June 3/21/july 2013 Medjugorje

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Mark Waterinckx, 16 July 2013, Brugge/Flanders, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
St Michael’s Question and Answer Forums

St Thomas Aquinas Center for Apologetics, Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael

CATHOLIC Q&A HOME PAGE: http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/default.asp


October 2, 2008

I am perplexed about the above apparition site - not yet approved and yet so many churches are organizing tours there and people returned changed for the better (strengthen their faith or character change) but Vatican recently banned the priest from there.

It seems taboo to say anything against it as so many of my Catholic friends have visited it and thought it fantastic ... my research showed there are things to be concerned. What do you think?

Why do churches take the lead to visit it yet without proper approval necessary from the Vatican? If good things are happening, is it enough to say the apparitions must be genuine?

Yet, I find it hard to believe our Lady appeared everyday for over 30,000 times now. –Veronica

I personally believe that Medjugorje is not genuine (and I have met Ivan). I do not see the marks from the events, messages, and visionaries that one normally sees in genuine apparitions.

It is not enough to say that Medjugorje is genuine because there are some good things happening. According the Bible God can bring good things even out of evil. Also good fruit can be produced sometimes by a bad tree in real life farming.

The length of time of these alleged apparitions, some questionable messages, the lifestyle of the visionaries, the negative fruits surrounding the apparitions at the site itself, the disobedience of many people associated with the apparition site, and not least the negative judgment of the local bishop all speak for themselves as to be suspicious of its genuineness.

As such, people should not be taking pilgrimages to this place, and certainly priests ought not to be involved in such pilgrimages.

All this emotional investment to an apparition that has so many negatives and which is not approved or have approbation from the bishop can lead people to eventually become disobedient if and when the Church every does make a judgment. This happened at Bayside, New York. The Church formally condemned the Bayside visionary* and yet people to this day people are still devotees.

*Veronica Lueken, see http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VERONICA_LUEKEN-OUR_LADY_OF_THE_ROSES.doc

Frankly, the only reason to my mind for the years and years and years of these "messages" is to keep the show going. As long as the apparitions are active the Church will not evaluate it. I think that if the apparitions cease and the Church then makes a judgment there is a fear that the judgment will not be positive.

I see little evidence of a genuine apparition.

Now, of course, this is not my discussion to make. It is up to the Church to make a judgment. I accept whatever judgment, if any, the Church will make. Of course, I may not be alive at the time the apparitions stop, since it seems to promise to be ongoing for at least another 25 years. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

Medjugorje and Fr. Gabriele Amorth


October 24, 2008

I do not believe in Medjugorje and I have read that Fr Amorth does but maybe this is not true. How can he believe in Medjugorje when he is an exorcist? I hope it is okay to ask this question. I really would appreciate your opinion because if the exorcist of Rome believes in it, how many souls will continue to be deceived. -Elizabeth

From what I understand, Fr. Amorth did visit Medjugorje and spoke positively about some of the "messages" purported to have been given there. This, in itself, is not evidence that he believes in the genuineness of Medjugorje.

Even if Fr. Amorth does believe Medjugorje is genuine, he is free to have that opinion. I personally think Medjugorje is false. I am free to have that opinion. We need to be careful in "declaring" Medjugorje as false since we do not have the authority to do that and we are not qualified to make that determination anyway. The only opinion that matters will be the Church's opinion if and when she makes a determination concerning Medjugorje.

We must remember that all private revelations (including Fatima) are not necessary for our salvation or for our devotion. Catholics are free to not believe in them even if they are approved. All these apparitions are actually rather unimportant.

When the Church does approve one all that is affirmed is that the apparitions are of a supernatural origin and that the devotion stemming from the private revelation "may" be an aid to faith. Each person can choose to believe or not as they please.

Medjugorje messages in parish bulletin


November 14, 2008

I know of a priest who almost on a weekly basis will print the messages from Medjugorje. I asked our bishop if this was OK and he gave me a runabout answer and not clear at all. I hated to press him for a definite yes or no. I know that the Vatican does not approve of priests promoting parish pilgrimages but what about this? It would seem to me that it gives the impression that the Church approves of these messages. –Chas

Well, some people just don't get it. When the alleged apparition is not approved, is questionable at best, and the Church discourages pilgrimages one ought to get a hint that maybe we need to be very circumspect and cautious about the alleged apparitions.

I agree with you that publishing so-called messages from an unapproved and alleged apparition in the parish bulletin is patently inappropriate. It does give an impression of Church approval when there is none. In my opinion the Bishop should talk to the parish priest about this, but don't hold your breath. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Medjugorje rosary beads


September 11, 2009

I have a rosary from Medjugorje which has been blessed by my local priest. I did not know the church currently forbids pilgrimage there, at the time. He didn't seem to mind blessing them though. Should I not use these to say the rosary? Even though they are blessed could it open me up to the devil should Medjugorje be considered evil? What has the church actually said about this and have you known anyone to have been attached to the devil from visiting there. –TJ

Pilgrimages to Medjugorje are not encouraged by the Church. There are serious doubts about the validity of the visions.

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with a rosary that comes from the site. There is no problem with you using it. I would not contemplate the alleged Our Lady of Medjugorje, since that vision may be false, but to use it as you would use any rosary is fine.

Many people have been blessed in going to Medjugorje, but ours is a loving God and He often blesses people anyway even if the place is false. The blessing comes from the people's faith and not from the place anyway.

With that said, there does seem to be demonic interference going on as evidenced by the lives of the alleged visionaries and all the fighting and discord at the Medjugorje site itself.

One of the primary priests at Medjugorje, Tomislav Vlasic, recently "asked the Holy See to be dispensed from the obligations of priestly ministry... because he does not want to accept the sanctions that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed in 2008. These sanctions were levied because of reports about Vlasic regarding 'the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders and charges contra sextum [against the 6th Commandment],' that decree explains.

"The decree announced five sanctions, including the obligation to remain in one of the Franciscan houses, to refrain from contact with any of the Queen of Peace group, and to leave aside the care of souls, preaching, etc ... Vlasic did not acknowledge the accusations and therefore was unwilling to accept the sanctions." --July 29, 2009 (Zenit.org)

While this situation does not mean that the visions at Medjugorje are false, it illustrates the negativity and problems surrounding the alleged vision. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



February 9, 2010

Should we avoid a priest who has Medjugorje visionaries visit the parish and have an apparition right there in the church? He even promoted the 'meeting' by saying, "The Blessed Mother, right here!" –Linda

No, we do not need to avoid a priest who does this, but we may want to talk to the bishop about it.

What he is doing is not prudent, in my opinion, and I would not come to the meeting. He may have a positive private opinion about Medjugorje, just as we can have a negative private opinion about the visions.

The priest cannot, however, offer official sanction to Medjugorje as a place where a legitimate vision took place. That prohibition was speaking to official pilgrimages, but common sense would apply that on the parish level as well. Your local bishop can make the decision about whether or not this parish activity constitutes official sanction. I would contact the Bishop about it.

A good summary of the history and the Church's responses to Medjugorje is found on the EWTN site under the article, Medjugorje. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

Pilgrimages to Medjugorje


February 12, 2010

This whole thing with Medjugorje is very confusing. From my understanding both Bishops of the area have said this is not "supernatural", correct?
I may have made a mistake this morning. After my prayer time at church this morning I wrote a prayer request in the prayer book in the back of the church. As I was standing there a woman came in and put down fliers for a 10-day pilgrimage to Medjugorje. On the flier is stated that this is a sacred place which you can encounter God through the Blessed Virgin Mary. From my understanding this can be encountered every day at Mass in our own Churches. Has the Church called Medjugorje "sacred"?

Anyway, I took the fliers and went to the church office to speak to a priest. I wasn't sure this is something they approved of (the promotion of a Pilgrimage to Medjugorje). As I spoke to one of the priest they sent out to speak to me, he said that the church hasn't approved it yet, but people are free to go there, which I understand to be true. But I asked him if this Cathedral promotes the visions of Medjugorje and pilgrimages. He said, no and he threw the fliers into the trash.

The whole time in speaking to him he would not look at me. I grew up being taught to always look people in the eye and to also be concerned if someone does not look you in the eye. I'm afraid I may have offended his beliefs and this was not my intention. I admit that I have had tremendous attacks from those who are believers and promoters of Medjugorje, which in turn has made me even more firm in my position on waiting on the Church. I just hope that in no way I have offended God.

Brother Ignatius, Medjugorje seems to have had many people have conversions, which is beautiful I admit. Many people say they pray more, fast, penance, and have reconciled with God. I can not disagree with any of these things as I know you won't. But these are nothing new that the Church hasn't been teaching for several thousand years. The Word of God, the Sacraments, and daily Masses are available to most of us. Why Medjugorje?

After Latin Mass one Sunday a woman I was getting to know asked me straight up if I believed in Medjugorje. I told her that our position was to always wait on the Church so we stay away from anything about Medjugorje. She was relieved and said thank God! She then went on to say this question was her litmus test to see if she wanted to develop any relationship with other Catholics. She said that all her experiences with those who believe in Medjugorje had brought too much pain. Sound familiar? So in trying to be prudent she is up front and ask the question to the individual. She said she has found this to be successful for herself and her family.

I just find it heart breaking that Medjugorje is so divisive amidst our Church family. Why can't the Pope tell everyone to wait on the Church and let the Church do an investigation? Does obedience mean anything anymore? What about Pilgrimages to already approved apparition sites? -Elizabeth

You are correct, the local bishops have said repeated that their discernment is that nothing supernatural is going on at Medjugorje. Official sanction to Medjugorje as a place where a legitimate vision took place is not allowed. The Church has never called Medjugorje a sacred place. That designation is not possible unless the apparitions are legitimate, which so far the discernment is that they are not -- though the final decision on that is up to the Holy See if and when the apparitions ever cease.

My personal opinion is the reason the alleged apparitions have not ceased after all these years is that once they do the Church can make her final judgment. Since that judgment may be negative, the "apparitions" continue in ad nauseam.

A good summary of the history and the Church's responses to Medjugorje is found on the EWTN site under the article, Medjugorje.

You comment about meeting our Lord and our Blessed Lady at Mass reminds me of an old nun, in her nineties at the time. She had entered the monastery when she was seventeen and in all her years had never been off the monastery grounds.

While on retreat with some Lay Carmelites to the monastery where this nun resided, one of the retreatants marveled at her long cloister and asked her if she ever wanted to go to see Jerusalem to see where Jesus walked, or see the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. She smiled and said, "Why? Jesus is right over there" pointing toward the chapel and the Tabernacle.

We do not need to go traveling all over the world. We have Jesus Christ, his body, soul, divinity right here in every Tabernacle of every Catholic Church in the world, including the parish down the street from where we live. Where the Son is, his Mother is also. We need only travel to our local parish.

The Church does tell us to wait until a decision is made. People just don't listen. The pride of men.

As for approved apparition sites, pilgrimages are allowed because the Church has officially declared that such and such a site is "worthy of devotion as an aid to our faith" if we choose.

Medjugorje, however, is not one of those sites.

In general, concerning "messages" coming from our Lady, our Blessed Mother mostly says nothing that has not already been said in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. St. Jerome did not say, "Ignorance of Marian messages is ignorance of Christ". He said rather, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ". Anyone who spends more time on Marian messages than on reading and studying Scripture is out-of-line and doing the opposite of what our Blessed Mother wants from us.

But, as a good mother, she is concerned about her lazy children who do not read and study the Word of her Son, who is the Word. So, as any good mother would do, she comes to us to remind us of what we should already know. She gently rebukes us.

But, never in history, that I am aware, has any legitimate apparition of our Blessed Mother gone on for more than twenty-five years. That alone is a clue, in my opinion, of the illegitimacy of Medjugorje.

Nevertheless, people have had their faith restored and invigorated, and lives have been changed for the better because of Medjugorje. That does not mean, however, that Medjugorje is legit. It only gives example that God is great and He can make the sweetest lemonade even out of the rottenest lemon. The Bible affirms this: (Romans 8:28) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

So, since God made this promise in Romans 8:28 it is not surprising that good things can come out of even false apparitions. Besides, God honors the pilgrims' faith even if the pilgrimage site is false.

Two of the founding Lay members of our Order went to Medjugorje. The husband saw the "miracle of the sun" while his wife standing next to him did not. As the superior of the Order I did not depreciate his experience at all. I praised God for it. But, I also was careful to teach our members that Medjugorje must be taken with a big grain of salt until and if the Church officially approves the apparitions.

I have personally met Ivan. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but his personal life and the personal lives of the others do not, in my opinion, mirror the pious lives of the genuine visionaries we know from the past. There is a disconnect there somewhere.

The divisiveness is a real scandal. No apparition, even the approved ones, are required for belief by any Catholic, and not required for us to live a devout life. We are not even required to believe any of them are legit. Since these are purely optional for us to believe, it truly sorrows our Blessed Mother, I believe, that so many people fight over her. Our Blessed Mother always points to her Son. Whatever our Blessed Mother does, no matter how many times she may appear to us, the point, her point, is to look to her Son, not to the next apparition site around the corner. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Homily based on Medjugorje


March 2, 2008

I am rather troubled concerning our parish priest's homily at this evening's Mass. On Tuesday night last week, we were visited by Ivan Dragicevic (Medjugorje visionary) and "Our Lady". It was truly a beautiful evening.

I know, however, that Medjugorje apparitions and messages are private revelations and have not been approved by the Church. I'm also aware that there is still much controversy surrounding the Medjugorje issue (I've recently discovered our Pope Benedict does not view Medjugorje favourably).

My grave concern lies in the fact that our parish priest appears very enthusiastic about Medjugorje (as do many of our parishioners). Tonight, Father spoke favourably and at length concerning last Tuesday night and Ivan's address.

I was informed after Mass tonight that by doing this, our parish priest breached canon law by discussing unapproved private revelation from the "pulpit". Personally I'm not opposed to Medjugorje - neither do I necessarily support it. I'm sitting on the fence. But I am concerned that our parish priest may have committed an offence with regard to canon law, and I'm wondering what the repercussions might be.

Already it has hit the newspapers and the Catholic Weekly that Our Lady has visited our parish - I'm afraid what might happen should the Cardinal discover what's been going on (as he has already indicated two or three years ago that Medjugorje is not to be promoted. Could you please advise me? -John

Well to begin with your Cardinal already knows what is going on I can assure you. I am sure he has been fully briefed.

As for Canon Law, I am not aware of any Canon, and I cannot find any Canon, that says anything about the priest promoting unapproved private revelations from the pulpit.

There is Canon on the content of the homily. Maybe that is what the person was thinking about. Canon 768 states:

ß1 Those who announce the word of God to Christ's faithful are first and foremost to set out those things which it is necessary to believe and to practice for the glory of God and the salvation of all.

ß2 They are also to explain to the faithful the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church concerning the dignity and freedom of the human person; the unity, stability and duties of the family; people's social obligations and the ordering of temporal affairs according to the plan established by God.

In other words, the priest is to proclaim and explain the Gospel, the dogmas and definitive teachings of the Church, faith and morals, and the Church's social teachings. The homily is also supposed to be centered on an exposition of the Readings of the Day.

I do not know if one can squeeze in a homily on Medjugorje that is essentially a promo. Talking about private revelations in general does deal with the faith in terms of the nature and efficacy of such revelations and our need to be circumspect. Talking about a specific private revelation may be okay in passing to illustrate a point or perhaps more extensively if it serves to teach about faith and morals.

However, none of this matters if you are correct about what your Cardinal said and what the Holy See has said. Medjugorje is not to be promoted. PERIOD.

If I were your Cardinal I would censure this priest for allowing Ivan to speak on Church property and for spending so much time promoting Medjugorje when he should have been expounding upon the Readings of the Day.

The repercussions (which can be merely a talking to, to a formal censure, to disciplinary actions, to whatever the Cardinal decides) will be between the Cardinal and your priest and will normally not be for public knowledge.

I would advise that you prayer for your Priest to be faithful to the Church and obedient to his bishop.

St. Teresa of Avila once said, "The more we see failure in obedience, the stronger should be our suspicion of temptation."

Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

http://www.saint-mike.net/qa/fs/viewanswer.asp?QID=1020 EXTRACT

May 20, 2008

I used to consider myself very devoted to our Blessed Mother. It's difficult for me now because most of my beautiful associations with her where probably false ones. Many years ago I became a devoted Medjugorje follower, and more recently I used to frequent a shrine called Holy Love Ministries in Ohio. I found out about the shrine at a Fr. Sudac conference that is associated with Medjugorje… I now know without a doubt the place is false. I now question Medjugorje also because of lack of obedience.

Do you think any of my moments at these false places were real or the work of evil? -Julie

We need to remember that private revelations are never needed for our faith or for our salvation. Even the approved private revelations like Fatima or Lourdes are not needed for our faith. The Church never requires us to even believe approved private revelations.

When it comes to private revelations that have not been approved by the Church we are on dangerous ground. Many have been seduced into false apparitions, such as that of Bayside, because they did not wait for the Church's judgment. By the time the Church made a judgment, like at Bayside, people were already emotionally invested and thus ignored the Church's ruling.

Medjugorje is not approved by the Church. Further, the local bishops have judged negatively. Thus, we should not be following Medjugorje.

Maureen Sweeney of the Holy Love Ministries in Ohio* is also not approved. In their case, they are apparently stopped cooperating with the Bishop in even pursuing possible approval. This does not bode well. When that happens it usually means that something is wrong and the visionary does not want to risk being disapproved. I would run, not walk, from that place… *See http://ephesians-511.net/docs/MAUREEN_SWEENEY-HOLY_LOVE_MINISTRIES.doc.

Based upon your description, however, it sounds like this experience was a great blessing for you. I would simply accept that blessing from our Blessed Mother and move on. From now on stay away from private revelations that are not approved and from the people who promote them. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

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