly. Because of it, the Bishop's Office has refrained from making any official statement on the real state of affairs. However, several times through letters, the Bishop's Office expressed its desire, and even DEMANDED, THAT THE PROPOGANDA STOP BECAUSE OF THE DISOBEDIENCE OF THE PASTORAL PERSONNEL AND THE "VISIONARIES". This was a futile attempt. I present the documents which have been sent to you, and the subject of each one of them:

—December 13, 1981, (N 977): attitude toward the events in Medjugorje;
—April 12, 1983, (N 241): letter to the parish priest, instructions to be followed;


That statement above from Bishop Peric also highlights how the local Franciscans were undermining the Bishop, long before this became such a global affair. Further down in this comment we will explore the 1978 Norms for apparition discernment. One key item in that criteria is this, which falls under postive criteria:

1. Personal qualities of the subject—in particular mental balance, honesty and rectitude of moral life, habitual sincerity and docility towards ecclesiastical authority, ability to return to the normal manner of a life of faith, etc.

Note the lack of docility in the actions of the seers towards ecclesiastical authority based on the 1985 letter from Bishop Peric.


Bishop Zanic then, in writing once more, stated (emphasis in caps is mine):

In the meantime, matters remain as they were, and a great disgrace is expected to befall the Church. Now, without any delay, after all this, I DEMAND from you that you remove the "visionaries" from public display and put an end to their "visions" in the parish church. They have had "visions" in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes during 1981. In ten days the new statue of the Gospa in front of the main altar ought to be discreetly removed late one evening and replaced by the old one. YOU MUST STOP TALKING ABOUT APPARITIONS AND ALSO CEASE PUBLICIZING MESSAGES. The devotions that grew out of the "apparitions" and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material which propagate the "apparitions" must also stop. The faithful can go to the sacrament of reconciliation and attend Mass. I do not allow the other priests, especially Fathers Jozo Zovko, Tomislav Vlasic and Ljudevit Rupcic, to celebrate Mass for the faithful or to preach.

It was over 20 years ago, when the local Ordinary, before this got too far out of his region, demanded that messages cease being publicized.

The bishop's tone is very harsh, but note that it had been 2 years that he had attempted to get the "cult" stifled because he was already convinced it was not authentic. This was fully within his rights at the time. Note again, the 1978 criteria for discernment, under Intervention of Local Authority:

2. At the legitimate request of the faithful (when they are in communion with their pastors and are not driven by a sectarian spirit), the competent ecclesiastical Authority can intervene to authorize and promote various forms of worship and devotion if, assuming the criteria given above having been applied, nothing is opposed to it. But there must be vigilance nevertheless, to ensure that the faithful do not regard this way of acting as an approval by the Church of the supernatural character of the event in question (cf. above, Preliminary Note, c).

But Bishop Zanic did find things opposed to the Criteria, such as that which was pointed out. The French Bishop's statement cites all of the times those negative judgments were made so they can be referenced at your discretion on the web.

The later commissions were required because the "cult" had developed, against the explicit demands of the bishop in that 1985 letter and it extended far beyond the boundaries of this bishop's jurisdiction, involving people around the world.

Bishop Zanic was not relieved rather, the later commission was initiated at the request of Frane Franic and Bishop Zanic obliged his request. The French Bishops, in their 2002 statement point this out. It's too long to paste into here, but follow the link below and scroll down until you see The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. In part, it says....

It is therefore not correct to state that Bishop Zanic was relieved of the dossier.


Furthermore, while the phenomenon "affects a large portion of the Church", the Congregation did not intervene of its own accord.


It is Bishop Franic, Archbishop of Split, who, on 17th April 1985, during the plenary assembly of the Yugoslav Episcopate, addresses to the Bishop of Mostar the following request: "I ask His Excellency the Bishop of Mostar to ascertain the facts about Medjugorje, while also accepting the help of the Holy See and of competent persons abroad so as to act in conformity with the maxim 'cum Petro et sub Petro'."4


The Congregation thus applies that which is foreseen by the Norms of 1978:

"It belongs to the Sacred Congregation to discern and to approve the action of the Ordinary or, if such proves necessary, to proceed to a new examination of the events distinct from that which the Ordinary has effected; this new examination of the events will be accomplished either by the Sacred Congregation itself, or by a commission especially established to this end."

The Roman Dicastery charges the Episcopal Conference of Yugoslavia to take up the dossier, with the help of a new commission established to this end.5 The work of this commission results in the Zadar Declaration of 10th April 1991.
[source]



2) The latest statement, in the form of Bishop Peric's homily says:

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church. Our faith is a serious and responsible matter. The Church is also a serious and responsible institution!

I am having a very difficult time understanding how anyone could not conclude, in light of the above, that the "seers" are giving out messages through an act of disobedience.

Once again, I will ask you, and anyone else who will accuse Bishop Peric of disobedience to please extract precise statements from the Zadar Declaration itself, or other valid source (not hearsay) which would help me to understand how you feel this is so?

Or, is it simply an assumption being made, without valid fact? If this is the case, then this man - an apostolic successor, is being calumniated by everyone who repeats it. Out of love for Holy Mother Church, this must cease. It is this very thing that I was doing, that led me into the confessional because I engaged in it.

This is a prime example of how subtle the faithful can turn on the Church.

It does not matter if one does not like the bishop, does not like the way he looks, or the way he parts his hair, or the tone of his letters (not everyone is graced with excellent communication skills). Even if visions are authentic and he orders a visionary to cease the release of messages, he or she would only be exhibiting divine grace in humbly obeying. To do otherwise, shows a lack of that same grace. That is very revealing.

Anonymous said...

Where the Bishop is, there is the Church
Where the Church is, there is the Bishop

And

Where the Church is, there is the Spirit
Where the Spirit is, there is the Church

You get my drift?

Anonymous said...

From the CDF:

What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", 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.

Judgment of Zadar:

On the other hand, we have the verdict of the then-Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference of April 10, 1991, which is more nuanced and can be summarized in the following sentence: "On the basis of the investigation so far, it cannot be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." This amounts to a statement declaring "non constat de supernaturalitate."

Two different conclusions/judgments. The bishop's amounts to a condemnation. The accepted Zadar conclusion is of the wait and see/neutral position. The bishop's comments referred to by the CDF's letter repeat the unaccepted condemning judgment that he desires. It is to that public insertion by the bishop of an unaccepted judgment, that is referred to by the CDF as to be considered by the faithful as only an "opinion".

Diane said...

The pastor of Assumption Grotto, Fr. Eduard Perrone, does not permit the sale of anything which promotes apparitions, locutions, or other phenomena not fully approved by the Church in the parish giftshop. He also does not permit distribution of materials in the Church vestibule which promote these things. However, there is an abundance of goods to buy and free material provided, which includes many, many Church approved marian devotions and materials.

In the same manner, I will not provide links to websites which promote apparitions, locutions and other phenomena not yet approved by Holy Mother Church. This includes links found in the comment sections. As they are found, the entire comment will be deleted since I cannot edit them.

That having been said, one comment was just deleted because it provided a link to a website which is a huge promoter of Medjugorje - an apparition which has not been approved by the Church.

Anonymous said...

This is my very first post to your
blog and I just read through the
whole thing. I am wondering how the
Bishop thinks he can order someone
to stop having "visions", as you
stated in one of your post.
Also, and excuse me for being blunt
her, but, it seems to me that you
are saying, "If you don't agree
with me then I don't want to hear
what you have to say."
I think that many of the faithful
who never left Holy Mother Church,
have, for the past 25 years, and before and since, have been
doing all along what the Blessed
Mother has been asking, as her
messages are always the same, and
always lead one to Jesus, her Son.
Perhaps that is why some are now
"coming home."
But, thats just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

That having been said, one comment was just deleted because it provided a link to a website which is a huge promoter of Medjugorje - an apparition which has not been approved by the Church.

Diane, I am assuming it was my link that you deleted and I would ask you to prove how the presentation of the history in summation of this very topic of discussion here, with the facts from all sides, makes it a "huge promoter" of the appartions. Are you afraid that by allowing such a summation of that history by a former reporter nominee for a pulitzer prize re: his investigation of the Love Canal, just may give a different and unspun view from your own?

The above commenter seems to point out the same about a personal personal bias on your part against those who may disagree with you.

And, I've noticed that the dates you keep presenting for some kind of proof for your position are always those prior to the '91 Zadar declaration which the CDF only refers to in its letter of caution about the bishop's opinion that shows his disagreement with that. All facts should be allowed to be presented ... if one really wishes to be fair...but then it's your decision about just what's fair here.

Diane said...

To both anonymous posters.

A) I did not remove the link because the conclusions reached in the article are different from my own. They do indeed differ. For the most part, a large portion of the church is split on how all of this is interpreted. I choose to set aside any promotion of apparitions which have not been fully recognized by the Church. That is within my right.

B)I fully recognize the '91 Zadar Declaration, but my interpretation of that document is on par with the French Bishops Commission, which I've already cited numerous times, including in the body of the original post. There are those within the Church who interpret the Zadar commission the way you do. There are those within the Church who interpret it the way I do, and the French Bishops.

I fully agree that individuals, and even groups have a right to make pilgrimages to Medjugorje. But, I side strongly with the French Bishops, long before I read their conclusion in the matter. Once again, that information is available in the same statement. While people have a right to go their for spiritual reasons, it is not suppose to be with the notion that the Blessed Mother is actually appearing there. For this third issue, you will interpret the 1998 letter by Bertone one way, I interpret it the way the French Bishops have, and once again, raised the same question they have:

Here is what they say..

Addressing the question of pilgrimages, the Secretary of the Congregation points out:



"Finally, concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje which take place in a private manner, this Congregation holds that they are permitted on condition that they are not considered as an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church.

"Let us recognize that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organize 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"?


It is just this difficulty which Cardinal Kuharic and Bishop Zanic foresaw in their joint declaration of 9th January 1987.7


As a final note, you have a right to go to forums which promote apparitions not yet approved. There are plenty out there. I have a right to not promote apparitions not yet approved, if that is what my conscience tells me I should not be promoting them.

That, in a nutshell, is why I will not provide links to websites which in any way promote apparitions not yet approved.

In addition to the many very fine and sanctioned items available through that website, is an entire list on the front page ranging from "Medjugorje Chat Room to a "Medjugorje Message" site. If that website chooses to do that, and they feel they can do so without violating their conscience, then I certainly cannot tell them what to do. However, I must act according to my conscience and the last thing I want to do is to lead people to places which blur the lines between what is sanctioned and approved the Catholic Church and that which has not won approval in over 25 years.

I don't deny positive things are happening. But I will use the example used elsewhere: A baby born out of wedlock is a good fruit. It is proof that good fruit can occur during something which goes against the laws of God. I personally do not believe in the authenticity of the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje, but I do see the good fruit, just like I see the baby as being good. I believe the Blessed Mother is using that place to her full advantage and will continue to do so until a very unambiguous answer comes down from the top.

In the meanwhile, if it is not approved, no links will appear on my blog to sites promoting it.

I'll end it there because we all have to move forward according to our conscience, and mine is telling me to let this issue go, as is. The Church will continue to be divided on it until something happens to change that.

Anonymous said...

Diane, it's nice that you take the time to explain why you do what you do. But your actual postings of those more "con" sources don't seem to fulfill an attitude of allowance for the sources that have greater authority over the matter discussed than the ones that simply satisfy your own feelings. You then go on to admit the good fruits but seem to deny or diminish the rest of that scriptural testing that teaches that the tree itself must be good if there are good fruits. And in the case of Medj., it isn't a proven fact of "some" good fruits, but rather an unprecedented amount for an apparition site, esp. in its very beginnings.

B)I fully recognize the '91 Zadar Declaration, but my interpretation of that document is on par with the French Bishops Commission, which I've already cited numerous times, including in the body of the original post.

What does the French bishops' interpretation have to do with the CDF's, since the results of acceptance of one over the other are quite different: Church allowing private pilgrimages, and the French bishops' interpretation, not allowing same? And the Church's guidelines take into consideration the French bishops' misgivings re: the natural/supernatural influence on the human nature of the pilgrims when exposed to the place itself. All of the French bishops' misgivings have been taken into consideration over the years of objections presented to the CDF, but the result was to interfere with the advised elimination of all pilgrimages, in favor of continuing to allow the people to come ... and thus be effected by all that goes on there...while the Church waits and watches. If one is being obedient to Church advisories when interested in pursuing the best advice about a particular apparition, one ought to read or listen or give the greatest importance to what the official arm of the Church states. And that isn't the opinions, again, of a particular group of removed bishops who do not have the authority to speak for the Church officially in this matter. Now then, when people do respect that official arm of the Church when outlining the history of this matter, they are denied to give those most necessary facts here. Thus, it still appears that there is some fear that those facts may sway people from your personal point of view. Again, if it is only your point of view that you wish to present on this forum, of course you are free to do so. But then the fact should be acknowledged that a fuller presentation of all of the history of this matter will remain missing for any full and fair discernment.

IOW, a proof of "obedience" shouldn't be used by one who doesn't exactly display his/her own part in that obedience.

Diane said...

Once again, many within the church share your views, and many within the church see it in the same light I do.

In the end, we must all go according to our conscience, and mine is telling me to not promote ANY apparition, which is not fully approved by the Church. That includes Medjugorje.

My gut feeling is that it will not be long before the kind of bickering evident in this comment box, and so many www forums, will be brought to an end.

Discernment of spirits or apparitions are not judged on good fruits alone. I've cited the case of Magdalen of the Cross who had brought many people closer to God, using the Sacraments, and even had ecclesiastics on her side. On her deathbead, she confessed to having made a deal with the devil. All of very phenomena which pulled so many to God were satanic illusions. Once again, like a baby born out of wedlock, from a sinful act, can come good fruit. The case of Magdalen of the Cross is documented so anyone wanting to know, can do a search. Why would Satan have wanted people to do fasting, penance, frequent Communion as had increased with Magdalen of the Cross? One reason is that once condemned, there are those who would still believe she had supernatural gifts, and reject the Church's position. Doing searches on the web for various condemned apparitions or locutionists reveals that some still have followers. Not only is Satan after the soul of the very instruments he uses to trick others, but those who will make the apparitionist or locutionist or stigmatist a sort of false God in their own hearts - something above Holy Mother Church.

Why bring this up? Because it is proof positive that good fruit can be seen when something is not of supernatural origin. That is why there is more than one piece of criteria for bishops to use. Certainly the obedience test does not stand alone. Neither does the good fruit.

Those of us who choose to sit out this so-called "neutrality" of the Holy See without promoting it risk absolutely nothing. I lead a solid spiritual life as a third order Carmelite in formation. I belong to a parish with heavy sacramental life as is evidenced by the photos and stories throughout my blog. I pray the Rosary daily, often go to daily Mass, pray Lauds, Vespers and Compline daily, and do 30 minutes of mental prayer each day. I say this not to boast, but to show that I simply do not need Medjugorje in order to do all of the things people treasure about Medjugorje. The very things I do stand alone, without any links to phenomena which have not been approved.

I have interpreted all of the various statements ot date, as well as the current homily by Bishop Peric to mean that I should not be promoting this site. That is what my conscience tells me. If the Church should ever give full approval to Medjugorje, I will likely place my trust in the Church. Until then, I have a perfect right to be skeptical, and to be a skeptic is to err on the side of caution, giving full deference to the Ordinary of the place who has, since 1984, attempted to curb, vigilantly, any cult following.

As I stated previously, I acknowledge the right for people to visit Medjugorje, but my interpretation of the string of letters from Bertone, Navarro-Valls, and the Ordinary of the place to mean that it should not be on the supposition that anything supernatural is occurring there. That part is clear as a whistle to me and if it is not that clear to others, then it's not my job to try to convince them. People will believe what they want. I risk nothing by standing back without promoting, but those who promote, in what is clearly written against such things, as far back as 1984 and as late as 2006.

I posted the Bishop's full homily because I knew that no Medjugorje website would do so. People have a right to know what the man says. You ask why I don't read the other side of the story. I have. I've been there, I've been burned by following what amounts to propganda, some of it falsely damaging to an Apostolic Successor. This, imho, amounts to people turning on the Church. It burns in my conscience that I actually engaged in it just over a year ago because of what I was reading on Medjugorje websites.

I've explained many times before and do so again here: I vigorously set out to prove a Medjugorje detractor wrong. I proved him right because some of the outrageous claims made could not be substantiated, or were completely flipped inside out as I discovered more complete information, with documentation to back them up. A few loose ends caused it, and some key proponents of Medjugorje to lose complete credibility with me. That is why I no longer believe it is authentic. It isn't simply the obeidence issue. That is only a small part.

Diane said...

Clarifying an incomplete sentence above so that it now reads:


I risk nothing by standing back without promoting, but those who promote, in what is clearly written against such things, as far back as 1984 and as late as 2006, should be at least wondering who is right in the debate over whether anyone should be promoting this site. Visiting for personal reasons is very different from promoting it.

Anonymous said...

Diane, you said this:

"In the end, we must all go according to our conscience,...

I would just like to point out that in the end, we must all go with the Church, many feel like their conscience is the final say.
Many are wrong. Now hopefully you
are only referring to this matter,
however, if you are saying that
in the end, we must all go with our
conscience on all matters, then, I
would like to remind you that many
have informed consciences.
Just wanted to clear that matter up, but then, that is probably a
whole different blog topic.

Diane said...

Just to clear up any misunderstandings, my conscience does not allow me to promote apparitions not yet approved. That is the subject.

As to having our consciences formed, yes - this is true. They must be formed in light of Church teaching, not the absence of it.

According to the CCC (64)

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

I'm not required to believe in anything that is not in the deposit of faith. Not only does that include approved apparitions, but it especially pertains to those not yet recognized by the Church.

I risk nothing in feeling Medjugorje is not authentic.

I also want to clarify from my earlier posting in which I was asked why I would not want to balance out what I know about Medjugorje from more authorized sources.

There can't be anything more authentic than Diocesan, Vatican, and Religious Order documents, in full. All of these were available in the Michael Davies book, far more than can be found on the web, and all authorized by Bishop Peric who encouraged me to read the book. I have seen all of the letters pertaining to pilgrimages, in their entirety. I have seen what is availble on the Zadar Declaration.

That having been said, it comes down very simply to the way I am interpreting those things. The interpretation I have is shared by others within the Church, and at odds with still others.

What is visible is the split between the faithful on how all of this is interpreted. It's the reason why I pray that the Church will make its findings unambiguously clear sooner than later so we can all move on.

Anonymous said...

Diane, with due respect, I think you are now confusing (or possibly conveniently spinning) "promoting" with the simple stating of historical facts so that people can differentiate the cast of characters and the differing weights of authority they each hold in this matter. And, offering simple truthful personal experiences by witnesses or those who have known them, who try to explain their own good fruits to those who may have no other connection to this permitted site than comboxes, doesn't fit the definition of "promoting" either. IOW, I would say that you only "promote" the con position while covering that with "I refuse to promote" anything re: an unapproved apparition. All of your references have served to "promote" the negative, in anticipation of continuing Church watchfulness.

Diane said...

I would say that you only "promote" the con position while covering that with "I refuse to promote" anything re: an unapproved apparition. All of your references have served to "promote" the negative, in anticipation of continuing Church watchfulness.

A) I have acknowledged, in my original post, the many fruits visible as a result of Medjugorje. This includes the increase in vocations, as well as the conversions and deepend prayer life. I emphasized that again in my second post when I provided my theory on why most people go to Medjugorje - all very positive things. Therefore, to say I am only "promoting the cons" is inaccurate. But I chose to explain, through the case of Magdalen of the Cross that the authenticity of apparitions cannot be based on all the conversions and good fruits produced. There were many in her day too, but that does not mean her experience was Divine. Some of it was proven to be of human origin, and some of it was diabolical. How many years later - 30?

B) All of my references are simply documents. I see the reporting bias the other way. Let me give some examples:

1)I provide a complete analysis given by the French Bishops Conference. This is something I can't seem to find on any Medjugorje websites. But there are analyses from people like Fr. Daniel Ange and Fr. Rene Laurentin which are favorable to Medjugorje. Perhaps you could challenge them to provide balance by adding it to their available material.

2)I have referenced documents found in the Michael Davies book. Many of these same documents are available at Medjugorje sites, like the string of letters stemming from 1996 to 1998 on pilgrimages. Some Medjugorje websites go on to give Fr. Daniel Ange's "take" of those letters in footnotes, but do not offer, once again, the analysis provided by the French Bishops on the same letters. Perhaps you can convince them to balance their material in this regard, as well.

3)I find many quotes from Fr. Rene Laurentin on Medjugorje websites. But, I do not find the exchange of letters between Bishop Peric and Fr. Laurentin regarding a conversation in which the latter was confronted for a list of untruths and halftruths in his books. There is a related communique sent out from the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno pertaining to that conversation between him and Bishop Peric. There has still not been a full retraction as was expected, so a good many people were misled by what was published. These things were publicly available because Michael Davies had no problem getting copies of them from the Diocese, nor from the paper which published them. It's far too much to paste here, but please consider opening the Michael Davies book online (link in one of my previous posts) to Page 207 - 213 and read bullet by bullet what I cannot seem to find on any Medjugorje web site.

4) I can find, on Medjugorje websites, words to the effect that Cardinal Ratzinger supports Medjugorje. But, I cannot find the Clausen letter regarding the Schwarzer Brief, in which Cardinal Ratzinger said, "statements attributed to me and the Holy Father have been freely invented".

5) I can find 100% favorable information on Fr.Jozo Zovko, OFM on Medjugorje websites, but I can't seem to find information pertaining to the canonical sanctions, with the exception of one site, which did a respectable job handling his cancellation at the National Shrine in DC after it became known that his Bishop has not lifted those sanctions. Most Medjugorje websites stop short by showing only that he is in good standing with his religious order, but make no mention that his bishop has sanctioned him. Only bishops can ordain. They impose penalties, and it is the bishop who lifts those penalties (or higher). A religious order priest does not have the authority to remove or give back priestly faculties. Perhaps you could convince those Medjugorje websites to provide the full story, not the partial one.

I could go on, but I'll add one more:

6) As of the time of my original post, I could not find the full contents of the homily by Bishop Peric on any medjugorje website. Even after it broke out on CWNews, CNA, and countless blogs, I still could not find the 2nd half of the homily in which the Bishop spoke about the alleged apparitions. Perhaps you can convince them to show it in its entirety so that all can judge for themselves.

C) I run one small blog, with no more than 150-200 hits daily, and a one time peak of about 350. Those websites are getting thousands of hits daily, in some cases. Let them provide the balance you ask for. As for me, I chose to share what could not be found out there on Medjugorje sites.

Any site which supplies "messages" which the bishop said must cease being made public as far back as 1985 (and earlier), and reiterated again now in 2006, and who knows how many times in between, is a promoter. Ditto with any site selling books or other materials which the Bishop also wanted discontinued in the March 25, 1985 letter. I've been asked why I don't look at something more recent. I don't need to. The disobedience has been ongoing since the earliest of days, with a group of Franciscans leading the way. Who was their vow of obedience to when they took on the priesthood, if not to the Bishop? There is plenty of evidence they have been undermining the Ordinary from the very beginning.

I regret that this has caused some people grief. I really do have to move on now. I've spent way too much time discussing this topic to begin with.

With peace and love of Christ and his Blessed Mother, have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

His Holiness, Pope Urban VIII stated: "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."(Pope Urban VIII, 1623-44)

Anonymous said...

Any site which supplies "messages" which the bishop said must cease being made public as far back as 1985 (and earlier), and reiterated again now in 2006, and who knows how many times in between, is a promoter.

#1 Why do you continue to join the bishop in his defiance of Church authority over this site? Why do you go beyond the admonition of the CDF that says for the public re: what the bishop says or promotes against the official commission's decision to only give them the authority of opinions?

#2 Persons are free to do whatever they wish with the messages of this apparition site, judged within the neutral position by the proper ecclesial authority. If the Church wishes to validate the "opinions" of the bishop re: guidelines opposing those of the Zadar declaration, they are the ones to do so ... not you. If the Church wishes the visionaries and those who maintain and offer assistance to the pilgrims to follow the bishop's directives I'm sure they will relay that command of obedience. So far, in the 15 years since the Zadar declaration, all the while knowing full well that the bishop has continued in his efforts to act against the "visions", the Vatican has not acted against your assumption of "disobedience". They must feel that there is no disobedience to the bishops' conference in charge of these decisions. All of his directives re: Church space and not speaking as if the visions/apparitions have been authenticated as yet by the Church have been honored. There are no pronouncements by anyone that the Church has given a final positive judgment. So, what's the beef?

Louis Belanger said...

"Anonymous" seems to persist. I would like to have your identity confirmed before submitting respectfully some reflexions. I do not agree with such "a summation of that history by a former reporter...". In other words, I would appreciate to know if "Michael Brown" breathes behind "Anonymous". My name is Louis Belanger. I am the co-author-editor-publisher of "The Hidden Side of Medjugorje". God bless!

Anonymous said...

Well, Louis, is that how you do your research? By assumptions and stereotyping? And, if there is something "hidden" on some other "side" I'm sure the appointed bishops' commission would love to hear about it from you since everything, including all of the rumors/gossip is well known for years. You don't think they've read your book? Why not send them a gift copy? But, then, of course, to the conspiracy-minded, devil's behind it, folks, the accepted current advisory is always suspect.

No, can't say that I have the credentials nor the many real time, on site connections that Mike Brown has. So, fire away with your "reflections". After all, it's the true facts that matter ... not the identity of the messenger of those facts. If the devil himself stated that he believed Jesus was God it certainly wouldn't change the fact (In fact he has been forced to do just that). Something around 80% of commenters in the blogs re: this topic seem to have found all kinds of "hidden" news ... that which Diane feels so strongly isn't that available. Odd, then, how so many seem to be able to find only that ... and still can't seem to find the actual Zadar declaration!! But, until there's some differing or final judgment issued I'm certain we'll be hearing from a lot more, discovering more "hidden" sides. After all, they're still doing it with Fatima ... and Lourdes had scads of such stuff.

Diane said...

Just when I was pondering whether to reinvolve myself in order to provide the Zadar Declaration, you helped make up my mind for me.

Here is the Zadar Declaration. It can be found in the Davies book on page 86, and I'm told it is on page 188 in the new Foley Book - Understanding Medjugorje. It was originally available in Bishop Peric's book, Throne of Wisdom.

ZADAR DECLARATION:

"During the regular session of the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia, held in Zadar from April 9-11, 1991, the following was accepted:

A DECLARATION

From the very beginning, the Bishops have been following the events of Medjugorje through the local Bishop, the Bishops Commission and the Commission of the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia for Medjugorje.

On the base of studies made so far, it cannot be affirmed that
these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations.

Yet the gathering of faithful from various parts of the world to
Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted. The Bishops will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim.

At the same time, they will continue to study all the events of Medjugorje through the commissions.

Zadar, 10 April 199141 The Bishops of Yugoslavia"


Now, I would like to highlight this statement: "...a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted."

Note that this does not advocate promoting Medjugorje, but promoting devotion towards the Blessed Mother ACCORDING to the teachings of the Church".

My interpretation of this is that they are speaking about devotion, such as the Rosary which stands independent of Medjugorje. This sits very well with the latest letter on Pilgrimages from Cardinal Bertone on May 26, 1998:

CONGREGATIO
PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
Pr. No 154/81-06419

Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. Uffizio
May 26, 1998
To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry,
Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion

Excellency:

In your letter of January 1, 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery several questions about the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar in regard to the so called apparitions of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages and the pastoral care of the faithful who go there.

In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency. The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: "On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." Since the division of Yugoslavia into different independent nations it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina to eventually reopen the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be called for.

What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", 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.

Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.

I hope that I have replied satisfactorily at least to the principal questions that you have presented to this Dicastery and I beg Your Excellency to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments.



Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone
(Secretary to the "Congregatio", presided over by Cardinal Ratzinger)




What is the correlation between the Zadar Declaration, and this letter from Bertone?

The letter reiterates what the letter from 1996 stated, verbatim, about pilgrimages. That people may go, but not if they do so if it is motivated on the basis that Mary is authentically appearing there. My interpretation is "Yes" to pilgrimages and devotions via things like the Rosary, but no to anything which would give authentification, or apparent authentification to the "visions".

The French Bishops go on to raise this question, which I raised before seeing their statement:

Let us recognize that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organize 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"?

I must take leave right now for an appointment, but for those reading, please take care to digest the words of these documents, which are provided in full here, accordingly.

God bless, and with prayers!

Anonymous said...

Somehow, Diane, I just knew you'd be back!!!

What is the correlation between the Zadar Declaration, and this letter from Bertone?

The letter reiterates what the letter from 1996 stated, verbatim, about pilgrimages. That people may go, but not if they do so if it is motivated on the basis that Mary is authentically appearing there. My interpretation is "Yes" to pilgrimages and devotions via things like the Rosary, but no to anything which would give authentification, or apparent authentification to the "visions".


No, Diane, the letter by Bertone was written to answer specific questions about what the bishop was doing in seeming defiance of what was known to have been decided by the bishops' commission. It's too bad that folks don't catch that clarification and seem to wish rather to defy this advice and support the bishop doing the same. This letter was written for a specific purpose - to relate just how those who were confused by the seemingly different attitudes between the ruling and the bishops' continuing public statements were to differentiate between the two. Because .... if one listened to the bishop he would believe that NO pilgrimages were permitted and everything was ordered to stop.

I suppose the Frech bishops and yourself should just line up the millions of pilgrims including most faithful bishops and priests (and Pope JPII himself) and make them take an oath as to whether they come for their first time, or whether they are returning because they believe that the Church has already proclaimed this as authentic ... rather than what most say ... that they received peace, share their troubles with others, make their first real confession after how many years, pray the rosary, witness the great faith of the villagers, adore the holy Euchrist, climb a rugged mountain as a certain penance, and meet those who just "may" be chosen to reveal heaven's instructions in order to save the world. If you and the French bishops have such a cipher why not suggest it to the bishops' commission? I hear people reveal their personal experiences ... but I always hear them accepting that the Church has not stated one way or the other. What in the world is wrong with that ... except to the new religious thought police?

Frankly, Foley, and Davies are so suspect in that they refuse to acknowledge the debunked gossip or the human element that is evident at all approved apparition sites while they were ongoing. This expected perfection of chosen instruments is just not there in the history of the Church. Kids are caught foolin around rather than doing their prayers as they've been expected to do ... kids were stealing apples ... kids were considered completely ignorant of their faith and defiant of authority. It goes on and on. So, your choice of those to consider as completely unbiased, well rounded on all of the facts, I've read and find in defiance, at least in spirit, of the Church's current stance. And worst of all, they can only present anecdotal evidence because they refuse to accept the evidence of, not just one, but a team of respected experts who have examined this question from all angles.

Diane said...

My anonymous brother or sister - why not go with some kind of pseudo name, at least?

Lets go back to the opening of paragraph 2, in Bertone's 1998 letter:

First sentence:"In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency".

It's apparent here that Archbishop Bertone was not addressing each individual question, but making a general reply, evidenced in his continuation, as well...

Second sentence: "The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance."

Once again, it comes down to interpretation. We will probably have to agree to disagree on interpretation because I maintain my ground on it.

There is nothing in the Zadar Declaration, nor in the letters from the CDF which essentially create any kind of ecclesiastical castration, by which the Bishop is forbidden to address issues pertaining to Medjugorje. It is his diocese and he is responsible for the care of people who come there. While Archbishop Bertone stated that it is merely the Bishop's opinion, I believe firmly that it is the Ordinary's opinion which should be considered first, and foremost, as he is the apostolic successor of that diocese. He should be given the benefit of the doubt, not the other way around.


You go on to talk about conversions taking place there, people praying, people doing penance and mortification, receiving the Eucharist, and so on. I've already addressed that in this post

However, I will add this: What counts is Truth. As Fr. John Corapi says, "Unity must subsist in Truth". I believe that the one key reason why Medjugorje is such a divisive force in the Church, in parishes, and even in families, is because the Truth is endlessly suspended and distorted. One side accuses the other of distortion and it's evident within this one string of comments, and any other dialogues you find on the web.


The Church needs to take notice of why people go there, and make it happen at the parish level. The Sacrament of healing has nearly been rendered to the Smithsonian in some Catholic Communities. Adoration and Benediction went the way of the tabernacle - left off to the side in order to elevate the notion that seeing God in our neighbor is most important. This comes without realizing that first we must seek the face of God before we can truly love neighbor. Devotion to Mary has suffered some of the greatest assaults, as well over these last 40 years.

I agree whole-heartedly that Medjugorje restored these distinctly Catholic things, which is good. But people should not have to go across the globe to get them. If Medjugorje is false, then after pondering it, I have to say it is wrong to not expose it just for the sake of getting more conversions, vocations, and deepened spirituality. The ends does not justify the means (Veritatis Splendor?). They should be getting these things right in their own parish on regular basis.

Have you ever wondered why you won't find certain key Catholic media outlets promoting pilgrimages or devotions based on Medjugorje? Have you wondered why you won't hear about it on air? Why are people connected to it not interviewed? Why do some of the largest Catholic internet forums not permit promotion of Medjugorje messages, and some not even the discussion of it?

I've got a pretty good idea that they too, are choosing to not promote that which has not been fully approved by the Church, which is where I originally got my idea to do the same. The question is why? If all of the claims you make about Bishop Peric being wrong are the Church's view of him as you seem to be indicating, then why is it that none of the mainstream Catholic media sources aren't promoting it and speaking about the Bishop the way you do?

The answer: Prudence.

Anonymous said...

While Archbishop Bertone stated that it is merely the Bishop's opinion, I believe firmly that it is the Ordinary's opinion which should be considered first, and foremost, as he is the apostolic successor of that diocese. He should be given the benefit of the doubt, not the other way around.

So, if it's a bishop's opinion that priests should marry or women should be priests or that the homosexual lifestyle is fine to promote on a parish website, the faithful should allow that opinion to first rule them rather than what the Church as spoken to on the matter?

I think it's coming down here to what people would like something to be and the actuality of what is....at least, so far. This bishop and his predecessor were given at least two real chances to render some kind of objective examination. They stacked the deck with prejudice. Soooo, if you really believe that those judgments are really being considered on equal par, then, why, please tell us why, the bishop doesn't just go ahead, exercise his due authority and close the site down to all pilgrimages which he's voiced that he'd like to do according to the judgment he'd give it. The answer is ... he can't!! Is there no logic to be found here?

And, Diane, no major Catholic media outlets? ... "promoting" is the wrong word (that's not allowed, remember?) but Mother Angelica talked on and on about Our Lady of Medjugorje on the air. She interviewed people who had been there. She interviewed Fr. Gobbie who also defended it ... and other authors, Michael Brown ... lots. Their website speaks to it. I believe that she went there herself. One of our local Catholic radio stations here, that began with the blessing of Cardinal Krol, just went with a big group and reported on the happenings. Drew Mariani created celebrated videos on Medj. and he regularly interviews theologians like Mark Miravalle on Relevant Radio, mentioning Medj. FOCUS videos, under the direction of Archbishop Hannan - "the pope of New Orleans" has done a lot on Medj. Seen Char Vance's "No Phones in Medjugorj" testimony. She is a producer there and had a medically documented healing there. Our other large Catholic radio station which is now on international web interviews authors, takes groups, speaks regularly to the happenings. Another large EWTN affiliate also in our area promotes the wonderful cause of His Work In Progress run by a local man, now gone national, which goes over, stays in Medj., connects with the Francsicans there to bring services, medical supplies, build homes, deliver goods to the Bosnian refugees. Believe me, there's no "hidden side" around here. There's just wonderful people who have been inspired by the great people there and their personal experiences on pilgrimages. I'm sure that those outlets directly under the control of the Vatican cannot speak to Medj. since it would appear that the Church has officially endorsed it. But the word is definitely being openly spoken with no qualms. It's almost like a household word. I think, Diane, you'd find a wealth of communication, all kinds of witnesses, if you would just break out of those negatively obsessed people who promote only fear and gossip. You know, the supernatural breaking through our expected habits, these days, is a bit scary to many people. Keep God and His mother at some safe distance, enshrined and out of the common sinner's experience and needs. But, have you seen the news as recently as today? The world is desperately in need of God's own intervention before it commits suicide. And so, once again, He sends His mother to try to help those He placed in her care. But she needs so many more to follow her peace program. Adios!

If Medjugorje is false, then after pondering it, I have to say it is wrong to not expose it just for the sake of getting more conversions, vocations, and deepened spirituality.

Sorry, you lost me there. None of that follows, nor is it scriptural.

Louis Bélanger said...

Dear Diane,

"Anonymus" has unfortunately missed a good opportunity to identify himself/herself as I asked him politely, maybe
clumsily, in my first intervention on your Blog. This is a decision he/she does not justify. Therefore I will not take his/her commentaries into consideration, nor will I react on them, as long as he/she will not commit himself/herself with a name he/she should not be ashamed of. I qualify that attitude as a lack of respect for the participants and of transparence for the treatment of that painful case of Medjugorje.

First of all, you have already noticed, English is not my mother tongue, and I hope that you will be indulgent.

Diane, your search for the truth has touched me profoundly and this is why I make the effort to encourage you in your approach.

As some of the participants have presented themselves, I will do
it now by quoting what I wrote 17 years ago, in 1989 :

Since 1981, the Virgin Mary is said to be appearing daily to
youngsters in Yugoslavia. These encounters claiming a transcendant source caught my attention some 40 months after they began. My mother
had just died. Profound grief left me unable to pray. Would Our Heavenly Mother deign to aid me in my agonizing grief?

In January, 1985, I went to Medjugorje. It was envelopped in a Siberian winter, as was all of the
Bosnia-Herzegovina region in which Medjugorje lies. In that desert of ice, I mixed with a few stalwart pilgrims and other scattered faithful. While filming the visionaries, I searched closely for signs of their ecstasy, but seemed only to see that they were adept at keeping up the appearances demanded by their newfound roles.

Back in Canada, I felt the need to articulate my disenchantment. Some among the pious reproached me, one
even surmising that my disaffection was the work of Satan, whose head the Virgin would crush soon. Eventually, a
fractured vertebral column cancelled my enthusiasm for
developing a critique of Medjugorje. At least until a
Franciscan priest, born and raised there, encouraged me to pursue my quest for transparence.

Father Ivo Sivric reached me at the University of Montréal, where I teach the study of paranormal phenomena. From his adopted country, the United States, he sent me a manuscript he had just completed on the events in
Medjugorje. "If I had written favorably and without critical
examination, I would have no difficulty finding a publisher.
What, then, do you suggest?"

I proposed that we unite our efforts in order to perfect our
respective theological and psychological points of view. We
were animated by the same spirit: to plumb the depths of Medjugorje's events and to attract readers who would support our approach in order to clarify the questions involved. Father Sivric immediately accepted my proposal.
At this point in time, our general agreement became a confirmed collaboration.

It was important to me that the taped documents he had be carefully translated, tapes that were apparently identical to
those given to me by the Bishop of Mostar. At my request, Father Sivric began to make a Croatian transcript and then dictated an English translation of these interviews with the visionaries conducted by the parish priest and his assistants in Medjugorje beginning with the fourth day of the "apparitions."

During my first weeklong stay with Father Sivric in St. Louis, Missouri, in July, 1986, we exchanged tapes and verified that our sources were complementary. It was also necessary to translate rapidly "newfound" documents before Father Sivric's next departure for Yugoslavia. His vacations, or rather, his three months of "field research," were very carefully planned. Once in Medjugorje, he sent me answers
to several hundred questions with which I had entrusted him.

He then dedicated himself tirelessly to the interviewing of
witnesses of the first days, as well as to consulting the
Archives of the Mostar Diocese.

During my second extended visit to St. Louis in January, 1987, Father Sivric took stock of his third trip to Medjugorje since 1981 while I collected the documents that could not be sent by post. The resulting cache proved impressive: his manuscript, including the transcripts intended for publication, had tripled in fourteen months. Thus, the rest of that year had to be devoted to a reorganization of the material, to an attentive and repeated listening to the tapes, to the arduous and very perilous translation, back and forth, from Croatian to English, and from English to French.

Taking into account the then available resources, we wanted to publish it in French. However, through the ensuing weeks and months...even years, the first manuscript was enriched by a sizeable number of additional texts, interviews, notes, bibliographical references and updates. All of these inevitably led to the editorial necessity of considerably revising the existing manuscript. That is how the final text resulted in Volume I of La face cachée de Medjugorje."

I also wrote a prologue which begins with the following
quotation : "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

The prologue is entitled : "Lifting the Veil of Artifice". Here are some excerpts : "The faithful, who have been challenged to assess the alleged apparitions of Mary in an isolated village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, must cope with the strange diversity of language used by the actors in this captivating drama.

Downstage, the young visionaries of Medjugorje and the entity to whom they appeal, asking for reconciliation, love and obedience, but who also seem capable of handling denunciation, the threat of destruction of the world, and insubordination. Enter the Franciscans of the parish and the Bishop of Mostar who mutually accuse each other of calumnies and abuse of authority. Finally come the supporting actors who appeal to historical truth as well as to "scientific reason" in order to support the authenticity of the events, even though they level ad hominem attacks on those who
contradict them, and alter the sense of archival documents.

Perhaps some will reproach our frank description of the dramatis personae, and will expect that these considerations be supported by solid proofs. The Hidden Side of Medjugorje is the locus of such a demonstration. It does not
attempt to be an exhaustive recounting of the events of
Medjugorje, which are not over, but it does wish to be a faithful exposé of contradictions, ambiguities, and misleading
conduct, all established at the time of our research.—Witness
the end of the "apparitions", announced as July 3, 1981.

According to the Yugoslavian visionaries' tape recorded
declarations, the Gospa (the Croatian word meaning Mary)
announced, on June 30, 1981, that she would appear to them three more times. On July 3, ten days after the beginning of the happenings, the visionaries all confirmed, before five adults, three of whom were priests, that their meetings with the Gospa were once and for all over. However, eight years and 3,000 "apparitions" later, --- transposed in 2006, it would be 25 years and 35,000 "apparitions" --- the daily encounters with the Gospa continue to attract millions of pilgrims. What has happened? This anomaly demands an explanation."

"From the outset, some renowned experts furnished their versions of the facts in a "basic book" which quickly became the 1984 runaway bestseller on Medjugorje. The French mariologist, Father René Laurentin, and the Croatian exegete, Father Ljudevit Rupcic, O.F.M. signed "the gravely serious
evaluation of these apparitions, guided by spiritual observation and a scientific method."

Nevertheless, contradicting their own estimate, the professional historian and the Franciscan exegete omitted informing their 85,000 readers of the existence and content of documents and
testimony bearing witness to the 1981 announcement and confirmation of the end of the apparitions. This, with full knowledge of the case."

"The authors of The Hidden Side... denounce this conduct as contrary to scientific ethics, and propose the other representation of the facts, documented in Chapter 3 and
Appendix 16 of this work.

The indulgent observer might probably forgive the isolated
ethical breach, but what could he say about the chronic repetition of the offense? A distressing illustration of this can be found in a central source, the first part of the Diary of Vicka, one of the visionaries. Readers will be able to compare our complete reprint (in Appendix 4) with the
theologian's touched-up version disseminated in his Chronological Corpus of the [Complete] Messages. Thus, for the dates August 22 to September 6, 1981, twelve entries
out of sixteen of the Corpus have been altered by the suppression of more than 1,100 words relative to the communication of the entity, and to its context. The references to the three entries of August 31 and September 5 and 6 have been totally omitted. Why has Father Laurentin indulged himself in such extensive expurgation of this
fundamental archival document? His Medjugorje chronicle offers neither explanation nor warning. Only an analysis of the suppressed content can reveal the intention of hiding the mediumistic or magical content of some of the visions, of questions without answers recorded in Vicka's Diary, and of Mary's affirmative answers to questions asked by the
visionaries.

Analysis of the suppressed content seems to reveal both the intention of avoiding the dissemination of an entity peddling gossip and threats, and a prophetess of God's punishment."

Follows the description of 16 suppressions of which I give an
example : The driver of a car is asked by a bleeding man (Jesus) to throw a blood-soaked handkerchief into a river. Later, a woman (the Gospa) begs the same driver to give her the same handkerchief, an act which would prevent the end
of the world. The Gospa confirms the truth of the alleged facts as well as the persons' identities. (September 4, 1981).

The Gospa insists: "The other day, [you were] a hairsbreadth away from destruction. I saved you, in one minute, [from destruction]." (September 5, 1981)

The Gospa has even approved the work of Father Laurentin : "That he who undertakes [this work on Medjugorje] do so in prayer. It is there that he will find inspiration."
"Make the priests read Father Laurentin's book and proclaim it."

Well, these are a few of the fully documented facts that have been considered by the members of the first enlarged Diocesan Commission and the last one that has published the "Zadar Declaration".

Bishop Pavao Zanic has found himself enmeshed in polemics with Father Laurentin and some of the Medjugorje Franciscans, since he first drew attention to their manipulative outbursts.

Two theologians have also had a voice in the matter: Father Petar Krasic, vice-provincial of the Herzegovina Franciscans, and Father Ljubo Lucic, a professor in
Sarajevo. Some time after the dissolution of the first Commission of inquiry on which they had sat, these two
Franciscans freely expressed certain major difficulties which
had moved the majority of the members to decide against the
supernatural character of the events under analysis. The
Commissioners had brought up some of the "evident contradictions" between the different versions of the Gospa's messages given by the visionaries, the incompatibility of certain messages with the New Testament, and "thirteen apparent cases of deliberate and conscious lying" on the part of the visionaries. These declarations, coming as they do from Franciscan members of the first Commission, are important, since they contradict the fallacious explanation according to which "the principal cause of the Bishop's change of opinion" (and, by extension, of the negative vote of the Commission members), would be "the complex interferences of an old diocesan conflict with the Franciscans." The "Herzegovina
case" is certainly one of a number of factors which could bear on the events in Medjugorje, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the courageous testimony of the two Franciscans, who, in collaboration with their secular priest confreres and the Bishop of Mostar, have taken into consideration the above cited objections in light of their own value.

Like his confreres, Fathers Krasic and Lucic, Father Ivo Sivric has renounced comfortable silence on the eve of a well earned retreat. A commentator recognized the root of his disquiet: "The credibility of the Church in this affair. In effect, he fears that she will emerge from it bruised and discredited in public opinion." Armed with abundant and deep documentation, the author of the present volume has made his wager for transparence. A Vatican correspondent has thanked him for it: "From his exile in St. Louis, [Father Sivric] has rendered a service to his native Church and to the whole Church." On October 28, 2002, Father Ivo Sivric passed away.

The point I want to make, for the moment --- I really have to go to bed --- is the following : it is not the Bishop (Msgr Zanic) alone who sent the "non constat" decision to Cardinal Ratzinger, in 1986, but the majority of members of the Commission : 11 "non constat", 2 "constat", 1 "constat in nucleo" and 1 abstention. The joint declaration of January 1987 (The Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia will form a Commission) is signed by Card. Kuharic and Bishop Zanic. Bishop Zanic is still there. And the dossiers (between 1981 and 1986) are the same. These dossiers are evaluated by new members of the new Commission. After the publication
of La face cachée de Medjugorje, in April 1988, Bishop Franjo Komarica (Banja Luka), President of the Commission, asked for a copy of the book, the Croatian transcriptions and the cassettes that Father Sivric and I had used for our research (I have the correspondence on that specific demand). The decision ("non constat") of the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia has been supported by 19 members and 1 abstention of the 20 members.

Thus, the faithful can have confidence in the good judgment of
the majority of the 35 experts who have had the whole documentation at their disposal and who have decided "non constat de supernaturalitate". This is certainly not a neutral judgment on the supernatural authenticity of the Medjugorje events.

Two other points are the "pastoral dimension or consideration and the good fruits".

For the discussion of these points, I shall present the historical context, as I see it, in the next communication... if I may.

A note : for the participants of this blog who are interested, I
offer to transcode in PDF and email the Introduction and the
complete Prologue with all their notes and references.

Salutations cordiales.

Louis Bélanger
louis.belanger@umontreal.ca

Diane said...

Mr. Belanger, I would like to thank you for your testimonial. In my profession, things must always be tested to ensure that our assumptions are correct. We don't make design changes to parts, without validating them ahead of time. "Gut feeling" is not applicable, nor is one's mood.

In a like manner, it was when I began to find some of the very things you cite here about the early days when the children had told the one priest it would only be 3 days, then it continued. I don't know if it was Fr. Sivric, or another priest in the beginning who had visited the parish, rather enthusiastic that this was occurring in his backyard. But, once the visions continued after that three days, it's my understanding he didn't want anything more to do with it. Was this visitor Fr. Sivric?

I had attempted to get your book in English last year, but was unable to find it as it had been out of print.

It was the sanitizing of things in the Laurentin and Rupcic books that I had discovered which really gave me cause for alarm. I am glad you are able to show this point I was making, with hard data (actual transcript samples).

Some of the truth cannot be withheld from the masses in order to protect all of the good fruits coming out of Medjugorje. Some who no longer believe in authenticity might say, "the ends justifies the means." This is contrary to Veritatis Splendor. When some of the truth has been conveniently sanitized, withholding the most damaging information from the faithful, then it comes back to what I said earlier: Unity must subsist in Truth! I think the reason there is so much disunity is because the full truth has not been made widely visible. I cannot find those missing recorded transcripts you mention on pro-Medjugorje sites, just like they are missing from the Rupcic and Laurentin books. I became aware that there were other witnesses, as you mention, and nothing of their testimony can be found on pro-Medjugorje websites. To date, I've not found an answer as to why this is so.

All of this flies in the face of sound objectivity, which is the first duty of anyone involved in testing those spirits. To share, with the public, only the positive portions of data and information, and to withhold the negative is deceptive.

For me, the attacks against the Bishops sealed it for me, not to mention the verbal attacks I began to receive after I began raising questions. If you dare raise objective questions, look out. You will be told you are being biased just for asking.

God Bless and thanks for sharing!



Then I am asked why I don't provide balance. I don't think the burden is on me to promote something I simply can no longer put too much stock in. Rather, the burden is on those who need to explain why, with so many thousands of visitors, if not millions, these websites are lacking some of the information you just provided.

Diane said...

I wanted to add for those reading this comment column that some will try to discount the testimony above because it stems from the early days of the "appartions".

Please understand that any data, which includes transcripts, and eyewitness documented accounts is perfectly valid. Some of the most priceless data would be from those early days.

Long before the world got involved in Medjugorje, it becomes evident that the Bishop had sound reason to turn away. How many bishops have, in their mind, all that they are suppose to know right out of the shoot when investigating such claims. In the very first days, the 1978 criteria may not have been known to Bishop Zanic. It is clear later that it had been applied. According to that criteria he could permit a cult following to begin, IF he satisfied other criteria pertaining to the events. The March 25, 1985 letter I cited further up is evidence that he attempted vigorously to halt the cult following because he believed the "apparitions" were false. But, as is evidenced by the same letter, he was undermined by a few Franciscan priests who aided the children in defying those demands made in previous documents and conversations bishop Zanic cites in the first half of it. With continued disobedience, the cult grew and extended out to the world. It is for this reason that the Zadar Commission was justifiably made - the world was now affected.

The Bishop is within his right to reconvene the Commission. This time it will not be the larger Yugoslav commission, but the smaller Bosnia-Herzegovina commission. We know Bishop Peric's position, and the article I pulled from CWNews from 2001 gives us a clue as to Vinko Cardinal Puljic's position. Where do the other two stand. I have been unable to find any public statements which would give us those clues. Here is what the second of four members in that B-H commission had to say at the 2001 Synod:

"Then, turning his attention to his own land of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the cardinal said that the unity of the Church is threatened by the disobedience of the Franciscan monks serving at Medjurgorje, who "impose their own points of view" with the aid of "pseudo-charisms." Although the local bishop has never officially rendered a verdict on the authenticity of the reported Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, the hierarchy has generally shown signs of skepticism, and cautioned against excessive enthusiasm. This stance has frequently produced conflicts with the Franciscan pastors who have energetically promoted visits and devotion to the Medjugorje site."

Who is the heirarchy? Note the caution against enthusiasm. This goes back to the 1978 criteria where if the Bishop has reason to believe, based on earlier pieces of criteria, that the apparitions are not supernatural, he has not only a right to thwart a cult following, but a duty. This is to protect the Church. In other "apparition" sites, such as Bayside, we do not see the priests undermining the Bishop as has happened in Medjugorje.

I have seen statistics in the Davies book for the number of priests in the region which do not believe in authenticity and are behind the Bishop. This includes a good many obedient Franciscans from the same order as those who are being disobedient, just as Mr. Belanger cites in his documentation.

Diane said...

Now I will address "anonymous" because this statement should not go unaddressed as it can mislead poorly catechized Catholics.

So, if it's a bishop's opinion that priests should marry or women should be priests or that the homosexual lifestyle is fine to promote on a parish website, the faithful should allow that opinion to first rule them rather than what the Church as spoken to on the matter?

Such a thing is contrary to Lumen Gentium as follows:

This Church, constituted and
organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.

Therefore, no one should obey bishops on matters in which they are not in communion with Rome.

Priestly celibacy is a disciplinary rule, not dogma. Dogma may not be changed, but disciplinary rules can. This issue was addressed at the recent Synod last year, and the discipline of celibacy will stand for now. It is virtuous to accept the Church's ruling on this matter of discipline, but not in error to discuss it.

The ordination of women is forbidden and is now part of the deposit of faith as defined in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and the Responsum ad Dubium which explains that it is part of the Deposit of Faith and infallible (requiring assent). Therefore, it is no longer open for discussion, any more than one may discuss whether the Trinity is three persons in One God or two persons.

Hopefully you can see that you are using examples which are not valid because Catholics should not obey a bishop on an issue in which he is not in communion with Rome, such as on women and priesthood.

I would like to address more, but it is time for me to head off to work.

Diane said...

I should say, that your example of homosexuality is also invalid because the Church is very clear on its position with regards to homosexuality. Anyone promoting it needs to study the John Paul II encyclical, Veritatis Splendor real good.

Anonymous said...

Diane, the point simply being made was the idea that a local bishop should always be obeyed first ... that you said. Obviously, when the Vatican speaks otherwise, then the bishop's opinions are overruled. I was saying, that one doesn't pick and choose when to obey the higher authority ... even here.

Louis Bélanger said...

Diane : In a like manner, it was when I began to find some of the very things you cite here about the early days when the children had told the one priest it would only be 3 days, then it continued. I don't know if it was Fr. Sivric, or another priest in the beginning who had visited the parish, rather enthusiastic that this was occurring in his backyard. But, once the visions continued after that three days, it's my understanding he didn't want anything more to do with it. Was this visitor Fr. Sivric?

Louis : No. This was Father Tadija Pavlovic. Here is what Father Ivo Sivric wrote about the tenth and last day of the "apparitions". "Unfortunately, there is no tape which documents the last vision announced by the Gospa. Without identifying them by name, Bishop Zanic is the only person to have mentioned that some priests were witnesses to that apparition in the parish house. However, I knew from other persons that Father Tadija Pavlovic was one of these important witnesses. I knew him in 1984, when he was parish priest of the parish adjoining St. James of Medjugorje. On August 20, 1986, I visited him at Prenj where he is now parish priest. Father Pavlovic told me in detail what happened in the Medjugorje parish house on July 3, 1981.
He had just spent two days in Medjugorje helping with confessions. On July 3, the priests there told him to stop the confessions at 6 p.m. in order to be present at the "apparition" in the rectory. He and Father Umberto Loncar, O.F.M., parish priest at Gradnici, stopped their confessions and went together to the rectory. The visionaries were with Father Stojan Zrno, O.F.M., assistant parish priest in Citluk, Mijo Gabric, reporter for Glas Koncila in Zagreb, and Ivo Magzan, brother of the late Father Mirko Magzan, O.F.M. All were in the last or next to the last room in the back, on the left side. Father Pavlovic knocked on the door, but no one answered. Knocking again, someone opened the door. The priests went in and joined the visionaries and the others.
According to Father Pavlovic's report, the visionaries were lined up: Vicka near the window; Jakov on the other end; the others between them. They sang some hymns and said seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Bes. Jakov said: "There she is!" They immediately went down on their knees and the other witnesses did the same. Jakov and Vicka exchanged looks. In almost a reprimand, Vicka asked Jakov: "Why are you asking her that?" The Gospa left the visionaries after staying with them nearly ten minutes. Later, the Gospa appeared again. This time it was one of the girls who said: "Here she is!" Father Pavlovic was not able to identify which girl it was. The second time, the Gospa remained about five minutes.
Later, the visionaries described the Gospa's apparition. All said that the Gospa told them that it was her last apparition. The people mentioned above, who were present in the room with the visionaries, heard this announcement. However, it is certain that no one told the crowd that the last apparition had just taken place.
Actually, on the following day, Saturday, July 4, Father Pavlovic asked some of his parishioners who had attended Mass in Medjugorje if the Gospa had come. They said yes. The next day, Sunday, July 5, he repeated his query and again his parishioners responded affirmatively. Father Pavlovic was familiar with the vision in Cerno on June 30, 1981 and with the message saying: "Three more days." Understandably, he was perplexed, not to mention stupefied by all of this, and he never went back to Medjugorje either to say evening Mass or to help with confessions. Each time that his priest friends asked him why he had stopped going to Medjugorje, he cited the July 3, 1981 incident.
When I asked Father Pavlovic if he had noticed anything special either on the faces or in the behavior of the visionaries during their "conversation" with the Gospa, he responded: "Nothing at all!" Later, on July 25, the patron saint's day of St. James, Father Pavlovic went to Medjugorje to visit his mother. During Mass and especially during Communion, he watched the visionaries. They made hardly any show of devotion to the Eucharist, and also kept talking and walking around." (from The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, 1989, p. 67-68)

Salutations cordiales. Louis

Joseph Johnson said...

Dear Anonymous:
You said >>And, Diane, no major Catholic media outlets? ... "promoting" is the wrong word (that's not allowed, remember?) but Mother Angelica talked on and on about Our Lady of Medjugorje on the air. She interviewed people who had been there. She interviewed Fr. Gobbie who also defended it ... and other authors, Michael Brown ... lots. Their website speaks to it. I believe that she went there herself. <<<<<

The following refutes your statement:

Mother Angelica: No Medjugorje support

By SARA FOSS
BIRMINGHAM POST-HERALD
In his book "The Medjugorje Deception," author E. Michael Jones describes Mother Angelica, the nun who founded the Irondale-based Eternal Word Television Network, as the major promoter of Medjugorje in the United States.

But a spokesman for EWTN said Mother Angelica has never supported the visions of the Virgin Mary first reported in Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1981.

One of the largest U.S.-based organizations supporting Medjugorje is Caritas of Birmingham, located in Sterrett. Hults said Mother Angelica has never had anyone from Caritas or any of Medjugorje's other supporters appear as guests on her show.

Although EWTN has broadcast a couple of series on Medjugorje, the purpose of those shows has always been to report objectively on the phenomenon and provide information, Hults said.

But, "There's never been an endorsement from Mother Angelica, ever."

============
The full article can be found at the bottom of this webpage:
http://www.postherald.com/caritas.shtml

However, Mother Angelica has supported Garabandal, and has visited there.
Joseph Johnson

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the effort here to clarify the confusion surrounding Medjugorje and add my personal experience as a means to illustrate the difficulty created by this event in the life of an ordinary believer.
I was introduced to the Medjugorje cult of Our Lady in the mid-80’s through the book “Is the Blessed Virgin Mary Appearing in Medjugorje?” by Rene Laurentin. Fr. Robert Faricy, S.J. wrote an introduction for it, and the priest who gave me the book knew Fr. Faricy well enough to trust his perceptions of the authenticity of the apparitions, describing him as a tough-minded sort, “a former navy man,” a priest not likely to be easily convinced by something of this nature.
I joined a Medjugorje prayer group initiated by parishioners who had traveled there, read the ever increasing number of books published by the Reilhe Foundation and other supporters, eagerly awaited the monthly publication of the message of Our Lady of Medjugorje and tried to put into practice the spiritual life recommended, albeit without much success. The hours of daily prayer and weekly fasting Our Lady reportedly requested were beyond my strength.
I attended a Marian conference sponsored by Medjugorje supporters at which Fr Faricy was a featured speaker. The people I prayed with in the Medjugorje prayer group were devout, faithful Catholics striving for holiness and this characterization remains true in my experience with Medjugorje supporters, however blind they now seem to me.
The negative judgment of the commission investigating the events was read at one of the prayer meetings, but because of the wording, “it cannot be affirmed that anything supernatural is occurring…” the prayer group response was essentially positive, i.e. it hasn’t been proven false, therefore we are free to continue to support and promote Medjugorje. Nothing forthcoming from any ecclesial authority indicated otherwise.
Around this time I read in a secular newspaper an account of the reported apparitions. In the article mention was made that the local Bishop, originally supportive of the account of the “seers,” had changed his mind. It did not give his reasons and I asked several people in the prayer group about it. I was taken aback by how summarily he was dismissed with, “Oh, he was just afraid of the communists.” While I accepted this as a plausible contributing cause, it was purely speculative on their part, and not, I was certain, the reason the Bishop himself had given. The lack of interest in even knowing his actual objections was the first red flag of skepticism about the events for me. It seemed rash and disrespectful of legitimate Church authority even if he was wrong.
Not long after that I happened upon an advertisement for the book, “Medjugorje, the Untold Story” and because I could not find a satisfactory explanation for the local Bishop’s own reasons for changing his mind in my burgeoning collection of Medjugorje materials, I ordered the book thinking it might provide it. I was not disappointed. If true, and the author quotes Bishop Zanic directly as well as specific diary entries of the “seers,” the Bishop had every reason to question the authenticity of the “apparitions,” and would have been remiss in his duty had he not done so. Faced with the direct evidence presented in the book, and quite apart from any interpretation, frankly, I don’t know how anyone employing the use of ordinary reason and the duty to "test the spirits" would not at least give pause in his or her enthusiasm for the "apparitions." I shared what I had learned with some in my Medjugorje prayer group, several of whom were planning another trip there, but it was dismissed outright in a “shoot the messenger” defense, not towards me, but against the author of the book who was disregarded with nothing more damning than “crank.” The substance of the Bishop’s concern was dismissed without qualm.
I moved shortly after this, fortuitously, as it allowed me to leave the prayer group without having to take a stand against all those good people. The pattern, though, has repeated itself in subsequent situations where I have felt it necessary to make known my objections as matter of conscience. Never once has a Medjugorje supporter felt it necessary as condition of proper discernment to consider the objections of Bishop Zanic and now Bishop Peric. Their own personal conversion, the testimony of other supporters and various reported signs are sufficient "fruits" to prove authenticity. While the claim is continually made by supporters that submission to the authority of the Church is necessary, Bishop Zanic’s and now Bishop Peric’s solid objections are routinely ignored, and dismissively so. Yet, when I read the evidence that Bishop Zanic based his reasoning on, I can’t see how anyone can fault him for drawing the conclusion he did. For example, the Blessed Mother repeatedly badmouths him to one of the “visionaries.” Is that likely? In addition, she sides with two Franciscan priests against a decision of their superiors and encourages them in disobedience. Would the Blessed Mother do that? If these were my sons and I were encouraging them in disobedience to the legitimate exercise of the authority of their father I would be sinning, as would they.
I have been part of several Catholic groups bringing in outside priests to my archdiocese to act in the capacity of retreat masters or as speakers. Permission is justly required from the office of the Archbishop, precisely, I assume, in order that he might fulfill his duty to the Lord to protect the flock entrusted to his care from entry to the fold of wolves in sheep’s clothing. I see no such respect accorded the Bishops of Mostar for exercising this rightful and solemn duty before the Lord. I don’t believe Our Lady is behind such utter disregard.
What difference does it make that I don’t believe it and others do? For one thing, the honor of the Mother of God is in question. In addition, it forces an enervating tiptoeing around a minefield of explosive sentiment among devout Catholic believers. It engenders a “special effects” spirituality wherein subjectivity, messages and signs trump ordinary reason, prudent counsel and submission to the apostolic office of the Bishop in ordinary Catholic life.
A friend gave me a book, "The Power of the Rosary," and with a heavy heart I had to tell her it was no help to me; in fact, it made me question the very premise of the title because proof of the power of the prayer of Our Lady was backed in the book by belief in these “apparitions.” My friend is no believer in Medjugorje herself and she advised me to just ignore that part. How is that possible though? Oh lovely Lady, if your rosary is so powerful, why all this confusion about you among people who pray it faithfully?

Diane said...

Thank you for your heartfelt testimony. So much of it parallels my experience, especially with regards to the reasoning that was used in the face of objective facts - all of which can be substantiated through some kind of diocesan record, or letters from the Vatican or Religious Order. That is almost the same path I took.

In my case, I personally knew one of the Franciscans closely involved and when someone started saying terrible things about him, and the "seers", I set out with such a vigilance to prove him wrong, with many of the same arguments supporters have used in this thread, and others. I pasted all of the same defenses - most of which were found at pro-Medjugorje websites.

Then, I did a search on my Franciscan friend's name - Fr. Jozo Zovko and everything began to fall apart when I saw the exchange of letters between the Holy Order, the Bishop, and the National Shrine in DC, where he was to participate in Holy Mass back several years ago. He did not have faculties to celebrate public Mass, nor to hear confessions.

Here is what I found, but one must read all the way to the bottom to get the full picture.

Now, at least this website raised the important questions, and acknowledges that the Bishop is the one with authority here, not the religious order. They go on to question the religious order as to why they have allowed this to go on, yet still consider him in "good standing" with the order. There has still not been an answer from the Order.

This is an example of objective fact - letters, dates, not "I heard it said...", or "what we heard was....", or "apparently....." or, "We believe..." - all of which is subjective.

After this, it was not only the visible verbal assault on the Bishops of that place, but the indifference towards anything he could possibly say. This disturbed me greatly and all I could think is that the Queen of Peace would not condone such behaviors, even if they were only in the hearts of those who harbored contempt for the man. This was my confession - interior contempt for this apostolic successor, followed by exterior contempt with my words as I tried to convince others he was a bad bishop who hadn't done any investigating, who didn't......on, and on, and on. I played right into defamation and calumny by what I spread.

It still hurts today that I engaged in it. Hence, I see it too as a fruit - a bad fruit.

Tominellay said...

Hi, all!
Great blog, Diane; very nice to see the name of Louis Belanger here!
Firstly, I think that poster "anonymous" and many Medjugorje defenders do not understand that "non constat de supernaturalitate" is a negative judgement. It is NOT a "neutral", "wait and see" attitude. It is an OPPOSITE of "constat de supernaturalitate". The 1991 Zadar Declaration is "non constat".

Secondly, the famous (then) Abp. Bertone letter to Bp. Aubrey is often used to assert that Bishop Peric's words are always just an opinion that can be disregarded. In fact, in the context of the correspondence it is clear that all Bertone said is that Bishop Peric did not change the judgement formula from "non constat" to "constat de non".

Diane said...

Hi Tominellay,

Thanks for visiting, and thanks for explaining, just as the French Bishops had pointed out, that this is, in fact, a negative judgment, not neutral.

Anonymous said...

Obedience to the Bishop of that jurisdiction is of the utmost importance. All true seers of the past were obedient to their bishop's requests. It is one of the most important signs of their humility and holiness.

Anonymous said...

Hi comment scrutinizers,
Help me with this. Father John was interviewed by Fr Slavki Barbaric and it was published in a monthly issue of Medjugorje's Glas mira magazine. This interview was republished in Fr. Slavko's book "Encounters and Experiences in Medjugorje".
The National Advisory of Medjugorje had asked Dr. Fr. John Chisholm to gather information on Medjugorje from different viewpoints. Among the people he met with was the local Bishop, Msgr. Ratko Peric. The book covers interviews between 1993 and 2000. He quotes the Bishop as saying "he rejects everything about Medjugorje; that everything is just imagination and that everything can be explained in a psychological way". I told him that my experience with the moon couldn't be explained in that way because two other people had witnesses it. The Bishop then changed his mind and said that, "in these parts, there are many metals in the ground that can cause such occurences by their radiation". This was a contradiction. I felt it would do no good to speak with him further. I asked him if he believed in Lourdes or Fatima. He answered negatively.

Waterinckx Mark said...

I spoke with bishop Peric personally on August 4 1997 for 3 hours. I can tell you this priest has a great devotion for Our Lady.
I do not believe that he shouldn't believe in Lourdes or Fatima. But this is even not relevant at all. What about bishop Zanic from whom they say he went many times to Lourdes and/or Fatima? Does that prove his stance against Medjugorje perhaps? Stupid and scandalous insinuations...This has nothing to do with the fact that every member(pro or contra Med...) of the new vatican commission will be confronted with a tremendous amount of manipulations, lies,etc... that everybody can read in for instance the old book
" Hidden Face of Med." by Fr. Sivric and L.Bélanger(CDN) and in the new book " Understanding Med." by D.Foley(GB). Stop attacking a bishop who is only doing his job and look to the FACTS, please. I have been the biggest promotor of Medjugorje in Belgium, giving a 50 or 100 conferences with slides PRO Med. But I was misled by the propaganda of the disobedient ofm from Med.What they are doing is a sacrilege. They misuse a 'Deus ex machina' Gospa for their own profit. They should be banned from every church

ml said...

Anonymous wrote:

“Hi comment scrutinizers,

Help me with this. Father John was interviewed by Fr Slavki Barbaric and it was published in a monthly issue of Medjugorje's Glas mira magazine. This interview was republished in Fr. Slavko's book "Encounters and Experiences in Medjugorje".

The National Advisory of Medjugorje had asked Dr. Fr. John Chisholm to gather information on Medjugorje from different viewpoints. Among the people he met with was the local Bishop, Msgr. Ratko Peric. The book covers interviews between 1993 and 2000. He quotes the Bishop as saying "he rejects everything about Medjugorje; that everything is just imagination and that everything can be explained in a psychological way". I told him that my experience with the moon couldn't be explained in that way because two other people had witnesses it. The Bishop then changed his mind and said that, "in these parts, there are many metals in the ground that can cause such occurences by their radiation". This was a contradiction. I felt it would do no good to speak with him further. I asked him if he believed in Lourdes or Fatima. He answered negatively.”


This is very similar to what someone named Chris K posts on most Medjugorje threads, so I am copying and adding to the response I wrote to Chris K. on Jimmy Akin’s blog and dropping it in here.

A letter from a Mr. Bernard Ellis was published in the UK Catholic Herald of 12 July 2002 claiming that Bishop Peric told a Fr. John Chisholm that he does not believe in the authenticity of the Lourdes and Fatima apparitions. Mr. Michael Davies, a Medjugorje critic and head of Una Voce, contacted Bishop Peric on this subject and the Bishop told him "on the record" by fax and e-mail that he had never made such a statement to Fr. John Chisholm or to anyone else; he added that he had no memory of meeting Fr. Chisholm although Fr. Chisholm had talked to his secretary. Mr. Davies then contacted Fr. Chisholm about this matter asking for clarification, but never received a reply from Fr. Chisholm.

Chris K. referred to a person who supposedly witnessed this conversation, and from the partial information provided, it must have been Liam Prendergast, who was described in a 1999 Children of Medjugorje online article as the Chairman of the National Medjugorje Council of Ireland. I don't know if he is still the Chairman of this group since the organization doesn't have a web presence other than a link on GospaIreland's website, which doesn't give much information other than to say that Mr. Prendergast was an early organizer of National Medjugorje Council of Ireland following a trip to Ballinasloe in October 1985 by Fr. Slavko Barbaric. This would be the same Fr. Slavko Barbaric who later published Fr. Chrisholm’s account of his conversation with Bishop Peric as Anonymous mentioned in the post above.

The only other mentions I can find online for Liam Prendergast are in advertisements for Medjugorje pilgrimages, such as this one from the Leinster Leader: "There will be two pilgrimages to Medjugorje in 2005. The first will be from 27 May to 3 June and the second 9-16 September. Bookings may be made to Liam Prendergast at 045-431911)." I assume this is the same Liam Prendergast who allegedly witnessed the conversation between Fr. Chisholm and Bishop Peric although Anonymous does not mention this detail (Chris K. does on other blogs).

I can find nothing online connecting Mr. Prendergast with the conversation in question regarding Bishop Peric's views on Fatima and Lourdes--that is, other than rather vague posts on Internet website by people who claim to have heard about it.

Just this month, in the July 3, 2006 issue of The Word (a magazine published by the Divine Word Missionaries, Maynooth, Ireland), there is an article about Medjugorje in which a Fr. John Chisholm was one of several people interviewed.
http://www.theword.ie/cms/publish/article_409.shtml

Of note, the article mentions that Fr. Chisholm (I assume it's the same one as in Fr. Barbaric’s book), is an 84-year-old Irish priest living in Medjugorje. Fr. Chisholm had been a teacher at University College Dublin for many years and first heard about Medjugorje in late 1994 while listening to an Irish public radio program. He believed instantly that the Virgin Mary was appearing in Medjugorje. He was caring for his elderly mother at the time, so he had to delay his first trip to Medjugorje until after she died in 1997. He made his first trip to Medjugorje in June 1998 at age 76. He moved permanently to Medjugorje in spring 2001 at age 79 and resides with the Medjugorje Franciscans, helping them translate the messages into various languages in addition to other pastoral duties.

I have to say I'm astounded that people Steve Shawl of Medjugorje.org, Chris K., and Anonymous are putting forth information that implies Fr. Chisholm is a disinterested and objective party on the Medjugorje question. Defining Fr. Chisholm as a "Vatican well-respected theologian" as Chris K. does without mentioning the fact that he lives with the Medjugorje Franciscans and aids them in promotion of the alleged apparitions is frankly deceptive because Fr. Chisholm is clearly very interested in helping the Medjugorje Franciscans.

Bishop Peric has denied making these statements on the record. Fr. Chisholm would not answer correspondence asking for clarification; but he will, apparently, offer this information to people who won't question what he says. The supposed witness to this conversation, Liam Prendergast, has said nothing on or off the record from what I can discover to corroborate Fr. Chisholm’s account of this meeting with Bishop Peric. Perhaps he does go on the record in the cited book, but as it’s out of print, I have no way to verify.

As noted, Fr. Chisholm made his first trip to Medjugorje in June 1998 and Fr. Slavko Barbaric died in 2000, so Fr. Chisholm must have met Bishop Peric in the Mostar chancery between June 1998 and November 2000. This would have to mean that Fr. Chisholm was granted a private audience with Bishop Zanic during one of his first pilgrimages to Medjugorje. According to Chris K., he was accompanied by Mr. Prendergast when the two visitors confronted Bishop Zanic on his position regarding Medjugorje.

I have to note that Fr. Chisholm made his first trip to Medjugorje at age 76 and had to be between age 76-79 when this alleged conversation took place at the chancery. That doesn't mean he's senile, but his age frankly gives me pause. Elderly people generally having some degree of hearing loss, and Fr. Chisholm was additionally speaking to a man whose first language is not English. I understand Bishop Peric’s English is very good, but that doesn’t mean misunderstandings didn’t take place, especially if the meeting was confrontational and emotional.

The most charitable explanation of this alleged exchange is that Fr. Chisholm may have had a short, unofficial meeting with Bishop Peric and misunderstood something the Bishop said, perhaps to the effect that no Catholic is obliged to believe in the authenticity of any private revelation, not even Lourdes or Fatima - which is an entirely correct statement of orthodox Catholic doctrine.

Bishop Peric says he has no recollection of meeting Fr. Chisholm, which is not to say he claims it never happened, just that he doesn’t recall it. Bishop Peric does claim, on the record, that he has never personally denied the authenticity of Fatima or Lourdes to Fr. Chisholm OR TO ANYONE ELSE. And that is a very strong statement to make for a man in Bishop Peric’s position, and one that would have been reckless to make unless he knew it to be true.

Prior to becoming Bishop in 1993, Ratko Peric, who has a doctorate in theology, was a professor at the Gregorian University at Rome, so he had come into contact with many students and colleagues over the years. In his 2001 book, Throne of Wisdom, Peric references the work of his theologian colleagues at home and at the Gregorian University on the subject of Marian apparitions. The Medjugorje phenomena was happening in Peric’s home diocese with three well-publicized commissions studying it between 1982-1991, so we know he must have participated in conversations with students and colleagues about Marian apparitions during his tenure in Rome. Yet no one, with the exception of Fr. John Chisholm, has ever claimed that Bishop Peric denies the truth of Church-approved apparition sites. Is it at all plausible that Bishop Peric managed to keep his apparition-denial to himself for all those years during a time when Medjugorje was a hot topic of conversation due to the three commissions, and yet suddenly spill his guts to an elderly priest who was interviewing him on behalf of the Medjugorje Franciscans who promote Medjugorje? No, it isn’t plausible.

So . . .

Fr. Slavko Barbaric, OFM, lost his faculties to hear confessions in February 2000 because he had been living and ministering in Medjugorje contrary to the express prohibition of Bishop Peric. Despite this, Fr. Barbaric continued to do as he wished in Medjugorje, and died eight months later in late November 2000 of a sudden heart attack while leading a group of pilgrims in Medjugorje. The “seers” announced almost immediately that the Gospa told them Fr. Barbaric was already in Heaven and interceding for them all (therefore an instant saint despite the fact that he was acting in disobedience at the time of this death).

Fr. Slavko Barbaric had travelled to Ballinasloe, Ireland in October 1985 to promote Medjugorje and while there was instrumental in compelling Liam Prendergast to found the National Medjugorje Council of Ireland.

Fr. John Chisholm, a professional theologian who had inexplicably never heard of Medjugorje until late 1994 and even more inexplicably, accepted the authenticity of it based on a radio show, met up with the National Medjugorje Council of Ireland at some point and agreed to conduct a series of interviews for them. At some point between 1998-2000, Fr. Chisholm and Liam Prendergast met Bishop Peric and his secretary at the chancery in Mostar. Fr. Chisholm later told Fr. Barbaric that Bishop Peric had denied believing the authenticity of the apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes.

Fr. Slavko Barbaric published this interview with Fr. Chrisholm in a monthly issue of Medjugorje's Glas mira magazine, which is written and distributed by the Medjugorje Franciscans to promote the authenticity of Medjugorje. This interview was later republished in Fr. Slavko's book "Encounters and Experiences in Medjugorje," which was a book designed to promote the authenticity of Medjugorje.

Fr. Chisholm moved to Medjugorje in 2001 where he moved in with the Medjugorje Franciscans and helps them to translate and distribute Medjugorje messages. Fr. Chisholm would not respond to a request from Michael Davies in 2002 to verify the story of Bishop Peric’s apparition-denial.

Bishop Peric denies ever saying to any person that he does not believe the apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes are genuine. He made this claim in writing. No student or colleague who conversed with him during his years teaching theology at the Gregorian University at Rome prior to becoming Bishop of Mostar in 1993 has ever come forward to support Fr. Chisholm’s claim.

And we’re supposed to believe Fr. Chisholm’s story?

Diane said...

Here are a few documents to clear things up a little with regards to whether Bishop Zanic was "removed due to his 'negative' opinion", compliments of Louis Belanger and Fr. Ivo Sivric in, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, 1989.

July 6, 1986 National Catholic Register:

Vatican City---Because of widespread international interest, local Church authorities investigating the validity of reported Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, have been offered assistance by Vatican agencies, said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

«We have offered assistance and asked the local Bishop to stay in touch with the Congregation and the Secretariate of State,» he said. He said primary responsibility rests with the local Bishop and denied reports that the Vatican would take over the investigation. The Cardinal said the congregation discourages «official Church pilgrimages» to Medjugorje «because [the validity of the apparitions] is still an open question.»
- Footnote 149 in The Hidden Side

That last part is a direct quote from the former Cardinal Ratzinger. Hence, it is false to claim that Bishop Zanic - the first Bishop - was "removed due to his negative opinion".


Also, we have this:

On January 18, 1987, a press release dated January 9, signed by Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, president of the Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops and by Bishop Zanic of Mostar, made the front page of Glas Koncila281 with the announcement of the formation of a new Commission of inquiry on Medjugorje. Here is the text:

In accordance with the canonical regulations which treat the matters of discernment of alleged apparitions and private revelations, the Diocesan Commission formed for that purpose by the Bishop of Mostar, the local Ordinary, investigated the events of Medjugorje.

During the inquiry these events under investigation have appeared to go much beyond the limits of the diocese. Therefore, on the basis of the said regulations, it became fitting to continue the work at the level of the Bishops' Conference, and thus to form a new Commission for that purpose.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been informed about it. It has expressed its recognition of the Diocesan Commission's work done under the responsibility of the local Ordinary, and it urged that that work be continued at the level of the National Conference of Bishops.

Thus the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia will form a Commission to continue the investigation of Medjugorje's events. While waiting for the results of the Commission's work and the Church's verdict, let the Pastors and the faithful honor the practice of the usual prudence in such circumstances. For that reason, it is not permitted to organize either pilgrimages or other religious manifestations based on an alleged supernatural character attributed to Medjugorje's events. Marian devotion, legitimate and recommended by the Church, must be in accordance with the directives of the Magisterium, and especially the apostolic encyclical Marialis Cultus February 2, 1974 (cf. AAS, 66, 1974, p. 113-168).

Zagreb, January 9, 1987
+ Franjo Card. Kuharic
President of the B.C.Y.
+ Pavao Zanic
Bishop of Mostar



Does anyone see anything coming from the pen of Cardinal Ratzinger or Cardinal Kuharic that would indicate Bishop Zanic was relieved? Or, was relieved due to his "negative opinion" as has been alleged?

Does Cardinal Ratzinger come across as the kind of person who would say one thing in writing, then say another behind the back of Bishop Zanic?

People are going to great lengths to discredit or dismiss the authority of an apostolic successor in the eyes of the people of God - all in the name of a Queen of Peace.

This will be needed for reference in what I am providing below by Louis Belanger.

Diane said...

I want to pull over into this comment section some very informative information from Louis Belanger, Editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje c 1989 who explains, in detail, several fallacies surrounding the Bishops of Mostar, and their authority.

At Jimmy Akin's blog, someone named "Mark" says the following:
*******************************
Allow me to quote Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone from the CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH in full:

"What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", 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 came after the usual allegations that authority of the Bishops of Mostar "was removed due to their negative opinions". Such comments can be found on many pro-Medjugorje websites and their "FAQ" sections.

Louis Belanger carefully explains this misunderstanding and I would invite all to carefully read through the documentation he provides. He is a good teacher in that he shows what can happen when facts are not checked and verified before they are spread. This particular issue has gone out of control. Here is Louis Belanger on the issue and I will let it end this comment post. For clarification I have added a few comments in brackets [ ]


*********************************
1. Mark is not completely right and not completely wrong [what is not shown above is a previous argument made by Mark, found on pro-Medjugorje websites, that the Bishops were "relieved of the dossier"].

Generally speaking, when someone is relieved of a dossier, the administrator invites her/him to leave and someone else will take care of that dossier "without his/her help and presence". In our case, Cardinal Ratzinger proposed Bishop Zanic to let the YBC "come in" and be the new coordinator of that dossier, Bishop Zanic remaining in place. In that sense, Bishop Zanic has never been "dismissed" and was still an important member of that commission, respected by his peers, until his retirement, in 1993. But I would accept Mark's opinion if he would put it this way : one can say that Bishop Zanic has been relieved as sole administrator and coordinator of the dossier within the scope of the commission.

That is a nuance that may escape our attention.

Consequently, when you read attentively the documents on pages 139 and 140 of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, that you have read in a preceding post, thanks to Diane, you may conclude the following:

A. Vatican has offered help to the local Ordinary (primary responsibility rests with the local bishop) July 1986 - note 279, source 149 (National Catholic Register, 1986-07-06)

B. That help has been accepted and has given way to the announcement of the formation of a new Commission of inquiry on Medjugorje. That announcement has been signed by both Cardinal Kuharic and Bishop Zanic. The CDF has expressed recognition of the Diocesan Commission's work done under the responsibility of the local Ordinary, and it urged that that work be continued at the level of the National Conference of Bishops.

Communiqué, Glas Koncila, 1987-01-18 [The Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops Has Formed A New Commission of Investigation on the Events of Medjugorje].

Nowhere is to be found that Bishop Zanic has been dismissed, or "relieved of the dossier" as he continued to work on it, not alone, but with his peers.

Moreover, it is not justified to pretend that the local bishop has been discredited by the legitimate Magisterium. Please give a reliable source that would contradict that.

C. The local bishop has not been relieved of the dossier within the scope of the administration of his diocese. To the contrary, if one reads attentively the Zadar declaration (1991) "However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who come to Medjugorje, prompted both by motives of belief and various other motives, require the attention and pastoral care in the first place of the diocesan bishop and with him of the other bishops also, so that in Medjugorje and in everything connected with it a healthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary may be promoted in accordance with the teaching of the Church."

2. One seems to forget the important fact that is behind the so-called bishop's judgement : the judgement of the second enlarged commission. One person may err. But fifteen ? Let's spend some time on that fact.

I have at hand the first complete communiqué of the enlarged commission dated 1984-03-24 handed to me personally by Bishop Pavao Zanic during my second visit to the bishopric of Mostar, in January 1985. Parts of it have been published in L'Osservatore Romano, May 12, 1984. As far as I know, the entirety of it has not yet been published and I am sure that it will interest the participants to the present blog.

A COMMUNIQUE FROM THE COMMISSION EXAMINING THE MEDJUGORJE APPARITIONS

A meeting of the expanded commission examining the events in the parish of Medjugorje; which was named by bishop Pavao Zanic, was held on the 23rd and 24th of March in the Chancery of the diocese of Mostar. The diocesan bishop took part in the work of the commission on the first day.

Within the framework of their task the members visited Medjugorje on the 23rd of March for the duration of evening mass and prayers.

The reason why more meetings of the commission have not occured so far, was because the local bishop was looking for some new elements in the events occurring to six children who claim that Our Lady has been appearing to them for three years, such as: a termination of the apparitions or some new content in the apparitions. Also, the Holy See suggested to the diocesan bishop that he not hurry with the inquiry and resolution, because experience has shown that in similar cases elsewhere time helped foster prudent judgement.

The events in the parish of Medjugorje have made a strong impact in our local Church and abroad. Hence, the Ordinary expanded the present four-member commission by naming new members from every Catholic school of theology in Yugoslavia, who are specialists in various branches of theology. He also named representatives of the medical sciences.

On this two day meeting, the members of the commission brought forth their views on the flow of events in the parish of Medjugorje up to date. They confirmed the main points for further inquiry, and they took on their personal obligations which each member must accomplish before the next meeting.

The commission was confronted with the problem of written and reproduced material in the country and abroad which does not write critically enough about the events in Medjugorje. Particular attention was given to presumed miraculous healings of which the Ordinary in Mostar has not received any medical documentation. In this context the book: Gospina ukazanja u Medjugorju {Our Lady's apparitions in Medjugorje) was specially mentioned. The commission will thoroughly examine these questions for the duration of its work and therefore asks that nothing be written concerning these events in religious papers until a proper judgement has been passed, or in the case of something being written, that it be written critically and cautiously.

Though we all enjoy our large religious manifestations, the commission does not approve of priests and lay people organizing pilgrimages to Medjugorje. The commission also disaproves of the public appearances of the witnesses before the Church as passed judgement on the authenticity of the apparitions. The commission would like to point out to priests and the laity the examplary solution of the diocese of Zagreb's Chancery, no. 63/84 of the 14th of January 1984 in which our Kardinal Franjo Kuharic forbids the public appearence of the witnesses in all the churches of the archdiocese of Zagreb until a judgement has been passed by the Church regarding these events.

The commission has requested in writing that all parish personnel and witnesses in Medjugorje not give out any statements for the press regarding the content of the apparitions and presumed miraculous healings.

The commission is aware that young Christians who are having such experiences need the spiritual direction of their priests, but at the same time the commission expects the parish personnel in Medjugorje not to make any differences between the witnesses and the rest of the parishioners during liturgies and public devotions.

With the hope that we are all striving for the common well being of the Church and the world, the commission asks the Catholic faithful to invoke God's help for their work, for the witnesses, and for the parish leaders in Medjugorje.

Members of the Commission

Msgr. Pavao Zanic, diocesan bishop, Commission president;
Dr. Ante Brajko, Vicar general, canon lawyer in the name of the diocese of Mostar;
Mr. Petar Krasic, OFM, provincial vicar in the name of the Hercegovina Franciscan province;
Dr. Srecko Badurina, OFM, professor of moral theology in Rijeka;
Dr. Rudolf Brajcic, SJ, professor of dogmatical theology at the Jesuit school of theology in Zagreb;
Mr. Nikola Bulat, professor of dogmatical theology in Split;
Dr. Nikola Dogan, professor of fundamental theology in Djakovo;
Dr. Ivan Dugandzic, OFM, specialist in biblical studies and master of novices at Humac;
Dr. Josip Kribl, professor of philosophy at the Catholic theological faculty in Zagreb;
Dr. Ljubo Lucic, OFM, professor of fundamental theology at the Franciscan school of theology in Sarajevo;
Dr. France Orazem, professor of spiritual theology in Ljubljana;
Dr. Zelimir Puljic,professor of psychology in Sarajevo;
Dr Sime Samac, OFM, professor of catechetics in Makarska;
Dr. Mato Zovkic, professor of ecclesiology and New Testament studies in Sarajevo;
One psychologist-psychiatrist, a university professor from Zagreb;
A group of physicians.

Due to legitimate reasons J. Kribl and Lj.Lucic were not able to take part in this session, and representatives of the medical sciences were not summoned to this working session.

Mostar, March 24th, 1984.

THE COMMISSION FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE EVENTS IN THE PARISH OF MEDJUGORJE

No d'archive à l'évêché de Mostar : 328/84

************************************
As far as one has been able to observe, the wishes of the commission have not since been fulfilled by the "witnesses" (visionaries) and the parish personnel, the Franciscans ! But it is not the point I want to make here.

On May 15, 1986, Bishop Pavao Zanic transmits to the Congregation the negative finding of the commission. There are 11 votes against the recognition of the supernatural character of the events (non constat), 2 votes for (constat), one supernaturalitater in nucleo (at the origins of the events) and 1 abstention. If one presumes that Bishop Zanic voted non constat, there are still 10 members, who have voted negatively. The negative judgement comes from the commission, including Bishop Zanic. So, if there are recriminations against that negative judgement, shouldn't they be addressed to the commission and its members and not to the sole bishop ?

On April 10, 1991, the "Zadar declaration" formulated the non constat, with 19 members out of twenty. If there are recriminations against that negative judgement, shouldn't they be addressed to the commission and its 19 members who voted non constat, and not to the sole bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric ?

3. A note on the 'non constat'. I have heard and read strange things about the 'non constat' :
- add non constat to good fruits = neutral judgement transformed by a magic blender;
- non constat is not negative.

In my dictionary, 'non constat' means "one does not note, notice, see, certify."

4. To Mark :
- "The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute located at the University of Dayton which states: "The ordinary of Mostar has not been in charge of this question since 1986."

False. See point 1. The ordinary of Mostar is indeed in charge of this question in his diocese, since 1981 !

- "Cardinal Ratzinger relieved Mgr. Zanic of the dossier and put the matter in the hands of the Yugoslavian Bishops Conference".

False. See point 1. It would now pertain to the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina to decide, including Bishop Peric."

- "Here's another reference from the wikipedia article on Medjugorje: "The judgment of the Bishop of Mostar against the Apparitions was discounted by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and a new commission was established."

False. The judgement of the second commission against the supernatural character of these events was acknowledged and not discounted by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and a new commission was established under his influence. The judgement of the third commission was acknowledged and not discounted by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and a fourth commission will be established by the B&HBC with the acceptation of the CDF.

- BBC's Mary Craig described it like this: "Three weeks later, in May (1986), Cardinal Ratzinger dissolved Bishop Zanic's commission, and ordered the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference to set up a new one.

False. The second commission dissolved itself at the conclusion of its work ending with the negative vote of the majority of its members.

- He gave no reasons for this action, unprecedented in the history of the Vatican, which has always left such investigations to the local bishop.

False. Cardinal Ratzinger (the CDF) gave reasons for this action expressed in the January 1987 communiqué : "During the inquiry these events under investigation have appeared to go much beyond the limits of the diocese. Therefore, on the basis of the said regulations, it became fitting to continue the work at the level of the Bishops' Conference, and thus to form a new Commission for that purpose." (Communiqué, Glas Koncila, 1987-01-18 [The Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops Has Formed A New Commission of Investigation on the Events of Medjugorje].) The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p. 140.

Mark, I think it's enough for now. I just arrived to the point where I would have to work on the awful "Rome or Mostar ?" from Michael H. Brown that you quote concerning Mary Craig's "meticulously detailed history of the controversy" (http://www.spiritdaily.org/Quickhive%20articles/medjcontroversy.htm) Well I don't have the same impression : she has quoted me in her book putting in my mouth words that I have never said, that were reported by Gitta Sereny in the Sunday Times. Ms. Craig should have checked with me. Reader's Digest did better and the blunder has not been repeated. This article is full of copy/paste indigestible allegations, anecdotes and impressions where there is no respect for rigor and checking the facts. I am really sorry for my open irritation, but I don't feel respected when I have to bring corrections to almost every line of that botched literature.

It is late at night and I feel I have done a good part of my homework. Meanwhile, try to find authors who make the effort to give their primary sources. I will be more than happy to dialog with you in all serenity.

Louis

Daniel said...

Hi Diane,

Writing from Medjugorie.

Just before I left the States to come here, a priest friend of mine sent me a link to your blog site. I printed it, every page, and I have been reading over it since the flight over. Today, I had to hunt down internet access just to send my sincere thanks to you for your bravery in posting the good Bishop's homily and starting this whole conversation. God bless you the time you have invested in responding to all the comments, and with an impressive amount of charity. You have helped at least this pilgrim out considerably!

This is a beautiful place, but the "apparitions business" is quite fishy, and it is very hard to get people here to talk about any of it.

I have 4 more days here. Tomorrow I have plans to visit a refugee camp, and then Monday, I may go visit the famous waterfalls :) Do you have any other suggestions for my trip?

land-locked,
Daniel

Diane said...

Hi Daniel,

Welcome to my blog. It is beautiful territory there, is it not? I lived about 10 minutes from Mostar in an area called "Bijelo Polje". It was at the foot of a mountain called the Velez. There wasn't anything set up when I was there, but there could be hiking these days.

http://www.bhtourism.ba/eng/velez.wbsp

One area that I found interesting was the Blagaj-Buna area. Take a look here:

http://www.bhtourism.ba/eng/blagajbuna.wbsp

With regards to the thread, there are a couple of posts that were just added in this comment section today. So, if you printed it, you may not have seen them. It is provided by Louis Belanger - the author of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje. He is with the University of Montreal and worked closely with Fr. Ivo Sivric, a native son of Medjugorje, who had his Doctorate in Sacred Theology before moving to the US. Louis teaches us something very important: Facts must be verified. When people say that the Bishop "was removed by the Vatican because of his negative opinion", they are not stating fact, but are surmising, which is dangerous and can lead to terribly libel statements. This has happened because people take that statement, made by so many promoters, and they run with them as if they are gospel. But a review of the last two posts above will show very clearly that when you check out the facts concerning the shift from the Bishop to the commission, he was not removed, but merely assisted by a larger body, in which he was included. And, Cardinal Ratzinger gives us a reasonable explanation: Medjugorje had gone beyond the bounds of his diocese and was now global, with greater implications.

Christian charity tells us to give people the benefit of the doubt. With regards to the Bishops of Mostar, I would rather believe Cardinal Ratzinger's version, and I would rather assume that Cardinal Ratzinger is not saying one thing in writing, than he says behind the Bishop's back. To think otherwise, is to question the integrity of not only Bishop Zanic, but Cardinal Ratzinger.

God Bless and lets pray for the commission - that the spirit of light and truth be made known through their judgment, and that the grace of Almighty God fall on all of us to accept that judgment, regardless of whether it aligns with my impressions or others.

We show our greatest trust in the Holy Spirit when we ask God to influence the Commission to find and give us the Truth, as opposed to what we want to be true, be it pro or con.

I would invite everyone to spend some time in adoration for this purpose, and to begin offering some of our Rosaries for the Commission. They have a very difficult and delicate task ahead of them, which will require the utmost of pastoral guidance. They have a tremedous burden on their shoulders right now and the best thing we can do is to aid them with our prayers and sacrifices.

Diane said...

Oh, and Daniel, please go to Mostar and have some čevapčići (at least I think I got the "c" accents right). It's pronounced:

chevopchee-chee

Oh, man! Just ask and people will point it out. You can probably go soak in a Turkish coffee and have čevap's overlooking Stari-Most and the Neretva River.

To je krasno!

If you get some - lemme know what you think. Some restaurants make it out of a blend of beef, pork, and lamb. Muslim restuarants will leave out the pork and use veal. If you are not a lamb person, seek out the latter. They often serve it with kiselo mlijeko (sour milk), which is basically like liquid plain yogurt. You put a good tablespoon of sugar in it, or honey if they have it, and it cools down the pipes after taking in those onions that come with the meal.

Diane said...

Yikes - I can see my having gotten up so early has been working on me.

If you are not a lamb person, then you wouldn't want to do neither. The lamb is not powerful at all - the pork and beef dominate.

pepo1 said...

Dear All, Diane is spouting a lot of the same tripe dished up by E Michael Jones, Davies and a few other radical sections of the media. The same quarter of the media that admitted telling outright lies about Father Jozo Zovko and other issues. (See http://www.marian-times.com/articles/medjugorje/medjugorje-franciscans.cfm). There is nothing fishy about Medjugorje. To unravel some of the innuendo, half-truths and outright lies we've been hearing ever since Bishop Zanic got a bee in his bonnet, take a look at http://www.marian-times.com. Anyone who goes to so many forums to essentially discourage people from Medjugorje fits the "radical" bill. I have seen Diane everywhere. Diane, cool your heals and wait for the new commission's findings. You don't know the damage you are doing when people read your uninformed comments and decide against conversion.

Jonathan said...

Diane,
many many thanks for providing the space on your blog for this discussion, and for so carefully searching out references, letters, articles and other sources and pointing us in their direction. It seems sadly inevitable that there will continue to be much heartache and division caused by the intransigence, lack of objectivity, and basic misunderstandings of Church process and Canon that are found - I regret to say - on both sides of the argument. It is gracious of you to present an account of your own change of heart, and it is heartening to find such humility on the internet! I hope and pray that you will continue to witness to the strength of God's love and the power of Our Lady's intercession in all that you do.
Yours in Christ,
Jonathan

Anonymous said...

In response to Kevin's comment on receiving Holy Communion in Medjugorje, when I was there in 2003 I always received on the tongue and most of the time on my knees, and it was no problem.