On Medjugorje

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.

Dear friends,

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
Andrew

http://catholiclight.stblogs.org/archives/2010/02/hauke-on-medj.html

I think Fr Hauke does an excellent job in this article of “discerning the spirits”.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “On Medjugorje

  1. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Well I’ll be dipped, whipped, nipped and clipped. That was the name of my school, high school to be exact, not sure if that’s the Aussie name for such but just rent High School Musical — Lourdes High School.

    Bernadette Subaru (joke) OMG. The hills have been alive with these pagan apparitions-to-children and other myths and miracle stories for hundreds of years even before Rome the Empire, let alone its later state church. I suppose it beats saying you got golden plates from an angel, but not by much.

    But it sure pumps cash into the local economies!

    • Why do you say that Lourdes is a pagan apparition, PE? What evidence do you have for such a bizzare idea?

      You surely are not a proponent of that old discredited myth that the source of the cult of the Virgin is in paganism, rather than Jewish Christianity. Are you? (please don’t make me laugh).

  2. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    No, I’m a proponent of the fact that tales like this have been part of Pyrenees folklore, and that of other places, going back to even before Roman times, and later lightly Christianised versions of same are in fact centuries old.

    But let me plug my favourite, Garaison, which has lost a hell of a lot of market share since this whole Lourdes thing.

    • FACT, PE? FACT? I don’t deny that other religious traditions have such “tales”, but it is NOT a fact that the cult of the Virgin and the accounts of her apparitions are “lightly Christanised versions of same”. Give me the evidence you have for the “FACT” that the appearance of Our Lady to Bernadette was such a thing.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

        Well David, when it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck …

        Kids, and adults too, in the Pyrenees have been coming up with valley tales of ghosts and goblins, fairies and fairy tales, since pre-Roman times, the remains of some of which’s little grottoes are still there, so when they start doing the same thing with a content supplied by the new religion in the area, Maria Bernada not being the first, nor the second, nor the third …

        • But, PE, that’s like the old canard that says that Christians got the story of a “dying and rising god” from the Mystery Religions. (see this as an eg. http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/kersey_graves/16/) You can’t say: Here you have stories of appearances of leprachauns, and there you have appearences of the Virgin Mary, ergo they must be the same thing. Doesn’t work like that, ol’ bean.

          • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

            No. It’s not “like” anything other than what it is, and to refute it by refuting what it is “like” is precisely how it “doesn’t work”.

  3. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Not to mention Our Lady of La Salette — Mary is real big on holidays in the Pyrenees I guess — although, with the big secret from that one, that Rome will become apostate and the seat of Antichrist, hey, maybe there’s something to that. In typical Roman fashion, all is shrouded in state secrecy, nobody sure what document is what and the copy given to Pius IX is conveniently “lost” in the Vatican Archives.

    Then we got the “third secret” of Fatima, which seems to have been no big deal according to Rome, with others into it sure that part of it remains secret because of the widely varying stories.

    Judas H Priest, who needs Dan Brown novels with all this crap around?

    Besides, we all knew what the Third Secret of Fatima was back in the 1950s. Like my catechism class teacher said — the bill for the Last Supper!

  4. Whatever of PE’s lucubrations, I love to agree with Fr Hauke on Medjugorje – as Bp Jarrett told me ironically, regarding those alleged apparitions, “Will Our Lady never shut up?”

    And a family friend of mine said, who took her time to read over the already formidable digest of the endless messages from the Gospa (I wonder who that really is), it is impossible to believe that such drivel of the most ignorant and mawkish kind – to say nothing of some purported messages involving doctrinal deviations – could issue from the pure lips of the Mother of God.

    And as the joke has it, Our Lord recently asked His Mother in heaven if she would like to take a vacation anywhere on earth; she replied, “How about Medjugorje? I’ve never been there!”

  5. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    Sorry if the facts are inconvenient — you can check out Pyrenees mythology, Gariason, La Salette quite independent of me.

    Ditto the “third secret” it was published, or at least something was published under the name, on 26 June 2000, with commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger, in which he says it just boils down to a call to prayer, penance and conversion.

    That’s a secret? Well, in the RCC, yes, but not to the church of Christ.

    • I think someone is forgetting their manners – it’s a bit smarmy to try and drop a pseudo-witticism like that. It reminds me of those who make sick jokes about child abuse.

      • I agree, PE. You cannot win an argument simply by saying “Yes it is”, when you have not shown any evidence for the fact that it is. Pointing to this or that study is a cop out. I know people who point to “Hitler’s Pope” as evidence that Pius XII was a bad guy. That’s not the way we do history, ol’ boy.

        • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

          You link to a Vatican release, then say pointing to this or that is a cop out? Even by Roman standards, that’s just a bit of a stretch.

          • Well, then, at least give us the links to your material!!!

            • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

              I believe the invitation was to check out Pyrenees mythology, Garaison and La Salette independent of me — this to avoid the inevitable charges of cherry-picking sources.

              If you don’t know how to do a Google search or use Wiki, ask your kids.

  6. Christine

    Medjugorje has to be one of the most divisive “apparitions” to have ever come on the scene.

    Remember the warning, even Satan can appear as an angel of light.

    Be safe. Stick with “Do whatever HE tells you.”

    I don’t say this to be smarmy, I am concerned about your souls.

    Christine

  7. Christine

    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.

    Quietly? David, isn’t that what Past Elder and I have been saying? None, but none of the apparitions are doctrine or dogma and are not required to be accepted as an official part of the faith which is set forth in the Nicene Creed.

    The Fatima cult, especially, has taken on a life of its own and quite frankly, is sometimes downright bizzare.

    I think the Orthodox are wise to portray the Mother of God with the Child Jesus as a rule. Very few icons show Mary alone, and this safeguards her proper role as the guarantee of the Incarnation as was set forth at Ephesus.

    Ditto the “third secret” it was published, or at least something was published under the name, on 26 June 2000, with commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger, in which he says it just boils down to a call to prayer, penance and conversion.

    And this is hardly something new.

    Christine

    • None, but none of the apparitions are doctrine or dogma and are not required to be accepted as an official part of the faith which is set forth in the Nicene Creed.

      Quite. Or in any other statement of the Faith either. The apparitions should not be a stumbling block to anyone wanting to come into the Church, as no-one is required to accept them as “gospel” (to use the word metaphorically). What the Church does in approving such apparitions is to say that there is no harm, and possibly much blessing, from devotions attached to these apparitions. Medjgorje has not and is unlikely to be approved precisely because there are serious reasons to believe that there IS harm, and possibly MUCH damage tha could result from devotions attached to these claimed “apparitions”. The Church can approve and disapprove. As I said, She is not entirely gullible!

  8. Christine

    One more thing or I’ll forget it. A Catholic sister I once knew who taught at a prestigious private Catholic school for girls told me that much of the popular piety of Catholics was not “imposed from above” by the hierarchy but came from popular agitation and request. It is not surprising in her long march through history that the church picked up practices that are really not compatible with the faith “once delivered to the saints.” As Catholics learn more church history and Scripture I pray the Holy Spirit will do some necessary housecleaning.

    Christine

    • I think you have it the wrong way around, Christine. Why should all examples of “popular piety” be “really not compatible with the faith ‘once delivered to the saints'”? When popular piety is incompatible with the faith, the Church tells us so. When it is not, THEN She allows us to freely practice them. This is the case among Lutherans also, especially in relation to Christmas (eg. Christmas trees and Advent wreaths). Both these examples have pagan equivalents, but that doesn’t make them “incompatible with the faith”.

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder)

        I’ll be died and go to hell if I ever knew or knew of a single Lutheran who said his Christmas tree had a message from Mary on it.

  9. Terry Maher (Past Elder)

    That is quite right, which is why I lampooned it — not even in the preconciliar church was any of this stuff held as something one must accept, even if your high school was named after one of them.

    Along with a statue of “Our Lady of Lourdes” which Maria Bernada said did not look like the lady who appeared to her, but so it goes in the RCC.

  10. Christine

    Here’s the problem, David. In many of the apparitions Mary asks for churches to be built in her honor, prayers to be offered to her, etc. The Mary of the apparitions is so totally unlike the humble handmaid of the Lord as to be dumbfounding. There is simply no comparison with the “apparitions” and the fact that evergreens came to be seen as symbols of eternal life.

    Look at all the instances in Scripture where Jesus is healing, teaching, comforting, blessing and Mary is nowhere to be found. Nowhere. Instead of working to bring her people back to understand the centrality of Christ the RC, by her approval of these apparitions keeps them in an infantile state that keeps them from growing into the “fullness of and measure of Christ.”

    RC teaching about Mary has usurped the role of the Holy Spirit, who works through Word and Sacrament. He is the advocate that Jesus promised to send, not his mother on a global world tour.

    Do whatever HE (not me, Mary) tells you.

    Christine

  11. Christine

    And this “Queen” has been given her marching orders to appear here, appear there, wow, too bad Jesus didn’t get it right while he was walking this earth. Even though he refers again and again to the Word of God and tells his followers that he will send the Advocate and Comforter who will remind them of everything that he taught them. Guess Mary comes around every now and then to provide a refresher course.

    But as my husband says he was taught, Jesus is not happy when his mother is ignored.

    The magna mater of Old Europe lives on.

    Christine