Saturday, December 29, 2012

Večernji list, Medjugorje, and Pope Benedict XVI - a Co-Worker of Truth

Church in medjugorje

I try not to comment on Medjugorje unless there is something else out there causing a stir.  When a British tabloid apparently used osmosis to get into the Holy Father's head on Medjugorje (proclaiming boldly that a full blown approval is in the works), it was hard not to comment late last night.

It's interesting that the moment a skeptic ponders something publicly, they are reprimanded by followers who say they are suppose to, "wait-and-see" and let the Commission finish it's work.  Yet, it is the Medjugorje movement that is unwilling to cease it's endless promotion, sometimes building hope in followers that, to my mind, is cruel, given that a negative judgment is among the possibilities.

I would like to address some other things that came floating out in English language sites on Medjugorje. The source of those reports is the Croatian daily, Večernji list, which says the following (and I give you this crude google translation, which made a mess of the translation after the "nor will...")

Our source dismissed claims by some foreign media have reported that the upcoming Vatican statement acknowledged supernatural happenings in Medjugorje, nor will, in turn expects Some representatives, fully crossed 31-year old phenomenon.
Here is the original Croatian (see Google translate here)


Naš je izvor odbacio navode nekih stranih medija koji su objavili da će kroz predstojeću izjavu Sveta Stolica priznati nadnaravna događanja u Međugorju, niti će, kako pak očekuje dio predstavnika, potpuno prekrižiti 31-godišnji fenomen

With what little Croatian I can remember, it looks to me like it is basically saying the 31 year old phenomenon will not be fully crossed-out, either. In other words, it appears Večernji list is suggesting a sort of compromise is forthcoming.

The same Croatian paper also said that Bishop Peric, and Fr. Jozo Zovko were both interviewed/examined by the Commission. And, their source is claiming the commission is needing about another 6 months.

As a general rule, I don't always trust sources who openly promote the phenomenon and often treat the local bishop in a condescending way. Sometimes it's subtle.  See a very blatant example of an untruth found on what is considered the official website of the Medjugorje phenomenon to understand how far some will stretch the truth.  Authentic apparitions have no need of such nonsense to get approved.

I believe authentic apparitions prompt respect for ecclesial authority even when they are in error.  With most approved apparitions, we see visionaries seriously challenged by local Church authority, but never do we see the Blessed Virgin Mary prompt the kind of disdain for a bishop in followers as we have seen with Medjugorje. With what you read on some sites, you would think the bishop is an enemy of the Church!

Speculation alert

Let us ponder for a moment that the report from Večernji list is accurate and that our understanding is they are suggesting some sort of compromise is forthcoming.

The Pope can't sort of..., kind of..., pronounce a clear message on the question of Medjugorje (the Nuncio's words in March 2010).  I think the Holy Father will do exactly what Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico said back then and, on the question of Medjugorje, pronounce a clear message.

But, what is "the question" on which the Holy Father will pronounce a clear message?

I think the biggest question on the mind of most Catholics is (A)  is there sufficient evidence to affirm that nothing supernatural is happening with regards to the visions themselves?  Or,  (B) is there sufficient evidence to suggest the alleged apparitions may some day be approved as authentic (private revelations would not be approved if they are ongoing as it could harm the credibility of the Church if, after approval, clear evidence emerges to the contrary).

You can't compromise on those two things, folks.  Some suggest there is, (C) which is to say that the Pope could maintain status quo in the context that everybody keeps doing what they are doing from the visionaries to devotees, with some clarifications issued (pro-Medjugorje sources believe the Pope will clamp down on skeptics and critics;  and critics and skeptics believe the Pope will clamp down on the activities of the visionaries, devotees and others enabling them).  The only problem I have digesting (C) is that there would have been no need for a commission and, to my mind, it is a solution which contradicts the Nuncio's words in 2010.  In other words, how do you pronounce a clear message on the question of Medjugorje leaving things as they are?

I have other reasons for not entertaining (C) so much myself.


Pope Benedict XVI is a co-worker of truth

The Holy Father is a man who has fought tooth and nail against relativism - where everyone gets to choose their own convenient "truth."  Either there is something happening with these visionaries that is worthy of belief, or worthy of a "wait and see," or not worthy of belief at all.

His Holiness has also fought against consequentialism where the ends justifies the means (such as engaging in evil for the sake of a good outcome). So, if Holy Church has evidence that nothing supernatural is happening with regards to the visions (for speaking purposes only), that leaves either fraud, diabolical involvement (preternatural), or some other explanation that is not supernatural. With fraud, there is lying and lying is a form of evil. Diabolical involvement is evil.  Setting aside possible medical or psychiatric problems, charity would demand that all connected with it, especially visionaries, be given an opportunity to deal with the consequences here in this life, rather than in the next. 

And, here is another big question associated with Medjugorje:  With regards to the good things we see like conversions, vocations, and strong devotion - are they fruits of the alleged phenomenon, or are they something else?

Let us consider that Pope Benedict has shown he is willing to make tough decisions for the sake of truth, even when there are overwhelming, supposed "good fruits" to be cited, and serious withdrawal symptoms to be experienced by members of the Church.

Marcel Maciel's behavior was condemned in the firmest way by the Holy See and Pope Benedict XVI cut through the smoke. Yet no one would argue that the many vocations in the Legion of Christ were bad or inauthentic. They were, in fact, good. But, were they good fruits of Maciel's work or something else? I believe the answer is found in Scripture, specifically, Romans 5:20, which teaches us that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.  Good does not flow from evil, as it can only flow from another good.  Rather, good rises above evil for the benefit of the Church. This is pretty much what Cardinal Saraiva Martins was saying in his interview on Medjugore when asked questions some years ago about the case.  He held the top spot on the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, so he is not a novice when it comes to discernment.

If there is a compromise on anything, could it be on what to do with the place of Medjugorje, in the wake of a negative judgment; or, if the Holy Father wants the visionaries to cease with public manifestations of their visions, and wants an end to promotion of "messages," publications, etc.?  He is the ultimate arbiter of whether anything these visionaries say or do is needed by the faithful.

Consider that the larger, approved apparitions, did not involve a parish Church the way Medjugorje has (Lourdes apparitions happened in a filthy grotto; Fatima in a field; Guadalupe on a path). It initially began on a hill, but ended up in the parish church, and it is the parish church that most associate with the phenomenon.  If a negative judgment were to come, what would the Church do about the popular destination of Medjugorje?  Historically, the Church has discouraged pilgrimages to sites where apparitions were said to be not supernatural.  But, how do you tell people not to visit a parish church or an area that has become a sort of retreat center, especially for youth?  I often wonder if this is where such a compromise could arise. Yet, it seems unlikely that people will not persist as if it was approved in such a scenario.

I have no idea what kind of clear message the Holy Father will pronounce about Medjugorje, but I trust that truth will not be compromised.  I also trust his prudence more than mine on how to handle the millions who have become very attached to this phenomenon.  One thing I think we can all look forward to is a great deal of catechesis on all of these things, for people at every level of the Church.  This would be a real act of mercy given that we are in an age where alleged apparitions are a dime a dozen. It has become an industry in itself.  Many modern day private revelation claims and alleged apparitions also have their roots in Medjugorje, and from them, more sales of books and other items. How can the Church address these before Medjugorje itself is addressed? And, what becomes of them if Medjugorje goes down?

I most especially hope more clear guidelines will be laid out for bishops on what to permit or not permit when a phenomenon has not been approved.  It seems like common sense that no parish, cathedral or shrine should host visionaries before their visions are fully discerned (especially ruling out diabolical involvement).  It lends credibility to something that could some day end up with a negative judgment.  When bishops allow visionaries from other dioceses to have manifestations of these things in their own area of responsibility, all the while the local bishop and local bishops' conference does not permit these things, it reveals division at an ecclesial level.  What else can we expect but further division among the laity? The fact that such division exists, should lead us to question the origins of such an entity.  Satan loves to divide the Church in an effort to conquer (but we know Who wins in the end).

Many have written me in recent weeks frustrated by the wait.  To each of them I have said the same: I trust the Holy Father who has a much bigger task than simply pronouncing a clear message on the question of Medjugorje.  Pope Benedict XVI needs to do this in a way that will keep as many people in the fold as possible. I have already seen people publicly say in forums that if it comes down to "gospa" or the Church, they will choose "gospa." This is no laughing matter.  The Church let it go on this long and only the Church can resolve the great division. I hope we won't have to wait too much longer, but I do trust that the Pope is being very careful so that his message is very clear and will not leave the Church divided for another 30 years.  My suggestion: Be patient yet.  In the meanwhile, pray for all concerned.

Comments are open. I am allowing anonymous comments, but you must enter a name somewhere.  I suggest signing your comment first, then typing above the signature so you don't forget.  The most contemptuous comments come from those who hide behind anonymity where they say things they would never say using their real name, or in such a vile tone.  Say what you will, feel free to disagree, but be respectful if you want your comment to appear.  Don't say anything in any comment box you wouldn't say to someone's face or with your real name assigned.

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Edit at 3:55 PM: Grammatical redundancies, and errors, have been cleaned up.

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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I have already seen people publicly say in forums that if it comes down to 'gospa' or the Church, they will choose 'gospa'."

This is a horrible situation, and yes, it has been allowed to drag on in a way that will hurt the Church. What little I have seen of these Medjugorje messages does not appear to distinguish them from so many others now seemingly coming from everywhere. But talk like that above cannot be a good sign.

Therese

Timothy said...

Would love to here your take on the most recent message given to Marija by the baby Jese, "I am your peace, live My commandments" That pretty much says it all and does so with authority and brevity consistent with the Savoir's teachings. You may take issue with the messengers but its hard to argue with the messages.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Timothy,

It is interesting that, with theologians looking closely at how much the lady of Medjugorje draws people to Jesus, visionaries are now hearing from the Christ Child himself.

That a "message" is nice and inspiring does not make it authentic.

Ultimately what you or I think about the authenticity or usefulness of these "messages" is not up to you or I. The Holy Father is the final arbiter. He will determine whether they are worthy of belief. I defer to him. For now, I cannot bring myself to believe these particular alleged apparitions are authentic. There are too many contradictions - the kinds of things we do not see with approved apparitions.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am quite accustomed to celebrating the birthday of Our Lady on September 8th. However, the "Gospa" has informed the Church that She has had Her birthday wrong for centuries.

Since when does the Blessed Mother contradict Her Son's Church?

I am with you. This has gone on way too, too, too long and should have been stopped decades ago.

Lorraine

Anonymous said...

I trust the Pope’s discernment. Something that has always concerned me about Medjugorje is that NOT one of the six seers has become a priest or a nun at a time when we need more religious in the Church. I do believe marriage is a great vocation but when you look at most other approved apparitions of Our Lady, there are always conversions to religious life. Kibeho in Rwanda (which began around the same time period as Medjugorje) produced such good fruit -- one cloistered nun, one religious and one martyr! I wish more Catholics knew of this approved apparition. Thanks. God bless.

Colleen

Nick said...

Word of caution on revelations, for Timothy and others:

Just because a spirit or person can quote Scriptures or tell you about Doctrine, doesn't mean the spirit or person is from God. In Church history, Satan and false visionaries have been known to quote Scriptures, rebuke people for their sins, outsmart theologians, misinterpret Doctrine according to how people think something ought to be interpreted, and trick Popes. The most famous examples of the above are Montanus, Magdalena de la Cruz, Joseph Smith, and Jim Jones.

Just because it's Catholic, doesn't make it good. Don't be fooled by bloggers and other people who tell you to read comics with Catholic characters in them, who tell you a news site with the name "Catholic" in it is always compatible with the Church, who tell you Catholic philosophers are better than non-Catholic philosophers, and who tell you to watch a certain film because it's about Catholicism or an event in Church history. I can name so many bad examples - John Corapi, Passion of the Christ, Marian Movement of Priests, X-Men, National Catholic Reporter, and Pieta Prayerbook, just to name a few - that have disappointed me, but, by God's Grace, not extinguished my faith.

If you want to listen to someone and find something Catholic that's really good, start with Church teaching. The Church teaches you to be prudent. I know this because it's in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as past catechisms, Patristic writings, and of course Scriptures. Because not a lot of Catholics don't seem to understand the Church's teaching on revelations, I made three videos on the subject: Divine Revelation, Private Revelation, and Discernment of Spirits. I am not a theologian, so I can err. If you find any errors, let me know so I can correct them.

Nick said...

Almost forgot: The "Discernment of Spirits" is not about how the Church discerns spirits but is a scriptural, traditional, and catechetical reference for the Church's teaching on revelations.

And forgot to add a video on Marian revelations: Love of Mary

Anonymous said...

Mary M.

Bravo, Diane! This is one of the best commentaries I have read in a very long time! Pope Benedict XVI is a holy man of God. I trust implicitly in his ability to discern truth. My opinion on this situation is that it has gone on far too long and has become a cult-like obsession with many. The sad reality, however, is that there will be Medjugorje followers who will refuse to accept anything but a positive pronouncement.Pride will overrule obedience.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Sadly, there are those who know more about the messages than they do about Scripture or the Catechism. When you see Catholics saying they will obey God, not man (if a negative judgment comes out), that is a problem. It takes Scripture out of context to justify a prideful response. The Apostles used that expression, but the context was non-Christian persecutors.

Jay McNally said...

Michael Jones wrote the book on this a long time ago. The local bishops have denounced this all along.

I read something a week or so ago which indicated one or more of the "visionaries" have financial interests in the properties in and around Medjugorje (hotels, restaurants).

Someone said the Holy Spirit is directing the Vatican in its deliberations, which are now extending past 20 years. I doubt it, the way I am certain the Holy Spirit was not directing JPII to continue to cover up the Maciel mess, as well as hundreds of bishops around the glove to cover up the messes in their backyards.

There is another spirit at work here.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

[I had to delete and re-post my comment due to a confusing error]

Jay,

There are several things I would like to respond to in your comment and I think it is best if I break them down by subject. First, about books...

I have read two books by Jones, a book by Michael Davies that was published online only, a book by Sivrić/Bélanger, and two books by Donal Anthony Foley - all critical. I have also read book by Frs Laurentin, and Rupcic, among others, which were pro-Medjugorje.

That said, I am not a fan of the Jones books on the basis that they lacked citations, references and footnotes - something very prominent in the two critical books I mention and recommend to readers, below.

First, there is The Hidden Side of Medjugorje by Fr. Ivo Sivrić and Louis Bélanger. This book, published back in 1989 remains the textbook on the case of Medjugorje, with an emphasis on the early days. This book is 419 pages and has 16 original transcripts. Unlike what is seen in pro-Medjugorje books, these are unfiltered and offered raw. The book also is well sourced with loads of citations and footnotes to help with follow-up.

Louis has continued to offer analysis at his own website, looking at discrepancies in information. He has a very methodical way of sifting through facts and calling out fiction.


Secondly, Donal Anthony Foley has published a newer version of an earlier work in 2011, now called, Medjugorje Revisited - 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? Foley's book, among other things, provides additional analysis of the transcripts I mention earlier.


Both of those books are written in a matter-of-fact way, looking at documents, looking at what the visionaries said then, and how they and their associates contradicted themselves later. Foley's book goes through some very interesting regional history, and he looks at the impact Medjugorje has had on approved shrines like Fatima.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Jay,

I wanted to address this: Someone said the Holy Spirit is directing the Vatican in its deliberations, which are now extending past 20 years. I doubt it, the way I am certain the Holy Spirit was not directing JPII to continue to cover up the Maciel mess, as well as hundreds of bishops around the glove to cover up the messes in their backyards.

There is another spirit at work here.


i have to disagree with you somewhat here. First of all, the Holy Spirit isn't involved in cover-ups, no argument there. However, I do believe the Holy Spirit was involved in Pope Benedict's handling of the Maciel case.

While no one can say with certainty that JPII's role in the Medjugorje case was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit or not, I could not dismiss Pope Benedict XVI's definitive judgment (if he provides one) as not coming through the Holy Spirit. How can the Holy Spirit not influence such a decision? That is my rationale and a prudential direction I plan to take.

Aside from that, it is important to note some key points in history to understand why the Church may have allowed this to go on for what is now more than 30 years.

I am going to make a post with some historical points people need to keep in mind when casting judgment on the Church waiting so long. Once this is understood, it should mitigate some of the angst over this long duration. Perhaps I'll have that post up in a few hours.

Susan said...

"I have already seen people publicly say in forums that if it comes down to "gospa" or the Church, they will choose "gospa."

People who say this have already left the Church. Imagine if someone said, "if it comes down to loyalty to the United States or the Church they will choose the United States." Well, they've already chosen, isn't that right? It is clear what their first priority is.

Either the Church is God's voice on earth, or it is not. If it is, that voice must come ahead of all other loyalties. If it is not, the organization is deluded or lying or both, and someone who thinks that should leave immediately.


Susan F.

Anonymous said...

Many followers of Medjugorje have forgotten that we are not a faith built upon apparitions. As you know, we are a faith of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterial Teaching. Jesus is present in every Tabernacle and I will never understand this need to journey to the other side of the world to "experience" God.

Mary M.

Anonymous said...

The priest at Lourdes scoffed and only came to believe after "I am the Immaculate Conception" was spoken by the apparition. The bishop in Mexico did not believe Juan Diego until the roses and the tilma, but then he believed fully and did all Our Lady asked.

The priest's and bishop's position changed. And so it is important to not look at Ratzinger's position 5 or 10 years ago. Unknown to many, Benedict is both Marian and a mystic (he once said he dreamed of JPII giving him strength and encouragement.) Engulfed in one situation after another, he took a noticeably public turn to Mary in 2010 at Fatima, where he prayed for her Triumph to come before the centenary anniversary of Fatima in 2017. He also said those who think the prophetic message of Fatima is over are mistaken.

From 2010 onwards, the Pope's teachings on the Year of the Priest, the Year of Faith with its evangelization, call to read the bible, call to confession, call to witness, call to prayer all echo Our Lady of Medjugorje.

The bishops of the US also recently echoed Our Lady of Medjugorje with their call for prayer and Friday fasting (fasting is more distinct to Medjugorje than to Fatima).

So first the pope and now the US bishops see the stark danger of the great apostasy we are facing today, and finally are turning to the remedies given many years ago through Medjugorje as the Lady presented them to us in anticipation of this time now.

Our Lady of Medjugorje says her Triumph will come with the help of her Son's chosen shepherds (priests, religious) and we see them now turning to her.

So it is highly unlikely the Pope will do anything to diminish Medjugorje, as he and the US bishops are following her lead through the present darkness in the world. So those who are adamantly against Medjugorje and expect a condemnation or forbidding of trips there, or a 'muzzle' placed on the mouths of the visionaries, I am afraid they will be deeply disappointed.

Just my opinion, of course.

Lorry

Susan said...

Colleen said, " Something that has always concerned me about Medjugorje is that NOT one of the six seers has become a priest or a nun at a time when we need more religious in the Church."

With all due qualification, and fully recognizing the dignity of marriage, I am suspecting that these seers are not particularly attracted to the obedience which would be required in religious life.

However, that is only a casual observation on my part, an opinion about people I have never met. Not everyone has a vocation to religious life, after all, any more than everyone has a vocation to marriage. More to the point is that their obedience to the Ordinary of their diocese in those matters as to which they, as lay people, owe him obedience has not been their most outstanding characteristic.

The Holy Father will take all such matters into consideration, I am sure. Certainly it is inappropriate for the press, secular or ecclesial, to do his work for him ahead of time.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Lorry,

With many approved apparitions we see visionaries undergo serious challenge by their priests and bishops. This has happened at both approved apparitions, and disapproved phenomena. Therefore, that it this occurs is not proof of authenticity.

Also, the Church has never approved a cultus, or cult of devotion to, "Our Lady of Medjugorje." See a link to my other blog here and discuss in that thread, rather than here. But, read my full post in the link to understand.

There is nothing wrong with hoping that an alleged apparition is some day approved by the Church. But, prudence suggests we not get ahead of the Church and proceed as if it already is approved.

The US bishops weren't echoing, "Our Lady of Medjugorje" in their call for fasting and prayer; they were finally encouraging the faithful to engage in things that belong to the patrimony of the Church. These things did not originate with Medjugorje.

Also, from where do the graces come in devotees of Medjugorje? Do they come from the "gospa" or from the graces in the Sacraments received and time-tested devotions, like the Rosary?

I'm curious as to what you believe in this regard.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Forgot to provide the link to my later post which explores whether a "cultus" or cult of devotion has ever been granted to "Our Lady of Medjugorje"

http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2012/12/has-church-granted-cultus-to-our-lady.html

Anonymous said...

All grace comes from God. I am not understanding the point of the question as per approval, condemnation, shrine status etc regards Medjugorje. Conversions, vocations, healings can indeed happen as a result of an apparition, as happened during the miracle of the sun in 1917. Certainly an alleged apparition would be more suspect if there were no conversions or healings associated with it. Just as incorruptness of a person's body does not automatically confer saint status to that person, so too miracles, conversion etc do not automatically 'prove' an apparition. (But having an incorrupt body does get added to the 'list' during the review process - it is not ignored; so too with conversions, vocations, and healings.)


Nobody said these things (calls to prayer, confession, etc) originated with Medjugorje - they have always been with the Church. But they had not been emphasized in recent decades, but now are being given great emphasis by our spiritual leaders, in just the past few years. Father Z reminded us of the US bishops' call to prayer and fasting once again only yesterday via a poll (this shows just how unique it is). Our Lady of Good Success (Quito) in the 1600s warned the faith would be in danger of being extinguished in the second half of the 20th century.

In 1981, Our Lady allegedly gave as a reason for coming that echoed the 1600s words: that the faith was in danger of being extinguished, and Blessed Mary gave remedies to help us to persevere.

The danger to the faith is more clear now than in 1981, and I do think that is playing a part in decisions being made by our religious leaders, such as calls for us to return to reading the Bible, to return to the confessional, etc. I see this explicit emphasis on such practices serving as a preparation for Our Lady's Triumph. Hopefully we will see how it all plays out.

Lorry

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Lorry,

Thanks for responding to my question.

I am not understanding the point of the question as per approval, condemnation, shrine status etc regards Medjugorje. Conversions, vocations, healings can indeed happen as a result of an apparition, as happened during the miracle of the sun in 1917

Yes. Such things can happen with genuine apparitions. However, how do we explain that these things also happen among a number of devotees of apparitions condemned as not supernatural? There is only one answer: Romans 5:20, coupled by a increased use of the Sacraments and dedication to prayers, like the Rosary and Adoration.

Just think of the many people going to Medjugorje and what must happen when they see a long Confession line! That alone would prompt someone to reflect and could be an avenue of grace for the person. But, I can tell you that the same thing happens in my ordinary parish where we too have Confession lines every Sunday before the two latest Masses. I know people who, in their past lives, worked in abortion mills, were into the occult and witchcraft, among other things. Their conversions happened with good preaching, emphasis on the Sacraments and heeding those calls. My parish is also very Marian, but the pastor does not permit materials for, and promotion of, any alleged apparition not yet approved by the Church. We have many devotees to Fatima, Lourdes, and Guadalupe. Those have been approved by the Church.

I asked the question of you because I have seen some devotees write, online, that the graces are from the apparition itself. There is no credit given to sacramental grace when they visit Medjugorje and partake in daily Mass, Adoration, Confession, and begin regular prayer of the Rosary. You see, they attribute their turn to "Our Lady of Medjugorje"

Which brings me to my last point. You keep referring to "Our Lady" as if it has already been affirmed by the Church. The way I see it, you are perfectly justified to *hope* the Church declares it is the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it is presumptuous to use such titles before the Church fully discerns the alleged apparitions. We should know, perhaps later this year. I would encourage you to not use titles reserved for the Blessed Virgin Mary to something that has not yet been affirmed by the Church.

Take a look at the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will see many titles for the Mother of God in that prayer. Those are approved titles, like the Queen of Peace. There is no such thing as "Our Lady of Medjugorje" because the Church has not yet recognized such a title.

You might wonder why I am so particular on this point. Well, my father was snookered before i was born into an alleged apparition (locally here in metro Detroit). It got him praying the Rosary and going to Confession, and spending time in Adoration, so much so that it began to cause marital problems. One day, they had this man over the house for dinner. Then it was learned he killed his own mother. Decades later, before Medjugorje began, my father counseled me to never put too much stock into alleged apparitions until the Church approves them. There is risk of becoming attached and not being able to let go if the Church says, "no." That was prudent advice. Absolutely nothing is lost in waiting for the Church; but there is potential to become overly attached. And in such a case, the faith of such people who would choose, "gospa over Church" as I explained in my post, we see very weak faith. Strong faith requires none of this (see the quote by St. John of the Cross from the "Dark Night of the Soul" in my side bar.

So, feel free to *hope,* but please don't refer to the lady of Medjugorje as "Our Lady" - not before the Church affirms it... or not.

God bless, happy New Year, and a very blessed feast day on the solemnity of the Mother of God.

Anonymous said...

Lorraine,
I hate to burst your little bubble after all these years but Jesus wasn't born on Dec. 25 or the year in question via Church respected scientists of various expertise. Many celebrations dates for all kinds of holy persons and events have had to be changed or just fitted into our rather limited earthly calendars. Such babes in the woods here...one almost feels guilty to dare question such child"like" faith that gets frightened so easily...esp. when it comes to private revelations!!

rosie

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Rosie,

I hate to burst your bubble, but the Church sets the dates, not "respected scientists of various expertise." Dr. William Carroll addresses the Christmas date in this link

The Church is fully aware that Christmas, as well as the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not based on actual dates.

The bottom line is Tomislav Vlasic doesn't get to change the date the whole Church celebrates the birthday of the BVM, and Bishop Zanic did not have the authority to do so when Vlasic tried to get him to change it. Don Ante Luburic, writing for the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno explains:

On 22 August 1984, Fr. Vlašić wrote to Bishop Žanić informing him that the Madonna’s 2000th birthday was to be held that same year on 5 August! No important ecclesiastic person took this news seriously and neither did Bishop Žanić nor the Holy See. However, during 1984, on 4 and 5 August, a large group of people gathered in Medjugorje to “celebrate” the Madonna’s “birthday”.

There is no reason to change the date this is celebrated for the whole Church.

For more on the controversy over Mary's birthday and Medjugorje, readers may consult the detailed analysis of Italian research Marco Corvaglia, who maintains most of his material, also in English.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Diane, for answering Rosie for me.

I will say it again: Our Lady would never contradict Her Son's Church. Ever.

Lorraine

Dave said...

I don't know about the whole birthday thing. It seems like a tempest in a teapot to me. The liturgical celebration of Our Lady's birthday is on September 8th. That much is known and admitted by all. It is quite unlikely that Our Lady's actual birthday was on September 8th, as in the ancient Church many different dates were celebrated as Our Lady's birthday. So, is it theoretically possible that Mary could reveal the date of her real birthday, and that it is different than the date of liturgical celebration? I don't see why not. Would it be possible for a person who believes in Medjugorje to celebrate both days (the August date in a non-liturgical way)? I don't see why not.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

So, is it theoretically possible that Mary could reveal the date of her real birthday, and that it is different than the date of liturgical celebration? I don't see why not.

If God felt it pertinent for us to know the exact date of Mary's birth (considering we don't even know the exact date of Our Lord's birth), certainly it would have been given to us through Sacred Scripture.

Would it be possible for a person who believes in Medjugorje to celebrate both days (the August date in a non-liturgical way)? I don't see why not.

Write the CDF and ask them if it is appropriate to celebrate Mary's birthday twice per year.

What was behind all of this in the first place? Tomislav Vlasic knows. He is the one who approached Bishop Zanic and asked that the celebration of Mary's birthday be moved - something not within the control of Bishop Zanic (because this belongs to the Church). To understand why this came up, consider that a youth festival in September would draw few young people in September because school would have resumed for many. But, early August, now that is another story. It is an ideal time to have a youth festival.

Sorry. But if the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly appearing to anyone associated with Medjugorje, and sent Tomislav Vlasic to the Bishop with this request, it is one more conflict. Certainly, Mary would know that something which affects the whole Church could not be modified by a local bishop.

Dave said...

Certainly it is madness to think that the liturgical celebration could be changed. But I don't think that there is any evidence that the "BVM" sent Vlasic to ask for the change.

"If God felt it pertinent for us to know the exact date of Mary's birth (considering we don't even know the exact date of Our Lord's birth), certainly it would have been given to us through Sacred Scripture."

I disagree with that, and don't think Mary's birthday pertains to divine revelation, but I'm content to let the commission sort out whether that is a negative point.