Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Medjugorje Controversy...



There is an interesting commentary by Francis Phillips at the UK's Catholic Herald entitled, Medjugorje is generating what the Devil loves most: disobedience.

It's not just disobedience, but also division at every level of the Church.  There has been a complete rupture in how visionaries of unapproved apparitions are treated by bishops in other dioceses.  Prior to Medjugorje, no bishop would think of allowing visionaries to have "apparitions" in his cathedral unless it were approved.  This had a solid basis.  Hosting seers of unapproved apparitions on Church property lends credibility to them, leading people to believe they have been sanctioned, and opening the door to exploitation. 

It's interesting to note that in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, the visionaries are not given a platform on Church property.  What does this say about collegiality when they are given a platform in diocesan cathedrals and parishes in the US, Australia, Italy, and other countries?  This has given way to disharmony at the highest levels of the Church, and that has caused further disharmony among the faithful, who must choose this bishop over that bishop. 

In the history of approved apparitions in the Church, I can't think of a single one in which visionaries traveled to scheduled events around the world.  If you are going to an event involving a Medjugorje visionary, chances are that it is happening in the evening and at 6:40pm, Standard Apparition Time (SAT), there will be an "apparition".

I have watched some of these streaming online.  As I looked at how packed those cathedrals were, with not even any standing room left, I couldn't help but wonder if people would come together in such numbers if the cardinal or bishop were to schedule a public Rosary or Eucharistic Adoration. 

As I explained in one of my comments at the thread, I recall the anti-Marian sentiments in the culture of my childhood parish (and this was fairly common in the West).  Most who grew up in the 60's, 70's and early 80's never experienced Eucharistic devotion outside of the Mass.  Adoration, processions, and 40 Hours Devotion were all common before that time, but - like the Rosary - were wrongly suppressed by pastors and others who discouraged these practices, or by neglecting to foster them.   At the same time, Sacramental Confession was downplayed, and discussion of sin from the pulpit came to an end. Vocations declined right along with the loss of these things (and where they are fostered by pastors and bishops, they are booming).

Interestingly, when I went to Herzegovina in 1980, before the alleged apparitions began, I found there was devotion to the Eucharist and to Mary, and Confession was valued.  It remained intact through those years that were so turbulent in many other continents and countries.  Is it any wonder that when pilgrims discovered these things in the 80's and beyond, that they would gravitate to them?  After all, they do not belong to Medjugorje, but to the treasury of the Church.  The fact that people have found these things helpful, whether they understand how graces come through them or not, is not surprising.  They are time-tested and true.

I don't know about you, but I cannot wait for the Holy Father to answer the many questions we all have about Medjugorje.  Eucharistic and Marian devotion, as well as frequent Mass attendance, regular Confession, challenging homilies, fasting and other forms of mortification belong to the treasury of the Church.  Let no one assume that these things can only be practiced in the context of Medjugorje. 

One question always asked of me, is how there could be so many conversions and vocations if it were not authentic (by their fruits you shall know them).  First, there are both good and bad fruits, and all need to be measured.  However, as to conversions and vocations, if there is fraud or diabolical involvement, we defer back to Romans 5:20, which says where sin abounds, grace increases.

In our midst right now, we are witnessing this with the Legionaries of Christ.  The disgraced Maciel, referred to as a "false prophet" by Pope Benedict XVI, founded a community which, as of 2010 had 800 priests and some 2500 seminarians.  If Maciel was a "false prophet", how did we get all of these good fruits?  Answer: Romans 5:20.  An all-loving God always wins!

As always, the comment box, at 98 posts as of this writing, is yielding quite the discussion.  Go read Medjugorje is generating what the devil loves most: Disobedience.

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52 comments:

Teresa said...

My cousin is a recovering drug addict who took part in a Catholic program, and was eventually sent to Medjugore as part of that program. While in Medjugorje he experienced a conversion and now he is one of the most faithful Catholics I have ever seen. He is on fire for the Church, God and Mary. So, I know that miracles are indeed happening there.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Thanks for your comment Teresa and I'm very glad to hear about your cousin. I'll bet he was under the care of Mother Elvira and Cenacolo, which has done some very good work.

If you have looked carefully at how their day is structured - "ora et labora" - and the intensity of their spiritual life, rooted in things like Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, Mass, and of course, Marian devotion, is it any wonder that he did so well.

This is my whole point is that these things are time-tested and very good, but they are not dependent on an unapproved apparition.

One concern I have for Cenacolo is that formation may include unapproved spiritualities. They would do well to stick with all that is fully approved, and wait until any kind of approval takes place. More importantly, is the need to wait to see if such an apparition is deemed by the Church to be false.

How do recovering drug addicts and other devotees deal with potential news that it is not authentic?

It is for this reason that we should build our spiritual lives around what is approved, and not what is unapproved and waiting.

It's ok to hope for approval, but to formally include devotion to "Our Lady of Medjugorje" when the Church has not affirmed it is the Blessed Virgin Mary is putting the cart before the horse.

Many prayers for your cousin's ongoing well-being.

Nick said...

Why believe in a revelation that's used for monetary gain? I don't believe in Medjugorje apparitions and I don't believe in Colton's NDE.

Tominellay said...

I'm happy to say that in my own parish (in Croatia) there is no mention at all of Medjugorje, even though I'm sure some parishioners must certainly be devotees...and I've seen/heard of no promotion of Medjugorje in any other church of our archdiocese...

Keep up the good work, Diane!

Bobby said...

Tominellay said:I'm happy to say that in my own parish (in Croatia) there is no mention at all of Medjugorje...and I've seen/heard of no promotion of Medjugorje in any other church of our archdiocese...
Keep up the good work, Diane!

He or she seems to be attributing some, at least, of the silence on Medjugorje to your 'good work' on it. I hope you do not find one day that you had worked against God.

Bobby said...

The Church's position on Medjugorje is that of the 1991 Yugoslav Bishop's Conference, and explicitly the Church has said the bishop's (over Medjugorje) opinion is his personal opinion and not that of the Catholic church. The 1991 Bishop's Conference was favorable to Medjugorje:

Dec. 23, 1990: Now out of the hands of bishop Zanic, the new Yugoslavian Commission initiates a formal investigation into the apparitions, which continue over a course of three years. Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, President of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, gives a general report of the progress of the Commission, stating that the bishops "have a positive opinion of Medjugorje events."

1991: The Yugoslavian Bishops Conference votes to classify Medjugorje in one of three ways; 1) certain of supernatural origin, 2) not yet certain of supernatural origin, 3) certain of no supernatural origin. The conference rejects the 3rd classification by a vote of 19 to 1, and after much deliberation between the 1st and 2nd classification, decides that Medjugorje cannot yet be confirmed supernatural, but also expresses its favorability to the apparitions; "The Church is not in a hurry. We, the bishops, after three years of examination by the Commission, have declared Medjugorje a place of prayer and a Marian sanctuary. This means that we are not opposed to people coming on pilgrimage to Medjugorje to venerate the Mother of God there, in conformity with the teaching and faith of the universal Church. As to the supernaturality of the apparitions, we have declared: Up to this moment, we cannot affirm it. We leave it for later. The Church is not in a hurry."

Jeff said...

There is no requirement to believe in any apparition. Personally I try to be a faithful Catholic but I do not believe Mary appeared at Lourdes or Fatima - there is too much commercialisation there. I went to both shrines once and all I saw was stores, Masses for sale, tacky souvenirs. There were some pretty weird people too, too extreme. I believe Bernadette is a saint, but in canonising her the Church did not do so because she claimed to have a vision - it was her holiness. Some may disagree with me and claim that the fruits of Lourdes and Fatima prove Mary appeared there, but as the good bishop of Mostar has said many times: the idea of judging an apparition on its fruits does not apply here. I agree with him.

Tito Edwards said...

Diane,

I have a query to ask regarding Medjugorje.

First of all, I do not believe that Medjugorje is valid, but I will adhere to what the Vatican finds.

I believe though that God does good out of bad and the many conversions there are genuine.

With that said, my question.

Is it wrong to suggest to a family member who is a fallen away Catholic with many terrible and destructive vices to go to Medjugorje in hope that they will turn their life around?

Fr. Larry said...

I have collected some of the supposed statements of Mary and the "visionaries" at my website. Let the evidence speak for itself. http://wherethereispeter.blogspot.com/2010/04/are-apparitions-at-medjugorje-true.html

TheLastCatholicinBoston said...

Absurd,
Please check the times.
http://www.medjugorje.org/ivanse.htm

It is slander of the mother of Christ.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

@TheLastCatholicinBoston - Can you please clarify what you are referring to as absurd? I think I know what you mean, but I want to be certain.

Nick said...

Diane,

I believe he's talking about the times on the schedule.

Funny that there are no messages where the apparition says at what time it will appear when.

Tominellay said...

In answer to commenter Bobby, above, I do not attribute any actions or decisions of Catholic bishops and clergy in Croatia to anything Diane writes on her blog. I also think Diane does good work in her blogs and comments on the topic of Medjugorje on the Internet.

I do suggest that commenter Bobby does not understand what the Bishops decided in 1991. My archbishop was already a diocesan ordinary in 1991, and therefore participated in the discussion and vote for the Zadar Declaration. I do suggest the public silence of the Church re Medjugorje in this archdiocesee is due to the archbishop and the country's bishops' conference, and independent of American bloggers.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To "anonymous" who submitted a comment addressed to all of the "non-bigots", you will have to find another forum to act sophmoric.

Please read the notes above the comment form. In case it is not obvious to you, your comment was rejected on the basis that:

1) You used anonmyous when I expressely say that the comment will be rejected if it is not signed with some kind of name.

2) You made your brief point with about as much tact as a lumberjack in the opera-house. You're clearly not interested in discussion but trying to sell something.

3) You provided a link to a pro-Medjugorje website which is loaded with untruths, half-truths, and outright ommissions.

As one example, the site discusses the Herzegovina Case without even directing readers to the actual decree, Romanis Pontificibus. The decree from Rome, gives people history of the case from the perspective of the Holy See. Of course, this would require that the website link to the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, which - like most Medjugorje promoting sites - does not consider it a valid source of information. When such so-called balanced sites provide links to the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno's page on Medjugorje and Romanis Pontificibus, I'll reconsider allowing a link to it here.

The site is downright scandalous in some of what it presents and it treats, as authentic, an apparition which has not been approved at any level of the Church. On that basis, I will not lead people into scandal by permitting links to it, or others like it. Further, I'm not the least bit concerned that people will have "miraculously missed it" in your flippant comment because it comes up near the top of any google search.

Since most of the "anonymous" posts I get are from people who like to do snarky, condescending "drive-by's" all the while hiding behind anonymity, I will likely do away with the option later tonight.

Ed said...

Diane, if the Church rules that Medjugorge is authentic, will you accept it? And then, taking the cue from Bobby, will you make some gesture of repentence for having worked against God? I would like your own answer and not a deflection on whether the followers of Medjugorje will accept a negative judgement. The reason I ask is because many bloggers have seemingly put themselves in a position that they seem to have definitively ruled out any prospect of Church approval, and so will have difficulty in authentically reversing their position in order to accept the Church's decision. No offence intended, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Conversions are no proof of authenticity. I know of many followers of Bayside/Veronica alleged apparitions who claim the same - the good fruit of many conversions.

There would be no disobedience without pride - I will not serve. I will not obey. The "Gospa" is right; the bishop is wrong - the "Gospa" says so. Can anyone seriously believe that Our Lady would contradict a bishop?

Medjugorje has only added to the division and confusion within our Church. THAT is not a good fruit.

Veronica

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Ed,

You asked: Diane, if the Church rules that Medjugorge is authentic, will you accept it?

I answer this question very frequently and will do so again here.

I must break it up into two parts, answering your second question in the next comment.

If the Church were to ever give the constat de supernaturalite (approval) to case of Medjugorje, I would examine with great care all that the Holy See offers in terms of clarification. Since the Church is ultimately the judge, she declares what is considered fact and who is, and who is not considered a "player" (i.e., Tomislav Vlasic). I would want to know if the CDF uncovered any errors on the part of the two local bishops (procedural, judgment, factual, etc.). I fully expect that no matter how the Holy See comes down on Medjugorje, she would not be so unmerciful as to not offer a great deal of explanations to help one side or the other. People need perspective. If there is compelling evidence by the Holy See, I will take it all into consideration.

That said, I am free, without pain of sin, to disbelieve in authenticity. This much we know from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states:

67 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.

Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI explained this further in his "Theological Commentary" on Fatima, he speaks about one of his predecessors, considered an expert in this area. Ratzinger writes:

2. Private revelation is a help to this faith, and shows its credibility precisely by leading me back to the definitive public Revelation. In this regard, Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, the future Pope Benedict XIV, says in his classic treatise, which later became normative for beatifications and canonizations: “An assent of Catholic faith is not due to revelations approved in this way; it is not even possible. These revelations seek rather an assent of human faith in keeping with the requirements of prudence, which puts them before us as probable and credible to piety”.

So, prudence would require me to look carefully at what the Church has to say, but if I cannot accept it, I am not required to believe in it.


I will point out that I may be dead and buried by the time these so-called apparitions cease. Only then can the Holy See give a constat de supernaturalitate (approval). She can, however, condemn supernaturality while ongoing at any time with "apparitions" of Maureen Sweeney-Kyle at Holy Love being the most recent example. They were outright condemned as not supernatural, but they continue today.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Part 2 @Ed:

You then ask: And then, taking the cue from Bobby, will you make some gesture of repentence for having worked against God?

Given a number of facts that are very damaging to authenticity, some of them withheld from supporters by popular authors of the phenomena in the 80's and 90's, there is nothing for which I would need to repent, given that most of them originate from the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno. Even if the Holy See overturns certain things and someday declares it authentic, my conscience would remain clean based on what was available to me at the time. In other words, I cannot be guilty of anything for standing with the local bishop.

In fact, I have already repented, deeply, for having persecuted Bishop's Zanic and Peric based on information found on promoter sites and in popular books which proved to be calumnious in nature. One such example is detailed by Italian Researcher, Marco Corvaglia.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Now that I have answered your questions, please answer mine:

1) If the Church condemns the events themselves as not supernatural, will you accept it?

2) In such a case, would you then do an examination of conscience with regards to any wrongful persecution and calumnies spread against the bishops of Mostar?


Where many Medjugorje supporters see my defense of the bishops, and my standing with them in their negative position as an "attack" against the Blessed Virgin Mary herself (I've been accused of this BTW), I see their behavior towards these apostolic successors as an attack on the Catholic Church itself. When the Church is attacked, it is an offense against God. Any offense against God offends the Blessed Virgin Mary, even moreso, when it is done in her name.

I will repeat: Mary would not condone the contempt the Medjugorjeans have (and it is outwardly visible) for the local bishops, even if they were in error. No one can outsmart God and it does not take a worldwide movement to calumniate, disregard, and drag through the mud, those bishops.

And, for the record, there are many Catholics in the US who should be so lucky to have bishops as orthodox as Zanic and Peric. People have no idea just what kind of men they are persecuting because they have been feeding on forbidden fruit in those "messages" which initiated the attacks against them.

Ed said...

Diane,

Thank you for your reply to my question. In regard to your two questions:

1) If the Church condemns the events themselves as not supernatural, will you accept it?

Yes, without any hesitation, just as, if the Church approves the apparitions, I will trust her judgement and accept them as authentic. I accept that you are not bound to believe them and respect it, however you will not be free to try and persuade others to disbelieve them. Some perspective will be necessary. And yes CDF would have to look at the role the local bishops played, as they would need to look at the Franciscans if the judgement is negative. In fact, it might be no harm to conduct those two investigations anyway.

2) In such a case, would you then do an examination of conscience with regards to any wrongful persecution and calumnies spread against the bishops of Mostar?

In such a case, if there were calumnies against the bishop, I would, though I personally I do not think have not calumnied the bishop: but an examination is always needed not just then but every day with regard to our thoughts, words and actions. And even now as the Church has not officially ruled out the authenticity of the apparitions I would condemn unjust calamunies - there is no place for them. The situation is very political and complex and mistakes have been made on both sides and there will be a lot of healing to be done regardless of the outcome. I realise that the Holy Father and the new commission have a very difficult task because ultimately their final judgement will be interpreted by some as a decision on the fued between Diocesan clergy and Franciscans in BH, and that has been going on for over a century.

I agree with you when you prudence is necessary, on all sides, and it has been somewhat lacking. We must await the judgement of the Church - I, you, those for, those against, and yes even the bishop himself, since he, like all of us, is now subject to the competence of the Holy See on this one.

While I agree with you with regard to respecting the bishop and his orthodoxy, history and prudence teaches us that even good and orthodox bishops (and others) have often got in the way of the will of the Lord. No reason to be uncharitable, unjust or to make calumnies, but prudent.

As regards people thinking you are attacking Our Lady, I do not agree with that either. You are a Carmelite, so you are bound to her in a particular way, and your Mother Foundress, St Teresa offers an example of devotion which is worthy of imitation. She also offers an example of obedience and love for the Church in describing herself as a "daughter of the Church" - regardless of what side people are on, they must, and many on both sides do, try to live that in their lives.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Ed,

First, I want to thank you for your civil tone. It is conducive to dialogue.

You said: I accept that you are not bound to believe them and respect it, however you will not be free to try and persuade others to disbelieve them

I am glad you brought this up because it is a point that I was going to make. Should the Holy See ever approve the events themselves as supernatural, and even if I could not bring myself to accept the decision (which is not sinful in anyway), it would fly in the face of prudence to publicly speak against it.

continuing...

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

continuing part 2:

People make this mistake often today: If they cannot accept a teaching or a decision of the Church, they do not deal with it internally, but externally. We then have open dissent and this I will not do.

I feel this is already happening with the so-called fued between the local bishop and the franciscans. So great is the distrust of the bishop on this, that promoter websites and blogs will not even link to the Romanis Pontificibus just because it resides on the Diocese of Mostar website, even though it is a document of the Holy See. I had the decree professionally translated this past summer by a canonist/latinist so that it would be available to the English speaking world. I own the rights to the translation and those who want it must use what is on the diocesan site, where it rightly belongs.

Between Holy See and Franciscans

Few understand that the "rift" is not between the bishop and the franciscans, but between the franciscans and the Holy See. The pro-Medjugorje sites have been so taken in by what the franciscans have told them, that supporters refuse to even read the actual decree. They trust what they are being told by a province of franciscans which came within a hairs-breadth of being eliminated by Rome for their behavior. It was the OFM Generalate in Rome which placed them at the level of ad instar whereby they were unable to elect their own provincial due to their response to Romanis Pontificibus.

The decree explains that once an area is settled, the usual course is for diocesan clergy to take over parishes. The Holy See was very generous in permitting the Herzegovina Province to retain 50% of their parishes (this does not exist any where else in the world). Instead of humbly accepting that, they objected, some unto eventually usurping a number of parishes (which led to the Holy See's action in 1999, in which RP was definitively implemented). Those priests were kicked out of the OFM (by Rome), were suspended a divinis, and continue today, as if nothing happened. They offer Mass, hear confessions. They were behind 800 invalid confirmation attempts, some using a fake bishop who was a deacon of the Old Catholic Church. This was a sin against the Holy Spirit! Yet, there was not even a mention by the "gospa".

So shocked was the Holy See and OFM Generalate in Rome, they wanted every franciscan in that province to sign a declaration of obedience. Most signed, but over 20 did not and they have remained without faculties ever since. The list is seen here (scroll down towards the bottom of this google translate version).

continuing...

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

continued...part 3

With that, I would ask you, and others, to read the actual decree of the Holy See in the link I provided. The local franciscans cannot accept the decisions of the Holy See, they have engaged in open disobedience to the Holy See, they have made arguments suggesting the Holy See didn't have all the facts, and they have spread their defiance all over the world through pilgrims willing to accept their word over the that of the Church, and through promoter sites which proliferate their arguments - arguments the Holy See is fully aware of.

They have nearly been to the point of a kind of schism in that diocese. Read carefully the homily of the Papal Nuncio to BiH from last year when Fra Marko Semren, OFM was named an auxiliary bishop in Bosnia - the first Franciscan bishop in BiH in over 40 years. He is a noted expert on franciscans in the region. As franciscan provinces around the world celebrated an OFM becoming bishop with news of it on their websites, it was curiously missing from the Herzegovina Province website, and the news was not passed along on the Medjugorje website. Why? Think about that!

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To mgseamanjr:

You are right that I am no longer posting your comments. It is not because you disagree with me, but because you don't know how to disagree with people without getting downright nasty and obnoxious.

On that basis, you remain banned from my site.

As an aside, if you want to talk about people not being permitted to speak, perhaps you would be so kind as to talk to the folks at the Medjugorje Forum who openly state in their forum rules that only believers in Medjugorje are allowed to participate. Now that is censorship.

At least I permit comments made by people who know how to hold a discussion like an adult instead of a snarky teenager.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I meant to provide a direct link to Romanis Pontificibus for those interested.

It can be found here at the Diocese of Mostar webiste.

I also have it embedded here in a blogpost which contains other useful information such as relevant diocesan statistics.

Ed said...

Diane,

Thank you for your response. Civility is indeed the only way to relate to each other - regardless of what position we take on Medj, we are all followers of Christ and we should be looking to love him more.

Thanks for text of the decree, I have read it before and I agree with you when you say that the decree RP of the Holy See must be respected, and it was not respected by a number of Franciscans. No excuses offered there. But I would say that in discerning the authenicity of the apparitions we have to separate the political situation from the alleged supernatural. Of course it will be said that the two are mixed up - it is for the Holy See to decide that and to unravel.

Many of those who go to Medj know nothing of the BH affair and there is no mention by those who are there of the difficulties with the bishop. I believe some say that nothing is said in order to get them on side.

However it could also be said that the alleged visionaries just want people to go home and live the Gospel. When I have heard them speak that is all they have said: love God, practice your faith, go to Holy Mass, pray the Rosary, fast, read Sacred Scripture, seek to become holy with Our Lady as your model (pretty much the life of a secular Carmelite I think you would agree). I have been to Medj a number of times, I have heard the alleged visionaries speak a number of times, not once have I ever heard them say a word against the bishop. My point is: it is possible that that these events are happening irrespective of the political situation, and perhaps as a means to bring healing in the situation. Our Lady does tend to come into the middle of fairly difficult situations: Enlightenment France in 1854, Portugal in the grip of atheism and freemasonry in 1917, and to Laus, France (officially approved) in a time of lukewarmness among Catholics. Laus is very like Medj - long period of frequent apparitions, serious difficulties with bishop (who put the visionary, the Ven. Benoit under censure for a decade), same message repeated time and time again.

Anyway, I have no issue with the difficulties and there has been disobedience, but I do think we need to ask the question, which I do thnk has been asked: is it possible that even in the midst of all this, Our Lady has come, and if so: why? Just asking.

By the way, if (IF...) the Holy See approves Medj, would you think of going to see it? If we're both alive and able to get around (even if in wheelchairs) I know a nice pizzaria that serves good food. We could get a bite before Mass and devotions at 6pm. God bless.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dear Ed,

I'm actually finding the dialogue refreshing despite our different points of view.

Thank you for having taken the time to read RP. I've often thought of Franciscans as those friars who would give the very cloak off their back if asked for it. That image has made it difficult for me to reconcile their justifications, no matter how many good points they may have, for refusing to hand over parishes they were instructed to give by the Holy See itself.

That said, I must say that early on I agreed with you to an extent, that the situation was separate from Medjugorje. What I cannot get past from a theological standpoint today - not a political one - is that the alleged apparition, if it were Mary, would not speak about such terrible sacrileges taking place so close to Medjugorje. These were not minor issues, but abuses of the Sacraments, and even those attempted Confirmations which was an offense against the Holy Spirit.

All the while this was going on, the local bishop was left trying to explain to people that the "confirmations" their children received were invalid, and then he confirmed them.

People in the area are still going to those parishes, and are still accepting those suspended priests who were kicked out of the OFM, and who still dress like franciscans, and do the whole 9 yards like nothing ever happened.

You are correct though, that it is all in the hands of the Holy See - theological points like this. It's not just what the "gospa" says, it's what she doesn't say, and this is a big one.

As to the the good things you've experienced, I don't doubt it for a moment. Medjugorje - the place - offers to people things that many still today cannot get back in their home parishes - sadly. We are emerging from an era that tried to stuff Eucharistic and Marian devotion into the Smithsonian Museum as if it were passe. Confession fell into disfavor, and to couple that homilies were stripped of the engine, transmission and driveshaft. Then people wonder why the drop in vocations and why others have lost interest in the faith.

But as I often say, these things belong not to Medjugorje, but to the Church. It's our heritage, and a person can be deeply devoted to Mary and the Eucharist, without believing in Medjugorje. Too many supporters out there put the alleged private revelation on the level of public revelation and that is unhealthy.

As to going back there, I have been there. I lived in the region 2.5 years and remember it fondly. The people were wonderful. I yearn to go back to Mostar, to sit at a table overlooking the Neretva River with some Turska Kava and Ćevapčići or Burek (no pizza for me when I can have that).

Unfortunately, due to certain kinds of health issues, foreign travel hinders me from going back.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here know why I am unable to access the comments on that excellent article "Medjugorje is generating what the devil loves most: Disobedience"?

Veronica

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Veronica,

It loads veerrry slowly, so just go to the page and walk away. When you come back, the comments page might be there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Diane! It worked.

Satan's having a field day with Catholics. If he can't get you to leave the Church one way, he'll try another. Getting people to pray ten Rosaries a day and fast three days a week is a small price for him to pay if in the end he get you out of the Church and into his "non serviam" clutches for all eternity.

How many people will be distraught and disillusioned if this proves false? Why? They put their faith in Medjugorje rather than in the Church.

Veronica

Louis Bélanger said...

@Diane & Ed

Diane, I am impressed by your infinite patience in explaining things again and again, here and elsewhere, and in presenting the necessary references that transcend the subjective emotional point of view.

Ed, I am impressed by your civility in your dialogue with Diane. It is indeed refreshing and encouraging for those who have a critical point of view on the matter and are eager to share their documented research with documented respectful interlocutors.

Many forget what Paul said to the Ephesians: “From now on, no more lying: that each one speak the truth to his neighbour; aren’t we members of one another?

In fact, one should not be “pro” or “against” Medjugorje but rather thirsty for the truth. In searching for it, said Benedict XVI, the pastoral care of intelligence should be applied, an harmonious integration of faith and reason as Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini) showed us the way concerning private revelations in particular.

A respectful dialogue is the necessary condition for the fulfilment of both wise Popes’ aspirations ad majorem Dei gloriam

Louis Bélanger

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

A note to users, please see in the above the comment box form, my note about anonymous users who do not sign with some kind of name.

Note that Veronica used the "anonymous" option, but she then gave us a way to refer to you.

If you have submitted such a comment, please resubmit with a name, pseudonym, etc. It's impossible to respond to a number of people all using "anonymous" without any way to know whether they are all the same person, or different people.

After this thread has run it's course, I will be turning off the "anonymous" option and people will need to use an Open ID, or sign up for one.

Ed said...

Diane,

Thanks for your response. Reflecting on what you said, I read Bishop Peric's statements again. As I read the bishop's objections (see his speech in Maynooth, Ireland), leaving aside the number of apparitions, the fact that the alleged visionaries did not enter religious life, the number of messages - all of which can be explained and do not affect authenticity, I see he makes the same point as you do.

As a digression - an examination of the approved apparitions of Our Lady at Laus reveals the striking similarities with Medjugorje (frequent apparitions, some lasting hours on end over the space of fifty years - Medjugorje still has a long way to go to break Laus' record). You have probably read the story and messages of Laus, it is interesting to compare them. Also, of all the approved visionaries, of those who were not in religious life at the time of the visions, very few actually entered religious life - as far as I am aware only Sr Lucia of Fatima and St Bernadette, and there is alot of evidence to suggest Bernadette was put in religious life, she had intended just being a simple servant. The visionaries of Guadalupe, Pontmain, Banneaux, Beauraing etc all remained lay people and a number of them married. The seers of La Salette tried religious life/seminary, but failed and then went off the rails somewhat (though, interestingly their subsequent lives which should have undermined the authenticity of the vision of La Salette didn't). Bishop Peric, to give him the benefit of the doubt and to be fair to him, seems not to be aware of these points.

Anyway, my point is, the bishop, at the heart of his argument, agrees with you - why does the Virgin, if it is her, not say something about the Franciscans in the diocese of Mostar who are disobedient? I do think he could embrace, in a prudent way of course, the possibility of the apparitions, if that question had been answered for him. And that is a fair point. He loves Our Lady, I do not doubt, love of the Virgin is a hallmark of the Croatian people, and God knows she got them through some difficult times. And I would imagine, if that question was answered, and the apparitions found authentic, you would have no greater defender than Bishop Peric. So why did Our Lady, if it is she, not give him the sign she gave the bishop of Guadalupe? Why did the Lady not intervene in the historical standoff?

(continuing...)

Ed said...

I did ask that question myself and I will be honest, I do not know. But then I do not know why Our Lady in Fatima told Francisco, a good hearted child (perhaps more devout that Jacinta at the time) why he of all of them would have to say many rosaries if he was going to get into heaven - the only one of the three under that condition. Or why, when asked about a young girl who lived a good life, would be in Purgatory until the end of the world (rather harsh to be honest). I also wonder why, with the Church being persecuted in France and widespread apostasy, why Our Lady at Lourdes did not launch an attack as she did at Fatima. Or why she was silent at Knock. Or why, at Laus, she seemed to lay aside her respect for bishops and criticised the local bishop for his treatment of the visionary, the Ven. Benoite, where in Guadalupe in a most wonderful, tender way she gave the bishop the very sign he had asked of her in a novena: the roses. I do not know. To be honest, while I love Our Lady, I have yet to plomb the depths of her Immaculate Heart - a Mother's heart, who can understand the depths of that? I am still mystified by the movements of my own mother's heart, never mind Our Lady's.

Thinking about it all - and praying, I think we can see two situations. She is a Mother first and foremost, with a Mother's heart, and so as a Mother she will protect her children when attacked from outside, and when dealing with problems between her children she will try and bring about a reconcilation by reminding her children of the way they should be living.

In Fatima and La Salette, for example, she was protecting her children from an external threat, so she warned them to keep away from the dreadful ideology which was makng inroads even in the Church. She was forceful. Perhaps in Medj her way of reconciling warring children is to remind them what the standard is - obedience to God and the Church and many of the messages deal with that. Is it possible that in insisting we concentrate on the Gospel and live holy lives she wants those on both sides to take a good look at the problem, at their own part in it (and I do believe mistakes were made on both sides - that's not to say disobedience is justified, just that the party in the right may need to do some things differently to facilitate the return of the sinner, to seek reconciliation without humilitating the sinner) and seek reconciliation freely? A weak argument? Perhaps. But in all the visions of Our Lady there are elements which remain mysterious.

No doubt you have heard of the four Franciscan priests of Mostar who had been suspended and went to the visionary, Vicka I think it was, to ask Our Lady what they were to do. They had refused to obey him and were still celebrating the sacraments. Apparently Our Lady is said to have said that while the bishop was harsh in dealing with them (by the way as a realist I recognise that the right thing can be done sometimes in way that may seem harsh and I think even good bishops can share in that human failing), but then she said that they had to obey the bishop. For me, right at the start, Our Lady did say something: obey the bishop.

Anyway, we can but pray and live the Gospel. Pity you can't travel anymore, but as you say, and Bishop Peric reminds us, we do not have to go to shrines, though they are a bonus and grace can be given. All the saints became saints in their ordinary daily lives.

By the way, what do you think of Garabandal? Interestly there Our Lady is supposed to have appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Myself, I do not know. What is interesting is that the first commission returned the constat de non supernaturalitate, but then a later bishop overturned that and referred the matter to Rome a number of years ago, and no decision yet. Your thoughts on it would be helpful (or would you prefer not to get another controversy going? That would be quite understandable).

God bless

Ed said...

Louis,

Thinking about civility, Perhaps it should not be a case of being civil. Civility is politeness or courtesy to others, but we should strive to be Christian because here there are brothers and sisters, sons and the daughters of the Church, in conversation, so we must relate to each other in love more than politeness and civility, which is a greater demand.

Looking at all the arguments, on all sides, that is missing. There should be more conversation in love. The bond that unites us, in faith, is stronger than that which divides us. It doesn't stop us disagreeing, nor striving for the truth (no wishy washy lovey thing here), but at the end of the day we are in union in Christ in the Church with the Holy Father, and each day we all recieve the Lord in the Eucharist - we share in the same Sacrament, so when all is said and done, regardless of where we stand on Medj, we should still be able to be Christ's family, supporting each other, and yes, even having a laugh over pizza (Diane can have pasta) be it in Medj, Mostar or that restaurant on 7th Ave in NYC where I had the dodgey meal that put me off onion rings for life! There is more to our relationship, or at least there should be. God bless.

Ed said...

Diane,

I have had a moment to do some research regarding the original statement in the early days. I found an article on the event which led Bishop Zanic to reject the possibility of authenticity - the dismissal of Frs Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina. The alleged apparition did indeed support them, so I correct myself on that. But it seems the Holy See in its judgement of the 27th March 1993 (17907/86 CA) upheld what the alleged apparition said and ruled that Bishop Zanic was wrong and acted illegally in his demand that the priests be returned to the lay state.

As this was the actual event which led the Bishop to believe that the apparition was not Our Lady because she would not have spoken against him.

As this article is all over the net, what is your view? I have looked over your blog entries on Medj, but I cannot find any mention, perhaps I missed it.

God bless

Louis Bélanger said...

@Ed,

As you have done some research, I am submitting my grain of salt, even if you asked the question to Diane…

Fr. Ivo Sivric, O.F.M, proposes his own inquiry on the subject in The Hidden Side of Medjugorje (1989). I have chosen and put on medjupedia some pages that may interest you.

In a section of Chapter 7, (pages 113, 114, 115, 116) you will see that Fr. Sivric is critical of Bishop Zanic concerning an “unfortunate incident” or “painful and disgraceful situation” related to the sharing of parishes. It seems that Bishop Zanic, who read and recommended the original French edition of the book, did not reproach my Franciscan friend for his critique.

In a section of Chapter 8, (pages 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132) Fr. Sivric explains Bishop Zanic’s position, positive at the beginning and radically changed in January 1983.

Finally, you could consult the pages on Marco Corvaglia’s blog that concern the “instigation to insubordination”.

I hope that these excerpts will be useful to you.

With my cordial greetings,

Louis Bélanger

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dear Ed,

I would like to respond to your question, but have been gone since 6:00am and just now arrived home (10:15pm).

I will try to come back to it tomorrow, but could have another long day away.

There are some fine points to sift through on this one.

Thanks for the continuing dialogue.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

@Louis - thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

Ed said...

Dear Louis,

Thank you for your response and the references which have proved very useful.

The book you mention was written in 1989, four years before the declaration of the Holy See on the matter, so any discussion or conclusions therein must fall, in obedience, to the decision of the Church. The decision by the Apostolic Signatura was promulgated in 1993, finding against Bishop Zanic and confirming, though not intentionally, what the alleged apparition claimed.

I have been thinking and praying about this all day yesterday and last night, even brought it to Mass this morning. In my heart I am now asking two question. The first: the bishop of Mostar-Duvno has had this document with the Holy See's decision on the very case which is only arguable link between the alleged apparitions and the difficulties with some Franciscans, since 1993 when the diocese would have been informed of the Church's decision; why in the 18 years since he received it has he not released it and included it on the diocesan website which is very comprehensive on the alleged apparitions?

Second question which has arisen for me: since this incident is the only arguable link between the two and his successor was found to have erred and the alleged apparition found correct, why did he not look again and see that his problem with the erring Franciscans might not actually be related to the alleged apparitions at all?

As I reflect on these questions - I wonder has a wonderful opportunity for reconciliation been missed. While the bishop could not rule on authenticity, of course, the possibility of mutual investigation and discernment may have been an opportunity to build bridges and call back to repentence those who are rebellious.

The decision of the Apostolic Signatura which I presume you, Louis, and indeed Diane accept, as all must, does not authenticate the alleged apparitions, but it does break the link which was claimed to exist between the disobedience of friars and the possibility that the Mother of God is actually appearing to six young people and calling the world to conversion.

Thank you for this conversation, it has led me to think more deeply on the whole Medj phenomenon, and I would not have found this document from the Apostolic Signatura had we not been talking - strangely, as pointed out by some bloggers, it was not reported when the decision was made, and yet it is probably one of the most important document in whole affair.

Diane, respond when you have time.

God bless you both.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dear Ed,

I will come back another time, but will throw this out for now. I will need to break this up into two parts. At this time, I'm only dealing with the judgment itself. Another time, I will get into why I don't think the Signatura's judgment in anyway negates the theological problems associated with Vego, Prusina, Vicka, and the "gospa" (and I put it in paranthesis because the Church has not declared it truly, the Gospa (which is an affectionate expression for Our Lady in Croatian that predates Medjugorje, likely by centuries).

I wanted to ask if you had read the full page Louis provided by Marco Corvaglia which covers the subject in great detail. At the end, he appends information pertaining to the Signatura's decision.

We learn that the Signatura did not fault Bishop Zanic in any way. Rather, it called out a procedural error by the Congregation for Religious.

In fact, the Signatura, as the additional info in Marco's post reads, mentions Bishop Zanic, "several times in the judgment, and every time his judgement, his opinion, and his denunciation are considered falling under his competence."

The ruling on a procedural error by the Congregation for Religious paved the way for the two to appeal. However, Ivice Vego had already left the religious life and priesthood, having fathered a child with the former Sr. Leopolda. The decisions remain in force on the "denial of priestly faculties, with regard to the pastoral activities of Ivan Prusina within the diocese before and after the dismissal, and even after the dismissal being declared unlawful."

My understanding is that Prusina, is still a priest, but he has no faculties in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno. The procedural error by the Congregation for Religious evidenty paved the way for him to continue his priesthood in another diocese.

In my next comment, I will address two sources of what I believe to be disinformation floating out there. You be the judge after reviewing that, in light of what is presented above.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

There are currently two main sources of information which attribute fault to Bishop Zanic (saying he himself erred), rather than calling it a procedural error by the Congregation for Religious. One originates with Fr. Laurentin, and the other with Msgr. George Tutto. Their accounts are proliferated on the web. I will show why I do not feel they can be reconciled with the facts provided to us.

Fr. Rene Laurentin
The Diocese of Mostar-Duvno was pushed into responding to what it called disinformations by Fr. Laurentin, found in a French magazine in 1997 on the case. Don Ante Luburic, Chancellor writes on October 24, 1997 the following:

We read in Chretiens Magazine No.103, of 15th September 1997, pp34-35, the article entitled "Storm over Medjugorje" by Rene Laurentin.

Father Laurentin recounts some disinformations and certain things which are not true, in this way causing a real 'storm' over Medjugorje.

1. It is not true that the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura had issued a judgement of "six cardinals, among whom the Dean of the Sacred College, which rehabilitated the two victims" (Franciscans). The Dean of the Sacred College did not sign the document and no six cardinals signed it. One sees by this that Rene Laurentin did not have the text of the Signatura to hand, or else that he saw it but only read it superficially.

2. The two Franciscans are not rehabilitated as regards the abuses they commited, but one simply notes the error by omission of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life. Also the interdict passed by Bishop Zanic on Brother Ivan Prusin retains all its validity, and he has no jurisdiction whatever nor canonical mission in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno. We published it in our official bulletin (Vrhbosna, 2/1996, p142). The other Franciscan, Brother Ivica Vego, left the Order and the priesthood in 1988.
[as noted previously, after fathering a child with a nun]

Don Luburic goes on to list several other pieces of disinformation in the same article by Fr. Laurentin.

Now, I must continue in another combox, due to text limit, to address the problem with how Msgr. Tutto's letter in the Catholic Herald is presented on Pro-Medjugorje sites.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I meant to provide you with a link to the full statement by Don Ante Luburic. Here it is: http://medjugorjedocuments.blogspot.com/2008/04/fr-rene-laurentin-disinformations-by.html

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

With regards to Msgr. Tutto, the link which once contained his complete letter at the Catholic Herald has since gone defunct.

It should be noted that Msgr. George Tutto is (and was then) a Chaplain to a group of Hungarian people in London. He is a Medjugorje supporter.

But the full letter is contained in the book, Medjugorje - After Twenty One Years by Michael Davies (it is online in it's entirety and you will find the letter duplicated, starting on page 173).

Sadly, most pro-Medjugorje websites, if not all, have only given readers half the paragraph Msgr. Tutto wrote on the subject. First, let's look at the full paragraph here. I am using bold to emphasize points I will address below:

Bishop Zanic demanded on the 17 January 1983 that the Friars should be reduced to laity status. Father Vego, I gather, got married later on, but the case of Father Prusina was taken up by the supreme tribunal of the Holy See, the Signatura Apostolica. After many years of investigation, the tribunal arrived at its decision on 27 March, 1993. In document 17907/86 CA, it is stated that Father Ivan Prusina's expulsion from the order and Bishop Zanic's demand to declare Prusina ad statem laicalem was both wrong and illegal. The Catholic Press failed to take note of this. But I blame partly also the Roman authorities. When I wrote a letter to the Secretary of the tribunal, Bishop Zenon Grocholewski on 1 June 1995, asking for a copy of the tribunal's sentence, the Bishop expressed his regret for being unable to accede my request, but I was forbidden to publish the contents of his letter. I received information regarding Father Prusina from other sources.

1) "wrong and illegal" are not found in canonical judgements. It is pretty clear that Msgr. Tutto is not a canonist, nor could he have quoted the actual document given such language. We also know that it was a procedural error attributed to the Cong for Rel Life.

2) That he was told he could not have a copy of the judgement I think is pretty understandable. This involved disciplinary actions against priestly personnel and I would not expect it to be made public any more than I would expect an HR department to make such a thing public about someone. Unlike the US Supreme Court, the Signatura is not going to make public it's judgements concerning individuals.

3) We can't possibly know what Bishop Grocholewski supposedly wrote in his letter to Tutto. We only have his word that something was said which was forbidden to make public, but we cannot know the nature of it. We cannot make inferences based on the manner in which it is conveyed, either.

4) On Prusina, you will note that the paragraph ends with Msgr. Tutto going right to an ambiguous followup that he got his information on Prusina, "from other sources".

This is all very soft information, hardly worthy of objective consideration. It is precisely this kind of selective reporting of information, steeped in inuendo and hearsay, that is found in the arguments favoring Medjugorje that cause me rule out what they feel is evidence. Objectivity always trumps subjectivity.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

One more thing on the case of Msgr. Tutto.

I have not linked to any of the many popular pro-Medjugorje websites on this because I cannot find the full letter at any of those sources.

I am always very careful of using people's interpretations of what others have said, and prefer instead to go to the original documents. I hunted online for Msgr. Tutto's complete letter to the Catholic Herald, using an archive link that, as I said, had gone defunct. I then discovered that Michael Davies, who publicly refuted Msgr. Tutto in the Catholic Herald (his response found on page 177 of the same online book).

Many pro-Medjugorje websites like to demonize Davies because he was a traditionalist. However, whether a source is for, or against, Medjugorje, I think that the original content of their writings, and their argumentation is what we should be looking at, not how they part their hair, or if they are a traditional Catholic, a charismatic Catholic, or even a non-Catholic.

Only use of reason and prayer, as you have been laudibly doing, is what helps us to work towards the truth.

I'm interested in your thoughts on what I have presented. More can, and will be said, about the how the "gospa" actually still does factor in to all of this. However, it will be later, as I am not feeling well today.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dear Ed,

My apologies. For whatever reason, your comments ended up in my email spam folder so I was unaware that they were there for moderation.

All Others:

I continue to get "anonymous" unsigned comments from supporters and non-supporters and those are not being published as my note states in the comment form.

Please use some kind of tag, handle, pseudonymn, etc., in combination with the "anonymous" option. I will close this option once this thread has run it's course.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Ed - I see that those comments were from a few days ago that did not get moderated. People should scroll up to Feb 16th for them.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dear Ed,

I regret that due to continued flow of unsigned anonmyous comments coming into my blog, despite my clear request for people to simply sign them with a handle or tag, I have found it necessary to go to the next option down which also, sadly, removes the Name/URL option. You can comment again, but you will need to sign up for some kind of an ID through Open ID. You can use this at most blogs.

I also discovered that all of your posts which ended up in my spam folder had an identical timestamp of 8:57. This will almost always cause the spam trigger. If you don't see something moderated, email me: TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com. I will then check for them.

I have blogged on this problem, and my switch away from anonymous comments here: http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2011/02/note-about-comments-at-te-deum-laudamus.html

tom said...

I am curious how the vatican will interpret what was stated at Medj.:

Question: "Is the Blessed Mother calling all people to be Catholic?"
"No. The Blessed Mother says all religions are dear to her and her Son."
How anyone in their right catholic mind get around that one with a straight face and still say they are catholic is beyond the me.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

tom,

I think Medjugorje devotees, like most Catholics today, do not have the catechetical background needed to see the problem with the statement. They can easily explain it away, or allow someone else to explain it away.

Here is a translation of a document Bishop Peric a few months ahead of the new Commission being made public. It concerns Doctrinal Confusion over 10Medjugorje "Messages".

He talks about the one concerning "all religions equal" in point 6.

Nick said...

Tom,

There are different translations of the messages, and it is said that the messages were incorrectly translated by its main translator.

Having said that, there are many troubling details in Medjugorje, such as the one noted. I often note different details whenever I speak on Medjugorje, because there are many arguments one can make against the apparitions. One of the bigger ones being monetary gain.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Nick, I think you want to be careful of what source you are using with regards to claims about translations.

Why not reference what the local bishop says about the doctrinal confusion in this particular "message"?

Certainly, he was not dealing with a translator since he had access to it in the original langauge. Richard Chonak translated the Bishop Peric's discussion of the problems with this specific "message".

http://catholiclight.stblogs.org/archives/2010/03/the-deviations-of-medjugorje.html