Sunday, January 31, 2010

1987 Homily of Bishop Pavao Zanic on Medjugorje; and, calumnious accusations that he was motivated by fear of the Communists

In my quest to accumulate diocesan and other docs on Medjugorje at a blog I set up for this purpose, I am seeing this 1987 homily at a Confirmation Mass in Medjugorje by Bishop Pavao Zanic for the first time (h/t to Vincenzo).

This homily reveals a very Marian bishop, and one who cited legitimate concerns over Medjugorje.  This homily came as the last Commission was beginning it's three year investigation which resulted in the 1991 Zadar Declaration.

Before we get into this homily, I want to go back to some important historical points leading up to this homily.   Many pro-Medjugorje resources make the false claim that Bishop Zanic was "removed from the case". In a link I provide after the bishop's 1987 homily on "Medjugorje, the Communists and the Bishops" at the blog of Marco Corvaglia, he writes (emphases mine in bold):

In time and following the events one upon another, his insight deepened. And at this point in 1984, to ensure maximum transparency in the judgement, he asked to chair no more the Diocesan Commission of Inquiry, composed of 15 members, appointed on the advice of the entire episcopate of Yugoslavia. This task was assigned to Dr. Mato Zovkić, from Sarajevo.
This was precisely the kind of move he needed to make because who in the world, even back then, would believe anyone but the Pope himself, any decision short of full approval?

In January of 1987 when announcing the new Commission, Conference President, Cardinal  Kuharic explained it this way (emphases mine in bold; comments brackted in red):

During the inquiry these events under investigation have appeared to go much beyond the limits of the diocese. Therefore, on the basis of the said regulations, it became fitting to continue the work at the level of the Bishops' Conference, and thus to form a new Commission for that purpose. [Note: this is consistent with a provision in the 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions]

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been informed about it. It has expressed its recognition of the Diocesan Commission's work done under the responsibility of the local Ordinary, and it urged that that work be continued at the level of the National Conference of Bishops [because the events extended beyond the bounds of the diocese as expressed in the first paragraph]

Here is that segment of his excellent homily pertaining to Medjugorje.  Emphases mine in bold; comments bracketed in red:

Brothers and sisters, today here in Medjugorje the sacrament of confirmation will be administered, and probably you are expecting me to say a few words about those events which are the talk of the entire world. The Church watches all this, and especially what is of interest to her. This is confided to certain individuals and to commissions. As you know, at present, a Commission is mounting an inquiry on the matter. The said Commission has been established by the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference, for the Church cannot endanger her credibility in this 20th Century world. It [the world] keeps an eye on her to catch her off guard, to criticize her and be able to say: this is what you do with everything else in your faith, everything else is like that...this is the way it is with your Christ.

I can tell you that during these six years I prayed, studied and kept silent. Many others also prayed, and I am grateful to them for that. In each Mass I celebrated, I had a thought for Medjugorje; in every rosary that I recited daily, I prayed to the Madonna for God's and the Holy Spirit's enlightenment. This helped me to gain a strong and firm conviction about everything I have heard, read and experienced. Here people are praying and fasting a lot, inspired as they are, of course, by the belief that these events are indeed supernatural; and to preach untruth to the faithful about God, Jesus and the Madonna is worthy of the depths of Hell.

Through all my prayers, my work and research, I have sought one goal only: the discovery of truth. For that purpose, in 1982, I established a Commission of four members which later was expanded to fifteen, thanks to some bishops and father provincials. The larger body included people from nine theological faculties, seven dioceses and four provinces, as well as two highly qualified. psychiatrists. Consulting their colleagues in their respective fields, all these people worked for three full years. The Holy See was informed about their work and the events.

Today, the Commission set by the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference is studying the same problems. In the meantime, there were some who were in a hurry and wanted to go ahead, before the Church's verdict. They proclaimed the existence of miracles and supernatural happenings; from the altar they preached private revelations, a breach to Church regulations as long as those revelations have not been recognized as authentic [It is interesting to note that any number of parishes, cathedrals and shrines here in the US and in Canada give a platform to these "visionaries" even today, which is a breach of those regulations for ANY apparition which has not been fully approved.  The CDF would  not approve.  If you are in such a parish, please discuss this with your pastor, and if that doesn't help, contact the local bishop and if there is no resolution after a few months, then write to the CDF - charitably and respectfully.  These parishes are in essence, bringing organized pilgrimages based on these unapproved phenomena to the people]. For this reason, various Church authorities kept warning against organizing pilgrimages and to wait for the Church's verdict [this is the mind of the Church: Don't promote something as worthy of belief ahead of the Church's ruling].
[Watch how this develops - the disobedience involved....] On March 24, 1984, the Commission on the Medjugorje events also issued a warning. Unfortunately all this remained fruitless. Then, in the month of October of the same year, the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference issued an order prohibiting official pilgrimages to Medjugorje; and an official pilgrimage was defined as any group organized to come to Medjugorje. This did not help either. [keep in mind he is referring to organized pilgrimages, not private] Later, on May 13, 1985, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a special letter to the Italian Bishops' Conference asking the bishops to discourage organized pilgrimages... as well as all forms of propaganda. This did not bring any results either [disobedience]. Finally, when the second Commission was set up, His Eminence Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, and the Ordinary of Mostar, declared on behalf of the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference in their January 9, 1987 press release [link to full statement povided earlier in this post]: "For that reason, it is not permitted either to organize pilgrimages or to arrange other manifestations motivated by the supernatural character which might be attributed to the Medjugorje events." This was said by the highest authority in the Church, and this should not be overlooked as if nothing had been said [but organized pilgrimages continued, until clarification was offered - see later documents in the post "are pilgrimages allowed or not???"]

At the outset, when the first news was announced about the extraordinary happenings in this parish, the Chancery Office of Mostar intently followed the news and collected everything that might be of help in the search for truth. The Bishop gave all latitude to the pastoral personnel and the children, he even defended them from the attacks of the news media and civil authorities. We taped all interviews, we gathered chronicles and diaries, letters, documents, and all this has been studied by the Commission composed of theology professors and physicians. The three-year research produced the following result: two members of the Commission voted in favor of the supernaturality and authenticity of the Medjugorje events. One member abstained from voting, another wrote that there was something supernatural at the beginning only, while eleven members of the Commission voted against the supernatural character of those events, and thus, that there were no apparitions. [This works like the election of the Pope.  Those who bicker with the decision, are actually bickering over a decision of the Holy Spirit.  The decision becomes the decision of the Church and the 1991 Zadar Declaration carried the final result, which is still current]

I am deeply convinced that all the members of the Commission worked conscientiously and examined everything that might be of help in finding the truth. The Church cannot risk her credibility, and often in similar cases she carefully probed these kinds of events and banned crowds from gathering where it had been established that the events were not of supernatural origin. [The decision here was non constat de supernateralitate so this is likely what he is referring to].

The Madonna, they say, started to appear on the Podbrdo of the Mountain Crnica, but when the militia forbade going there, she came into houses, into forests, fields, vineyards and tobacco fields; she appeared in the church, on the altar, in the sacristy, in the choir loft, on the roof, on the church steeple, on the roads, on the way to Cerno, in a car, on buses, in classrooms, in several places in Mostar and Sarajevo, in monasteries in Zagreb, Varazdin, Switzerland and Italy, once again on the Podbrdo, atop Krizevac, in the parish, in the rectory, etc. [hello?!?!?] It is certain that not even half of the places where the alleged apparitions have taken place have been mentioned, so much so that an earnest man--who venerates the Madonna--asked himself: "My Madonna, what are they doing to you?" [This is exactly waht this earnest woman who venerates teh Madonna asked herself many times, and why she is persistent in pointing to these worthy documents]
In this diocese, by divine decree, I am the shepherd, teacher of faith, and judge in the matters of faith [Amen - and what a great shepherd he was, even if some couldn't see it!]. Since Medjugorje's events have created tension and division within the Church (some believe in it, some do not), and have evaded Church control [disobedience], since the recommendations and decisions of the said authorities such as the Commission, the Congregation, and the Bishops' Conference have been ineffective [some see this rebellion as a positive fruit, but it is actually a negative fruit], I, the Ordinary of Mostar, responsible before God for the discipline in the diocese, repeat and sanction former decisions of the ecclesiastical authorities. I do forbid the priests who organize pilgrimages or come here ascribing a supernatural character to these events, to celebrate Mass in the territory of my diocese, and this until the Commission of the Bishops' Conference ends its inquiry [But still - they came.  Why listen to the bishop when you can listen to the "gospa"].

I turn to you, Immaculate Virgin and Mother, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Mother of this congregation which is looking for you, prays to you and loves you. I am turning to you, as your servant and Bishop of Mostar, and before the entire world I proclaim my deep and unshakable faith in all the privileges that God has endowed you with, by which you are the first and the most distinguished creature. I also affirm my deep and unshakable faith in your intercession with almighty God for all the needs of your children in this valley of tears. I assert my deep and unshakable faith in your love toward us sinners, and that love you confirmed with your apparitions and assistance. I myself have led pilgrimages to Lourdes. Exactly through the virtue of that faith, I your servant, Bishop of Mostar, before the great multitudes which called on you, find and accept your great sign which became sure and clear after these six years. I am not in need of a special sign, but it is necessary to those who believed in the truth. [watch what comes next...]

That sign to me is that for six years you steadfastly remained silent to all rumors about the sign: it will be, they said, on the hillside of apparitions, visible and permanent; it is going to be realized soon; it will be before long, in a while; be patient for a while, so they were saying in 1981... Then again: it will be realized on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, for Christmas, for the New Year. etc. Thank you, Madonna, because with your long silence of six years you have demonstrated that you have not spoken here, nor appeared, nor given any message or secret nor promised a special sign [!!!]. Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ and of us, intercede for peace in this restless region of the Church, in the diocese of Mostar, intercede especially for this place, for this parish, where innumerable times your blessed name was mentioned in words which were not yours. Make them stop fabricating messages in your name [think about the sacrilege being committed, if this is not authentic - and we have priests promoting it in their parishes before the Church declares on authenticity!]. Accept, Blessed Virgin, satisfaction through the sincere prayers of the devout souls who have no part in fanaticism and disobedience to the Church [he's not faulting those who come there in good faith, unaware of the disobedience and deception]. Let us all reach the real truth [It's not - let us reach the real fruits, but the real truth]. Dear Madonna, humble and obedient servant of God, let the faithful of Medjugorje follow with their firm steps the shepherd of the local Church so that all of us might together glorify and praise you in truth and love.

+ Pavao Zanic, Bishop Mostar, July 24, 1987
I'm going to say it again ......  people have no idea what a great shepherd the Diocese of Mostar had in Bishop Zanic. The cross he carried is clear and it is a cross now carried by Bishop Peric.

Now that he ended that on the Great Sign (or lack thereof), it may be a good time to read an even more indepth look at the Questionable Games Surrounding the Great Sign by Bishop Ratko Peric (December 2009)

There are calumnious accusations found online which suggest that Bishop Pavao Zanic was motivated by  fear of the Communists.  Italian author/researcher Marco Corvaglia digs into this subject and has a video taped interview with Bishop Zanic (he speaks Italian, but it is summarized in text below the video).  It is an excellent read. 

Go read: Medjugorje, the Communists, and the Bishop

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pope John Paul II's mortification practices and the secular world's twist

Jimmy Akin has a great post up at the National Catholic Register blog in which he looks at how the secular world reacted to the news that Pope John Paul II use to self-flagellate - a form of mortification of the flesh.'s not masochism. 

Go read Jimmy Akin's blogpost: STUNNER! Pope practiced self-mortification

Also scroll to the Catholic section at this wikipedia entry to read about self-mortification among the saints.

Homepage for the NC Register for other blogposts and articles.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Ok folks, now is your opportunity to be heard.  There is an ad that is suppose to run during the superbowl featuring the story of a mother who chose not to abort her baby after it was recommended by doctors.  Guess what?  He was born normal, and over two decades later, is headed to the Superbowl. 

CBS is undoubtedly taking flak from pro-aborts.

Of course, someone is making a choice to pay to run the ad, which doesn't affect people's choice to watch the ad, but the pro-aborts are pushing to kill the ad because it is "anti-choice".   OK, I think I understand. 

Click the pic to follow the link.

Go read more at Catholic Vote by Joshua Mercer: Pro-aborts writhe as Tebow stands strong, and what you can do to stand strong for him

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Sacred Music DVD from the Colloquium XIX - Trailer's not Tai the video!

H/T to Richard Chonak at Catholic Light for this tip.

Go to to view the entire video online and then decide if you want to get on a list to buy it. There are CD's to purchase, as well.

I'm going to run it while I'm home tomorrow.  The music is absolutely beautiful as are the visuals.  I've seen some other work by Watershed out of Corpus Christi who did the production, which has an interesting site in itself worth mining.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

R.I.P. - Dr. Ralph McInerny (1929-2010)

I just learned this evening that philospher, professor, and author, Dr. Ralph McInerny passed away this morning.  Please pray for the repose of his soul.

He was a 54 year faculty member of the University of Notre Dame (how on earth did he survive and thanks be to God that he persevered and was there as a beacon of truth!)

Dr. McInerny was also a prolific writer.  In addition to his many books on philosophy, he wrote fiction.   He was the author of the Fr. Dowling Mysteries. 

Back in March of last year, he penned a very powerful article on the Notre Dame Scandal that ran in The Catholic Thing: Is Obama worth the Mass?

More links:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Archbishop Vigneron - One Year in the Cathedra in Detroit

I took this photo one year ago, of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2009 when he was installed as Archbishop of Detroit after six years in Oakland.

I had many ideas for a photopost today, but computer problems hindered me timewise.  I was going to dig into some numbers, but ... no time.
Last year I sat on the floor of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and photographed the installation of Archbishop Vigneron.  I was there on a press pass with Real Catholic TV , which had invited me to capture some images. While photos are always impressive in capturing a moment, for me, the most memorable part of the Mass, outside of the Eucharist, was Archbishop Vigneron's most powerful homily, drawing from St. Paul and the wisdom of St. Thomas (you can read the homily here, or listen to the audio, which I highly recommend).  Here is an excerpt:

St. Paul in today's Epistle gives us wise teaching about love in the context of this fallen world, scarred as it is by that refusal to love which is sin – the originating sin of Adam and Eve and every other sin, which ratifies that first sin. St. Paul tells us that the total gift of self is signed with the cross. It was on the cross that Christ "loved us to the end," loved us with the love he learned from his being loved by the Father. And we, if we love, must share in the cross. Here below the gift of self will always be a death to self.

That is why the wisdom of divine love in this world will, as St. Paul says, appear to be foolishness to those who do not have faith. For those who do not recognize that Christ crucified is the ultimate manifestation of divine love, his death cannot but seem to be an absurdity. However, those who think like God, those who, by the light of the Holy Spirit, understand God the way he understands himself, recognize that the impotence of Christ, freely willed for love of us, is the act of the wisest man, for it is the act of divine wisdom itself.

In every age the wisdom of this crucified love has been mistaken as foolishness by many, and is often for them a stumbling block along the way of Christ. It is certainly so in our own time, with our ethic of radical autonomy, which, in exalting the rights of the individual, sees no sense in sacrificing one self and one's comfort and convenience for the love of others.

There are many ways in which this conflict between the true wisdom of the gift of self and the pseudo-wisdom of self-sovereignty are exemplified in our society. I will mention three of those that seem to me among the most lamentable. First, there is the conflict between those who base their decision about a state in life or their selection of a profession on discerning the will of God and those who make these choices on the basis of gaining wealth or security or the world's esteem. Second, there is the conflict between those judge it wise always to protect the right to life of others, even at a cost to themselves, and those who would be willing to violate that right, if that is the price to be paid to keep control of the circumstances and conditions in which they have decided to live. Third, there is frequently in our society a conflict between those who make the well-being of their spouses or children the first priority in their lives and those who are convinced that their families exist to bring them self-gratification.

The sorts of conflicts I have sketched out and which we all feel so deeply form the context in which we are called today at this Installation Liturgy to renew our commitment to our identity and mission as apostles of the wisdom of God, after the example of St. Thomas Aquinas.

When he first got to Oakland, California, it was said that there were only 10 Adoration  Chapels.  When he left, there were more than 50 adoration chapels.  Archbishop Vigneron also led the first Corpus Christi procession here in Detroit in more than 50 years, using a vestment that hadn't been worn in as many years.

I wish I had time to go through statistics for seminarians while he was there in Oakland.  If someone knows some numbers (before he came and when he left), that would be appreciated in the combox.  Or send it to me via the email in my profile.   Here in Detroit, I predicted that under Archbishop Vigneron we would see a very significant increase in diocesan seminarians over the next several years.  I didn't expect to hear that there were 16 new recruits this year!  This brings the number of seminarians to 49 for the Archdiocese of Detroit.  According to the Michigan Catholic, that is the largest boost in 20 years.

The Archbishop has been involved in very distinctly Catholic experssions of the faith, such as the public recitation of the Rosary at the Cathedral for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.  Similarly leading a Rosary prayer procession several blocks to two abortion clinics (see my photostory here).  He also began online devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  He even went down into one of Detroit's salt mines and blessed a shrine!

When the Notre Dame Scandal broke, and many bishops wrote their disapprovals, Archbishop Vigneron also spoke up

On August 15, 2009, Archbishop Vigneron accepted Fr. Perrone's invitation to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption at our parish, Assumption Grotto.  Yep....I photographed that too - a Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form, celebrated "Grotto style" - that is, ad orientem.  Grotto-goers were endeared by his willingness to celebrate Mass using an optional posture for the priest which is the norm at the parish.  I always like to explain to people, "we seek the face of God in the Mass, not the face of the priest".  I am accepting of versus populum celebrated Masses, but I desire them to be very reserved. 

'I'm reminded of how much I depend on God'

Those are the words of Archbishop Vigneron in a new interview in the Michigan Catholic, which I saved for today, the anniversary of his installation.  Bob Delaney did the interview in early January and it was released about one week ago.  While he talks about some things specific to Detroit, it is well worth mining for his thoughts on a number of issues.  His Excellency touches these, and more:

  • Catholic Schools and Homeschooling
  • Economic issues
  • Archdiocese of Detroit restructring
  • and.....the faith

Here was one of my favorite excerpts:

Bob Delaney: You have spoken of enriching the spirituality of the faithful. What can people do, what is your advice for what they can do to strengthen their relationship with God?
Archbishop Vigneron: Three things come immediately to mind: First of all, they should participate in the Sunday Mass regularly every Sunday, and they should do it with attention and fervor. One place in the (documents of) the Second Vatican Council, the fathers say it is in the Eucharist that the Church receives all the spiritual riches of Christ. The Eucharist is the lynchpin of our friendship with Jesus, in our adoption by the Father, and in the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is the principal touchstone for a relationship with God. The second is regular, frequent confession, because the relationship with God always involves conversion. There is no growth in holiness that doesn't mean putting aside selfishness; we're the children of Adam and Eve – it always means conversion. And the sacrament of penance, reconciliation, is the principal grace, the principal forum, in which this process of ongoing conversion is lived out in the life of the Christian. And so, confessions that are frequent, and confessions that are serious, where the person brings himself, herself truly, honestly before the mercy of God, and pursues a plan of renewal. And then the third thing is personal prayer based on the sacred Scripture. For many people, that does involve prayerful reading of Scripture. There are lots of ways, methods that work for people, but a knowledge of God and dialogue with God based on hearing Him speak through the revealed Word, and then answering. And here, the rosary is a very, very effective experience of a Scripture-based prayer, because all of the 20 mysteries of the rosary are mysteries to which the sacred Scripture testifies. The prayers that we say in the rosary are, by and large, taken from Scripture. So, as I pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, I make the words of the Bible my own words. So those three things – devout participation every Sunday in the Holy Eucarist; regular and devout celebration of the sacrament of penance, reconciliation; and daily prayer that uses the sacred Scripture.

Go read Bob Delaney's interview with Archbishop Vigneron as he looks back on one year as Archbishop of Detroit.

Pray for our bishops!

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Photopost: December 30, 2009 Memorial Mass for Servant of God, Rev. John A. Hardon SJ

I regret the delay in finalizing these photos I took on December 30th - the date of the Memorial Mass for Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, whose cause for sainthood is being pursued

As you know, Fr. Hardon spent his final working years in an office on the grounds of Assumption Grotto in Detroit.  His library was moved one weekend - 500 boxes in all - by Msgr. Eugene Morris in November of 2007 from Assumption Grotto back to St. Louis where his cause is being studied.

Each year, a memorial Mass is celebrated for Fr. Hardon on the anniversary of his death.  This year, it was held at nearby Ss Cyril & Methodius with Episcopal Delegate for the Cause, Fr. Robert T. McDermott

As I have done most years, I photographed the Mass.  Here is a slideshow (a direct link to the gallery with individual photos is below):

You can find photos of the 2007 Fr. Hardon Memorial Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, in this photo (scroll down and click on the other photoposts from other parts of the Mass)

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Video: Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC discusses reception of Holy Communion

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, talks about reception of Holy Communion in this EWTN Live segment with Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  I saw this when it aired on EWTN back in late 2008 (it was originally recorded while he was in the US in July of 2008).  He was at my parish for about 10 days, but made short trips to a few locations, including Hanceville, AL for his interview.

You can view the gallery of photos I took duirng his trips to Detroit.  I photographed him in 2008 at my own parish, Assumption Grotto, at Ss Cyril & Methodius in Sterling Heights, MI, and in 2009 at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak during the Call to Holiness.

His Excellency has a profound way of getting the point across about reverence for the Holy Eucharist.  He received his First Holy Communion in secrecy in Kazakhstan, the discusses how shocked he was to learn on his first trip to Germany, that people were receiving the Eucharist in the hand, I think back in the 70's.  Bishop Schneider has a doctorate in Patristics and used his knowledge to dig deep into the subject of reception of Holy Communion going back to early Church, through modern times.  Many believe that his boo, Dominus Est, is what prompted the Holy Father to begin distributing Communion with the use of a kneeler, and on the tongue.  That practice began after an excerpt from Dominus Est ran in L'Osservatore Romano.  The cheapest place I have seen Dominus Est online is here

I have many other posts on Bishop Schneider (scroll), covering his visit here in Detroit and picking some news from other sources referencing him or his work.

Bishop Schneider prepares before Mass at Assumptio Grotto where he delivered the homily.

Here Bishop Schneider is in Elevation of the Chalice in an Ordinary Form Mass, celebrated ad orientem at Assumptio Grotto

Such a dignified Elevation of Our Lord in a Mass celebrated versus populum

Bishop Schneider speaks at the National Shrine of the Little Flower with a photo of St. Therese in the background.

The Bishop's ring is very simple:  The Miraculous Medal

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Prospective pro-ball player passes up bucks for priesthood...

Father Lee Acervo follows the story at his blog with a few comments: Top A’s prospect enters priesthood

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Medjugorje: Cdl Schonborn affirms private audience was about visit; acknowledges new Commission

The Austrian online Catholic site, interviewed Cardinal Schonborn today on the occasion of his 65th birthday. The interviewer asked about his private audience with the Holy Father that took place on January 15th. In his reply, he acknowledged the following:

  • The topic of the audience was Medjugorje given public awareness of his visit
  • Acknowledges Holy Father is setting up a Commission to study events
  • Mentions fruits, but acknowledges there are "certainly some open questions"

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the MIR Information Center in Medjugorje which has visited this blogpost.  Perhaps they would be so kind as to update their website with the information below.  As of January 23rd, the main website out of Medjugorje, affiliated to some degree with the parish of St. James, has posted none of the items below pertaining to the Cardinal's visit, other than the interview of the Cardinal by Vecernji List which took place on January 4th.  This too is a fruit.

Chronological List in the wake of Cdl Schonborn's visit to Medjugorje

Sadly, continues to market DVD's of the Cardinal's visit, further exploiting the situation.

Other Recent Diocesan Releases (all contain links to Mostar-Duvno Diocese)

Welcome readers from the Splintered  Sunrise blog, which I'll add to my blogroll, when and if I ever get it fixed!

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

REVISED: Cool-Vatican is now Tweeting on Twitter

UPDATE:  John Thavis at Catholic News Service has received news from the Holy See that this Twitter account is not originating from the Vatican. It is apparently a private individual impersonating the Vatican. As of this posting, I cannot find "vatican_va" as a user as of this morning, but a link to the feed, which was last updated 19 hours ago, can still be found using the link below.

Thavis writes:

UPDATE: The Vatican_va tweeter appears to have been silenced. No tweets on since Monday afternoon. Yesterday someone at the Vatican told me this tweeter wouldn’t be posting for long … and he was right. The whole episode has prompted some Vatican media people to remark, “It wasn’t us — but it should have been us.” So don’t be surprised to see a real Vatican Twitter feed in the future

Given the usefulness and popularity of such a thing, I hope the Holy See will consider creating a Twitter account for Vatican Radio, which is the news that was coming from this feed.

One more reason to create a Twitter account even if you don't tweet: The Vatican is now Tweeting in many languages.

What I like about Twitter is that ou can click and follow many sources. Most major news sources, including Catholic news sources tweet their headlines and provide links. It allows you, at a glance to see breaking headlines.

Also, click on those labels with the #, like #catholic or #marchforlife to see even more.

Check out the Vatican's Twitter feed: @vatican_va

Do you see something of interest in another language?  Use Google Language Tools - just paste the url, set the langauge and "go". 

UPDATE: Edward Pentin blogs the topic at the NC Register in the context of the Holy See's efforts to evangelize using digital media.  In part, he writes:

The move is the latest effort on the part of the Vatican to evangelize using digital media and comes on the eve of a press conference which will highlight this very theme.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will tomorrow present the Pope’s message for the 44th World Day of Social Communications (16th March 2010) on the subject: “The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in the Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word.”
Continue reading the rest of Edward's blogpost: Vatican Now on Twitter

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

2010 March for Life is on!

EWTN is already covering the March to Life, soon to get underway.  If you don't have EWTN on your cable station, you can watch coverage live on the web.  And, iPhone users can watch or listen here.

I was looking for someone twittering from the March for Life, but have not found anyone yet.  There is a label for March for Life, so you can follow that for interesting comments and links.


The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Persecution of Catholics in Vietnam - the case in Dong Chiem

The next time you feel too tired to go to Mass, or it becomes "burdensome" to practice your faith in any way, think about these people.  This goes on in many parts of the world while we go about our business and take our freedoms for granted. 

Pray for the Church in Vietnam, and in Asia....

Vietnam monk beaten

HANOI - A VIETNAMESE Catholic monk was beaten and seriously injured after trying to reach a parish which remained sealed by police two weeks after unrest over a crucifix, the local priest said on Thursday.

About 20 uniformed and plainclothes officers on Wednesday stopped Brother Nguyen Van Tang and several other Catholics from entering Dong Chiem parish in My Duc district, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Hanoi, said parish priest Nguyen Van Huu.

After they seized his camera and mobile phone, he was making his way back when he was attacked by unknown assailants and left with serious head injuries, Huu said, adding Tang was taken to Hanoi for hospital treatment.

'Roads leading to the parish were still blocked by the authorities on Thursday morning', as they had been since the day after the cross incident early this month, Huu said. Local police declined to comment to AFP.

Unrest broke out on January 6 when parishioners tried to stop a large group of police and troops sent to dismantle the crucifix atop a mountain, according to Huu.

He said parishioners told him the police used electric prods, tear gas and stones against the crowd, two of whom were seriously injured. Huu was not present at the time of the incident.

Catholic World News also reports:

The Hanoi archdiocese has strongly protested the continuing violent attacks against Catholics at a Dong Chiem parish, after a Redemptorist brother was severely beaten and left unconscious.

The archdiocese reports that a delegation of Church officials, visiting the Dong Chiem parish to investigate reports of police harassment, “was completely besieged as police at checkpoints prohibited any outsiders to get in.” At the checkpoint, Brother Anthony Nguyen Van Tang was brutally assaulted by police officials. He was carried away, unconscious, by his colleagues—whose clothes were soaked with the Redemptorist brother’s blood.

Attacks on parishioners at Dong Chiem have become commonplace, the Hanoi archdiocese charged, and police are blocking all entrances to the church, leaving the parish virtually under siege. The Redemptorist order in Vietnam has also lodged an official protest, demanding an end to the police action that began with the demolition of a crucifix at the parish cemetery.

Catholics in Hanoi fear that the government will use its propaganda machinery to stir up public sentiment against Catholics, leading to mob violence against prominent Church targets. Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet has reportedly taken refuge outside the city to avoid confrontations, recognizing the likelihood that pro-government crowds will demonstrate outside his residence, demanding his resignation.

Elsewhere in Vietnam, a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced several human-rights activists to prison sentences ranging from 5 to 16 years. The sentences came after trials conducted under heavy security, rousing protests from human-rights activists.

Here's a little more from AsiaNews:

Dong Chiem is becoming a "Mount of Crosses"
Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Dong Chiem is practically under siege, with checkpoints on roads and bridges, set up by new contingents of police who are flowing into the area. This is the response of local authorities to peaceful protests of thousands of Catholics against the blowing up of the cross that stood on the hill, a site that for over a century has belonged to the parish in the town near Hanoi .

News of the destruction of the cross and attacks suffered by some Catholics, including journalist JB Nguyen Huu Vinh and father Nguyen Van Lien, of the parish of Dong Chiem, has provoked a demonstration by 2 thousand Catholics from the nearby parish of Nghia. Together with local faithful, they have staged a protest outside the office of the People's Committee.

To the efforts of the security forces - and the violence of their gangs of thugs - the faithful respond with pilgrimages where everyone tries to plant a cross next to the bamboo crucifix erected on Nui Tho to replace the one that was destroyed. "We will make this hill a Mountain of the crosses, like the one that Catholics created in Lithuania in Communist times," says a student in Hanoi after his team (pictured) succeeded in planting dozens of crosses on the hill , passing checkpoints and other measures of police seeking to stop the faithful. There are already hundreds of crosses planted on the hill.

Since learning of the destruction of the cross, in fact, Catholics of all in northern Vietnam are trying to go to Dong Chiem. And the authorities probably surprised by the magnitude of the reaction, are doing everything to prevent it, while minimizing the number of those who undertake the pilgrimage.

Yesterday, for example, as told by Father Joseph Pham Minh Trieu, a group of thousand people, led by him, had to cancel the trip, "the police confiscated the license of all our bus drivers." Hundreds of parishioners at Ham Long, however, used their motorcycles, and passed. Among them was the group of Hanoi students. They reached the summit of Nui Tho, which has become "the mountain of prayer" where they enacted the Way of the Cross. Other faithful managed to arrive by boat.

The Bishop of Kon Tum, Mgr. Michael Hoang Duc Oang, unable to go in person to Dong Chiem, sent a letter of support to the Archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, in which he writes: "your joy and your pain is also mine." The bishop recalled that he is from the parish of Dong Chiem and that what took place January 6 had a great effect on him.

There have been a flurry of stories out of Dong Chiem just in the last few weeks.  Click and view the headlines and read some of what is going on there.

Pray for persecuted Catholics around the world

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Vigil Mass for Life and March for Life

The massive "Vigil Mass for Life", preceding Friday's March for Life in Washington DC, is tonight at 6:30pm. It is usually on EWTN and it is really a sight to see. Go to the USCCB's pro-life action page for more details

In 1979 Sally Reynolds, a representative of Mothers of Mary of the Archdiocese of Detroit, asked the U.S. Bishops Conference and the Basilica of the National Shrine to co-sponsor a program of prayer on the eve of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. In its first year, 50 people gathered to celebrate the Mass in the Crypt Church and stayed through the night to pray for an end to abortion.

Today, the National Prayer Vigil for Life draws over 20,000 pilgrims to join in prayer for an end to abortion and a greater respect for all human life. The vigil begins on the eve of the March for Life with the Opening Mass celebrated in the Great Upper Church (pictured). Prayer continues throughout the night with the National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer and Holy Hours for Life coordinated by Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and led by seminarians from across the country. The following morning, the prayer vigil concludes with Morning Prayer, Benediction and the Closing Mass.

Sponsored by the USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and The Catholic University of America Office of Campus Ministry, the National Prayer Vigil for Life is one small part of the Church's "great prayer for life."

“A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.”
-Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 100
Friday, the big March on the Nation's capital......more tonight.

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Upset in Massachussetts: Pro-life Movement Hopeful with Scott Brown Win


By Hilary White

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2010 ( – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown pulled an immense upset victory in Massachusetts’ special election Tuesday night, overtaking Democrat Martha Coakley by five points with three out of four districts reporting.

A meeting of key pro-life leaders in the nation’s capital erupted in wild cheers as Fox news reported AP had declared Brown the victor with 75% of districts confirming Brown’s lead over Coakley. The astonishing results were seen as swinging open the door to a possible defeat for the health care bill widely decried as the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.
Continue reading: Brown Wins in Mass. Race

Fr.  Frank Pavone of Priests for Life had this to say:

Washington, DC – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, released the following statement tonight regarding the special election in Massachusetts:

“The victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts tonight represents several simple facts about the current state of American politics:

1. Pendulums swing. The American people, no matter what their political affiliation, are not comfortable with any one party holding supermajorities in Washington.

2. Americans love freedom. When Washington ignores the will of the people, as the Democratic Party has been doing on so many issues, the people respond at the voting booth to reclaim their own voice.

3. Elections are the answer. Whether the issue is health care, abortion, or anything else, when the people feel powerless to change the minds of those in power, they change those in power.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Medjugorje: Filial reverence, or lack thereof....

click image to enlarge

In my posts here and in comments in various comboxes on the subject of Medjugorje, I have often used the expression "filial reverence".   I have used this expression in reference to the manner in which the Medjugorje bishop is treated.  Filial reverence is often lacking within the movement in general. 

This means there is no respect for the bishop when he has done nothing wrong other than to oppose the authenticity of the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje with objective data - much of it from the contradictory writings of promoter-writers and the seers themselves (seeing an unfiltered transcript through diocesan records is rather eye-opening in contrast to the sanitized versions found in the books of authors promoting Medjugorje).  Being that it is in his diocese, and being that he is a bishop in good standing, he is owed a certain amount of respect or reverence as an apostolic successor.

Faithful Catholics would do well to at least study and ponder what he says and what he writes.  His objections are reasonable (except to profit-making promoters), and are in alignment with Church teaching. Even if he is later proven wrong on the many reasonable objections, the Blessed Mother would expect nothing less than filial reverence for him.  Lack of filial reverence, like lack of obedience, is a fruit.  in the end, the Church will not discount it the way the "movement" does.

I witness this lack of filial reverence in two forms (and at one time engaged in them myself):  1) Unwillingness to read anything the local bishop has to say, or indifference to his words, and 2) outward hostility towards anything he has to say, even when those words are backed with strong proofs.

Interior contempt for local authority
Interior contempt for the local bishop, sometimes visible exteriorly through conversations with others and in writings, is a manifestation of this lack of filial reverence. Many of us who now try to get people to read the diocesan documents, are experienced at having interior contempt for the Medjugorje bishop when we once supported the phenomena to varying degrees.  It causes spirital damage to the soul because love - caritas - for the Medjugorje bishop cannot co-exist with contempt - they are incompatible.  

I was once a persecutor of the local bishop until I saw the manipulation of data by authors I once respected like Fr. Laurentin, Fr. Rupcic and Fr. Bubalo.  The un-Franciscan activities now known to me, of certain Franciscans I once knew and respected, were also enlightening. These are well documented at the diocese and if anyone wants examples, I'll add the references in the combox later.

Case in point (of a lack of filial reverence) is seen in a condescending title given to us by Michael H. Brown, owner of the well-trafficked site, Spirit Daily.  He is an über-promoter of Medjugorje.  I'm actually pleased that he at least shared the link to the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website containing a JPG of a conciliatory fax sent by Cardinal Schonborn on the same day as his private audience with Pope Benedict.  He didn't fax it from Vienna before or after he was in Rome.  He sent it from Rome on the day of the private audience.  Draw your own conclusions.

What is saddening in Michael H. Brown's presentation of the news, is found in the title:
"Cardinal writes note to 'miffed' bishop". 
Would the Blessed Virgin Mary be pleased with such a title leading to the bishop's website?  What is a "miffed bishop" anyway and why is he "miffed"?  Did he have a right to be "miffed"? Why not a title such as "Cardinal writes note to Medjugorje Bishop". Then again, it would not be as undignified as being labeled "miffed" - which is the point - to make the Medjugorje bishop come across as a buffoon, and further undermine his credibility and authority among readers.  I've called out Michael before for this and he promptly changed his headline, which was highly inaccurate (and it is why I always take a snapshot before posting!). 

A Case of Injustice
Bishop Peric was on the receiving end of a great deal of injustice at the hands of Cardinal Schonborn when he entered his "house" without asking if he could come in.  Cardinal Saraiva Martins recently offered his thoughts on this very subject:
"Far be it from me to think of judging the conduct of Cardinal Schönborn, but I, considering the morbid attention which is concentrated on Medjugorje, and as I always do every time I go out from Rome, would have spoken beforehand with Monsignor Peric: when we Cardinals enter into a Diocese, we are entering into the "house" of the Bishop of the place and we must have the good manners and good sense to announce ourselves."

Indeed. And Cardinal Schonborn has a number of problems in his own "house" (see here, here and here).  Hence, it is mind-boggling that he would meddle in the affairs of another bishop under the guise of a "private" pilgrimage (and ti was "meddling" because the Cardinal wouldn't have offered so many post-visit interviews cutting deeper into the wound he made).

No. The visit itself wasn't enough... first, some background

In his 2006 Confirmation homily, to which the Bishops of Tuscany were referred in 2007 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during their ad limina visit, the bishop re-iterated his call for silence out of the "seers" - a move that is not unique to Medjugorje, but common with any alleged private revelation not yet deemed worthy of belief.  Hence, his order is not out of the ordinary, nor is it unreasonable. 
Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church.

Salt was poured into the wound with subsequent interviews given by Cardinal Schonborn which openly opposed the position of the local bishop on the subject of Medjugorje.  In this interview (German), he said:
"It is not the seers duty to convince; it is their duty to communicate ["duty"? Even after being silenced by the Medjugorje bishop? What about duty to obedience?]. Regardless of the future final judgment on these phenomena [huh?], one thing is evident: the messages are simply evangelical, they have common sense: prayer, peace, reconciliation with God and amongst us, and we always, always have to remember that there is no greater miracle than Eucharist itself; the coming of Jesus amongst us, in the poorest village, in the most beautiful cathedral, in St. Peter's dome in Rome.." [translation source]
So, it doesn't seem to matter to Cardinal Schonborn whether the alleged apparitions from which these "messages" come is worthy of belief, as long as those "messages" are of an "ok" banality and say the right things most of the time,. 

A "Message" Missed by Cardinal Schonborn:

On June 19, 1982, the Virgin stated:

"Tell the Father Bishop that I request his urgent conversion to the events of the Medjugorje parish before it is too late. Let him begin by informing himself about all the events with great understanding, love and responsibility. I desire that he place no disunion between priests and that he should not emphasize their negative sides. I ask for his conversion to these events. I am sending him the ultimate warning [!?!?!]. if he is not converted he will be corrected. My judgement, as well as that of my son, Jesus, will strike him. If he does not put into effect what I am giving him to know, please tell him that he has not found the path of my Son, Jesus."

I don't know what entity would say such a thing, but this particular "message" could not have come from a heavenly being.  Is this why the Medjugorje Movement has such a lack of filial reverence for the Bishops of Mostar ? I think "messages" of this nature are precisely the reason for the widespread irreverence for the Medjugorje bishop. Are we to believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary would coerce, by threat, one of her sons into believing that she is appearing in his diocese?  This is so grossly misaligned - in several ways - from Catholic teaching, that it should give any reasonable person pause about the whole affair.

I've long contended that some are using relativism and consquentialism in their defense of Medjugorje.  With these arguments, there is no concern about alignment with truth.  Unity subsists in truth and if there is a misalignment with truth, there will be dissent, disunity and division.  In other words, you can't have it both ways.  We see that division with Medjugorje at every level - in parishes, in dioceses (see comment at top without scrolling), in religious orders and secular orders, in apostolates, and in households.   At the heart of the division the "Medjugorje movement" sows contempt for the local bishop, or creates a dismissiveness towards him (and Cardinal Schonborn just joined the action).

Making profits from Cdl Schonborn's Visit
So "private" was the Cardinal's visit, that - a site which profits from Medjugorje in Austria and is a chief promoter of the alleged apparitions which have not yet been deemed worthy of belief, is marketing a number of videos from the whole affair.  Are the Medjugorje bishop's directives being respected with the production and sale of these videos? The Cardinal allowed himself to be photographed with one of the "seers" on "apparition hill".  Cardinal Schonborn in late 2009 (see this video) and in 2008 welcomed  "visionaries" into his Cathedral which was also exploited leading up to his trip to Medjugorje.  All of this, along with the address and homily he made are all being exploited to the "nth" degree, even after the fax.  A German site - has called out for their outrageous conspiracy theory on the story about the fax (I take issue with the stridency at Kreuz and use of derogatory expressions, as well as some other issues, but their argument on this is sound).  With it's ridiculous use of an unnamed Austrian "churchman", sows further the seeds of filial irreverence among it's readers for Bishop Peric (it's never enough to kick the embattled bishop just once).

More Fruits of Medjugorje
Cardinal Schonborn, by his actions in the last two years, was dismissive of Bishop Peric's authority and of the pastoral directives he laid out - pastoral authority which was authorized by the 1991 Zadar Declaration, and subsequent communications by the CDF.  This too, is a fruit.  The chasm widened as division between a bishop in his rightful place was escalated by another. The ultimate fruit of the Cardinal's visit was to deepen the divide among the faithful over Medjugorje.

Let me embolden some key words; comments bracketed in red:
Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him [not the local bishop with the other bishops, but the other bishops with him], so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted [that which has not yet been deemed "worthy of belief" is not for promotion]. The Bishops [remember now, this is the local bishop, and the other bishops with him] will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim [pastoral directives given above]. At the same time, they will continue to study all the events of Medjugorje through the commissions [yes, the study is ongoing and it is not in keeping with the mind of the Church that something is promoted by Catholics before it is deemed worthy of belief].

Reverence is, as the reverent do
People should at least be mindful of his directives.  They should also take the time, even if they don't think they will agree with the bishop, to read what he has to say and ask themselves if his objections are reasonable based on the information he is providing.  If you come to a different conclusion in the face of that material that's one thing, but at least give the bishop the courtesy of reading what he puts out. 

A final word from Cardinal Saraiva bears re-printing. He was asked about the subject of disobedience in the context of Medjugorje.  His reply:

"The Madonna could not, in any case at all, be anti-hierarchical and incite disobedience, even if the Bishop of Mostar were wrong. This is another element on which to reflect."
If Our Lady isn't anti-hierarchical - in this context, "against the bishop", then you have to wonder what the Blessed Virgin Mary must think about the contempt that is within the Medjugorje movement for the local Bishop.

One more piece well worth reading was put together by Marco Corvaglia.  The lack of filial reverence is readily visible in this example:  Medjugorje, the Communists, and the Bishop


- Medjugorje and the Battle for Souls
- Medjugorje: Analysis of Spirit Daily Article

  • Updated with sub-titles for easier reading;  paragraph added on and articles, with links on January 19, 2010 at 5:55am

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!