As I was driving him into Melbourne from the airport, Mark Shea asked me, in order to confirm a theory of his that the Marian dogmas and devotions are the greatest hurdle for Protestant converts to the Church, whether this was the case with me. In fact, it wasn’t. The problem of the Christocentricity of the Gospel vs the supposed Universalism of Roman Catholicism was by far the greatest concern (following after my acceptance of the Catholic teaching on Justification). Dominus Iesus set all that right for me in mid-2000. Devotion to Mary and the Saints was no problem – in fact, it was a joy. I had a little more trouble thogh with the officially recognised Marian Apparitions, such as Lourdes and Fatima. I have come to understand that there is no need for me put much store on these – although quietly, St Bernadette has achieve a place in my devotions, and that of my daughters, as it is the name of our parish and school, and St Bernadette is someone who, I think, young girls can readily identify with. In fact, there is a statue of our Lady of Lourdes outside my office in the courtyard, with St Bernadette kneeling before her. When there are flowers blooming in the courtyard (there aren’t at the moment) I delight in placing a couple of buds in St Bernadette’s concrete hands.
But Medjugorje. Well. If I had difficulty accepting even well attested and officially approved apparitions, I am not really going to go ga-ga over this one, am I?
My friend, Andrew Rabel, a journalist whom I esteem very highly, sent out this circular email today. I found the interview to which he links most helpful in both understanding the nature of the officially recognised Marian apparitions, and, on the other hand, Medjugorje itself.
Since the visit of Cardinal Schönborn to Medjugorje, and all the commentary that has appeared in cyberspace, I have been reluctant to engage in the subject until now.
I have always liked Fr Hauke’s (dogmatic theologian) writings, and I own his book Women In the Priesthood, published by Ignatius Press. He has expressed the concerns of many of us on the subject, better than we could do. In this article he references the recent interview on this subject given to Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins CMF, the recently retired Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, where he said quite openly, “Medjugorje may be a trick of the devil.” I have interviewed His Eminence on two occasions, through an interpreter.
Regardless, I look forward to a definitive judgment on the matter by the Holy See
in the hearts of Jesus & Mary
I think Fr Hauke does an excellent job in this article of “discerning the spirits”.