Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dogmatic Theologian and Mariologist Manfred Hauke weighs in on Medjugorje

Thanks to Richard Chonak at Catholic Light, we have a full translation of an interview with distinguished theologian, Rev. Manfred Hauke, which recently ran in the German language Catholic newspaper, Die Tagespost: „Die Anhänger nicht ins Leere fallen lassen“

Here is the introduction to the interview in Die Tagespost, with some background on Rev. Hauke:

The Medjugorje phenomenon and the discernment of spirits: a conversation with dogmatic theologian Manfred Hauke

For years there has been discussion of the phenomenon of the alleged "Marian apparitions" that took their origin in Medjugorje: Does the Mother of God really appear to the seers who originated in Medjugorje? Or are the experiences parapsychological fruits of the seers' unconscious? Are they a deceptive manipulation or even a trick of evil forces? According to reports, there are plans at the Vatican to have the Medjugorje phenomenon conclusively investigated by a commission. Regina Einig asked the chairman of the German Mariological society, professor of dogmatics and patristics at Lugano, Manfred Hauke, about the subject.
Hauke takes a very catechetical approach, breaking down the complex subject into smaller pieces in a way that is easy to understand.  There are a few paragraphs in which he speaks about apparitions in general that are not necessarily for the novice, but stick with it the interview because he goes back to simplicity soon after that section.

He uses information which has recently found it's way into the public domain at the diocese, and he references the recent interview by Cardinal Saraiva Martins.  Richard Chonak links to all of these at the relevant places in the translated interview for everyone's reference.

The interview contains references to Sacred Scripture throughout, as well as the words of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

I have to hand it to Regina Einig of Dies Tagespost who did an excellent job with the questioning.

What I found fascinating, was his response to the last question, which I will quote here:

Einig: In evaluating a phenomenon so many-faceted as Medjugorje, does the Church balance pastoral aspects and issues of Church law against one another? Or is there in the end a dogmatic resolution above all else?

Hauke: As long as it is not unambiguously determined from the aspect of Church law, that the "Marian apparitions" connected with Medjugorje are not of a supernatural character (constat de non supernaturalitate), pilgrimage activity is tolerated on the private level. Only public pilgrimages conducted by Church institutions are forbidden. At present the verdict of the Yugoslav bishops' conference from 1991 is still valid, according to which a supernatural origin is not established (non constat de supernaturalitate). This means that the "proofs" advanced by many devotees of Medjugorje for its credibility (light phenomena, healings, conversions) were not considered convincing. Besides that, Bishop Ratko Peric stated on September 1, 2007: "The Church, from the local level to the highest, from the beginnings to the present day, has repeated clearly and consistently: Non constat de supernaturalitate! This means in practice: no pilgrimages are allowed, because they would presume the supernatural origin of the apparitions; there is no shrine of the Madonna and there are no authentic messages, revelations, or true visions! This is the state of things today. What will be tomorrow? We will leave that in the hands of God and under the protection of our dear Lady." Thus the bishop. Purely theoretically judgment is open for a future recognition (constat de supernaturalitate) or a final rejection (constat de non supernaturalitate). But until then, what the bishop said in a sermon in Medjugorje on June 6, 2009, and which he has documented on his internet site, remains valid: "The Church has not recognized the "apparitions of Medjugorje" (

For pastoral care it is important, to lead the renewal of faith created by the stream of pilgrims to Medjugorje into the roads of the Church, and not let the devotees of the phenomenon fall into the void. Marian devotees would be well advised to concentrate on trustworthy prophetic revelations, approved and well accepted by the whole Church, so that they would deal with, say, Guadalupe, Lourdes, or Fatima. Questionable and unequivocally false phenomena should be presented as such. Therefore it is not sufficient, in my estimation, to pragmatically recognize Medjugorje as a "place of prayer", without reaching a judgment on the events that lie at its basis. German bishops also reacted against this approach: non-recognition of alleged "apparitions" along with simultaneous recognition of the place as an official "shrine" (for example, with respect to Heroldsbach and Marienfried). If a new investigative commission reaches a recognition that certain characteristics indissolubly connected with the phenomenon of the apparitions speak against their authenticity, then the love of truth demands that this be made known with all clarity and that Catholic Christians be warned expressly against "pilgrimages". The principle is valid here: "bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quovis defectu" ("Good comes from an undamaged cause; bad from some kind of defect"). If a drink is mixed with rat poison, it's not sufficient to point out that it contains only two percent strychnine with 98 percent water: the whole drink has to be poured out. If the Church does not, herself, finally lance the boil that is connected with Medjugorje, then anti-Catholic groups will do the job and with pleasure. And then the patience extended to the enthusiasm of Medjugorje could become a boomerang that attacks the Church from inside, when the groups previously connected with the Bosnian "place of pilgrimage", finally disillusioned, would turn against the Faith and the Church. And that could also explain that the devil takes "good fruits" as part of doing his business in Medjugorje: if he can bring forth a vastly greater harm to the Church in the end. Pastoral love must not be separated from the love of truth.
That's just a taste of what is in the interview.  Anything short of a full re-print would do the interview an injustice. 

I highly recommend reading this interview in it's entirety at Catholic Light:  Mariologist Hauke on Medjugorje: "Don't let the devotees fall into the void"

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!