Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Diocese of Mostar-Duvno on the "Great Sign" of Medjugorje

Some feel it is not charitable or prudent to talk about the negative aspects of Medjugorje, especially while there is an ongoing investigation by the Holy See.  I think the case could be made that it is not charitable, nor prudent, to dismiss what the local bishops have had to say - information that is undoubtedly in the hands of the commission as much as any positive information.  What harm can come from reading, very carefully, methodical arguments that cause so many to doubt authenticity, including two successive bishops, and could eventually lead to a negative judgment?

In an effort to help make the diocesan case on Medjugorje more visible, especially since the information is in the hands of the commission, as well as of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I'm going to be periodically making posts pointing to various documents and sources to that aim.

Not getting attached to unapproved apparitions and private revelations

These posts are not an attempt to discredit Medjugorje; it is a way of helping people to discern the prudence, or lack thereof, of being overly attached to the phenomena.

Some like to hide reality from their children so their feelings aren't hurt, only to set them up for the inability to cope with bad or disappointing things that happen in life.  Putting too much stock or belief in any alleged apparitions, or unapproved apparitions (because they have not yet been approved), or private revelations sets one up for conflict with the Church should a negative judgment ever come.  If you want to know why the Angel of Darkness would tolerate so much piety and conversions, consider how he wins when people reject a negative judgment of the Church in favor of their own personal discernment.  How much more so when the one who cannot cope with a negative judgment is a priest?

A case study in manipulation following a negative judgment

Some years ago I discovered a priest was taking a tour bus to a recently condemned apparition in another state.  In his email which I received from a concerned person, he castigated that local bishop and used outright manipulation to get people to go.  This person was suffering terribly because of what he said and had serious interior conflicts of conscience.  After several exchanges, I believe the person made the right decision in not going.  I promptly contacted the diocese in which this priest resided sharing the manipulative nature of his email.  I believe he had restricted faculties already and they were glad I let them know about the bus trip. That's how the Angel of Darkness wins in these cases!  Don't think things like that won't happen if a negative judgment comes for Medjugorje.  I should add the priest in question acted very secretively, making people feel guilty for letting anyone else know what he was doing or saying.  That kind of secrecy is exactly what Satan wants.

But how will you respond if Medjugorje is approved?

People often ask me how I will react if the Church should ever approve of Medjugorje.  First, the Church does not require me to believe in any private revelation (CCC 66, 67).  However, if that ever happened, I would open myself to whatever information the Holy See may present that was not previously available to me, along with any theological reflections.  Secondly, even if I could still not bring myself to believe in authenticity in such a case, I would then take the prudent path of silence rather than speaking out against it, once approved.  I would encourage other doubters to take the same path, if such approval ever came.  Nothing hinders me, or my conscience, from sharing information that puts authenticity in doubt, especially when it is coming from the diocese, or sources using diocesan material.

Moreover, if one wants to argue that it is not prudent to discuss the diocesan case against authenticity, then how can it be prudent to discuss or promote the alleged apparitions while the investigation is taking place?  Furthermore, I would argue that online promotion is just as bad, if not worse for clerics and faithful than attending "conferences, meetings and public celebrations," which was prohibited by the CDF in a letter to US bishops through the papal nuncio.  These websites have already deemed the lady of Medjugorje to be authentic by their very language (i.e., referring to her as "Our Lady" or using the unauthorized title of "Our Lady of Medjugorje"); and by the sale of merchandise including unauthorized medals which have been stamped in that name, statues; and publication of "messages".

"The Holy See can't rule until…."

You will see many people on the web saying that the Holy See cannot give a definitive judgment on Medjugorje until the alleged visions have ended.  That is only partially true.  It is true that no unapproved apparition would ever be approved while ongoing. Consider the problem caused for the credibility of the Church, if today, an alleged apparition is approved only to get a "message" the next day, that there are four persons in the Trinity.  But, looking history, there are many cases of alleged apparitions that were condemned as not supernatural while ongoing. The most notable case being "Bayside" where, despite a 1986 decree against authenticity, and dubious "messages", it was ongoing through some months before Veronica Leuken's death in 1995.

Diocesan Document: "The Questionable Games Surrounding the 'Great Sign'"

This report was released by the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno in English in 2009.  While you may think this is primarily the argument of critics, what the diocese did was use the words of the alleged visionaries themselves, as well as that of their official chroniclers.  It also uses the the writings of many pro-Medjugorje works which reported the words of the alleged visionaries and contrasts them with other hard evidence.

No one is forced to read this.  But, I would invite people to read and be aware of the kind of conflicts found in this document.

Very sadly, the "movement" associated with Medjugorje, does not feel the diocesan bishop is a credible source of information - an unusual attitude for faithful Catholics.  The bishops, current and past, are often vilified in material found on pro-Medjugorje sites with outright calumnies, which I will get into in another post at a later date.

Questionable Games Surrounding the 'Great Sign' (2009)

The thing speaks for itself.

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