Sister, what is going on with Medjugorje now anyway? I've been hearing mixed things about it.
And you will continue to hear mixed things about it, mainly because people who go there are crazy for it. Perhaps I shouldn't put it that way. "Deeply moved by the experience" would be another way to say that, wouldn't it?
On the face of it, Medjugorje is quite a phenomenon. Six children receive regular visits from the Blessed Mother. She brings messages of peace. The town, in a war torn country, becomes a cradle of peace and prayer, an oasis of all things good.
Meanwhile, virtually everyone who visits there is impressed by the experience. Rosaries turn to gold, a bleeding Host appears in the sun, statues drip with holy oil and visitors leave with a sense of peace that is profound. This has been going on, with no let up for over 20 years now.
The visionary children have grown up and gone away, and one by one, Mary stopped appearing to them, or appeared less frequently. At least one of the girls still lives in Medjugorje and Mary appears to her once a month.
Of course, the Church was called upon to give the apparitions Her blessing, so the matter has been examined and studied, and while the official word from the committee is "cannot be affirmed as supernatural". Finally, in the early 90's, the local Bishop of Medjugorje wrote a letter stating that he was not a believer (which is putting it mildly).
He had a lot to say about it, but he basically made this point: What is Mary's problem that she can't seem to get her point across to six people for over 20 years?
On top of that, the visionaries have been given 'secrets' about the future and whatnot and the reason that Mary is still appearing to some of them, or two of them or one of them or whatever it's boiled down to now, is that she hasn't given them all their secrets yet.
For me, the most compelling "agin it" argument comes from the commission itself. These are the people who spent three years interviewing everyone, pouring over diaries and documents and writings and studying everything with a fine toothed comb. Two of them thought the visions were real, one abstained from voting, two thought that the visions were real at first, but no longer are and eleven of them said the whole thing was not supernatural.
If I had a vote, I'd say no. I haven't been there to have my rosary turn to gold, but this passage from the Bishop's letter has stayed with me. The visions were initially on a hill. And then..."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 busses, 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. 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?"
What are you supposed to think? Whatever you like. You don't have to believe that Fatima was a supernatural phenomena, either. The Church says it was, but as it came through "personal revelation" (through the visionaries of Fatima), you can do with it what you will.
There is only one thing, as far as I can tell, that you are forbidden to do, and that is to organize a pilgrimage there based on the idea that the apparitions are real and have the blessing of the Church. You can still have a pilgrimage there and come home with a gold rosary.
Paraphrasing St. Augustine: In necessary things unity, in undecided things freedom,and in all things charity.