Wait! But… you said… how can… what?!

That’s the response I anticipate as I link to Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s account of seeing the sun spin at Medjugorje, in which he registers his (understandably) more favorable view of the claimed apparitions there.

Why do I link it when I am obviously skeptical about the claims being made for a Marian apparitions there? Several reasons.

First and most important of course, Fr. Longenecker is male, so what he says is automatically important. (JUST kidding!)

Seriously, I link it because I presume Fr. Longenecker is not just making stuff up so it’s worth paying attention to his experience.

Second, I link it because it’s a good example (as distinct from Steve Ryan’s hilarious attempt to poison the well with bizarre conspiracy theories about a sexist conspiracy) of somebody who can hold a different opinion about a matter not essential to the deposit of faith without acting crazy.

Third, I link it because, frankly, I have no problem believing that God, who is famously unscupulous about honoring attempts to seek him, has done any number of healings, miracles, sign and wonders at Medjugorje *in response to the faith of people who were honestly seeking him*. I’ll go further than that: I think it obviously and documentably true that he does signs and wonders for non-Catholics and non-Christians (I discuss a number of such events in Volume 3 of Mary, Mother of the Son.) This does not mean God is an indifferentist. It means that God, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, does whatever he feels like doing. If he wishes to intervene miraculously in the life of a non-Christian, or do a miracle at Medjugorje because some honest soul is seeking him there, who am I to tell him he can’t?

None of that means, however, that I think Mary is appearing at Medjugorje. I don’t. I incline toward thinking the thing is not a mere mistake, but a fraud. But I will leave that for Rome to decide. I tend to suspect Rome will be gentle and not call it a fraud. But I am also morally certain that Rome will agree with the local ordinaries and make it clear that nothing supernatural is occurring there (meaning “Mary is not appearing there”, not “nobody who has ever visited there has ever had God intervene in their lives there”. That’s beyond the scope of their inquiry.)

Mere miracles, signs and wonders, while evidence that God is work are not, as Jesus warns, proof of sanctity. So while Fr. Longenecker’s tale suggests to me that *he* is certainly seeking God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, it does nothing, so far as I can see, to establish that the local ordinaries and other skeptics are wrong to conclude that the “apparitions” at Medjugorje are bunk.

But, of course, that’s just my (correct–and obnoxious) opinion. 🙂

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  • Judith M.

    Count me as a woman who has serious doubts about what is going on at Medjugorje. That said, I think many individuals, with pure and honest intentions, have had authentic religious experiences there. However, given all the unholy antics that have happened there, any hopes of Medjugorje becoming an approved apparition have all but been spoiled.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Right. So I’m not crazy after all? These kind of things are notoriously complicated.That’s because it is very possible that two things are going on: God may be doing supernatural things. Mary could have been appearing and then the whole thing may have been (and probably is) fouled up and confused by Satan, by human greed, human ego and the whole human mess.

    I personally think the Vatican will say something cautious like, “At first there were some signs of a genuine apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but these events have been clouded by ongoing difficulties, contaminating the events with so many confusing elements as to make it impossible for us to approve the apparitions as authentic. Nevertheless, we thank God for the good effects of the events at Medjugorje and call all the faithful to listen to the constant call of the church to repent and believe the gospel.”

    • Father Longenecker,

      I’m curious about the differences in the two versions of your story. In one story, the woman who nudges you is named Elaine, and in the other she’s named Esther. Also the timing is different: in one Elaine nudges you at 6:20 and in the other Esther nudged you at 6:40.

      I’m reading Bart Ehrman’s “Did Jesus Exist?,” and clearly according to the scholarship of the “Mythers,” none of what you say happened actually happened; you are just the victim of a fast forming myth.

      I don’t doubt your experience, but I am curious about those differences.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        She was actually called Eleanor. In the first version I changed the name to protect her identity since the piece was published in a paper in England. She nudged me at 6:20. The contradiction in detail usually proves authenticity of a story because if it was made up the author would have paid more attention to the detail. This is a good principle for New Testament scholarship by the way… 🙂

        • Father Longenecker,

          Voila and Thank You,

          There was an explantion, and, interestingly, in light of Richard Bauckham’s book on “Jesus and the Eyewitness,” it is the one that informed some of the variations among the Gospels, and, frankly, one that I didn’t think of, but which on retrospect is “plausible” and downright obvious.

          As an attorney, when faced with a factual conundrum like this, I usually observe that there is a reason for it and while there is a “most probable” reason, the real reason will be something that will not have dawned on me until after it’s revealed.

          Thank you for this lesson in applied biblical history.

    • Ted Seeber

      What I would like to see is all the seers required to write down what they see; and *each page* submitted for examination, with only those granted a Nihil Obstat published.

    • florin

      April 27th: I believe Mary appeared in the beginning because of the youngest boy who came to the site from playing and ran up to touch Mary and pulled back frightened because he was so dirty and Mary comforted him. But I’m uneasy now…surely if Mary were appearing, she would say something about the horrors of our culture, especially about abortion. After all, Mary is a mother, she is our mother and surely the slaughter of so many, many millions of human babies in the wombs of their mothers would cause her to cry out: “Stop the killing!” but I have never heard that she even mentioned that fact. It’s the same message over and over…and the seers even give Our Lady an appointed place and time when they travel…I believe something went wrong along the way but the faith of those who go there seeking something makes of the place a sacred space…a sanctuary. But the Church will let us know what they believe. I still believe the youngest and he is not out drawing crowds…

      • Dear Florin,
        You are right about the apparition not mentioning abortion in the public messages. A couple of years a go I did some research on whether abortion, contraception, and other sins were mentioned in the messages. After finding that abortion was never mentioned, I wrote: Since the word ‘abortion’ brought no results, I next looked to see how many times ‘contraception’ was mentioned in all of these hundreds of messages. Same result – ZERO. Well, how about ‘pornography’ – nope, a ZERO again. What about ‘homosexuality’ or ‘sodomy’ – ZERO. What about ‘adultery’, ‘divorce’, ’fornication’, ‘drugs’ . . . all ZERO. How about ‘murder’, ‘lying’, ‘lust’, and ‘impurity’ – ZEROES again. Surely the apparition has said something about ‘stealing’, ‘theft’, ‘idolatry’, ‘wrath’, ‘despair’ or ‘greed’ – every one of them a ZERO. Wait, there is one exception – ‘pride’ resulted in one occurrence. But upon reading it, the ‘pride’ referred to Satan, not to a sin of mankind.
        The full article is here: http://www.frankrega.com/somethingmissing.htm

    • Westly

      Mike, “Rome has decided”. The Magisterium is the local bishop and he/they have consistently said for all these years that “nothing supernatural is happening there”. Rome doesn’t have time to investigate every sighting of the Blessed Mother appearing on a cookie or tree stump around the world every day. The Church is structured with local bishops who take on those tasks, and other things………

  • bob

    I suggest getting an Icon. Not a flaky one, most likely a very old one in reproduction. NOT one done by someone self-appointed to do them since they first read about them a week or two ago. The Vladimir Mother of God for example. The Theotokos never, ever stops appearing.

    • Out Lady of Kazan, who is depicted with the Christ Child. I bought it from a vendor in the Moscow Metro in 1991, who sold it from a card table in an underground passageway, along with Orthodox paperback religious calendars/almanacs.

      It is now framed and hung in our living room in NW DC. Later that year, the Blessed Virgin made known her presence to me.

      • *Our* Lady of Kazan. It would be good to have edit capability i these spaces.

  • Hmmm, interesting. I went to Medjugorje in 1990, and had almost exactly the same “sun miracle” experience. I saw the sun looking like a white Eucharistic host, and kind of spinning around the edges. My rosary also turned gold (not only the chain, but the blue beads actually got a semi-transparent gold sheen on them) after I got home. I have also heard from many friends, who I have no reason to doubt, that they have seen the miracle of the Sun on many occasions, when they went to Medjugorje, and also after they have returned.

    Probably the most amazing thing for me personally, though, is that my wife suffered a miscarriage there, but despite the trauma of that event, my memories of our time in Medjugorje are overwhelmingly peaceful and joyful.

    As Fr. L says, I am not sure about what Rome will say, and my faith will not be affected either way, but I do owe my faith to Medjugorje and the semi-famous Wayne Weible newspapers about Medjugorje, as that is what piqued my interest in Catholicism in the first place.

    My opinion is that most of the “antics” going on have been tangential to the actual apparitions, and need to be separated. We shall see. I am quite sure, though, that any decree by Rome at this time will not be to approve the apparitions. That seems impossible to me while the alleged apparitions are still ongoing.

  • “I have no problem believing that God, who is famously unscupulous about honoring attempts to seek him, has done any number of healings, miracles, sign and wonders at Medjugorje *in response to the faith of people who were honestly seeking him*. I’ll go further than that: I think it obviously and documentably true that he does signs and wonders for non-Catholics and non-Christians…”


    • I mean: Absolutely.

      • Ted Seeber

        I’m listening to Chersterton’s famous political science fiction novel “The Flying Inn” on the way to work as of late (Librivox version, complete with people trying to learn English volunteering to read)- and I have to say I like the first misspelling better.

  • Rosemarie


    I once saw the sun spin while walking through Manhattan. I was heading westward just before sunset, and the sun was right in front of me, big and orange. I know I shouldn’t have been looking at it, but I didn’t have much choice since it was at eye level and I was walking toward it. As I looked at it for a few seconds, it suddenly seemed to start spinning. I thought that was strange, since I wasn’t near any apparitions site. Makes me wonder whether it’s not just an optical illusion after all. After all, the miracle of the sun at Fatima involved more than merely spinning in place.

    • A spinning sun could mean anything at all. There must be more for it to have any spiritual significance.

    • Well, I don’t think a true sun miracle would be right around sunset. Sometimes the sun can be “sort of” looked at naturally when it’s just rising or setting. But on a perfectly sunny day, when the sun is still high in the sky, it’s a miracle to be able to look at it.

      The spinning aspect, you might have a point, though some people see it doing a lot more than spinning, like throwing off colors and/or changing color, throwing off sparks (as Fr. L saw) etc.

      • Meaning what? What is the spiritual meaning of such a solar apparition? What message does it convey?

        • To me, it just confirmed God’s presence watching over us, and was a manifestation of His love. Also, since it resembled nothing so much as a Eucharistic Host, I took it to mean that in the Eucharist, Jesus is fully present in his Divine Glory, yet in a way that we can assimilate, just like in the miracle, the full rays of the sun were filtered in such a way that we could look upon it, yet it was still the sun.

          • The spinning, to me, indicates that God is always active, a Divine Dynamo, so to speak. His Will and His Beauty can never be tamed or stagnate. It is always actively pursuing us. Thank you for asking that question. No one has ever asked me that before.

            • I think that’s a pretty good answer. It’s a good answer if the manifestation leads you to a perception of God’s love and glorious majesty.

  • Bernard

    Mark S. says if God wishes to intervene miraculously in the life of a non-Christian, or do a miracle at Medjugorje because some honest soul is seeking him there, who is he to tell him he can’t?

    Which begs the question: Who is Mark to tell God that when miracles happen his Blessed Mother can’t be present. She was present at the Wedding Feast in Cana when Jesus’ performed his first public miracle. She even brought the matter of the absence of wine to his attention and passed the message on to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”

    Mary, bearer of the Word, truly present when the Word was made flesh. Is it unreasonable to presume that Mary is also present when God becomes incarnate in the hearts of people, be it at Medjugorje or anywhere else?

    Many who arrive in Medjugorje are there because the wine has run out in their relationship with the Bridegroom. The marriage is in trouble. Their soul is aching. God knows this. Mary knows this. A mother can be the first to sense when her child’s marriage is in difficulty. What does she do? Stay out of it? Speak to someone? Intercede?

    At Medjugorje the marriage is restored, the soul caressed. There is repentance and hearts are reconciled. New wine flows into the relationship. God and his people are reunited.

    Why choose Medjugorje? Why choose Cana, or even Mary?

    “If you meet the Virgin on the road, invite her into your house. She bears the Word of God.” (St John of the Cross)

    • Mark Shea

      Mark isn’t telling God anything. The local ordinary at Medjugorje is telling Mark nothing supernatural is happening. That’s his job. And he will be vindicated when Rome is done looking at the case.

      • Bernard

        It’s not “his job”. It’s his personal opinion which does not express the current position of the Church on Medjugorje.
        And I wasn’t suggesting that you were telling God anything, just making use of your own words: “who am I to tell him he can’t?”. 🙂

      • It is confusing, because proponents and opponents of Medjugorje cannot seem to agree on the basic facts. According to proponents, the authority for discerning the apparitions has been removed from the local bishop, who is of course entitled to his personal opinion, and transferred to the national conference of bishops (and now to the Vatican commission). The opponents, however, say that the judgment of the local bishop remains as the last normative judgment.

        From some research I have done, just now, it appears that the proponents are right on this point. I would refer you to this letter from Abp. Bertone, which I found on the EWTN website, which gives the position of the Vatican, which I do not believe has been modified since:


        • Mark Shea

          I don’t say the local ordinary has the last normative judgment. If he did, then the matter would not be in Rome. Still, I do think the ordinary’s view sound and that the only reason it’s in Rome is because so many noisy dupes like Steve Ryan are saying so much crap that Rome is forced to act. I’m perfectly confident they are going to ratify what the local ordinaries have already said. Not every case is Joan of Arc. The question is, what will the Medj zealots do when Rome goes against them. It won’t be pretty.

          • Well, there’s not going to be any unified reaction, assuming you are right that the Vatican condemns the apparitions. There’ll be some who will outright rebel and say that the Vatican has proven to be a tool of the Antichrist, or some such blather, but that will be a small minority. The majority will accept the ruling, but will probably hold out hope for a reversal at some point (ala St. Faustina, etc.)

          • Bernard

            The reason the matter Medjugorje is now in with Rome has nothing to do with Steve Ryan but because the Bosnia & Herzegovina bishops’ conference handed it back to Rome in 2008, two years after the CDF had requested the Bosnia bishops give further study to the phenomenon and the question of shrine status.

            In an interview with the Croatian newspaper Vecernij list, published March 21, 2008, Cardinal Vinko Puljic was asked this question:

            “The recently published interview with the Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of the Holy See, that the case Medjugorje should be re-examined, inspired various speculations. Has the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina discussed this matter, and is it true that Medjugorje shall be officially examined once again?”

            The Cardinal responded: “Our Bishops’ Conference has not discussed this matter, because the phenomenon of Medjugorje does not come within our competence. At the moment when the Holy See takes the decision and gives a task, we shall think about what to do. This is why it is not necessary to speculate, unless concrete instructions come. After the work of the Commission, the Bishops’ Conference has already decided to accompany the phenomenon pastorally. This is nothing new, but the implementation of the first decision of the Bishops’ Conference about the phenomenon Medjugorje.”

            Cardinal Vinko Puljic’s spokesman, Monsignor Mato Zovkic later confirmed that the matter of Medjugorje had been handed back to the Vatican and that the national commission no longer planned to take action and would wait until it received direct instructions from the Vatican.

            So the Bosnia & Herzegovina bishops’ conference was given the opportunity to investigate and perhaps come to some conclusion. The commission never got off the ground.

      • anna lisa

        …and if you’re wrong? You’re going to have some ‘splaining to do to your Mama. ; )There were “antics” at Lourdes too. The Devil had a field day.

  • Count me as a woman – who has been to Medjugorje – who has doubts about its authenticity. AND I had not one but several experiences there that were crazy enough, and left such a deep impression on me, that I am not willing to detail them in an internet combox….. My life was without a doubt shaped by my visit to Medjugorgje, and at one point I was seriously concerned by the claims that the visions were false – because what did that say about me, who had some supernatural stuff happen there as well? Ultimately, though, I think Mark is right: God can take any number of flawed or even unsavory situations and turn it to good. So, I’m grateful for the graces received but don’t think that counts as proof that Medjugorje is 100% legit.

  • Bernard

    The “spinning sun” is not peculiar to Medjugorje. I have witnessed it in three different countries at several locations, none of them having any religious connection except Medjugorje.

    The phenomenon usually occurs around the time the sun begins to sink. And because the claimed apparitions usually take place at 18:40, pilgrims link the spectacle with Our Lady’s visitation, and yes, in a religious environment it’s not surprising that pilgrims associate the white spinning disc with the Host.

    But there is another solar phenomenon at Medjugorje which is completely different to the “spinning sun”. I refer to it as the “Fatima sun” because it fits the description given by witnesses to the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima in 1917.

    The “spinning sun” spins and pulsates. The “dancing sun” moves in a zig-zag fashion across the sky and appears to be coming down to earth at a very fast rate, and then retreats. I have seen this phenomenon only once, alongside other witnesses.

    Pope Pius Xll claims in a handwritten note that he witnessed the “miracle of the sun” on four occasions during walks in the Vatican gardens. This was in the year he declared the dogma of the Assumption, 1950. http://crownofstars.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/pius-xii-claims-he-saw-miracle-of-sun.html

    • Deb

      I can view the miracle of the sun at any time of the day, any day of the week and I have been able to since the first time it I saw it in Medjugorje in 2007. I have watched the sun spin, dance, blow off colors like a rainbow and move across the sky. The most miraculous show of all was viewed while I was on a boat on the sea of Galilea and the sun was bouncing and dancing and it was like the Fourth of July. I have always considered it just a little kiss from the Lord. My sister has been graced with this same little gift and there have been times when we have sat in chairs together on a deck and just watched the show. I have not had to wear sunglasses again since I returned from Medjugorje. The sun has absolutely no effect upon my eyes regardless of the time of day. Sometimes I have to force myself to keep my eyes on the road while driving straight into the sun because I am so drawn to the beauty of the sun in the sky.
      I returned to Medjugorje the day after Easter in 2008 after I was confirmed at Easter Vigil. I was blessed to have the appearance of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Mother, St. Therese and Padre Pio (pre St. Pio) during the Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday. We know God, Our Lady and the Saints can go anywhere at anytime. I would not presume to think that in my lowliness that I would be able to state flat out that the Blessed Mother is not appearing in Medjugorje or anywhere else. (I wouldn’t because I have seen her.) But, as usual, it is always those who have never been there and many, who have never experienced any supernatural event, who are the most adament that nothing is happening in Medjugorje.
      What I don’t get, is why those people are so bent on disparaging it and offering opinions based on nothing they have witnessed or experienced.

  • Gummy

    Mark, you poor man! You will be so embarrassed and chagrined when you are face to face with Our Lord and He asks you why you were offending His Mother and Her work, because when you attack His Mother you are attacking Him….can you say “Saul”?? The arrogance displayed in this article is beyond belief!

    • Mark Shea

      It’s arrogant to trust the local ordinary to know his business? Who knew? I’m not attacking our Lady. I’m merely skeptical of the people who claim she is appearing to them at Medj. If she wishes to let me know I’m wrong I’m all ears. The problem is that she doesn’t say anything about it, and people like you, who can’t tell the difference between questioning a dodgy “visionary” and insulting our Lady only make it more obvious that people who are credulous about Medj. don’t seem particularly gifted in the discernment department.

      • If the Medj. visionaries are correct, Our Lady has spoken to them about 36,000 times — which seems prima facie to amount to a personality change, from reserved speech to garrulousness.

        • This is a good point. It is possible, though, that an increased sense of urgency could explain this seeming “personality change.” I guess we’ll find out relatively soon. The visionaries aren’t exactly spring chickens any more.

    • You will be so embarrassed and chagrined when you are face to face with Our Lord and He asks you why you were offending His Mother and Her work, because when you attack His Mother you are attacking Him….can you say “Saul”??

      Yeah, Mark! Next time, why don’t you write four books devoted to the Blessed Virgin!

    • Observer

      Okay. Mark”s books pertaining to Our Lady…:
      Three volumes about Our Lady

      Here: Mary, Mother of the Son Vol. I

      Here: Mary, Mother of the Son Vol. II

      And here: Mary, Mother of teh Son Vol. III

      • There’s only three books there. Someone who truly didn’t hate Our Lady, and by proxy our Lord, would have written four as a bare minimum.

        Prove your faith to me, Shea! You need my approval!

  • Maureen Pereiro

    It is good to recall that the Church once ruled against the validity of St. Faustina and her encounters with Divine Mercy. It condemned St. Joan d’Arc to death and for a long time did not recognize her sanctity. The Church often misjudges events such as Medjugorje only to reverse herself in later years. I treasure my own experience of Medjugorje that caused a deep and lasting conversion in my life but I will willingly embrace the Church’s decision.

  • Tom

    Like at Fatima and Lourdes, you have your naysayers about Medjugorje. All I can say is, without hesitation, I have become a better Catholic since being there, so if it’s all a hoax, I have lost nothing.
    No one has to believe any apparition, including those the Church has sanctioned nor do we have to believe the naysayers as to their “opinions,” as did the Vatican determine when the Mostar Bishop was told to back off when he tried to shut Medjugorje down. So we wait for the prudence of Rome to act on it.

  • A spinning sun is just the human eye’s way of adapting to an overload of light. It’s a miracle of biology and it’s how God made the eye. But no more than that.

    A real miracle is a reformed addict, the birth of a long-awaited (and thought-impossible) child, the seed of faith sprouting on what was thought to be rocky or thorn-choked land.

    • And the softening of my stony heart.
      The Blessed Virgin can manifest herself anywhere if the heart is disposed to witness. Not only on a mountain in Croatia but in the Moscow Metro, or in a Ukrainian prison cell.
      What is necessary is a desperate and humble need for her presence and reassurance. One must be very small, like a child.

    • Spoken by someone who hasn’t seen it, I presume. The miracle was itself the fact that the Sun DID NOT produce an overload of light. One could basically keep looking at the sun until one got tired of craning their head and/or staring at an object continuously, which for most people was for a few minutes. Then one would tend to look back once every minute or so to see if it was still happening. At some point, it stopped and one could not look at the sun any more.

      I don’t disagree with you about what constitutes the far greater miracle of a heart being converted. Medjugorje has stories of conversions that could fill encyclopedias. Yet, as Mark says, even that is not proof positive that the apparitions are authentic. Let’s just let the Church do Her work.

  • jo

    It is no wonder Our Lady Queen of peace cries in her apparitions.
    If so called Catholics cannot see the works of God through His beloved Mother, they are truly lost.
    May the Holy Spirit open their souls to the truth.

    • Mark Shea

      Right. Doubt a sketchy visionary, get labeled “lost” by a True Believer. And they wonder why some of think Medjugorje is full of rotten fruit.

      • I think the visionaries may be irrelevant here, true or false as they may be. I know nothing about Medjugorje and have never been there. Faith is what counts – in God, not in visionaries.

  • Karen

    We are entering the age of the Eucharist. Mary is teaching us to have (and help others have) a greater understanding of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. These are the stones that will slay the enemy who wants to keep the Eucharist veiled: prayer with the heart, meditating especially on the mysteries of the Rosary; frequent reception of the Eucharist; reading Scripture; fasting; and monthly confession. Be messengers of the Eucharist. Be messengers of the divine mercy of God. “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

    • Nothing objectionable here, except to note that we’ve been in the age of the Eucharist since the Ascension, and will be until the last days. That’s just the point of the sacraments.

  • Joannie

    From my understanding of these alleged “apparitions” is that they are being used by the Charismatic Renewal Movement which the Servant of God allowed into the Church in 1967 in the name of “renewal movements” but while most of them are orthodox and faithful and obedient, I have a problem with them because they like to put all of their emphasis on signs and visions and locutions and apparitions. I also know that there have been rumors of brainwashing and sensitivity training at the Church St. James. Disobedient Franciscans pregnant nuns, and making money. Sounds fishy to me. John Paul II seemed to believe them but Benedict does not seem to. No apparition should last for over 3 decades if it were really substantial. Also the fans of the place are almost fanatical about it almost to the point of putting them forth like the Deposit of Faith, after the death of St. John the apostle. Our Lady of America seems to be more authentic but it does not have to be believed by any Catholic. Fr. Benedict talked about this in his book.”A Still Small Voice”

    • Deb

      Fr. Groschel’s book was published almost twenty years ago and not much in it pertained to Medjugorje or what has been occuring there and of course not what has been occuring in the 20 years since then. I am quite curious about your “understanding” of the Charismatic Renewal “using” the appartions. Maybe you could explain that to me. I know many people who are in that and the only ones who discusss Medjugorje, are the ones who went there. For many, that is where they found God. You say the put ALL their emphasis on signs and locotions. etc. I have a feeling you have never attended anything in the Charismatic renewal or been to a Mass or a conference. Then you bring up the “rumors” of brainwashing etc. Do you have a comment to make based on a personal observation or possibly a fact? Your comments are unfortunately a mishmash of innuendo and I am sorry, but crap, that has no substance. I believe completely in Medjugorje. I am not a fanatic. If the Vatican says it is false and you cannot go there, then it is done. Out of mind, period. That does not negate my conversion to Christ or any of the other fruits that have come from that beautiful little village. I would ask you to prayerfully consider your words before you spread them around as if they had merit.
      P.S. Do you know what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are? Do you believe Jesus Christ when he stated that we would do greater things than he was seen doing? Have you read the book of Acts? Are you aware of how the Holy Spirit works if one allows Him to work freely within you? If you do, you will find that signs and visions and locutions and apparitions and healings and a whole lot of things are the norm for the Spirit and you just might find that the people who are involved in the Charismatic movement might be on to something you aren’t willing to open yourself up to. God is supernatural. If you close yourself off to that, you have closed yourself off to God’s ability to work in you and to use you to bring others to him. That is our purpose after all.

  • Jared B.

    Mark Shea,
    This post helped clear up for me a couple of quandaries I’d been having trouble with, neither related to Medjugorje :-]

    1) If the Legionaries of Christ was founded by a profoundly evil man, why did it [and still does] turn out so many wonderful priests and spin-off apostolates, such as rcspiritualdirection.com? It’s like there’s a charism without there having ever been a founder to originate a charism.
    2) Reading God’s Smuggler, The Hiding Place and other true stories of people who accomplished great things for their love of God and neighbor and whose lives teemed with miraculous and all-but-miraculous answers to prayer, knocking away obstacles to their mission; it sometimes gives me difficulties with my Catholic faith (neurotic of me, I know). The people getting their prayers answered and even experiencing some miracles I read about were, well, *not Catholic*, and so I get to wondering if it’s a sign that God is extra super on their side…but then there’s no shortage of similar true stories from Catholics too, so it felt like mixed messages.

    Of course I was laboring under the assumption that bearing fruit in ministry, answered prayers, or even miracles are God’s Heavenly Stamp of Approval That Everything You Say, Think and Do is Perfect. Just reading that phrase “God, who is famously unscrupulous about honoring attempts to seek him” made me do a face-palm and exclaim “Oh duh! I sorta-kinda forgot about that.” Whew! There’s no secret password or handshake that they had and I don’t (I’m relieved, because I really didn’t want to go become a Dutch Calvinist 😉 it’s all about seeking the Lord with a sincere and loving heart.

    Thanks for the facepalm!

  • KC

    If people cannot disagree in charity, their faith journey is going backwards. Mary is not asking anyone to prove she is appearing in Medjugorje. She is asking us to pray from the heart, go to Mass, read scripture, fast, and go to monthly confession. Do that and leave the rest to the Lord. The Church will rule on it in due time ( either once the phenomena ceases or sooner if something contrary to the faith is being taught. Moreover the apparitions will either stand or fall in the lifetime of the visionaries based on what they have said) Be at peace and remain humble and obedient throughout.
    Like Father Longnecker I at times feel compelled to share my testimony not because I think it proves anything but because I cannot be true to myself otherwise. Mystical experiences are personal and intended as a vehicle for for an individual to draw closer to God. They are really not meant to be “shared”. That’s why the great mystics have to be forced to write them down by their superiors. We would do well to take care in that as well. Thank God for the grace of a mystical experience and strive to put it to good use in your struggle to grow in holiness.

    Mark, don’t be hard on people who flub up and become defensive. They are not saints yet.

  • Ann T Gray

    I happened across Fr. Dwight’s article on his visit to Medjugorje, which led me to yours. I have read books about Medjugorje, the visionaries, and others who have visited there. I hope the apparitions receive approval, but then I haven’t heard the information you have about what doesn’t sound right. So you could so I am pro- Medjugorje (is that a term:)?) but I will abide by what the Church rules. The reason I am writing this comment at all is that I don’t know if you are aware of how snarky you sound in your comments. Now I am saying that in total charity. I appreciated how even tempered and thoughtful Fr. Dwight was when he talked about his doubts. Your tone seems very uncharitable and unfortunately, probably turns people off from giving your thoughts credence. I know you are a devout Catholic and I really appreciate your knowledge of the Faith but can you tone down your rancor a bit since we’re all ultimately on the same team.
    P.S. if you crank at my response, I will cry 😉

    • Mark Shea

      Hi Ann:

      It’s not my intention to be snarky, merely to defend myself from people who feel anointed by God to declare me a “sexist conspirator” (as Mr. Ryan has done) or to declare me “lost” because I don’t buy the Medj. phenom. I will confess I get tired of such judgmentalism and (in Ryan’s case) false witness. But I don’t have much invested in telling others what to think of Medj. I have no interest myself and am very confident that when the dust settles, Rome is going to basically ratify what the local ordinaries have said. So I’m not spending much time worrying about whether somebody is pro or con. I assume most pro folk are like Fr. Dwight: good eggs who are seeking to serve God. If it’s not from God, God will make that clear and I don’t have to. If I’m wrong, God will make it clear to me. Either way, the main thing is to trust God. So I do, and don’t think about Medj much.

  • Jude

    The people that speak against Medjugorje are very much like the ones in the books of Lourdes apparitions. They will never believe under any circumstances. It is just not a grace that is destined for them. They refuse to visit Medjugorje because they have decided that it is not happening because it isn’t ‘perfect’ in their Catholic eyes. It will be interesting when the permanent sign is placed on Apparition Hill. The humble man gets to Heaven faster. 🙂

    • Mark Shea


      See this is the kind of judgmental nonsense I’m responding to, not nice people like you.

  • Ted

    With all the doubts expressed here, I wonder why Maria Esperanza so firmly believed that Mary was appearing at Medugorje?

  • Ted

    If Mary is not appearing at Medugorje, then when Ivan Dragicovic travels around and has his apparitions wherever he is, is he committing fraud or is he delusional? Or is he entertaining the devil or some evil spirit? If any of the three is true, I hope the Vatican condemns Medugorje and stops this catastrophe as soon as possible.

  • PMA Akron, Oh

    I remember reading a book by Wayne Weible on Medugorje. One thing he mentions is the cross on Mt.Krizevac does not show in any of the pictures he takes of it. A year later, I go to Medugorje, nothing out of the ordenary happened to me there. I did take pictures of the cross on Mt.K. from a distance (the cross is on a hill and where ever you are at the base you can see the cross) After returning home and about two weeks later, I remembered I did take pictures of the cross. Took out my pictures and NONE had the Cross in them. There is no reason not to. The cross is HUGE !! I too, am skeptical of what is going on in Medugorje but, no cross in the pictures, plenty of distant tree limbs, no cross …

  • Observer

    No one should ever present Our Lady in opposition to the Churh. When the Bishop doubted (similar to St. Thomas the Apostle) on St. Juan Diego’s telling of Our Lady’s visit and instruction to build a Cathedral, he (the Bishop had been doubtful.) In Fatima, the priest insisted on some simple as for his roses to grow. The Lord and Our Lady do not come with retribution because poor sinners fail to believe.

    And as well, Our Lord does not have some bizzare infatuation with Our Lady (Get it? He does not worhip her; He loves her with the greatest respect as an untiring mother who got tired, unconditionaly surrendering herself to him as her son with which he was her only child, patiently bearing all the pains from birth to Calvary along with, as a mother, having to bear him being lost in a festival and later founded talking to the edlers when she asks, “Why do you do this to us?”) She had been asked, as a mother touched by the supernatural grace rendered to her as an ordinary being, to carry and bear the cross in conjunction with her son (She is Co-redemptrix and not the redemptrix of graces bestowed to man for his salvation.)

    Get it? Get over with the insane proposition that anyone who disagree’s with some part or an entire apparation are somehow going to get some retribution. Afterall, God is love and not some policing agent who’s out to get us because we don’t or fail to believe. Get a life for crying out loud.

  • Observer

    Okay, so people want to what the wrath of God is stored up to do? Very simply, he is going to enact the ordinary life of the Church in the springtime and renewal of Salvation.

    Oh yeah, there will be miracles. However, he will not spend it adrift on popularity cultures trying to reduce the Church to ruins through visions, apparitions, and all the other hallew (I mispelt that one.) No, not at all.

    He is going to stand by the side of the Church in the ordinary life of sanctity and sanctification in faithfulness and fidelity. He will bring reverts and converts to the Church through the miracle of Graces bestowed (souls will be saved.) People will even be weak in faith and going to ask, as simple as a child, for the graces necessary.

    God will possess the ordinary members of the Church and will not let them fall down (as Our Lady spoke in her Magnificant something like the prideful will fall and the humble will be risen.) God will raise the humble ordinary provisions of life and folk in the Church and in the ordinary presence of reality (as cold and hard as a glacier) in bringing about the graces of sanctification through life of the espousalship of His Son’s Bride. And guess what? Mary will be their with her (the Bride) for her vindication (as she did at the Wedding Feast of Cana all the way to Calvary – hebold thy mother and…behold thy son – and thereafter.) Oh yeah, if you’re the kind who dreams restribution. God serves outjustice and not the age old vice that is the cruel and unsusual torments the devil only gives.

    If Jonah expected retribution -and didn’t see it even upon the incident of being swallowed by a whale, what makes anyone think they’re exempt from the love of God had for him? God seeks penance and salvation rather than devotion.

    Just as the ordinary sun simply stands in the sky and slowly descends at nighttime, the ordinary life of the Church will be the real demeanor of miracles as the spinning sun. End of subject and end of story.

  • Observer

    One more item, if Christ got tired of the pharisee’s, making people pay for lamb offerings in order to be saved, and oveturned the money changers for corrupting people’s faith, what makes anyone think he won’t enact the same upon the whole host of money changers mis-using Our Lady’s title, name, and role?

  • Anita

    To anyone who has not been to Medjugorje and tries to pass judgement on it, I need to say. Firstly, Pope John Paul II has been quoted by authentic sources as saying, when he was alive, “If I was not Pope, I would have already been to Medjugorje”. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn was there, as we all know, and is very much in favor of what he experienced there. I saw him speak on it and he said, in so many round about ways, that he believes in its authenticity. I was there in 1987 and would stake my life on its authenticity. So believe what you will, but time will tell. If our present Pope thought it wasn’t true, why would he bother to have all this investigation about it, why would he not have justwent along with their local bishop and his negative opinion? There also has been talk of changing the archdiocese that has authority over Medjugorje to another archbishop. Seems like lots of effort is being put into stopping the negativity that has come against those apparitions.

    • Sal

      Perhaps the Holy Father is having another investigation to prevent accusations of not having looked into the alleged apparitions thoroughly.
      Appeals to Lourdes or Fatima being opposed by authorities are not very helpful, really. For every Lourdes or Fatima that turned out to be finally approved, there are plenty of alleged apparitions, also opposed by authority, that weren’t approved. Because they were false.
      We just don’t hear about most of those.

  • bob

    It seems to have very little to do with honoring the Theotokos and everything to do with winning a fight. Get the icon. Calm down.

  • Bob

    Thousands of conversions (one of which was in part, my own) and hundreds of documented miracles just give me a sneaking suspicion that Medjugorje is not an ordinary place and that it will not be so easy for the investigators to dismiss it. If it’s a fraud, then those who perpetrated the fraud have unintentionally brought an incalculable amount of good out of their misguided intentions.

  • Ginny

    I went to Medjugorje at the last minute invitation of a friend. We went to every important place in six days and then came home. The Blessed Mother is there, and committment to my faith is stronger than ever. She is there and wants everyone who goes to bring more faith home with them than when they came. It doesn’t matter who believes whether she is there or not, whatis important? Faith in her son, Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The visit did make a differece to me, more committed to bringing the faith to everyone I meet. I am not timid at al anymore, more conviced than ever that Jesus is the Way and we need to be His travel agents. P.S. It is not an easy trip or a vacation. It is school of religion and a difficult journey. Love and Prayers to all of you

  • Jim Proctor

    The Holy Scriptures which we agree are true, report a multitude of great signs and wonders accomplished through Moses, Jesus and others. Jesus said these signs are there so that people might believe. Many in those days and still today refuse to believe, so we can’t really blame Mark. He has lots of company.

    • Mark Shea

      It’s amazing how I can write a post in which I state I’m perfectly willing to believe that God has done signs and wonders and *still* get Medjugorje zealots numbering me with those in Outer Darkness. More of that beautiful “fruit” Medj is so famous for.

  • Kathy C

    A few years ago I was in front of the county courthouse with our Respect Life group on the Prayer Chain for LIfe day. The sky was overcast. A friend walked up to me and said “look at the sun.” I could look straight at it with no squinting (the overcast, maybe), but it was doing a very strange thing. You know the more recent version of the little computer hourglass that tells you the computer is busy thinking – it’s now a little circle with a bright bead of light streaming around the outside. The sun looked exactly like that. A flat white disk with a bead of brilliant light circling around and around the edge. I looked away and looked back and it was still the same. It lasted for at least 5 minutes, until we walked away. The friend was a Medjugorje enthusiast, and he said he gave me that vision. I’ve googled it. I can’t find any description of the spiinning sun of Fatima or Medjugorje that sounds like what I saw. I can’t find any reference to an optical illusion that sounds like that. It looked vaguely familiar so I thought I had seen it in the sky like tehat before, but I believe that was just a memory of the Microsoft circle. I’m skeptical. I believe in miracles, but it was just too different from anything people have described.

    • guest

      Kathy C, that sounds about right. Some people see a grey disk within the sin spinning clockwise then anticlockwise. Some people see it pulsating. Others see crosses next to the sun, and even Divine beings etc.. One post above said it was just the eye accommodating for the sun’s rays. I guess I am open to any theories. …but I know what i saw and always see in that sun (a manifestation of some kind).

  • guest

    ummm actually the sun spins for me all the time. i have seen several miraculous things in my life. but i was reminded yesterday to appreciate the daily miracles (water, air, life, fingers etc.) also, the greater challenge after seeing all the supernatural things is – ok now what. it’s all fine and jolly to rave about the miracles, but are we truly reforming – or only for a short while. i think being a witness to miracles also bears responsibility. to whom more is given …how does the verse go??

  • P. Plaza

    All great arguments here but a few can’t be excluded.
    1. Going with the original absurd argument, we have Dwight’s effeminate demeanor.
    2. He could be a dishonest huckster
    3. Then, there’s LCD

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      What are you talking about?

    • Mark Shea

      P. Plaza: Thanks for that clear “How nature says ‘Don’t touch'” warning you give about yourself. You’re now gone from my blog. Buhbye!

    • LSD would be more efficient, unless Fr. Longenecker wants to have a clearer display that uses less energy than his CR counterparts.

  • LT

    Michael Davies wrote a comprehensive book outlining the severe fraud of Medjugorie: http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/medjugorje.htm.

  • The thousands who have received the sacrament of reconciliation is miracle enough. The proof of the pudding will be when Mary sends the special “sign” when Jesus tells her to end her visit.
    We have too many Bill Maher catholics……weaving their own church into the fabric of their tatooed mind.

    • Mark Shea

      And again with the beautiful Medj “fruit” of judgmentalism. Yeah. Lookin’ good! I believe!

  • My thoughts on this whole discussion (because I can sense the subtext in this thread of “What does Andy think of this?” Don’t lie. You’re wondering):

    1. Let’s assume that Medj is a real apparition, and everything its supporters say are true.

    2. It’s still unnecessary for salvation. No private revelation is, including Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe.

    If people are using it to grow closer to God and the truth, then fantastic. However, see #2. I don’t get the whole “if you don’t believe it, you’re an unfaithful dissident” vibe.

  • For those with faith, no explanation is necessary, for those without, none is possible.

    First and foremost, I am female, so what I say is trite. (Just kidding) 😉
    People who go to Medjugorje ‘make stuff up’, but not Fr. Longenecker.
    Crazy people differ in opinion from the deposit of the faith.
    God is famously unscupulous. ???
    But of course that is just my obnoxious (and incorrect) opinion.

    • Mark Shea

      No. People who go to Medj are typically people who believe. It’s the “visionaries” who are making stuff up, IMHO.

  • Rich

    In all these comments, no one has brought up that there has been a long standing fued,that even pre dates the apparition, between the Fransiscans and the priests and bishop of Mostar! Its not just Jesuits who run into trouble with ordinarys. This is the reason any hot potato gets thrown back to Rome. This area we all know for thousands of years has seen its share of turmoil. Through it all the Franciscan have been a constant witness and have never cut and run. For this reason there has always been bad blood and constant power struggele between the two. I know” Its a Catholic thing”. Being a cradle catholic I’m familiar with and use to it ,But converts may be quite shocked. Think of it as just brothers and sisters fighting ,all families have them. but in the end we know we are one body, united by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    • GOOD point Rich. AND no-one else has brought up the fact that the sky phenomena described by people was well documented by a scientist who was also a Catholic priest, a Franciscan, who had been sent to document the phenomena about a hundred years previous to these “apparitions”.

      Comparing the “miracles of the sun” at Medjugorje to Fatima’s is different too, because the effect of the miracle at Fatima. It had been raining for days. The ground was a sodden mess, as were the people who had been standing in it for so long. Sure the sun danced and wiggled in the sky, but how did everything dry up so suddenly, in a matter of mere minutes? That drying is as much a part of the miracle as the sun dancing.

      I’ve seen several acquaintances come back for there and act so strangely. All their stories are about arriving at a certain time of evening when the sky apparently commonly does its thing, and this arrival is after having been whipped into a frenzy with song and prayer all during the bus ride. The only ones on their bus who didn’t see anything were a couple of tone deaf men. One woman taped it and had me watch while she exclaimed at the incredible beauty of the guide woman’s voice. This exclaimation was as she stared and swayed at her own video “And here is where the Miracle happened! See?”. To me it appeared that she was reliving the moments. All I saw was a whole bunch of people crowding to one side of the bus to look out the windows. She left the video with me because she made copies to distribute. I had a tape recorder and taped the music, and at a later date, asked her to listen to the music and give her opinion. “Sounds like a street singer, singing through her nose, accompanied with a poorly tuned guitar.” When I flicked the video on at the same moment she was shocked at her perceptions. “You ruined my miracle!”

      This woman is a very tender-hearted soul, very gullible who would give her last dime to anybody with a story. She sees things where there is no miracle, such as calling me to the Eucharistic adoration chapel saying that “People are seeing Jesus on the Host! ” I went in, saw how the lights were reflecting off the shiny gold of the part which hold the Eucharist in the Monstrance, creating a crossed bounce of lights which faintly resembled a figure in a robe. I touched the cloth under the Monstrance and the “image” disappeared. Everybody gasped and looked at me in horror. I touched it again and the “image ” reappeared. “Why can’t you all adore Jesus in His Hidden State with as much fervor as you did in this imagined miracle? ” One woman was so indignant and called me mean and selfish because they could have used the miracle to get more people to come to the adoration chapel. I didn’t know how to apologize to Jesus for all of this. I did go to our priest and report it and he said I did the right thing in revealing the natural cause.

      God doesn’t need those kinds of “miracles” when the Real Miracle is there , right there, in the holy Eucharist. I don’t see Him with my body, I see Him with my soul. Who was it that said ” You are not a body with a soul, you are a soul with a body”? When somebody tells me about their miracles, I try to understand them with my soul, which is marked by Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation AND the gifts of grace which come with those sacraments

  • Observer

    Medj has some authentic wonders. I’ve had a faith experience (though not at Medj) when praying the rosary in my car before falling asleep at the wheel. Through the sliding from right to left in the car at the moment of just wake-ing up to avoid hitting a barrier on a freeway with the car, a strange sense of peace overpowered my adrenaline. When in ordinary circumstance I’m faced with a near injury aod death experience, my heart begins beating real fast (and my adrenaline rushes in.) However, the strangest and powerful experience had happened. Most of the situation was out of my control. And the moment of just wake-ing up and only just the right moment to steer out of the way of a barrier leading to a call box on the side of the free way (leads me to believe God can take ordinary circumstances and situations [liken to the Wedding feast of Cana where feet washing water was turned into Wine.])

    Our Lady does not pursuit to question nor put down people who doubt (and fail to believe the full authenticity which each counterpart – as a zealot exhibition had been pointed out by MShea – tries to include itself under the veil of Mary’s.) Remember, Mary cannot be present without Christ. She is inseparable. Therefore, no one can seek division and try to surrender the household of God to mere visionary truths infected by zealotry seeking division between the Bride of Christ and His Mother.

  • jo

    If I were a visionary “making this stuff up”, I would have given up the ruse years ago……who goes on for 30+ years telling the same lies?–and always in unison?
    …and how can some folks here ‘know’ what God intends (as they righteously say)?..”not even the Son Knows what the Father knows”.

    • Mark Shea

      Lots of people go on telling lies for decades. One does not have to claim to know what the Father knows to think it highly unlikely that the claim of the “visionaries” are bunk and the thing is a scam.

  • Jess

    To Mark: I am not usually someone who leaves comments online, but my curiosity seems to have gotten the better of me. 🙂
    (First things first… I do believe our Blessed Mother has appeared and continues to appear to the Medjugorje visionaries. I have followed it on and off since the ’80’s. No, I have never been there. Yes, I have read most of the messages and quite a bit of the controversy. I was present recently when Ivan– invited by our parish priest– was a guest speaker at our church. During the rosary we all prayed together, he received his daily apparition of Our Lady. *Important: No, I do not think you will suffer eternal damnation because you don’t believe in the apparitions. That’s ridiculous. The Church teaches that (unless they have been specifically condemned by the Church) no one is required to believe in or disbelieve such supernatural occurrences. I am sorry you have been subject to unpleasantness for exercising your right to decide for yourself. Maybe it would help a little bit to remember we are all imperfect, and we sometimes don’t choose our words as carefully (or charitably) as we should when people or things we love &/or believe in seem to be under attack. Unfortunately, sometimes our knee-jerk reactions override our Christian sensibilities. I would suggest trying to focus on the heart of the matter, and not on people’s very human responses to others’ differing opinions. (Not that I am endorsing their behavior. ) But I digress… And I have now gone on for so long, I think I need another box. 🙂 I’ll be back shortly with what I meant to ask in the first place…

  • Linus

    I am equally obnoxtious, especially to two foolish relatives whom I tried to talk out of going to Medjegorje. But I do wonder if God would allow miracles at a site or near a site where an obvious hoax is taking place. Satan, remember, can work ” wonders ” that would make Simon the magician blush with shame – and many will be lead astray. I will never believe real miracles are taking place there.

    • Mark Shea

      Simon Magus reportedly did signs. We know Jewish exorcists were at work at the same time Jesus was and they they too cast out demons as Jesus himself acknowledged. These people at Medj. are calling on Jesus. If Jesus answers, that’s up to him. I’m not going to tell him he can’t.

  • Linus

    No place on Fr. Longeneckers site for comment. I’ll say again, no one is obliged to believe in private revelations or even in miracles. Whatever happend in Medjugorje, Mary certainly has not appeared 40,000 times. That is absolute bunk. Anyone who believes that is certifiable. As Fr. L. says he was there in the early days. Yet it wasn’t that early. I think it was a hoax from beginning to end. Perhaps Satan has power to make the Sun spin too, or perhaps he can make you and a whole town think they saw it spin!! As for the confessions, etc. put people in a great retreat type setting and there will be lots of confessions and perhaps a few genuine conversions. But you can have the same thing in K.C,Ks or K.C, Mo. if you can engineer a genuine ( emphasis on genuine as opposed to those touchy, feely events, all those ” personal witness ” episodes which seem to be sweeping the churches) retreat like environment ( the art has been lost decades ago around here).

  • Brother Rolf

    2008 wasn’t a good year for Medjugorje
    In May, Andrea Gemma, bishop emeritus of Isernia-Venafro and one of Italy’s best known exorcists, announced in the Italian Catholic internet newsletter Petrus that the Church had officially stated that the Blessed Mother had never appeared in Medjugorje and that entire operation was the “work of the devil.”
    Asked to be more specific about the interests motivating involvement in Medjugorje, the bishop declared, “I’m referring to the devil’s shit, money.
    ” Bishop Gemma claimed that the seers were inspired by Satan, and him alone, to spread unrest and confusion among the faithful. “Think of the disobedience which they have promoted in the Church.
    Their spiritual advisor, a Franciscan who was expelled from his order and suspended from his priestly faculties, continues to confect invalid sacraments.”
    The fact that many priests from around the world continue to lead pilgrimages there is “a disgrace,” the bishop added. “The phony seers and their assistants make money hand over fist, while at the same time the devil creates dissension between the faithful and the Church.
    ” Gemma dismissed the objection that the Holy See had never issued a pronouncement on Medjugorje as “one more lie.” Rome has always endorsed the view of the Bishop of Mostar that Medjugorje was a “diabolical deception.”
    “Let me let you in on a little secret,” Bishop Gemma continued. The Vatican is going to release an explosive announcement in the near future which will reveal once and for all who was behind this deception. In late August/early September 2008 the other shoe dropped when Rome asked Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar, to announce the suspension of the man behind the almost 30-year-old Medjugorje hoax

  • Jess

    I’m back… Now onto what peaked my curiosity to begin with… May I ask what it is about Medjugorje that has drawn such a negative response from you? As someone who has had such a positive and faith- strengthening experience with it in my own life (and also in the lives of many others I have met), I just wonder what has struck you as so false about it? I mean I could discuss the controversy around the Bishop of Mortar, but there are two sides to that. 1) He’s the bishop there, and what he says should carry some weight, and 2) people who were later ordained and apparitions later approved by the Church suffered through similar opinions from priests &/or bishops. I could wow you with accounts of miracles and conversion stories galore, but you don’t seem to be contesting that those things may indeed have been happening– just questioning the connection to the apparitions
    . So, my question is this… Have you found anything offensive or contrary to Church teaching in the actual messages released? Because I honestly never have. If I had to try to condense roughly 30 years of messages, I think there are some overwhelmingly simple & main themes…
    Pray. Go to mass and confession (both as often as possible). Pray for priests and vocations. Pray the rosary. Pray for souls in purgatory. Fast. Do penance and offer reparation for sins. Be a light in the world to help bring others to Christ. Live your faith. We are loved and cherished more than we could ever possibly comprehend by Jesus. Pray, Pray, Pray. (I guess most of us really need that last one repeated. A lot. Ha-ha)… These have been the main things I have taken away from the messages and into my life. So again, I guess what I’m asking is do you take issue with the content of the Medjugorje messages? And if not, what keeps you from acknowledging the possibility of the apparitions’ authenticity? Just an imperfect human element? Or even– dare I say–, spiritual attacks against it resulting in what appears to some as a few “rotten apples”? (There are always some in every bunch.) Again, I’m not judging or condemning here (far above my pay-grade anyway, thank goodness!), but just wondering… God bless you, and sorry for the horribly long posts… Now you know why I usually don’t. 🙂

    • Sal

      I think the problem here is that when the Church looks at alleged apparitions, it doesn’t just judge the content of the messages. The human element, as you call it, does come in. Are the visionaries mentally sound? Is anyone profitting financially from the visions? (This does not include those who earn money serving the needs of pilgrims to an approved apparition, of course.) Is there evidence of collusion, if there is more than one visionary? Are they being coached, or otherwise interfered with? That sort of thing.
      It would seem there were enough doubts in the original ordinary’s mind for him to issue the ruling he did.

      If the message is as you report- I haven’t followed them, b/c I always wait for the official ruling- then they may be perfectly orthodox. But 30 years of daily messages is a lot of material to go through. And, I think the noveltyy of an apparition that goes on continually for 30 years, when compared with the pattern of approved apparitions, is a red flag for many.

      To be perfectly honest- the aggressiveness of the Medj proponents I have encountered over the years, when they find you haven’t adopted the apparition, is very troubling. They can’t seem to take “waiting for the official ruling” for an answer.

      • Kate

        Our lady appeared in Luas in the south of France in the mid 1600 to a young girl called Benidicta for over 50years and taught Benidicta her faith. Pope John Paul made her a saint.

  • Bernard

    Linus reckons that no-one is obliged to believe in miracles. True. There are many who do not believe in the Virgin Birth, Transubstantiation, the Resurrection and the many miracles and signs recorded in the NT.

    And I am amazed how some people choose to give credence to Satan for all the signs and wonders reported at Medjugorje in preference to the power of the Holy Spirit. Is God redundant or what? Satan curing the sick, bringing people back to the Sacraments, bringing peace to hearts, and people to their knees repenting of their sins?

    Of course satan hangs around Medjugorje. He did with Jesus for a while when he went into the desert. He does with most of us. What’s new?

    Medjugorje hasn’t exclusive rights on conversions, either. The wind blows wherever it pleases.

    • Linus reckons that no-one is obliged to believe in miracles. True. There are many who do not believe in the Virgin Birth, Transubstantiation, the Resurrection and the many miracles and signs recorded in the NT.

      I’m sure what Linus means is that no one is obliged to believe in miracles as they pertain to private revelation – – which is what Medjugorje is. To conflate disbelief in Medj with denial of the Virgin Birth, etc., is disingenuous and you know it.

      Let’s all say it together: private revelation is optional as long as the Church approves. Even approved apparitions are not necessary for salvation in any manner. Public revelation closed with the death of the last apostle. Everything since then is just gravy.

      • Bernard

        Everything since then is just gravy…
        I like gravy! 🙂

    • Linus

      I meant to say, no one is oblibed to believe in particular miracles outside those held as true by Sacred Tradition, the Scriptures, and the Magesterium. All the rest I stand by. People don’t need to trapse half way around the world to find Christ, His real presence is as close as your nearest Catholic Church. You need healing, go there and spend time with Him. Otherwise you are just chasing thrills, you want to see signs. Why?

  • Jess

    First: Regarding my above post… Bishop of Mostar not “Mortar.” (Auto-correct hates me.)
    Second to Linus: Wow. Just wow. Joyfully sign me up for “certifiable”, because I don’t have any trouble at all believing the Blessed Mother has appeared so often. 🙂 Jesus gave her to us to be our mother also while He was dying on the cross. From a mother’s perspective (being one myself), a mother will be there to help and guide her children as often as needed or required, so I really don’t understand your reasoning there. I look around this world we live in thinking we can use all of the help and course- correction we can get! I’ll even go further and say that I am surprised she isn’t appearing even more! 🙂
    Just my opinion, though… God bless you

  • Fr. James Williams

    I always find it amazing that those who don’t believe in Medjugorje ask, “What will you do if the Church judges agains the appearitions?” My question to you all is, “What will you do if the Church says they are authentic?” I’ve been there many times and interviewed and stayed in some of the seers homes. I still have yet for anyone to prove to me that something is wrong with any of them and what they experience. Let’s wait and see what Holy Mother Church says. Maybe we will all be surprised.

    • Sal

      If the Church judges the alleged apparitions authentic, then I will do the exact same thing I do with any approved apparition: decide whether or not I wish to accept it and chose to what extent I will incorporate it into my spiritual life. No change for me.
      Some proponents who get a negative judgment, otoh, will have some very tough decisions to make.
      That is our concern.

    • Mark Shea

      I will, of course, accept the Church’s judgment–meaning I will be free to continue thinking Medj is bunk and to continue to say that devotees are entitled to their opinion. In other words, I will go on doing what I do now since even if the Church approves it I am under no obligation to believe it.

      However, that’s not going to happen. Instead, I am morally certain Rome will agree with the local ordinaries that there is nothing supernatural happening there. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

      But I’m not wrong. 🙂

  • Jess

    That is excellent advice, Fr. Williams. The less time spent getting all worked up arguing with each other about things that are ultimately in God’s hands and not ours, the more we’ll have to do something worthwhile– like pray! 🙂