Dec 9, 2007

Doubts About Medjugorje

A recent email that recommended a news item published on the Spirit Daily website of Michael Brown has caused me concern, and so this post reprints a private but pertinent letter sent to some good friends almost twenty years ago. My letter dealt with my doubts about Medjugorje and was based primarily on a 1988 pamphlet written by the late Michael Davies, Medjugorje, A Warning, originally published by THE REMNANT PRESS. [A much more detailed document was later published by Davies in 2004, shortly before his death.] Davies noted that:

Since the Second Vatican Council there has been a grave crisis of authority within the Catholic church. The ordinary faithful have not received the firm and unequivocal teaching and guidance from their ecclesiastical superiors…Rome itself has sometimes appeared to speak with an uncertain voice.

But certainty is what the faithful seek, and when they do not receive it from the Magisterium, they will seek it elsewhere. Some have sought certainty in the charismatic movement which, if examined objectively, renders the Magisterium unnecessary, for what need is there of a teaching authority when each individual Christian can communicate directly with the Holy Ghost?

Other Catholics have put their faith in one of the numerous apparitions which are allegedly taking place in many countries. Once again, if heavenly guidance can be communicated directly through the sect which is witnessing the alleged apparitions, then what need is there of a Magisterium.

My 1989 letter to my friends asked: Is the seeking after signs and wonders a sign of health in the people of the Church? And do the following details of the Medjugorje apparitions appear to contradict their authenticity?

1. The local bishop of the diocese in which Medjugorje is located has condemned the apparitions. Bishop Zanic based his judgment on his own experience with the seers and their advisors and on an investigation by a diocesan commission. Almost all other bishops of Yugoslavia stand with Bishop Zanic, with the exception of the Archbishop of Split.

2. The supposed apparition of the Blessed Virgin opposed Bishop Zanic in 1981 by saying that two priests who had been suspended should resist the Bishop. The apparition is quoted by the visionary, Vicka, in her diary as saying, "the one most to blame in these disorders was Bishop Zanic. She said that Father Vego wasn't to blame and that the bishop had all power. She told him [i.e., Father Vego] to remain in Mostar and not to go elsewhere." In 1982, the two priests were expelled from the Franciscans by the Franciscans themselves, but continued to celebrate the sacraments illicitly. Recently it became known that one of the two priests made a nun associated with Medjugorje pregnant. In addition, another priest who came to Medjugorje has founded a new religious community without the Bishop's approval.

3. The first "apparition" occurred when the six seers were going to have a smoking party, but they told the bishop that they were going to watch the sheep, and later said they went to pick flowers. The seers stated they were seized by panic, one ran away in great terror and one simply fainted. In contrast, at the first vision at Lourdes, companions of St. Bernadette saw her on her knees while gazing in ecstasy at the Blessed Virgin Mary.

4. The "signs" given at Medjugorje have included watch hands turning backwards, colored balloons dancing around the sun and the apparition of Mary, and rosaries turning into gold. This last phenomenon is reminiscent of alchemy, the black art from Egypt that devoted itself in the Middle Ages to attempting to transmute base metals into gold or silver and to discover the secret of indefinitely prolonging human life.

5. At Fatima, Mary foretold in advance that on October 13, 1917 a public miracle of such magnitude that more than 50,000 people assembled to see it and actually did observe the miracle. The sun at Fatima did not damage eyes, while at Medjugorje, the sun has scarred the retinas of people who looked at the sun. Unlike Fatima, promised miracles have not materialized at Medjugorje.

6. The woman in the apparitions at Medugerje is an extremely chatty, even garrulous person—speaking day after day, year after year. On occasions the seers have seen the apparition in a police car and bursting out in laughter when the seers were sadly talking about the two suspended priests of Herzogovina. During the approved Lourdes and Fatima apparitions, the Blessed Virgin Mary was humble, somber, brief, and to the point.

7. The message of ”Peace, peace, peace, nothing else than peace!” at Medjugorje is not the peace of Christ that refers to the inner peace of a soul in harmony with God. Peace can also refer to the “peace of the grave” or the “peace of the knave.”

8. It is known that Sister Lucia, the seer of Fatima, forbade one of her relatives to go to Medjugorje.

9. When the children first asked the vision how long she would remain with them, the answer was "three days". The vision has now been appearing many years. [While women have always reserved the right to change their mind, it is (hopefully) restricted to our imperfect state in this world!]

10. After the seers asked for a public, incontrovertible sign from the apparition, the vision kept urging patience, finally saying a sign would come on December 8, 1981, then on Christmas, then on January 1....After that the seers declared: "We never told this."

11. A false ecumenism is taught by the apparition: "You are not faithful if you do not respect the other religions, the Mohammedan and the Serbian [schismatic]. You are not a Christian if you do not esteem them." [We can and should respect other people, but cannot esteem false religions.]

12. On December 23, 1985, followers of Medjugorje reported that one of the visionaries "acted silly, teasing Marija during the Mass. He's only 14, but even for 14 he seems immature. He wore his scarf on his head like a turban, just to be funny and in general cut up at Mass." Is this the way someone would act who had just seen the Blessed Virgin?

13. The description of heaven given by Vicka on ABC-TV seems simplistic and trite with everyone exactly “33 years old. And they're all dressed in only three colors. That's grey, pink and yellow, and above their heads there are little angels flying." St. Paul could only describe heaven in negatives: "Eye has not seen or ear heard..."

14. Marijana, another seer, has said the apparition asks people to pray four hours a day. In response to whether this applied to families with children, she replied "Of course". In contrast, the Virgin at Fatima requested a rosary be prayed each day.

16. One of the visionaries, Vicka, kept a diary from the beginning. Later she hid it by the order of Father Vlasic, who then swore before Bishop Zanic that he did not have any knowledge of it. Bishop Zanic has stated, "If the Holy Virgin appears in Medjugorje, she does not want lies, perjury and distortions of the truth."

16. In a September 4, 1981 diary entry, Vicka writes about a vision of Mary in which a bloody hankerchief is given to a conductor by a bleeding Jesus who asks the conductor to throw it in the river. The blessed Virgin Mary requests the bloody handkerchief but the conductor offers Mary his own handkerchief. When the conductor finally gives her the bloody handkerchief, Mary is quoted as saying, “If you hadn’t given it to me, that would have been the end of the world.” Bishop Zanic believes the Blessed Mother would not appear on this earth only to speak absurdities.

17. There is too much of a similarity with what has happened at Palmar de Troya in Spain and at Puruaran in Mexico. In both places, pilgrims came by the tens of thousands to visit the sites of the “apparitions.” Eventually the priests in charge removed themselves little by little from all Church authority and made new “Popes.” The Blessed Virgin Mary cannot divide the Body of Christ, the Church.

18. A video tape of the seers shows one of them moving backward to avoid a simulated blow. The strike was meant to test if they, as they claimed, were completely oblivious to everything while having an apparition. The visionary claimed afterward that, at that exact time, she had seen the baby Jesus appear to fall from the arms of Mary, and had reached out to help. This explanation was difficult to understand since the seer's movement was backward, not forward, and Mary is now in a perfected state and unable to drop Jesus.

19. An April 1983 prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary composed by the apparition has erroneous doctrine: "...give me the grace to love all men as you loved Jesus Christ...give me the grace to be merciful towards you...if by chance, I should lose your grace, I ask you to restore it to me." Objections to this prayer are: 1) Jesus, who is God incarnate, must be loved above all men; 2) the Blessed Virgin, who is full of grace, has no need of our mercy: and 3) grace is never lost by chance, but only through sin.

If Medjugorje is not a genuine apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (and in the last 60 years the Church has dismissed 240 bogus Marian apparitions), the long active strife between the secular clergy and the Franciscans in Bosnia and Hercegovina may have helped to build a massive hoax-perhaps abetted by the devil himself.

St. John of the Cross reminds us that "the devil rejoices greatly when a person desires to receive revelations." It is clear that the devil always plays both sides of the table-for the weak Christian, he offers sins of the flesh, lying, anger, etc.; for the pious, he offers scrupulosity, intellectual pride, signs and wonders, etc. "This generation seeks for a sign," but Matthew 12:39 reminds us that "It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign."

4 comments:

Dr. Bombay said...

Even if the purported "messages" weren't so insipid, the fact that two successive bishops have condemned these so-called apparitions is all any faithful Catholic needs to know. The local bishop remains the competent authority in this matter.

There are plenty of approved apparitions to choose from if one is into such things. And even those are not essential to our salvation.

Alison said...

Medjugorje is the biggest fraud of the Twentieth Century. An apparition that talks more than I do is not the Blessed Virgin. Plus, Dr. Bombay is so right about the lack of obedience. The lack of it is just pretty appalling.

Anonymous said...

I am 90% sure Medjugorje is a false apparition, likely that it is not Mary but a demon who is appearing to the "seers."

Medjugorje seeks to diminish the TRUE messages and miracles of Fatima, and other approved apparitions.

For great articles from faithful Catholic sources exposing Medjugorje, go to>

http://www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/MedjugorjeIndex.html

http://www.semperficatholic.com/page39.html

http://www.newjerusalem.com/GreatApostasy.htm

http://www.olrl.org/prophecy/medjugorje.shtml

Some of these sources overlap but many cite actual letters, testimonies, etc. from bishops, conversations with the "seers" which show the heresies and inconsistencies involved.

Please share these with every Catholic you know; Medjugorje is a cancer that is wreaking havoc on the Church.

Anonymous said...

I have visited Medjugorje twice and was impressed with the atmosphere of prayer and peace there. However I was far from impressed by the so-called visionaries. One of the girls (Marija) seemed totally tormented when she spoke to us. Another one (Vicka) seemed simple minded - she giggled as she talked about Hell. But, God can draw good from evil.