Medjugorje

I've always been extremely sceptical about Medjugorje and what has gone on there. I have friends I really trust who reckon it is amazing, but what I have seen and read just doesn't add up when compared to my experiences of Fatima and Lourdes.

Earlier this week, Protect the Pope announced that Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna and a leading member of the International Commission on Medjugorje, has told a news outlet that Pope Francis will rule on Medjugorje this year. I forsee difficulties with this, because if they say it is fake, I would expect many devotees will continue to believe in it regardless. Those who do not think it is genuine will remain sceptical and will probably consider the CDF have fudged the issue in order to avoid upsetting anyone.

Marie Dean articulates my misgivings perfectly in this succinct post on her blog:

The so-called apparitions started in 1981. I honestly did not pay much attention to these and was not interested. By 1983, I was convinced of the falsity as a "gut reaction" and I began to read what I could find. In 1989, I read E. Michael Jones' book. I also looked at the original comments of the local bishops over the years.
I am personally convinced it is not of supernatural origin and have not been confused on this, but tried to be open. I have asked friends to convince me who have been there, and all I have received were emotional answers or answers based on experiences. I have tried to respect the enthusiasm of my friends who follow this, but I did not see these messages or apparitions leading to a deeper holiness or seeking of truth. Apparition followers bother me as those seeking the lowest level of comfort, rather than seeking perfection.
Not good enough.
The daily messages are contrived and some contradict Catholic teaching.
The movements of the apparitions to other countries is showmanship.
The length and timing is contrary to all apparitions in the past
The lives of the seers do not express the type of holiness and leaving of the world of previous seers. (A seer over a certain age in very tight jeans talking to a priest indicates a lack of respect for the priesthood, a respect which Our Lady would have communicated, if the visions were of Our Lady.)
Money has been made by close relatives of the seers, a real no-no.
Mary does not manipulate. Mary is Queen. Queens do not have to keep speaking. They say something, it is taken in and done by her slaves and subjects. Basta.
I believe it takes attention away from Fatima, which is the key apparition of our times.
Fruits do not make an apparition valid.
I have other reasons more specific for another time, and I shall abide by the decision of the Vatican, which I think will defer to the local bishops. However, we are under no obligation to believe in private revelations, even if approved.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has these concerns! Fundamentally, who needs Medjugorje? Does it make a jot of difference to my faith? Would I not be Catholic if Medjugorje was not a place of pilgrimage? Of course not! So I am really not sure what it is all about.


Comments

  1. Interesting points. You should read what Fr Thwaites had to say on the matter

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3695

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    1. Fascinating stuff, thank you PJ. Counter Cultural Father has also proposed this as most instructive from Michael Davies, whose wife was Croation:
      Medjugorje after Twenty-One Years - The Definitive History

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    2. I have read Michael Davies as well, but much later. I am glad, brother Mark, we agree on this Disneyland vision. I shall check out Fr. Thwaites who I met long ago as a single woman in London, making the trip out to see him. He talked about Mary almost the entire time.

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    3. ..thanks so much for offering the Father Thwaites link..that post contains the wisdom of the saints... :-)

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  2. Medjugorje is a place of pilgrimage to where people journey and encounter with God. Now I can journey to my front room and encounter with my Maker, or to my local church, or anywhere else I happen to me. However, in my experience there are special graces to be received, just as there are at other places of pilgrimages. But after that the journey continues because life in itself is a pilgrimage. Many pilgrims who have journeyed to Medjugorje have experienced life-changing graces and been renewed in faith, returning to the Church and sacraments. What many critics of Medjugorje fail to understand is that Medjugorje is not just about apparitions and messages, but an encounter with God. If God calls people there through the intercession of his Blessed Mother, who are we to say he should not, and deceive ourselves that he calls people to himself in many wondrous and varied ways. That’s what he does. He calls. He calls you, me and every heart he has created to himself. I note you have a wonderful family of children. As a father you will know that each child is unique and responds to you and your call, your love in their own way. You probably have different ways of communicating with each child, dependent where they are in life and their age. But they all need you and your love, just like the millions of pilgrims who have felt the need to seek their heavenly Father at Medjugorje. Sometimes they are not aware of this because the need is so natural. We are all made to search for his love, be it in our own family environment or anywhere else. Sadly, many see this love in the wrong places. But I can assure you that Medjugorje is a place where the Holy Spirit works overtime alongside the Blessed Mother. People don’t keep returning there if there is no love to be found, just as a child will back off from a parent if there is no love forthcoming. You may not feel the need for Medjugorje, but a child of yours may do in the future. It’s not Medjugorje that is changing hearts, it’s the Holy Spirit. People do not confess their sins and reconcile with God without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It’s not possible. And at Medjugorje, millions of people reconcile with God and each other. So let us accept this wonderful grace of God, our God of Providence, our Father in heaven who provides for all of his children, who lets his glory be seen at every opportunity especially through the intercession of his Blessed Mother (John 1-12). Our Lady does not seek to be approved and has never asked to be “approved” in any of her messages. After all she is the Mother of the Church. Her approval comes from God, not from man. Sometimes we have to be careful that we don’t start creating a false God, a God of our making, and trying to contain him within boundaries, because that’s the time we start to say: “This is not possible for God to do.” When we start to do this then we begin to lose sight of the glory of God around us, and blindness sets in. Thank you for your time, and I like the look of your blog. Keep journeying and sharing your experiences. It is so important to do this. In one of the messages from Medjugorje Our Lady says that we are not just on earth for ourselves but for each other. As a father with a family of children, I’m sure you will understand the point she is making. Peace :)

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  3. bg, the Church has criteria for private revelations and believe it or not "fruit" is not one. The fact that priests have been their confessing sins and the fact that people are saying rosaries brings grace. But to go from those facts to approving the apparition is the question at hand.

    I know several people who have been to Medjugorje several times who believe in same-sex relationships and contraception even after going. This shows a lack of conversion. Real conversion is not merely a feeling of love but real metanoia.

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  4. What killed the fruits argument for validity in my view was an article I read once in the Irish Times. The article was talking to Irish people who had converted to Islam, and described one young woman who had converted as having had a typically Irish Catholic back ground - and specifically referring to her travelling to Medjugorje.

    Although I didn't know the term at the time, it demonstrated to me that confirmation bias and anecdote was and is a huge part of the "pro apparation" argument.

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  5. I’ve not mentioned “approving” apparitions, only spoke about the reason why people go to places like Medjugorje. The Church cannot “prove” apparitions. But it can judge if any claims are a hoax, or if the claims are worthy of belief. If a hoax, it has a duty to inform the faithful so they are not misled. If not, the Church reserves the right to remain silent. So only a hoax judgment by the Medjugorje Commission will put the lid on Medjugorje.

    However, news this week suggests that the Commission has found no evidence of hoax, and so the pilgrimages will continue, the graces will continue to flow, and souls will continue to be reconciled to God and his Church. That’s Good News, and we should all be delighted rather than concerning ourselves over-duly with trying to prove or disprove apparitions. The Church takes care of these things in its own time. Let the people continue pilgrimage, I say! For those who don’t want to or choose to go elsewhere, that’s fine by me also. :) We can keep questioning, and putting up reasons why we should or should not do this or that, but time waits for no man – or woman, and for those who decide to go to Medjugorje, meet with God in this way and reconcile, that’s making pretty good use of their time, I say. :) As the old saying goes: Dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

    Finally, I find it strange that critics of Medjugorje seem to be focused more on the question of “apparitions” than those who actually go to Medjugorje. It’s like some Protestants getting uptight with their perception or belief that Catholics “worship” statues, when the Catholics know that isn’t the case. One of the dangers of looking in from the outside, I guess. We can only get a partial view and understanding. In fact, there is a danger of many Catholics protesting so much about this and that in the Church these days, they are becoming more “protestant” in their attitude than some of our Protestant brothers in Christ!

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    1. Many thanks for your comments bg, lots of wisdom there for us to reflect on.

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    2. bg, the translation of the hoax article is misleading. Hoax does not mean that the visions are not false,but that there are no tricks. Not the same thing, In other words, no smoke and mirrors. Visions could still be mob induced, or, sadly, satanic. Or just vivid imaginations.Or personal meditations, from the person not from Mary

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    3. bg, but the Church has not remained silent, to cover another one of your points. The local bishops were against it from day one, and that is the authority for apparitions. The Pope Emeritus decided to bring it to Rome.

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    4. Mark, believe me, I can be the biggest skeptic at times, even on matters Medjugorje. It is good to question, but we also have to question ourselves sometimes and ask: Why am I questioning this? What is prompting me to challenge the faith of others in this way? What am I fearful of? Am I jealous? Have they got something, I haven’t?

      I find in my own walk that usually the problems I encounter are with others but with myself. There’s the old saying: To change the world, change yourself. And that’s the essence of the messages from Medjugorje. They are a call to daily conversion, mainly through prayer – that is staying close to God in whatever way we can, walking with him in all circumstances, even in doubt. Peace :)

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  6. My last comment was deleted.

    bg,

    You do not have to question your motives over and over. It is the job of the adult Catholic to come to objectivity in his life in order to become holy. If one is constantly doing the existential doubt, one will not grow. Let God convict you of sins of jealously and so on.

    I am not jealous, nor envious and I do not judge anyone's personal faith, but I can and must judge objective truth or falsity. That is my duty as an adult Catholic.

    To not do so is to ignore our call to teach each other and lead each other from error.

    Read this--http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/01/several-points-to-clear-up.html

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  7. Pope Francis recently warned against the error by those who assume they have all the answers. It is good to question our motives because if we don’t then we close oneself to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Skeptics generally ask questions of others, but never of themselves. I can say that because my skeptism at times can keep the doors of my heart closed to all that he Holy Spirit desires to teach and show me. The disciples went through this process after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Believers they were, but they lived in fear behind closed doors in the upper room. It was only after the promised Paraclete descended on them they were given the free gifts to truly witness their faith openly.

    The Holy Spirit works big-time in Medjugorje. It is the Holy Spirit who prompts millions of pilgrims to confess their sins and reconcile with God and each other. They are not there to judge if the apparitions are true or not. They go there because they seek God – and the Father responds and makes his love known in their hearts in the most beautiful and merciful way. He puts a ring on their finger and sandals on their feet to signify they are free and slaves no longer. But we are all familiar with the sibling who resented the Father’s mercy choosing to remain outside his Father’s house and not join the celebration.

    Medjugorje is where God’s merciful love can be found. The people know this and keep returning. But there are others who choose to remain at a distance seemingly not able to comprehend or want to accept that the wind blows where it chooses. So if God choses to manifest his mercy in a special way at Medjugorje, then let us be joyful that he has let his glory be seen in this way.

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    1. ..the Bishops are sealed with the charism to teach and to preach..at pentacost this was done..now to say that the Holy Spirit is working in medjugorje against the Bishop whose power is of Divine Origin ie from the Holy Spirit..is nonsense really..certainly there are special cases in which the Bishop must seek advice from a chapter..however in the case of private revelation it is the Bishop...

      "Besides the power of order, bishops possess that of jurisdiction; they have the right to prescribe for the faithful the rules which the latter must follow in order to obtain eternal salvation. The power of jurisdiction is of Divine origin, in the sense that the pope is held to establish in the Church bishops whose mission it is to direct the faithful in the way of salvation." -catholic encylcopedia....so you see you are saying God manifests his mercy in a special way ..which is inferring that the Holy Spirit works against himself which is indeed a conundrum and God does not do that which is a logical contradiction...so how say you??

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  8. http://medjugorje1.blogspot.ca/2014/01/pope-francis-meets-cardinal-ruini.html

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  9. ..medjugorje is consequentialism...this is one of the sins of the Holy Spirit..presumption...to presume that it is ok to sin in order to gain heaven without repenting...it is called immoderate hope...and so to be disobedient to the Church and to publicly spread this trash about the Holy Spirit is actually a sin against the Holy SPirit..i suggest you hold your horses..the adherents to medjugorje are like kids running around with matches..they are bound to burn down the edifice of faith...the doctrines and such...it doesn't help being nice to such people for we mistake pastoral exculpation with being enablers of heresy....

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  10. Medj distracts from Fatima - I had not considered that before. It certainly would suit Satan's agenda.

    Pax.

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  11. Does it suit satan’s agenda to see thousands upon thousands of conversions at Medjugorje and people returning to the Church and the sacraments? Check today’s gospel: Mark 3 : 22-20

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  12. JK: Not trash, but truth. :) Faith abounds at Medjugorje. Come and see. (John 1 : 40-51)

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  13. Faith without reason is fanaticism...truth without certitude is speculation...sacraments are exploited at medjugorje it is the pastoral directives which cause the conversions..the grace as it flows from the sacraments and sacramentals...the phenomenon itself is only symbiotically taking advantage of God's mercy to lend itself any credibility..please do not confuse the situation...it is good people are praying but presumption is not faith...

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  14. @bg...many appy polly loggies...if u have received the wrong impression fro me...I am sure u r a nice person with good intentions...yet temperance is key...dont put the cart before the horse u run the risk of giving people the wrong impression..God can indeed bring good out of evil...but to ignorewise BISHOPS who have much more education than we do is very dangerous to one's salvation..it places obexes to garce which we become unaware of...pride makes us blind...be cautious

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  15. JK: Nevertheless, there is no denying that millions of pilgrims have availed of the sacraments at Medjugorje. This is the whole point. This is the sign that critics of Medjugorje choose not to acknowledge because their focus is on trying to prove or disprove claims of apparitions. They have allowed themselves to become distracted. Why even the local bishop acknowledges the fruits witnessed at Medjugorje, even though he don’t believe in the apparitions. :) And he no longer attempts to discourage pilgrims from visiting Medjugorje.

    Ironically, the bishop at the time when the apparitions began actually believed in the phenomenon. He said from the altar at St James church, “The children are not lying.” Now it seems his prophetic words are soon to be affirmed by the Medjugorje Commission. check here: http://crownofstars.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/will-bishops-medjugorje-statement-prove.html

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  16. ...utilitarianism & rule consequentialism undermine the economy of salvation...we cannot justify bad behaviours by promoting them as good...otherwise there is no such thing as merit...then God becomes a sinner...way take care

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  17. JK: Your comment makes absolutely no sense to me. :)

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  18. ,,,,canon law of which the ultimate source is God...governs the Church...there are Canons which require religious writings to be submitted to a Bishop, a Bishop COnference, a council or the Pontiff before being diseminated to the faithful..check 823-824 canons...now this has not been done in medjugorje (ie every message of +30,000) never authorized by any Church authority....obstinance and officious lies are bad behaviours which cannot be expected to be stanchioned by the CHurch...if so then God goes against jurisprudence..if God is perfect how do you reconcile it???..is God a sinner as you say???is God working in a special way through the seers who are openly defying these canons??? indeed God permits evil to allow man the dignity of freedom & self- actualization..yet obstinance and officious lies are not God's mode of operation...

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