Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Medjugorje: Three Decades Later

I'm about halfway through E. Michael Jones' absorbing book, The Medjugorje Deception: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives, published about a dozen years ago.  This book is not without its flaws: the editing is none of the best, and Jones, in his zeal, goes somewhat over the top in one or two places (e.g., lumping Mother Angelica, who supported the alleged Medjugorje apparitions, in the same category as the unscrupulous Franciscan friars of Herzegovina who acted as the "seers'" handlers).  But it is meticulously researched and investigated, and makes quite a persuasive case for the falsity of the alleged supernatural events at Medjugorje.  

There is an awful lot wrong about the whole story: the childrens' lies from the very beginning about how the "apparitions" started (claiming they were out tending their sheep, when in fact they were out sneaking cigarettes); interviews between one seer and a sympathetic priest that revealed that the seer did not know what the Annunciation was, despite claiming that the Gospa had just spent the previous three years telling her her life story; the disobedience to the local bishop, who determined that nothing supernatural was taking place at Medjugorje; the proliferation of alleged seers; the prolixity of the alleged "messages," couched in New-Age-style rhetoric; one seer's claim, on live television, that the Blessed Mother recommended as "good reading" Maria Valtorta's Poem of the Man-God, which was on the Index of Forbidden Books (still binding, by the way, even though discontinued); the Blessed Mother's alleged claim that God thinks all religions are equal, to mention but a few.  And a lot of things have happened since Jones' book came out, not the least of which is the defrocking this year of Tomislav Vlašić, the former Franciscan  friar who acted as the visionaries' spiritual director, and who fathered an illegitimate child upon a nun, then abandoned them both around the time the so-called apparitions began.

But looking back on an exchange I had in one of my comboxes with a Medjugorjista on the occasion of Vlašić's reduction to the lay state, I notice there is something that has not happened.  Where is the much-ballyhooed "international shrine status" that has been promised to be forthcoming?  Did Medjugorje get declared an international shrine over the objections of the local ordinary and I missed it?  Hasn't the Church been on the point of approving the "apparitions" for nearly 30 years now?

By the way, in case you're wondering what the picture is above, it is an image of an eyeball affected by solar retinopathy -- damage to the retina caused by staring at the sun (e.g., to try and detect a solar miracle).  It is, unfortunately, not an unusual phenomenon among Medjugorjistas.  And it's permanent.  Talk about a lasting souvenir.      


  1. There are things that Jones writes that make my spidey senses tingle, but one must make distinctions you know... as you properly do with his book. I remember seeing it advertised a number of years back, but never did get around to reading it.

    As for the Medjugorjista - there is a very sweet, elderly couple at my parish who have gone on pilgrimages a number of time (besides other places, approved). They've heard me once speak out against it and I could see them cringe.

    I cannot stomach the argument that goes: "Whether Our Lady is appearing there or not is not important. See, instead, how it has changed lives: fostering vocations, greater reverence for the Eucharist, etc." Never am provided with specific, objective examples, however.

    What's the story on the investigation, anyhow? What's going on? I really hope it is not going to be one of these things that takes years. It's been long enough.

  2. One other thing - I went to that other post you linked and read your decimation of that Medjugorjista in the com boxes.

    In addition to your new "Victory Ultramontanist Reading List" and "The Crucifix versus the Swastika" pages, I suggest another: "Anita Annihilates Commenters" page. Neato.

  3. TH2, much obliged! Thank you for your kind comments.

    I am now nearly finished with Jones' book, and I have to admit that it definitely has its faults. Jones seems pretty ill-disposed to apparitions in general, and to Mother Angelica, which I consider over the top. But then, he knew at least two people whose lives were wrecked by the whole Medjugorje phenomenon, and interviewed several more for the book. He also argues that Medjugorje led to the civil war and ethnic cleansing that destroyed Yugoslavia. That's an argument that readers will have to judge. Jones does assert that the late Bishop Zanec, who disapproved the apparitions, predicted a religious war. If he is right, that's a fruit of the "apparitions" that cannot be ignored.

    As far as where Medjugorje is, there is a Vatican commission on it headed by Camillo Cardinal Ruini. Jimmy Akin posted a list of commission members back in April: I must confess to not knowing anything about them beyond the fact that they're on the commission. One thing I do know, and that is that the local bishop does not believe the apparitions are legit, and neither did his predecessor. I have to say I find their reasons compelling. I regret that the Church has taken so long to make a ruling, because it allows the Medjugorjistas to go on hoping against hope that the whole mess will be approved.

    Personally, I think Medjugorje is a mockery of Fatima.

  4. Good point on it being a mockery. Never thought of it that way.

    I have always been interested in Marian apparitions, which is why I did that "Bronx Miracle" piece a while back - to which I (even) find that evidence more compelling than the Medjugorje sham. Also reminds me that I should add a few more articles to that section (2 or three in the works). Procrastination on my part.

    Incidentally, I used to look directly at the sun when I was a kid. Not to detect miracles, but just because I was a stupid kid. Luckily, no solar retinopathy.