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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Tominellay said...

Hi, Diane!
I have found Stephen K. Ryan's (and Daniel Klimek's) arguments on the MinistryValues site to be exceedingly weak...


Stephen Ryan said...


Who sent you an unsolicited e-mail from because it sure was not me?

steve ryan

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Hi Steve,

You did. See the snapshot just added to the bottom of my post. said...

right were on my email list.. I have removed you sorry

but I was not aware I sent it to you


Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Ok. Thanks for checking.

I'm just curious - did you add me and others who have had a skeptical or critical view of Medjugorje to that mailing list? I know I'm not the only one who started receiving these sporadic pieces on the subject.

Also, you really should, as a matter of justice, follow up in those combox threads where you denied sending that to me (it does bear your name) and make the truth known.


Stephen Ryan said...

not sure I understand your last post.. I have apologized for saying I did not send you an e-mail.. On CMR and here .. regarding my e-mails .. you and i have shared exchanges in the past . I think i added you to my list..


Anonymous said...

My husband and I had a great conversion because of Medjugorje back in 1990 and so did the priest we went with and it was all about belief in the true presence of the Eucharist which my husband wasn't even aware of that Catholic truth. I also paid for a trip for my brother to go there and he came back and lapsed into drug and alcohol again and died. Whether an apparition is true or not, there will always be people who just don't become holier and I believe God has a reason for that. It never disturbed me in the slightest that he didn't go the route that my husband and I did which was is to grow towards the Lord daily. I prefer not even discussing Medjugorje with people who are 'against' it because it doesn't matter. Jesus and Mary will eventually show us the truth and in the mean time, there is a lot of hatred shown for one another on both sides but the against people are really much worse, especially the so called 'holy intellectuals' such as the one who wrote this article. God Bless You pleasantly. Judy

Elizabeth said...

Hi Diane,

I've been following and commenting a bit in the lengthy and ridiculous banter with (Steve)on the CMR site. I know I should just stop looking at his latest comments but I can't seem to stop!

Your article was very well written and charitable. I've appreciated your writings in the past on another false (and condemned, thankfully) apparition ~ Holy Love in Ohio.

I'm also relieved to see that perhaps you don't put much stock in Spirit Daily and Michael Brown's "sensational-Catholicism". At least that's the way I interpreted a reference you made in this article. I'm continually surprised to see fairly orthodox Catholic websites or news sites link to Spirit Daily!

God bless.

Elizabeth said...

Just once Diane I wish you could write that is acatholic news site and we "report" on Medjugorje. Medjugorje is an unsolved mystery if you have figured that out yet impacting million of Catholics. Unsolved religious mysteries that involve ghosts/apparition/messages from heaven is interesting PERIOD. reports and writes about the the supernatual. It is what we do.
We choose not to write about birth control fro college aged women - that is a crowded field.

You are just so misinformed about my intentions

Stephen Ryan

Dan O'Connor said...

Let us all pray for an outpouring of the Seventh Gift of the Holy Spirit. The implications of having that Gift are somewhat different than more than a few "orthodox" Catholics I know suspect.

Keeping you all in my prayers.

In Christ, Through Mary,

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


No where does our site claim to be Catholic, and if it were, this would be problematic given the non-Catholic viewpoint found in material there.

This is not likely intentional, but it comes back to what I suggested earlier. You really need to study the CCC and know it well. Your many comments also reflect views which conflict with Catholic teaching, such as those examples linked to in my post.

I'm just curious, Steve: What is your personal position on contraception? said...

what does a "Catholic site" mean?
Does it mean that every word written is overseen by a bishop's office..

You are a "Catholic site" you write about the Catholic church.. but if you want to argue about semantics that you are not a "catholic site then you win.

splitting hairs, "gotcha", nothing ever gets resolved or discussed. If we have debate whether you or is a "Catholic" site then good golly how can anything ever get resolved.

If you asked 100 people what kind of website is Te-deum 100 people would say it is a Catholic site.

With you it is just who is most clever or understands the "Magisterium" best. One does not need to pass the Bar to be a good Catholic.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

what does a "Catholic site" mean?
Does it mean that every word written is overseen by a bishop's office..

I'd say, as a minimum, it needs to be in harmony with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

If my blog has things contrary to the CCC, I would like to know. said...

unlike most of the other folks that duck and run I will answer your question. I also know Dan O'conner has posted on this board. i have enormous respect for Dan. I also know his strict (an blessed) views on this issue and I respect them completely.

the reality is I have a college aged daughter - she knows I go to church now , but I let my wife and her work that out.

My position on birth control is it should be between the sinner and the confessional booth.

I have said many times - The church needs longer lines at the confession booth and spending less time talking about the voting booth. Medjugorje is known as the confessional of the world. Without Medjugorje I don't go to confession - this is the miracle of Medjugorje

Saving babies is another different thing.. But what is interesting it was the movie "Juno" that had a profound impact on my views (as well as Medjugorje.. these things happened about the same time)

Diane let me ask you a question does the Catholic faith have to come down to where one stands on birth control for college aged women?.

Medjugorje changes hearts first - then behavior follows.. Today there is too much emphasis on changing behavior first. it is like "Stop taking birth control and then you will be a good Catholic" it is all backwards.

Medjuogjre says "Look here - this is the way to My sons heart. This is the way to finding peace in the heart . Put God first in your life. Here is the path" Then from the heart we begin to follow the Catholic faith and understand its richness and beauty.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


I wasn't entirely clear on your position on contraception, it was ambiguous.

The Church's teaching on contraception belongs to the Catholics must assent to all that belongs to the Deposit of Faith . Not doing so doesn't make one less Catholic, for those baptized in the Catholic faith, or received into the Church.

More on the Deposit of Faith.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

oops - paste error. The gist of my response is there. said...

what do you think I am saying? said...

why did i think you would not answer my question. you asked me a question and I gave you a full lengthy answer.

now i asked you a question.. Why do I think this is a game of "Gotcha"

So what do think I said in my response? and please the faux 'I dont know" is not going to be helpful for a conversation I honered your request and gave you a heartfelt honest answer.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

It's not for me to "guess" at your answer. Steve. If you don't want to answer it, fine.

I think this has run it's course.

Combox Closed.