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Monday, November 14, 2011

Proceed with Caution

We've had some interesting comments on my comments about the comments that have been made about Medjugorje.  Some people are willing to admit that all that glitters may not be a gold rosary.  Others are more adamant about Our Lady being a visitor.

If you are worried about the length of time the Blessed Mother is with us here on earth, then what will be your reaction when you reach heaven and have the rest of eternity with her?

The kingdom of heaven? It’s here. It arrived with Jesus. And he teaches us that he is with us always.

Medjugorje? God’s merciful love. Tap into it. Receive it. Enjoy it. Live it. There’s more to come. That’s his promise.

Again, we can make our own decisions about personal revelations. I'm sure many people are indeed profoundly effected by their visits to Medjugorje.  But there are very, very good reasons to believe that the committee that studied the apparitions were absolutely correct in their assessment that nothing supernatural is going on here.  And there even better reasons to be extremely cautious about jumping in with both feet to a series of events that are not, repeat NOT, approved by the Church as worthy of our devotion.

So let's take an even closer look at why the Church has come up with this pronouncement.  What is the criteria by which the Church passes such judgment.  There are three major categories for consideration.

1.  Banality or lack of dignity.
This is what the Bishop was referring to when he gave off with that list of all the places Mary appeared, from trains, trees, houses....Remember that list?  It wasn't even complete.  Mary might have been appearing at the bowling alley and in the dryer like she did in Georgia.  The Church didn't approve that one either.

So the frivolity of the places isn't enough for you? How about some of these gems:
Besides predicting a Yugoslavian soccer win, Mary also moved one of the seers watch hands when Mary was asked to leave a sign, left several times because she claimed people had trod on her veil and on another occasion got all smeared and dirty because those present had all touched her cloak and her veil.

Banal and undignified. Check.

2.  An Apparition Teaching Error and Heresy.
I think having any marks in this category ought to seal the deal, but we still have the other two categories and Medjugorje has filled them all.  In any case, here are a two doozies from the hill (or the train or the forest or the grocery store...).  "All religions are equal under God."  That may comfort the separated brethren, but that would also include Hinduism, Wiccans, and Scientologists, would it not?  God may love all His children equally, but He didn't write that whole big book so you could be a Buddhist. 

She also asked not to be an intermediary between herself and her Son and to direct all petitions directly to Him!  What a nonsensical statement!  So why are rosaries turning gold there?  The rosary is an intermediary prayer.  You remember that part that goes "Hail Mary full of grace....pray for us sinners..."?  She can't seem to make up her mind.

3. Undermining the Church's Authority.
Jan. 1982: The Virgin states that two Franciscan priests, removed from their order and under suspension by the bishop, one of whom later fathered a child by a nun, may continue to say Mass and hear Confessions. Vicka the seer is asked "If the Lady said this, and the Pope says that they cannot..." Vicka answers: "The Pope can say what he wants. I'm telling it as it is."

Yikes.  It was our current Pope Benedict who defrocked that priest.
There are quite a few more examples in all three categories.

But the Holy See may give Medjugorje tacit approval in some way, perhaps with shrine status. It has already issued statements that the pilgrims must be pastorally supported and that is happening.

In fact the opposite is true. The Church has removed the shrine that had been built.  The statements that have been issued about pilgrims being pastorally supported is so that the faith that come there are not lead astray by these events that do not have any support from the Church.

And another Pope Benedict (XIV) that said this: 

"We must suspect those apparitions that lack dignity or proper reserve, and above all, those that are ridiculous. This last characteristic is a mark of human or diabolical machination."


bg said...

The priest you refer to as “defrocked” actually requested to be laicised.

As to the banality examples you produce, all are simply hearsay.

Your understanding of the outcome of the findings of the last commission is flawed. The Yugoslav bishop’s conference did not state that “nothing supernatural is going on there”

It stated: “On the basis of investigation SO FAR it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.”

In other words, the commission at that time left the matter open for further investigation. It did not find for or against. That was in 1991.

As you are probably aware, there is a now a new commission investigating the phenomenon. This is the FOURTH commission. So the door remains open.

While the local bishop may comment and have an opinion about the phenomenon, the Holy See has also publicly stated that his views and opinions on the matter are his private views. How could they be anything else when the Church has not made any final decision?

When one judges Medjugorje as a place of frivolity, I suspect that their assessment is not based having visited the village. If so, then their perspective can only be limited.

Finally, the misquote “All religions are equal before God” is often used and bandied about on the internet as a tool to use against Medjugorje.

Here’s the actual quote, it was a response to a question: “Are all religions good?”

The response was: “Members of all faiths are equal before God. God rules over each faith just like a sovereign over his kingdom. In the world all religions ARE NOT the same because all people have not complied with the commandments of God. They reject and disparage them.”

Farmwife said...

The only reason I have thought it might be valid is because I read somewhere that Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote to someone and mentioned the visions and said that Mary had told her she was appearing before them. But of course they could be circulating that rumor themselves...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sister.

Martha said...

Hear, hear! Thank you from me as well. Well written. You are truly a voice of reason- if only common sense would be more prevalent in the world...

As it is, debates about Medj. are *insanely* hot, and I'm so glad for you that your combox didn't explode with indignation (any more than it did, anyway!).

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I'll never understand why people "correct" others without citing any references. Why am I supposed to believe that an anonymous poster is more credible than Sister?

Oct. 1, 1981: "All religions are equal before God," says the Virgin. (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p. 317)

richard said...

I have read that Medjugorje is the fulfillment of Fatima.

Anonymous said...

I think it's useful to compare Fatima to Medjugorje. Fatima led to the conversion of many in Portugal, the visionaries died young in two cases while one became a nun (Like St. Bernadette who did both). Medjugorje by contrast has led to disobedience by priests and visionaries in word and deed: this scandal. There were no priestly or religious vocations from the visionaries and little to no sign of respect for the Church. Sorry I find it utterly unconvincing.

bg said...

Anonymous, I have two different printings of the book: Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje (Chronological Corpus of the Messages) by Fr René Laurentin and René Lejeune, published by Faith Publishing Company.

Is this the reference you are quoting from? If not can you supply more detail please? Thank you

There is no reference to this “message” on page 317 of the book I have quoted above.

Lily said...

Thanks for clarifying this, sister. I didn't know much about Medjugorje before this, but knowing what you've said, it sounds like a decidedly questionable set of occurrences. And even if something supernatural is going on there, that doesn't necessarily mean it's really Mary speaking to the seers... I think people should be cautious :(

mph said...

Did Pope John Paul II really say this in 1986 (as I have read more than once): "Let the people go to Medjugorje if they convert, pray, confess, do penance and fast."
If so, he clearly didn't think it was diabolic or anti-church. I haven't heard any later quotes from him denouncing it before he died. The main messages from there - prayer, fast, penance and conversion seem quite decent as well. I'm struggling to imagine anyone (never mind a group of people) pretending to see things for this long without eventually feeling awful about the deception, and it's hard to think something diabolic would promote prayer and peace.

Mary Bennett said...

If people convert, do penance, recieve the sacraments etc, they have no need of Medj.

Akita is approved and is the fulfillment of Fatima.

Our Lady of Medj, aka Our Lady Blabbermouth because she never shuts up, also said that we have been celebrating her birthday on the wrong day, Sept 8, when her birthday is August 6. So, now the Church is wrong again according to Our Lady Blabbermouth, and she points us to her instead of her Son when we have much more important things going on in our Church like abortion among Catholics, divorce among Catholics, Catholics who have no idea of their faith, (by the way Pope Eugene spoke infallibly about therebeing no Salvation outside the Church), a Priest shortage, pedophiles, growing anti-Catholicism and wholesale slaughter of Catholics in the Middle East. But no, let's make sure we get Lady Blabbermouth's birthday right.
If you are of the Medj. mindset, go to Bayside Queens and donate the money you save to a worthy cause!

bg said...

Yes, the diabolical argument doesn’t make sense. Imagine satan encouraging the people to confess their sins and reconcile with God? But that’s what happens at Medjugorje. People return to the Sacraments. The messages urge the people to pray and to fast, to daily conversion, to receive the Eucharist. All this is the devil’s work?

And as for scam and deceit (more tools of the devil) the people are still drawn reconcile with God.

I thought satan was smarter than that. I didn’t think it was even possible for the father of lies to point the way to God. Isn’t that Mary’s role?

Anonymous said...

I was just quoting from a report, I don't have the book myself.
However, you might try page 344? This is a link (I hope) to what I found with google books

For what it is worth, I ran across multiple instances of this question/answer on the net. Some as you said, some as Sister said.

Mary Bennett said...

If the devil appeared at Medjorge with horns and goat hooves, you would instantly know who you are dealing with, and would reject him. But when he appears looking like the Virgin Mary, and superficially sounding like Mary should, then it is not so easy to determine!! Of course the devil will come to you looking like a lamb, but really being the same dragon of old!!! He will act in anyway he has to, in order to lead the greatest number of people astray!! Don't be one of them.

As for the conversions that happen there, is our Almighty God so feeble, so weak, that He can not use any situation for good?

The "Lady" speaks as the Dragon when she

1. scoffs at the Churches three times pronounced and INFALLIBLE teaching that Out of the Catholic Church there is no Salvation. The short hand for it is EENS, Google it and you will see.

2. encourages people to disobey the Church Magisterium by going to an unaproved apparition site.

3. tells the people that the Church is in error again, that her birthday is August 8, not September 8. Really? Does this sound like Mary, or like some attention hound giving the people little tidbits of trivia, while gently reminding them that our Church is fallible in it's teachings?

4. Is Our Lady still coming to Medj? All we have is the word of 6 people, none of which are living the life of a religious. Lucy of Fatima OCCASSIONALLY received apparitions of our Lord, even while she was in the convent. BUT NOT EVERY MONTH!

5. Jesus warned us about expecting signs and wonders. The devil can perform signs and wonders too.

6. The Miracle of the Sun is supposedly the same as the great ONE TIME miracle of the sun at Fatima and we know that the anti-Christ will attempt to APE Jesus. Is Medj. apeing Fatima? Please read "AntiChrist" by Father Vincent Minelli

bg said...

Thanks anonymous. I did check both my versions of the book I mentioned and there’s no reference to the quote on page 344.

bg said...

Mary Bennett, your reasoning brings to mind the passage from Matthew’s gospel, 12 : 23-32, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils through the power of Beelzebul.

Jesus was quick to put them right on that one.

It is through the power of the Holy Spirit and not satan that we confess our sins and repent.

It’s simple message that comes from Medjugorje. It’s not a new message. It’s a call to accept God’s message of peace, a call to reconcile with God and each other.

The call can be recognised In today’s gospel (Luke 19:41-44). But for some it is hidden from their eyes.

We should not allow ourselves to be deceived or blinded to the truth that God is still calling his lost sheep with the help of our Blessed Mother, Queen of Prophets, who brings forth the Word of God and always reminds us to “do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

Jesus said: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15)

Mary Bennett said...

But Jesus doesn't tell us to believe in His Church with one breath, and then cast doubts on that Church with another breath.

The woman at Medjorge does just that, as I pointed out with examples over and over again in my responses.

Why do you persist in an unapproved apparition instead of the approved apparitions, of which their are many? This is disobedience to the Church. I urge you to examine your motivation.

I am done trying to help you. Truly there are none as blind as those who WILL NOT see.

mph said...

Probably best not to refer to "Our Lady Blabbermouth" until the visions are officially denounced by the Church. I'm not of the Medjugorje mindset. I'm just willing to keep an open mind until the Church says one way or another. Sometimes the Church does change it's mind - e.g. the views on limbo and unbaptised children.

bg said...

Mary... I quite agree with your statement about Jesus, because that’s not happening at Medjugorje. It’s a perception gleaned from much false information circulated in an attempt to sow seeds of doubt.

The doubt does not come from Medjugorje but from within and from one’s limited experience and knowledge of Medjugorje. I say limited because I am presuming that you have never travelled to the village and experienced first-hand all that is happening. If you have, then I stand corrected.

“Come and see,” said Jesus to two followers that asked where he lived. The invitation is still relevant today. Always will be.

Mary, I am not disobedient to the Church in the way that you think, but I am a sinner, and when I sin I know that I harm the Church, the Body of Christ.

But the Church authority has not yet declared that Medjugorje is out of bounds. We still await a final decision. In the meantime the Holy See has announced that all pilgrims travelling to Medjugorje should be supported pastorally. It recognises this need and in 30 years of claimed apparitions and messages it has never yet declared that any of the messages are a danger to the faith and morals of the faithful.

Canon Law states that the Church has a duty to the faithful to warn them of matter that is a danger to faith and morals.

Thank you for your time and interest. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asks: Why am I supposed to believe that an anonymous poster is more credible than Sister?

And I ask: Why are you supposed to believe that (1) Sister is actually a Roman Catholic nun and not an Internet persona and (2) she knows more about theology than you do and (3) Anonymous isn't a nun, theologian or otherwise well versed in a subject. It's the Internet, where symptoms of the common cold can become evidence of an incurable disease spread by terrorists if you just read the right Web site.

Anonymous said...

Let us be good and loving to one another, and follow Christ and His Holy Church. We should discern all things and keep what is Holy (Saint Paul says this in Scripture). We are the Body of Christ and we are meant to be One. Therefore, let us be good to one another and slow to judge. If we are in the state of grace and are actively cultivating union with the Lord we will have eyes to see. Let us pray to Our Lady that those who have the responsibility to discern and make public declarations will be able to listen well to the Spirit of all Truth who leads us to Truth. By their fruits you will know them (the Lord says this). If we show love for one another, we show that we follow Christ. Therefore the question of the truthfulness of apparitions is only secondary to a real vibrant love of God and neighbor. Let's be good to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should witness to Christian love by the way we dialog on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Let us be good to one another, and witness to Christian charity even in our posts on comment forums. The Lord Jesus and Our Blessed Mother will be pleased insofar as we are good to one another. The truthfulness of an apparition is known by it's fruits, but we should have patience and wait for those who have been given the responsibility to discern. In the mean time let's pray well, grow in union with Christ and His Holy Church. Let's witness to Christian love always!

Your Sister in Christ said...

We should bear witness to Christian love in every place including blog forums. By their fruits you will know them. This applies to apparitions as well as to individuals. Let us love one another, and if we don't know how, let us beg the Lord for Merciful light.

Mary Bennett said...

Fr Peter Joseph, Chancellor of the Maronite Diocese of Australia - doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome:
"It is forbidden, as well as sinful, to propagate private revelations which have received a negative judgement from the local Bishop, the conference of Bishops, or the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith".
"Everyone is free to have an opinion, but all have to submit to the judgement of the Church with practical obedience. What I mean is: you are still free to disagree (the Bishop is not infallible in this matter), but you owe him practical obedience, that is, you may not act against the decree; you may not propagate a revelation that the Bishop has judged negatively, or continue to say publicly that you regard it as genuine. Remember, a Church commission may give a negative verdict for reasons which it cannot state publicly, e.g., it may have found out things against the character of the seer, but will not say so publicly, even though this would justify the decision and help people to accept it.
If a so-called message is judged not authentic for doctrinal reasons, then you are not free to defend such messages, because then you will be defending error".
CWNews.com Report

Mary Bennett said...

Medjugorje apparition claims are divisive, bishop warns

Jul. 04, 2006 (CWNews.com) - The Catholic bishop whose diocese includes the town of Medjugorje has warned that "something similar to a SCHISM" has arisen at the parish church where apparitions of the Virgin Mary are alleged to take place.

In a homily delivered in Medjugorje on the feast of Corpus Christi, Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar-Duvno, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said that both he and his predecessor have expressed severe misgivings about the reported apparitions. He added that both POPE JOHN PAUL II (bio - news) and Pope BENDICT XVI (bio - news) backed the judgments of the local bishops.

In his homily Bishop Perić explained that-- "while recognizing the Holy Father's right to give a final decision" on the validity of the reported apparitions-- he doubted their validity. He recalled that when he discussed the reports from Medjugorje with Vatican officials, including then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, they shared his incredulity.

"They particularly do not seem to be authentic," the bishop observed, "when it is known before that these so-called 'apparitions' will occur." Bishop Perić cited the schedule that the Medjugorje seers have provided, listing the times and places at which they claim the next visits by the Mother of God will occur. Thousands of messages from Mary are now claimed, and the bishop observed that "the flood of so-called apparitions, messages, secrets, and signs do not strengthen the faith, but rather further convince us that in all of this there is nothing neither authentic nor established as truthful."

The first reported appearances of the Virgin at Medjugorje occurred just over 25 years ago. During the 1980s, thousands of Catholic flocked to the little town, with many reporting profound spiritual experiences. These pilgrimages were eventually slowed by the violent bloodshed that tore through the region in the 1990s and by the increasingly public skepticism of the hierarchy.

Bishop Perić reminded his people of the restrictions that he has imposed on activities in Medjugorje. The parish church is not formally a "shrine," he said, and should not be characterized as such. Pilgrimages to the church are discouraged. Priests there are "not authorized to express their private views contrary to the official position of the Church on the so-called 'apparitions' and 'messages,' during celebrations of the sacraments, nor during other common acts of piety, nor in the Catholic media."

The bishops urged the "seers" of Medjugorje to "demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish."

Some of the Franciscan priests assigned to the Medjugorje parish, he said, have been expelled from their order because of their refusal to accept Church authority. "They have not only been illegally active in these parishes, but they have also administered the sacraments profanely, while others invalidly," he said. As Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, he said, he felt obliged to warn the faithful "who invalidly confess their sins to these priests and participate in sacrilegious liturgies." From Catholic World News – July 2006 (http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=45105).
(Bishop Ratko Perić's homily: http://www.cbismo.hr/DHTMLFiles/Opsirnije.asp?P=25)

Mary Bennett said...

Let us compare the teachings of the Church and Scripture with the "revelations" of Medjugorje: What the Church Says1
"There is but one universal Church of the faithful outside of which no one at all can be saved."
–Pope Innocent III2

"We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."
–Pope Boniface VIII3

"The most Holy Roman Catholic Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church ... can have eternal life."
–Pope Eugene IV4

"That they may be one, as thou Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that (as a consequence) the world may believe that Thou hast sent me."
–John 17:21

"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism."
–Ephesians 4:3-5 What Medjugorje Says
"God presides over all religions as a king controls his subjects, through his priests and ministers."
–Svetozar Krljevic O.F.M.5

"The Madonna always stresses that there is but one God and that people have enforced unnatural separation. One cannot truly believe, be a true Christian, if he does not respect other religions as well."
–"Seer" Ivanka Ivankovic6

"The Madonna said that religions are separated in the earth, but the people of all religions are accepted by her Son."
–"Seer" Ivanka Ivankovic6

Question: "Is the Blessed Mother calling all people to be Catholic?"
"No. The Blessed Mother says all religions are dear to her and her Son."
–"Seer" Vicka Ivankovic7

"The Blessed Mother has said: 'Tell everyone that it is you who are divided on earth. The Moslems and the Orthodox for the same reason as Catholics, are equal before my Son and me."

Mary Bennett said...

In her autobiography, Saint Teresa writes, "I only regard a revelation as true if it is in no way contrary to Holy Scripture and to the laws of the Church, which we are obliged to follow." The soul favored with extraordinary graces "feels capable of confounding all the demons in order to uphold the smallest of the truths taught by the Church!" If a revelation "departed ever so little from Holy Scripture, I would see in it a snare of the Devil... in such a case, it is not necessary to look for any other signs nor even to examine what manner of spirit it is. This mark alone so clearly unveils the wiles of the evil spirit that, were all the world to assure me that it is the spirit of God, I still would not believe it."

mph said...

@Mary Bennet, does the Church believe that all non-Catholics go straight to hell then? Hmmm, I wonder if the current Pope was asked this directly, what his answer would be.
Also, what is wrong with saying people of all religions are equal before God, isn't that what we're supposed to believe? Note "people of all religions", not "all religions".

Mary Bennett said...

@mph I have only copy and pasted what the Church teaches and always has. You don't have a problem with me then, you have a problem with Church teaching.

Best of luck to you in your quest for TRUTH

mph said...

@Mary Bennet, you're right I don't have a problem with you. The Church also used to teach that babies that were not baptised before they died would not go to heaven (always seemed strange to me that God would create life and because they were not baptised on earth, through no fault of their own, He would not want them in His presence), but now Pope Benedict has said there is reason to believe there is hope that they do. So, obviously once the Church has said something it is not set in stone forever. Like I said, I'd love to hear his views on whether non-Catholics have no chance of getting into heaven. Our version of God's Church and His might not be quite the same.