Thursday, April 26, 2012

Intellectual Dishonesty and Logical Fallacies at "Ministry Values" over Medjugorje

Bad Fruit

"Unseemly and offensive reactions of faithful and priests who describe themselves as 
'Medjugorjean'. Unacceptable attacks even from Radio Maria, certainly not compatible with 
the promoters of authentic Marian devotion". ~ Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, 2005

A polish uncle of mine (born and raised in U.S.) shared an interesting piece of history with me one day, concerning the Divine Mercy.  He's now in his 80's and is a very devout Catholic (goes to daily Mass, very Marian, Eucharistic).  He followed the case of Sr. Faustina and the Divine Mercy before the ban in 1959 (it began spreading in 1942).  He explained that there were printing houses, even outside of Poland to spread the devotion.  When those involved with the printing learned the Holy See suppressed devotion, they quietly closed up shop, and went back about their business.  He said there was humble submission by followers, accepting the decision, without complaint.  Six years later, then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, began an "informative process." It was discovered that faulty, and suspect, translations had gone to the Vatican.  After appropriate translations were studied, the ban was eventually lifted in April of 1978 (and in October of 1978, Archbishop Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II).

Some things to take away with this:
  1. Divine Mercy was not banned because of a shadowy conspiracy involving white albino monks in the Vatican.
  2. Grace was manifest in the reaction of devotees - a very positive sign.
  3. Approval/disapproval processes for private revelations move on God's timeline, not ours.  When we see delays like this, there are reasons, known only to God.  He cannot be outsmarted, even by the most evil of men, with the most evil of intentions, nor by the Angel of Darkness.

This leads me to something else.  I really didn't want to write this blogpost, but other people are being smeared and I feel like defending them.

Yesterday, I received an unsolicited email from Stephen K. Ryan of the pseudo-catholic website, MinistryValues, sent to my public address.  The "about us" page is lacking and material posted there is largely focused on Catholic issues, with a predominant emphasis on Medjugorje.  I am not a visitor to his site, but when I have been led there, as with yesterday's email, I find much intellectual dishonesty and plenty of logical fallacies, the biggest of which, is to conclude that silence on Medjugorje is condemnation of it.  I was going to close the browser as fast as the page loaded once I saw what a ridiculous screed it was, but my eye caught notice of some familiar names.  The piece was so poorly done, and in such bad taste, that I was surprised that Michael Brown of Spirit Daily linked to it.  Then again, I wasn't surprised, really.

Mr. Ryan is upset that Catholic news sources and blogs have not engaged in propagandizing lending credibility to Medjugorje ahead of a pronouncement by the Church.  In his post, Is sexism behind the secret conspiracy against Medjugorje in the United States? he launches a ridiculous ad hominen attack against several men (Emphasis mine in bold; graphic added by me.)

At the root of the spiritual movement of Medjugorje are special messages that come from the Virgin Mary. These messages are meant to bring the world closer to God and are made known to the world by the testimony of six people who personally encounter the Mother of Christ...Despite being poked and prodded and scrutinized by a skeptical and frustrated press,  the six Medjugorje “seers” have represented the Catholic faith in a distinctive way for three decades and  because of their example millions of Catholics look to Medjugorje for spiritual renewal. 
But across the “Pond” in the United States there is a different view of Medjugorje and the gate keepers of Catholic opinion seem to work almost in a conspiratorial manner to quell any interest or trust in Mejdugorje.  The who’s who of Catholic opinion makers, journalist and bloggers are eerily similar in their skepticism and condemnation. Two things the opinion makers have in common – 1. They have never been to Medjugorje and 2. They are all men.  
Patrick Madrid, Patrick Coffin, Mark Shea, Greg  Kandra, Pat &Matthew Archbold,  Jim Akin, Kevin Knight at New Advent, and the editors of Catholic Culture  and the National Catholic Register 
I speak with some authority on this issue.... 

Mr. Ryan doesn't let prudence get in the way of destroying the reputation of others with rash judgments, all in the defense of a phenomena not yet deemed worthy of belief by the Church.  From a discernment standpoint, it displays a lack of manifest grace for a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  While Patrick Archbold has written very few posts on Medjugorje over the years - none of them giving me a clue whether he believed, disbelieved, or was on the fence (not that it's any of my business anyway) - his brother Matt, hasn't written on the subject.  Others have offered objective analysis in one fashion or another, and the portals have linked to them.  Mr. Ryan equates communicating facts with attacking Medjugorje.  In his article, he equates silence with some kind of ethical omission.

Ryan writes:

A story that is widely reported overseas is met with a cone of silence by a cabal of Catholic men who are charged by the faithful with restoring the vitality of the Catholic faith yet strangely ignore the greatest spiritual revival on earth.  

Phew.  Ok.  Um....

I'm with Cardinal Bertone on this point: Such behavior is not compatible with promoters of authentic Marian devotion.

Now, before you put much stock into Stephen Ryan's "Ministry Values", you might want to read his exchanges in the combox at Patrick Archbold's response.  After making some claims about Catholicism that were out of harmony with the Catechism, commenter "Paladin" offered charitable correction, which Ryan readily dismissed. Mr. Ryan needs to spend less time discussing Medjugorje, and more time studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church; but, why bother with that when you can just do a "make it your own" version of Catholicism?  Just because the site appears Catholic, doesn't make it so.  I sincerely hope Mr. Ryan will study the teachings of the Church so I can refer people to sound articles.

Mark Shea also shows the email I sent to the named men after I saw the way they were unjustly treated in his article.  I had to use public email addresses for some ... so much for a conspiracy.

I'm in the process of finishing a long, over due book review on Donal Anthony Foley's, "Medjugorje Revisited".  Perhaps I can get that up tomorrow.

UPDATE: I've received a very Catholic, "WTF" email from Stephen K. Ryan denying he sent me an email to his post.  For the record, I did not subscribe to "Ministry Values", nor would I have any interest in doing so. I also find it odd that I only occasionally get these kinds of emails from that site, not all.  So, it does not seem initiated automatically.  What am I to think?  Here is a snapshot of the email I received, which Mr. Ryan is also denying, in a comment within my combox.

UPDATE 2: Stephen Ryan acknowledges that I am on his emailing list. I know I didn't subscribe, but at least he is removing me.  See his note in the combox.

Also, Deacon Greg Kandra has responded to the "charges".

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