Monday, January 20, 2014

Vatican Insider report on Medjugorje commission report is speculative {Updated}

Pope Francis to Curia: "Gossip is harmful to people, our work and our surroundings."
Message to Curia, Christmas 2013

Updated at bottom

I think that those attempting to  "scoop" the Church on a highly sensitive and charged issue, such as Medjugorje, are engaging in the kind of harmful gossip Pope Francis has railed against.  The reason is simple: It causes quarreling and division.

It is one thing to discuss hopes or beliefs about the outcome, or even to offer thoughts that are explained as speculative; it is quite another thing to claim to know something about the work of a commission that is suppose to be working in secrecy.

I'm getting lots of notes and questions regarding a Vatican Insider report by Giacomo Galeazzi and Andrea Tornielli that is claiming to know parts of the verdict of the commission on Medjugorje.

I would encourage people to read these things very carefully and to wait for the Holy See to speak on the matter before spiking any footballs.

Problem No. 1 is a conflict between the headline and the body of the letter.

The headline reads:

Verdict on Medjugorje nears as Commission claims apparitions are “no hoax”

The body of the article on that point reads (my emphasis in bold with added emphasis using asterisks):

Vatican Insider has learnt that the Commission has focused mainly on the first phase of apparitions. There is *apparently* no proof of any tricks, hoaxes or abuse of popular credulity. However, it is proving difficult for the Church to form a definitive verdict on the supernatural nature of a phenomenon that is ongoing.

"Apparently" is a speculative word. If they knew this as a fact, they would not be using words like "apparently."

If you put the Italian version into an auto-translator, you get words like "seems" and "unlikely" - more so than I'm seeing in the English translation.

And how do we know it is proving difficult to form a definitive verdict on a phenomena that is still ongoing.  I addressed this misleading kind of speculation in last night's post which looks at why I believe the Church has taken so long on the case of Medjugorje. 

My second problem with the *who* they learned this from.  

*If* they have learned something from a member of the commission, then that person caused a breach in trust given to them by the Holy See.  I believe the commission members are honorable people so I am inclined to naturally disbelieve they would break the secrecy they promised.

So, then, from whom did Vatican Insider learn this information?

Perhaps it was someone who knew someone, who knows a member of the commission.  Of course, that would be hearsay; otherwise, known as gossip.

Perhaps it was a clerk who had access to a part of the findings, but not the full docket.

Perhaps it was a floor sweeper who happened to notice a piece of paper in the copy machine.

And, maybe, just maybe, it merely an opinion of someone, even a respected theologian, doing his best to, "read the tea leaves."  How well did that work for us in predicting who would succeed Pope Benedict XVI?

Is Andrea Tornielli objective on Medjugorje?

I know nothing about Giacomo Galeazzi, but I know that Andrea Tornielli has pretty much followed the reasoning of devotees of Medjugorje when discussing the subject, sometimes to the exclusion of important information from the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno.  I was disappointed when Tornielli went a step further by engaging in the spread of a rash, calumnious, and malicious suggestion that the former bishop of Mostar was colluding with the communists to take down Medjugorje.  Bishop Zanic couldn't defend himself because he was in the grave, but the diocese did respond.

In any event, those trying to scoop the Church ahead of an official statement are doing nothing more than engaging in the very kind of gossip that Pope Francis has admonished us not to participate in.

Patience is a virtue.  I'm waiting for Holy See to speak.

Can we get a reaction from the Holy See on the Vatican Insider claim?

In the meanwhile, perhaps a *professional* journalist would ask Fr. Lombardi on behalf of all of us, if the Holy See would care to offer a reaction to the Vatican Insider report.  Better yet, please send this blog post to him, making him aware that someone from the peanut gallery wants to know.  

What am I going to do with these people?


Jimmy Akin has taken his analysis deeper than did I.

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