Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid to discuss Medjugorje on March 24th - Catholic Answers Live

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone (left) on Bishop Peric (right), while in Mostar on January 23,2010 for the Consecration of Archbishop Petar Rajic:

 "With sincere sentiments of gratitude, we pray to the Good Lord that this Church of Mostar, harmoniously inserted in the communion of the Churches of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in full communion with the See of Peter, may grow ever more in unity and holiness. The more it is faithful to its Catholic identity and to the apostolic tradition, of which the bishop is guarantor, the more it will grow in its own internal unity, and will know how to contribute to building up concord among the diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural elements of the complex society in which Providence has called it to live and to work in conformity with the mandate of the Gospel. "

  Some of my readers may wonder why I post on Medjugorje, which is what organizational psychology would call an "undiscussible".  In a nutshell:  I was led into scandalous contempt for the local bishop by misinformation and calumnies found on some of the leading pro-Medjugorje sites.  I did not have access to the bishop's point of view.  In mid-2005, I discovered Bishop Zanic's statement online from 1990:  The Truth About Medjugorje.  After that, I began my hunt for other diocesan documents, which I have studied closely since then.  Very quickly I saw that the contempt I had in my heart, especially given the reasonable objections of the diocese, was incompatible with what would be pleasing to Mary, (Jn 19:26-27), and to God.  Such contempt, even if it is only interior, is incompatible also, with the Gospel (Luke 10:16). 

My motivation is simple:  I want to prevent others from being led into the same kind of scandalous contempt.  It pains me deeply to know that innocent people, drawn to the pious nature of things on the surface, are then led down a path to have a disdain for the local authority because he won't approve this alleged phenomena.  The Holy See remains solidly behind him, as we have seen in a 2007 faxed letter by the Bishops of Tuscany to the priests of the diocese on Medjugorje.  In his 2009 homily, Bishop Peric stated that he was told by Cardinal William Levada that all inquiries coming into the CDF now are being handled this way. 

I just learned from the combox over at Mark Shea's blogpost on Fr. Manfred Hauke's recent interview on Medjugorje in a comment left by Patrick Coffin who hosts Catholic Answers Live that Medjugorje will be discussed on March 24th.  Patrick writes:

Markus von Sheavicus:
An fyi that may be of interest to thy com box denizens, on Catholic Answers Live (radio show, for those on planet Zorkon) I will be discussing Medjugorje on March 24, 2010, with Patrick Madrid, who has a solid handle on the story arc of Medjugorje as well as on the levels of acceptance-or-rejection of private apparitions as they apply to the phenonema there. One aspect of this story should be obvious to a) pro-Medjugorje Catholics; b) non-pro-Medjugorje Catholics; c) anti-Medjugorje Catholics; and d) anyone else who can read, is the unsettling spirit of division and rancor that attends the entire project. The M word is the new third rail. Let's at least include this biggie among the "fruits of Medjugorje."
Whether the Holy See will follow the trajectory begun Bishops Zanic and Peric (and the Zadar Declaration of 1991) and finally condemn the apparitions, or whether they will be approved in the end, many have forgotten that no Catholic is required to accept even *approved" private revelation.
So thump that gourd, roll that stone away, and tune in to www.catholic.com (you can find out if we're on in your city via the radio link) or channel 160 on Sirius Sattellite Radio. Or iTunes podcast. That's March 24. Plus, before then, many other interviews and Q&A Open Forums to delight and tantalize the discriminating radio listener.

And, the division is not just amongst the laity. While our bishops and cardinals have much more etiquette in discussing delicate topics such as "M", there is visible division even among them.  One example, is the difference of opinion of Cardinal Schonborn, author of the CCC and member of the CDF ("My seminaries would be empty without Medjugorje") and Cardinal Saraiva Martins, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and one who was close to Sr. Lucia ("There is no comparison between Medjugorje and Fatima"). 

With regards to the statement made by Cardinal Schonborn about seminaries, I would like to raise the question: Why rely on an alleged apparition - one which, at no level of the Church, has been officially deemed worthy of belief - to fill seminaries.  Is it the alleged apparition which fills the seminaries?  Or, is it the graces which flow from authentic expressions of the faith:  Mass, Confession, Adoration, Rosary, fasting and other forms of mortification, as well as sermons which preach the fullness of the faith?  

If these things are fostered enthusiastically, and generously by Cardinal Schonborn, his fellow bishops, and priests in Austria, his seminaries will fill well, and he won't be relying on a questionable apparition to do it for him. 

EDIT:  A comment left in the combox by "LoverofLife" prompted the Editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje to respond with a hearty rebuttal.  That string of comments over several boxes was copied and pasted into a new post.  I will shut down this comment box and ask for discussions to flow into that post. 

See the post: Medjugorje: Louis Bélanger responds to comment...
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!


TNP said...

Good work, Diane. As you know, I'm following all these events very closely and appreciate your well-organized posts.

LoverOfLife said...

Personally Diane, I sense that you are one who is promoting division. Thanks to Medjugorje, I and thousands of others are now devout Catholics who practice the sacraments and hold the Eucharist at the center of our devotion. Your blogs and aggressive journalism seek to destroy an effective avenue for many non-Catholics or non-practicing Catholics (unbelievers) to return to the Church. I feel so sorry for you and your continued cynicism that seeks to divide rather than unite. You and other Medjugorje cynics are the only ones speaking of division. Those who have come home to Catholicism through Medjugorje certainly aren't speaking of division but rather of unity with Christ.

Nick said...

I wonder if most M supporters are aware of their behavior? Likewise for M skeptics, such as myself. It seems there is great anger on both sides. Perhaps God the Holy Spirit should be extra prayed for by Catholics? :-)

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Medjugorje Forum
Discernment of Apparitions - Discernment of Medjugorje

TNP said...

Yes, I'm angry. My anger comes from being able to spot a supporter a mile away. How am I able to do that? Because their theology on the whole is so off the wall. If they're in the communion line with a rosary wrapped around their wrists, if they are claiming direct knowledge from God that goes against the guidelines and directives of various diocesan programs, they are more often than not someone who follows the events across the sea. "I'm not legalistic," they say. "I follow the Holy Spirit." In other words, there's no such thing as obedience.

Supporters of Medjugorje, whether as reverts or converts or old time Catholics, are those who focus on the sensational, emotional, and experiential, totally dismissing what we have received through the ages from the Church. They look for the bold and the new and whatever seems exciting and it permeates every diocesan program they may be involved in.

We've had healing priests come who received their "power" after being in Medjugorje. So far, the supposed healing means that the sufferer has come to accept their suffering, not that they've received a medically inexplicable cure. There's always an out.

I will state, however, that these opinions may not apply to every single follower, but in my particular diocese it is my experience that most, if not all, behave in this manner. And yes, it makes me angry because of the perpetuation of false spirituality. It's time it stopped.

Tominellay said...

Diane is not promoting division, and I think it's silly to suggest that. Why is it divisive to publish or quote, in context, the words of a diocesan bishop? Diane provides links to official diocesan statements and Church documents, and encourages people to read what is written.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

LoverofLife said: I feel so sorry for you and your continued cynicism that seeks to divide rather than unite.

I'm not against Medjugorje. I am for Truth because unity subsists in Truth.

I'll stand with the bishop, and amplify what he offers, even if it means I have to wear a flak-jacket. Nor am I going to stand by on the sidelines and watch him be calumniated, and his words and motives distorted. If he is later proven wrong on a particular point by the Church, I commit no fault for standing with him (Luke 10:16, CCC 67, CCC 87).

However, if a negative judgment on the events (not the good fruits) comes down, how will those feel who have allowed themselves to harbor contempt for the bishop through rash judgment, or who lead others into scandal by spreading calumnious accusations (CCC 2477)?

Lack of docility, lack of filial reverence, and lack of charity towards him are a big deal, especially when aimed at a bishop who has raised legitimate objections. Both bishops have raised their objections as a matter of conscience.

While on the surface many see the apparent piety of the "seers", it is not unreasonable to ask if there are negative fruits seen in the "seers"?

Those investigating look at whether any of the "seers" at any time have been involved with moral failings connected with the apparitions. Have they lied, especially to persons charged with discerning the phenomena, such as to Commission members? With the "visionaries" of Medjugorje, there were, in fact, lies told as revealed in a detailed study recently released by the Diocese of Mostar Duvno. Read the document to see who lied, and to whom.

Some, perhaps yourself, might say, well - so what, even if they lied, let the people believe what they want as long as they are converting and confessing. After all, what harm can come from these things, right?

As I stated in my main post: Those things do not belong to Medjugorje, they belong to the Catholic Church and people ought to use all of those wonderful expressions of the faith. Many are of the impression that if you disbelieve in Medjugorje, that you can't pray a Rosary or go to Adoration. Or, that those of us who stand with the bishop are somehow attacking Mary and the Eucharist. In actuality, speaking for myself, I feel I am defending Mary and the Eucharist.

It is hard for me to fathom that one could sit in adoration and then have contempt for the bishop (John 19:25-27)

When a movement as a whole creates an air of contempt for the local bishop, that is a real problem. It is evidence that the Church is already being attacked from within.

Fr. William Most explains the importance of obedience in an article written about discernment of spirits in general. He writes:

We need to watch out for the work of satan--he may really promote good things for a while, provided that in the long run he gains. The revelations of Necedah, Wi. seemed to have good fruits, yet were false. Rosaries were said to change to gold. Similarly for Bayside. But disobedience showed them false. St. Margaret Mary was told by Our Lord: (Autobiography, #57) "Listen, My Daughter, and do not lightly believe and trust every spirit, for satan is angry and will try to deceive you. So do nothing without the approval of those who guide you. Being thus under the authority of obedience, his efforts against you will be in vain, for he has no power over the obedient."

Would Our Lord, and Mary approve of people being upset and angry with the local Bishop for withholding approval?

Nick said...

What I find strange about some Catholics' understanding of apparitions and revelations is not that they believe they can have them for a month each day without getting exhausted (literally and metaphorically) but that they put aside the Church's teachings and authority instead of the apparition or revelation when the latter conflicts with the former. I can give some examples of such false humility, too.
- A friend of mine claims to have seen the Beatific Vision. The Church teaches that no one can see God face-to-face until they die because the Brilliance of God would kill the person. I told her this, even giving biblical examples, but she wouldn't listen.
- Another friend of mine claims the private revelation given to Father Gobbi about Jesus returning in glory in the year 2000 was fulfilled. I explained to him the eschatology of Catholicism, as well as the words of Christ who said no one would know the day or hour of His coming, but he wouldn't listen, instead saying Jesus has returned spiritually - which, in reality, is a Jehovah Witness teaching.
- Yet another friend of mine said visionaries ought to obey God rather than man when it comes to apparitions, meaning, whether its Pope or Bishop or Priest or Deacon, if such a person goes against a request given by an apparition or revelation, that person is wrong. I asked him if that included evil requests, to which he said No; I further asked him if good requests included disobedience, such as not going to a site of apparition if told not to, and he said the apparition ought to be obeyed because God knows best. I gave him examples from Lourdes and Laus where Mary scolded Bernadette for disobeying the priests in going to the grotto when she was told not to and where Mary instructed Benoite to obey the Church. But he dismissed them.
- Yet another friend of mine said the Bishop of Mostar is evil for rejecting the apparitions, and a friend of his said that the Church ought to approve the apparitions because they have good fruits, and that the Church would soon become a Medjugorje Church. I explained that no Catholic has to accept or propagate any apparitions or revelations, which means every Catholic is free to reject even approved apparitions and revelations, and that in addition to good fruits there are bad fruits such as the visionaries' disobedience to the Holy See, and that the Church belongs to Jesus alone. But they said that the visionaries aren't disobedient because the Franciscans cooperate with the Bishop and that the Church belongs to Mary - and therefore to the apparition of Medjugorje.

Louis Bélanger said...

LoverofLife, targeting Diane, wrote : I feel so sorry for you and your continued cynicism that seeks to divide rather than unite.
Not you, but your allegation seems to me rather cynical : it implies a «general distrust of the integrity or professed motives» of Diane.

You invoke good fruits and I am all for them. In fact, I subscribe entirely to a balanced spiritual diet : good raw fruits --- not processed --- and high-quality proteins of truth...

Let me quote an anecdote concerning Prospero Lambertini (1675-1758). He held the office of Promotor Fidei --- paradoxically called advocatus diaboli --- for more than 20 years, before rising to the papacy (Benedict XIV) in 1740. The Pope of Scholars strongly encouraged freedom of research and opinion. He thought and testified that science is not a threat to faith, but rather a means of catharsis that helps to get rid of artifices, or crafty expedients and deception . His treaty --- a rare monumental work in many tomes --- is entitled De servorum Dei beatificatione et Beatorum canonizatione (Bologna, 1734-1738, 4 volumes, published as he was Cardinal of Bologna). This treaty has been integrated in the first edition of his complete works in 12 volumes (1747-1748) as he was Pope Benedict XIV. Renée Haynes evoques this interesting anecdote in her book Philosopher King - The Humanist Pope Benedict XIV - London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970, p. 29-30 :

«When the young lawyer was about twenty-four, one of the Auditors of the Rota, a fellow Bolognese named Alessandro Caprara, chose him as his assistant, and enabled him to learn among many other things the intricate and painstaking procedures involved in canonization. As Caprara also served as a consultant to the Congregation of Rites, he was able to give his junior colleague access to numerous records of past canonizations, records of which Lambertini made the utmost use in his own work. Sighinolfi tells an anecdote of this stage of his career which, though no source is cited, is so much in character as to deserve quotation.

«It concerned an old nun noted for her austerity, who was said by her convent to be able to live without eating. The Cardinal Protector of her Order believed the tale, and Pope Innocent XII, who died in 1700, deputed Caprara to investigate the case. He went to the convent, taking his assistant with him, and examined and cross-examined all the sisters and lay sisters 'from Prioress to kitchen maid'. Their evidence seemed to confirm that the old nun had in fact eaten nothing for a month. She herself was questioned last of all, and her replies seemed entirely satisfactory. Lambertini then asked his senior if he might inquire about a matter that had not yet been raised, and on being given leave to do so said point blank, 'Mother, do your bowels open every day ?' Though much taken aback at this indelicacy, she answered firmly, 'Yes, of course.' He pointed out that this would be impossible if she had nothing in her stomach, the inquiry was re-opened, and the story was shown up as a complete fabrication, intended to give the convent publicity and alms. » Cynicism of the young Lambertini ? Or discernment ?

What if the Lambertinis of this world, experts of three Commissions and the 20 bishops of the ex-Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference have found artifices that led them to the non constat de supernaturalitate ? That meaning what it is : the supernaturality of the so-called apparitions and revelations has not been proven. In other words : it has not been proven that a supernatural being has appeared and is appearing (the Virgin Mary, Jesus, Satan, angels...). At best, according to the Zadar declaration, one could say that the six visionaries have had more than 40 000 visions of undetermined non-supernatural entities. Cynicism of so many qualified experts and bishops ? Or discernment ? (to be continued)

Louis Bélanger

Louis Bélanger said...

Let me lift the veil of some artifices examined by the members of the Commissions.

The end of the «apparitions», announced for and on July 3, 1981. According to the Croatian visionaries' tape recorded declarations, the «Gospa» 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 entity were once and for all over. However, almost 30 years and more than 40 000 visions later, the encounters with the entity 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 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 the complete reprint (in Appendix 4 of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje) with the theologian's touched-up version disseminated in his Chronological Corpus of the 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 hreats, 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 entity confirms the truth of the alleged facts as well as the persons' identities. (September 4, 1981). The entity insists: «The other day, [you were] a hairsbreadth away from destruction. I saved you, in one minute, [from destruction].» (September 5, 1981)
(to be continued)
Louis Bélanger

Louis Bélanger said...

The entity 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 lead to 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. Has not the expert-historian to bear responsibility for his mockery of history and his keeping secret the «chaff» he separated from the wheat ?

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 entity'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.

Well, my sensus laïci tells me that I should respect the rules to which the experts and the bishops of the former Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference conformed in examining the case of Medjugorje, rules established by Benedict XIV and still valid today. Consequently, in writing on Medjugorje, I should rigourously use the word vision instead of apparition and entity instead of Gospa or Blessed Virgin Mary...

Sensus episcopi (Peric) : The bishop of Mostar who has authority on Medjugorje, in collegiality with his predecessor, has already made and published his own discernment on the case, as it is his prerogative, [rules by Benedict XIV] with the help of almost 40 members of three different commissions and 19 bishops of former Yougoslavia who have arrived at a non constat de supernaturalitate in 1991. That discernment is the last and only one in force until today, confirmed by the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sensus cardinalis (Schönborn) : The visionaries, their counselors and pastors, some bishops and cardinals seem to not respect the rules and the spirit of that decision. The visionaries travel outside of their diocese pretending that their visions are of supernatural origin. Some bishops and cardinals, like Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, spent days recently in Medjugorje, without even informing the Ordinary or asking for his permission, and said, wrote and preached, even in televised interviews, that these visions must be of supernatural origin, because they last since almost 30 years without being «condemned» by the Church.
(to be continued)
Louis Bélanger

Nick said...

From www.medjugorje.org

June 30, 1981

Two social workers took the visionaries on a ride so they would miss the apparition on the hill. The apparition took place at Cerno, on the road between Ljbuski and Medjugorje. Mirjana asked Our Lady if She was angry because they were not on the hill. Our Lady responded: "That doesn't matter."

Mirjana then asked if Our Lady would be angry if they did not return to the hill, but waited for apparition at the church. Somehow Our Lady seemed undecided (according to Mirjana), but then She agreed to appear in the church and added: "Always at the same time. Go in the peace of God."

Mirjana, who had been reading an account of the apparitions at Lourdes, thought she understood that the Virgin would return for another three days, until Friday, as She had in Lourdes. However, this was only Mirjana's interpretation.

It's interesting that the apparition tells the visionaries to have visions in the church. Such behavior is frowned upon by the Holy See because it makes it appear that visions are authentic. This behavior has happened in other apparitions in other parts of the world - for example, the American visionary who claimed Mary told him women ought to be ordained - and all the apparitions were later to be condemned by the local Bishops. This is the reason why the Bishop of Mostar told the visionaries to stop having visions in the church.

Louis Bélanger said...

As far as I can understand what Card. Schönborn wrote in the truncated fax published by Msgr Peric on his diocesan site and on Diane's Blog, the so-called excuse is an inference, not a proven fact, and it is what troubles me most. "Es tut mir leid, wenn Sie den Eindruck haben, meine Wallfahrt nach Medjugorje habe dem Frieden geschadet. Sie können sicher sein, dass das nicht meine Absicht ist"… "I regret that you have the impression that my pilgrimage to Medjugorje has harmed peace. You can be sure that it is not my intention…" Again, it would be Bishop Peric's fault to have misinterpreted Cardinal Schönborn's "pilgrimage" in the diocese of his colleague… No excuse there, rather a provocation, a coup de force. Please note : the translation in English that has circulated ends with the following words : «… You can be sure that it was not my intention. » In fact, he writes : «… that it is not my intention.», two weeks after his «private»/public pilgrimage to Medjugorje». What seems important to him is not the punctual past event --- his pilgrimage, a word deliberately chosen --- but rather his state of mind, his actual position on Medjugorje which, I submit, is in discordance with the Zadar Declaration. It is to be confirmed if he will persist in the United States, and back to Vienna, with his indiscreet devaluation of the Zadar declaration. What is really the «intention» of that intelligent prelate ? I don’t know. But that public confrontation perplexes me very much : I cannot but observe the similar behaviour --- ejusdem farinae --- as the one of the visionaries and of some Franciscans. Sensus cardinalis contra sensum episcopi [Peric] et episcoporum [20 members of the former Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference] ? What kind of discernment is concealed under that behaviour ? Does that depreciation of the non constat enlighten the faithful ? The stakes are high and it does not surprise me that it takes so much time to end the drama. Let us meditate what Cardinal Ratzinger said to the journalist Vittorio Messori in 1985 (cf Ratzinger Report, p. 112 – translated from the authorized German manuscript) : «One of our criteria is to separate the aspect of the true or presumed «supernaturality» of the apparition from that of its spiritual fruits. The pilgrimages of ancient Christianity were often concentrated on places with respect to which our modern critical spirit would be horrified as to the «scientific truth» of the tradition bound up with them. This does not detract from the fact that those pilgrimages were fruitful, beneficial, rich in blessings and important for the life of the Christian people. The problem is not so much that of modern hypercriticism (which ends up later, moreover, in a form of new credulity), but it is that of the evaluation of the vitality and of the orthodoxy of the religious life that is developing around these places.» My heart is pounding in front of these terrible choices : «vitality» or «hypercriticism», «fruits» or «truth». It appears that Cardinal Ratzinger was more appreciating the «vitality» than the «modern hypercriticism» in that short paragraph. I may err. But I remember that Cardinal Ratzinger confided the dossier of Medjugorje to the Yugoslavian Bishops Conference one year after The Ratzinger Report. The «hypercriticism» of the Second enlarged Commission didn’t seem to shake his decision as Prefect of the CDF to refer the case to another level. All of this is a matter of appreciation which I have no time to develop here. But I would be very interested to read commentaries of Diane and her readers.

(to be continued... and ended)
Louis Bélanger

Louis Bélanger said...

In the meantime, we observe that on the one side, the authority of the local Ordinary supported by Commissions, experts and bishops of the land where these events occur is publicly disputed by a prelate who is magnifying the so-called good fruits. And yet, on the other side, the rules seem to be very clear in that instance as expressed by Bishop Henri Brincard to the whole French Episcopal Conference in 1999 :
« We would like to say nothing about the doubtful or even bad fruits. But the truth obliges us to say that they exist. Let us quote, as examples, the calling into question, even to the point of defamation, of the Local Ordinary as well as the disobedience with regard to his legitimate authority; the exacerbation of the Herzegovina 'question' following the words attributed to "the Gospa", words in favour of the Franciscans and against the Bishop.
« In conclusion, allow me to make the following reflection: I have no authority to pronounce any ecclesial judgement whatsoever on the events of Medjugorje. I am therefore the first to have to give an example of obedience, notably in respecting the pastoral decisions of my confrere of Mostar and in complying with joy to his wishes.
I do not see how I can go to Medjugorje without giving my support, by the very fact of my having come there, to the events who's discernment and assessment rests henceforth with the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such support would fly in the face of a traditional teaching of the Church, recalled in Lumen Gentium and applicable to all the successors of the Apostles : «Individual bishops, in so far as they are set over particular Churches, exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them, not over other Churches nor the Church universal.»
[emphasis is mine = Louis Bélanger; these strong words have been expressed 10 years before Cardinal Schönborn's "pilgrimage" to Medjugorje !]
My wish, which I share with you, is to be able to further in my diocese a real renewal of Marian piety, in having frequent recourse to the habitual means which the Church puts at our disposition and which the Holy Father does not cease not recommend to us.
Bishop of Puy-en-Velay
Accompanying Bishop of the Association of Marian organisations.

[From the official bulletin of the French Episcopal Conference [SNOP], No. 1,064 printed in Documentation Catholique of 7 January 2000. Translated by Jim Gallagher.]

As an ordinary layman, I would tend to side with Bishop Brincard instead of Cardinal Schönborn concerning the correct attitude to adopt in such a situation : not participating to an activity or organizing one that would encourage rebellion against the legitimate authority.

And this is precisely the message that Diane is delivering with courage and perseverance in her Blog since many years. It seems to me appropriate to acknowledge her untiring devotion to discernment. Yes, in a way, you are right, LoverofLife, she «separates», actually not people but objects of thought, truth from lies, the wheat from the chaff, in the line of Benedict XIV's heritage. This is the proper meaning of discernment which is not «only» the prerogative of experts, bishops and «even» cardinals, as the sensus fidelium --- understood as sensus fidei --- implies and permits.

Indeed we are not separated and should not be divided : From now on, no more lying : that each one speak the truth to his neighbour; aren’t we members of one another ?
Ephesians, 4, 25.

Louis Bélanger

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

The long string of comments left by Editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, Louis Belanger, has been copied into a post of it's own.

Please see: Medjugorje: Louis Bélanger responds to comment...

Please continue discussion there. This combox is now closed.