In the mailbox: Understanding Medjugorje

In the mailbox: Understanding Medjugorje

I’ve received another new book in the mail. After our recent discussion on Medjugorje, I was contacted by Donal Anthony Foley to see if I was interested in receiving a review copy of his new book, “Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?”

A quick perusal through the table of contents tells me he’s not exactly favorable toward the phenomenon being true. It also looks like he backs up his arguments with a whole lot of research and documentary evidence. I think this might be a good book for anyone who’s pro, con, or neutral.

Update: TS gives a brief “in process” review of the book (he’s read only the first third so far.)

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  • Ah, another “expert.”  I base my decisions on what comes from Rome:  Speaking on Aug. 21st 1996 in Rome Vatican Press Office spokesman, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, sought to clarify the status of pilgrimages to Medjugorje. He noted,

    “You cannot say people cannot go there until it has been proven false. This has not been said, so anyone can go if they want … When one reads what Archbishop Bertone wrote, one could get the impression that from now on everything is forbidden, no possibility” for Catholics to travel to Medjugorje. But, in fact, “nothing has changed, nothing new has been said … The problem is if you systematically organize pilgrimages, organize them with the bishop and the church, you are giving a canonical sanction to the facts of Medjugorje … This is different from people going in a group who bring a priest with them in order to go to confession … I was worried that what Archbishop Bertone said could be interpreted in too restricted a way. Has the church or the Vatican said no (to Catholics visiting Medjugorje)? NO. … The difference, in the terms of canon law, is that an official pilgrimage, organized by the diocese with the bishop, is a way of giving a juridical sanction to the facts; you are saying this is true.”

    So, the Church cannot make the final decision yet, but all the self-proclaimed experts can.  Thousands of holy Masses, endless hours of adoration, countless rosaries, tremendous vocations, beautiful conversions.  Sure, the evil one would love to see this stopped!  He’s having a field day in our country and our world now, why not add another feather to his cap!  Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

  • Alas, Dr. Navarro-Valls was speaking outside of his proper sphere of competency; as we saw over the past few months with regard to foreign policy, some voices in the Vatican do this from time to time.

    For authoritative direction, see the instructions from Abp. Bertone, the (former) Yugoslav Bishops Conference, and the local ordinary.

  • RC and Diane are right on the money…Read the documents!  Chris K, the udayton web site “roots” for Medjugorje, contradicts itself…

  • John said to him, “teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.

    The incredible events of Medjugorje have turned millions toward Jesus, not against Him.  All I have witnessed over these years are works done in Jesus name.  Our Lady would have it no other way.

    Why some have apparently taken up so much of the precious time the Lord has granted them in an effort to shut down such a powerhouse of prayer and sacraments and grace is startling.  Why not be so vocal on the abuses present in our very midst that blaspheme Christ, instead of taking up the spear against those who love Him?  How many perpetual adoration chapels have been opened because of Medjugorje conversions…how many prayer groups begun because lives and hearts have been touched by the events of Medjugorje.  Our society today is pulling people away from Christ….Medjugorje is teaching something beautiful, the five stones to say our Goliath: the Holy Eucharist, prayer (Rosary), fasting, reading the scriptures, monthly confession.  As St. Augustine says~~Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and will not rest until they rest in You.  I am one of the millions who discovered this in Medjugorje on my first visit 13 years ago and it has never left me.  I will be eternally grateful.

  • Hey I’m a believer in Medjugorje.  But Chris, where did you find that the bishop was warned to keep his personal opinions to himself?

    I’d be interested in reading that

  • Chris K., I’ve read the documents…I’m waiting, though, for the document that you cannot provide, which Diane and Jaime have requested…

    Are you unaware that the 1991 judgement is “non constat de supernaturalitate”?  That is a negative formula, an opposite of “constat de supernaturalitate”.  (As they say in the old country, “What part of ‘non’ don’t you understand?”)  The Bertone letter simply says that Bishop Peric has not changed the formula to “constat de non supernaturalitate”, and that the regulation of devotions remains as it was stated in the 1980s.
    In this latest homily, Bishop Peric restates what is exactly the position of the Church regarding the non-supernaturality of these apparitions.

  • Chris K.,
    I DO know the differences in the three formulae:

    Constat de supernaturalitate.

    Non constat de supernaturalitate.

    Constat de non supernaturalitate.

    BOTH ‘non constat’ AND ‘constat de non’ are NEGATIVE formulae; BOTH are opposites of ‘constat’ even though they are not identical to each other.

    Yes, if new evidence turns up in support of supernaturality, the case could be reopened and the formula ‘constat’ might be applied.  Unless and until new evidence is advanced, though, the case remains judged in the negative.  Evidence put forward to date has not shown that these are apparitions of the Blessed Mother.

    Judgements are judgements.  The three formulae are what the Church employs in judgements.  If something is undecided, it remains unjudged; and that is not the case with Medjugorje.

    A decision whether or not to investigate anew the events of Medjugorje rests with the Bishops Conference of B-H.  If there is no new favorable evidence since 1991, the bishops may never re-investigate, as a negative judgement applies already.  If a new investigation began today, it would be quite an uphill battle, as the Ordinary of Mostar likely would favor the ‘constat de non supernaturalitate’ formula.

  • Diane and Chris, perhaps this is the reference:

    In an official note from the office of the Vatican Secretary of State, No. 150.458, 04/01/85, Cardinal Casaroli made known to Bishop Zanic to “suspend the diffusion of his personal declarations.”

  • Thank you Maryschild for pleasing the doubting Thomases here.

    Small problem with that Chris.  That pertains to Bishop Zanic and he’s retired.  Where does it say that the current Bishop Peric has been asked to keep his personal opinions to himself?

  • Oh, my – here we go again !! The ‘fruits’ of this argument on this blog don’t seem very good, do they ?

    It is interesting to note that while you were all bickering amongst yourselves regarding the apparitions at medjugorje, the Vatican has established a new commission to investigate Medjugorje.

    Oh, and also: the world is at war. Anyone notice the “signs of the times” which we are now living in and which Our Lady has spoken of numerous times this year ?

    And also, Pope Benedict called on “Our Lady, Queen of Peace” to intecede for the world at this time.

    Our Lady. Queen of Peace, pray for us.

  • Regardless of the Bishop of Mostar’s name, the directive was toward his “chair” as bishop.  The directive of the Commission is still in place.  And yes, apparently a new commission has been established.  As it has been said, “The Church does not rush on these things,” and neither should we.  Why can’t we cease and peacefully pray for one another and drop the swords of battle.  Our goal is to get to heaven.  It is not our place to pass judgement on Medjugorje, or on each other, our place is to tend to our own souls to become closer to Christ, and by imitation of Him, to draw others to Him as well.  Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, pray of us all!

  • We pray for one another, we don’t hammer one another.  This is not our Commission to decide on these things, this is the Church’s Commission.  Whether we doubt, choose not to believe or believe completely, we humbly go before the Lord with purity of heart.  We have many “logs” to remove from our own eyes before we attempt to remove the “splinters” from those who choose not to think or believe the way we do.  If I choose to believe in Medjugorje, it is not your job to “convince” me it is not true.  And also, it is not my job the “convince” you it is true.  If we frequent the sacraments, stay close to Christ and Mary in prayer, we will be convicted of truth by Someone greater than you or me.  And that includes Medjugorje.  We will all come to the know the truth, you as a nonbeliever, me as a believer, and we don’t need to spend endless hours of dialog defending our positions. Because frankly, I don’t care if you believe, just don’t jump on me because I do.  I just care and pray that you are happy with our Father in Heaven one day….and I pray the same for myself, your sister in Christ.

  • Maryschild,

    You have not posted the text of the Casaroli letter #150.458…but let’s take it to be as you’ve said in your post.

    The date 04/01/85 precedes by a little over a year, the May, 1986, date of the official negative judgement “non constat de supernaturalitate” delivered by Bp. Zanic to the CDF at the conclusion of the investigations at the diocesan level.  After May, 1986, it’s no longer an issue…

    On another level, why would State, not CDF, write the complaint?

  • This is great news, Diane.  Here is the translation:
    Translation given below:

    The Church has decided to studiously review the events at Medjugorje and a new Commission will decide.

    The Catholic Church is starting a new commission that will look into the Medjugorje events. This sums up what Cardinal Vinko Puljic, president of the Bosnia and Hercegovina Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Sarajevo, said to reporters at the end of the Bishops conference held July12-14, 2006 in Banja Luka. This announcement surprised many, because Medjugorje was not even one of the topics discussed at the meeting. On top of that, it is well know that the Church will not take a definite position about the Medjugorje phenomenon while it is still going on, and even more well known is the position of the bishop of Mostar, who time and again has claimed that there are no apparitions of the Mother of God in his diocese.

    The request from the Vatican for a new commission will reanalyze the position of the bishops taken in the 1991 Zadar declaration, by which “it cannot be determined that anything supernatural is happening there”? It cannot ignore what is happening in Medjugorje and has been insisting for over a half a year that something be done.

    The Medjugorje phenomenon has had effects all over the world, there are more and more pilgrims from the entire world coming in throngs to the small village in Hercegovina and are praying to the Mother of God. The commission will be put together by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, even though the normal practice is for this kind of commission to be established by the local bishop. But, because of the negative position of Bishop Ratko Peric, the commission will be international in order for it to be completely objective and neutral. It will probably consist of two teams that will have clear jurisdiction and orders.

    Holy Place

    The Holy See has decided to take Medjugorje into its own hands and finally decide whether Medjugorje is an official shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary where people come not only privately but with the official recommendation of the Church, or a “normal” place of prayer in which nothing supernatural has occurred.

    “I was very happy to hear the news that Cardinal Vinko Puljic announced,” said Father Petar Ljubicic, who is the priest that will announce the secrets of Medjugorje when the time comes. “We have been expecting this for a long time. The Cardinal said that the Holy See, that is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will name a new commission that will analyze and look into what has already been happening in Medjugorje for 25 years. Since I was a priest in Medjugorje and have followed the events since the beginning, I am very happy that it will now be looked into more seriously.”

  • Serious study

    Father Petar said, “As for the previous commissions, that looked into the events, I can say that some members were open and serious theologians, who were specialists in spirituality and had studied mystical experiences, but there were also other individuals who were not serious about the events and never actually came to Medjugorje. I ask myself how they could give an opinion of up until now, they can not be certain of anything supernatural?. Some on the council rejected even that apparitions were possible at all. That greatly confused me. The need was felt a long time ago for the Holy See to take the whole matter in its own hands.

  • Thanks,Chris.  Why can’t there be peace, why can’t they simply let the Commission do its job.  I am sure the proper experts will be appointed and the rest of us can step aside and pray and trust that the Divine Plan be accomplished.  May God grant it.  Kralica mira, moli za nas!!