Monday, July 11, 2011

Is Our Lady Appearing at Medjugorje?

I've never understood fully all the controversy surrounding the apparitions at Medjugorje, I know there are problems with it, but can you explain it for me?

A - Thanks for the question. Medjugorge is a site in Bosnia where some children reported to start to receive visions from Mary in 1981. The visionaries say they continue to this day. This is a touchy subject for many people, because I know there are thousands of good Catholics who have visited Medjugorje to see the purported visionaries see and listen to the Virgin Mary give them messages from Heaven. Many believe that she is appearing there and are very sincere in their belief. But, sincerity doesn't prove it is happening nor does a personal belief.

Eventually the Catholic Church will rule officially on whether the visions are valid or not, and they have formed a commission to look into it - which is rare, because they usually do not rule until the visions end. But, until that day I recommned you steer clear of anything to do with Medjugorje. I will lay out why below.

1 - If The Visions Are Not Valid, There Are No Good Options.
Suppose that the visions are ruled to be invalid, and most of the evidence that is coming from the Church points that way, then there is no good option left for a person who believes them to be true:
  • A - They can believe the Church is right, but their experience was not.
  • B - The can believed their experience is correct, but the Church is not.
2 - All Private Revelation is Optional.
Neither option is good for a devotee of Mejugorje. Furthermore, ANY private revelation, even if approved by the Church such as Lourdes, Fatima, or Guadalupe, still isn't necessary for any Catholic to believe in. We are only bound to believe in public revelation and those doctrines intimately tied to publicly revealed truths that come to us from Jesus and the Apostles.

3 - The local Bishop Has Grave Doubts.
The local bishops in Bosnia have repeatedly stated that they doubt the visions are valid. In one statement Bishop Peric said:
"As the local bishop, I maintain that regarding the events of Medjugorje, on the basis of the investigations and experience gained thus far throughout these last 25 years, the church has not confirmed a single apparition as authentically being the Madonna."
These 3 reasons are just the tip of the iceberg. I admit I haven't paid much attention to Medjugorje, because I find everything I have heard from Church officials who oversee the Diocese (and from the Vatican) to be troubling, at best. Some priests involved have been dismissed from their orders, some troubles in the purported messages, and other issues continue to surface.

I hope this helps.

Furthermore - I know this will bring out supporters of the visionaries. For the sake of clarity, I am NOT saying that Mary isn't appearing. I am saying I have solid doubts she is, based on the evidence. We will all know once the Church rules one way or the other. Until then ask Mary to pray for us all.

NOTE - comments will be strictly monitored.


Priest's Housekeeper said...

I am afrauid that I am not a follower. Bishop Peric has had to cope with the ongoing situation in Medjugorje for many years. That humble man is in serious need of prayers.
I keep him in mine.

Jennifer said...

So what should one do if given something from Medjugorje (from someone who visited)? I don't know if it was blessed or not, so I wouldn't want to just throw it away but I don't feel shoving it in the back of a drawer is appropriate either.

Christina said...

One hopes that this business will be resolved peacefully. Surely the Blessed Mother wouldn't want schism in the Church?

Marcel said...

Jennifer - There is nothing wrong with keeping it. If you don't want to keep it, then you should assume it is blessed and either burn it or bury it.

Sarah said...

While I do understand the predicament presented in 1 and the need to be cautious, I think there might be a third option available. C - They can believe that God used these experiences (their pilgrimage, their seeking God, their openness, their exercising of faith) to draw them closer to Himself AND trust that the Church is correct in her final ruling.

So often in our walk of faith we misunderstand a sign, a leading, a direction we are to go, but God still somehow uses those leaps of faith and experiences to draw us to Himself. He uses them to grow our faith. If sincerity is in our searching, a real encounter with God can happen. I don't think any invalidity (if decided so by the commission) of the appearances to the visionaries would necessarily negate the experiences had by the pilgrims truly seeking to encounter God in Medjugorje. If their faith is in God (not the visionaries) the growth/conversion that happens in them need not be negated by the commissions outcome.

We may discover that God was not working through the visionaries . . . but that doesn't mean he wasn't at work in the hearts and minds of those who traveled to encounter Him there.