A Plea for Some Discernment

Clueless, discernment-free, folk hero worshipping, Church-ignoring Catholics, should really listen to Bishops like Ratko Peric, who has denounced Medjugorje saying the alleged messages contain “contradictions, falsehoods and banalities.” Because you are soon going to have to listen to Rome or continue your clueless, discernment-free, folk hero worshipping, Church-ignoring cult in the teeth of her teaching. One good start is to listen to common sense and not the rubbish of the UK media.

We got lied to by Maciel and rushed to defend him. Fair enough. “Fool me once, shame on you.” But to watch so many (though not all) “faithful conservative Catholics[TM]” continue exactly the same discernment-free pattern again and again and again with Euteneuer, Corapi, Voris and above all the massive fraud of Medjugorje, endlessly treating as Folk Heroes and Anointed and Unquestionable Prophets people who range from “feet of clay” to “out and out frauds” is just amazing to me. “Fool me a dozen times, shame on me.” No, not all these figures are crooks and liars (as the “seers” are). Some such as Euteneuer were mere men with feet of clay who have done due diligence in submitting to their superiors after their sin. Others, such as Corapi, have betrayed their vows and abused their flock with no sign of repentance. Some, such as Voris, are not crooks, but demagogues who poison the faithful against perfectly good Catholics and fine bishops and gather a cult of personality around themselves while sowing discord and destructive party spirit (a work of the flesh, sez St. Paul).

The common denominator is not that that all these unreliable Folk Heros are all committing the same sins, it’s that “faithful Conservative Catholic[TM]” folk hero worshippers respond in *exactly* the same way every time one of their folk heros is very legitimately criticized: by circling the wagons and making the same stupid accusations against the critic as though he is an enemy of the faith. So we were told that critics of Maciel were enemies of the faith–and then told the same things again about those who warned of the dangers of Euteneuer and Corapi.

Euteneuer, we were told, was being persecuted for being a prolife Catholic.  Turned out, not so much.

Corapi was a brave truthteller baselessly persecuted by human devils bent on destroying  a living saint.  Actually, turned out he was a fraud who grifted his flock while inventing tales of his Green Beret/Special Forces heroism, then betrayed his vows and held a fire sale on his priesthood when the truth closed in.

Now we hear the same “Living Saint Persecuted by Forces of Evil” about those who warn of Voris’ McCarthyesque demagoguery as he does things like tar the bishop of Corpus Christi as a member of a gay cabal for disciplining Corapi, or tars people who receive communion in the hand with heresy, or tars the Knights of Columbus, or EWTN or the Register or Catholic News Agency as somehow being enemies of the Faith. In short, his bread and butter is not attacking progressive dissenters. It is attacking faithful Catholics and calling them progressive dissenters–when in fact they are disobedient to no precept of Holy Church–and teaching his followers to do the same.  The focal point becomes in each case, not the Faith, but faithfulness to the Folk Hero–in this case, Voris.

And in exactly the same way, we are constantly instructed by Medjugorje partisans that critics of Medjugorje “hate our Lady” (not that they hate religious charlatanism practiced in her name). The reckless and unreliable Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who is himself treated with a complete lack of discernment by his fans, despite a long history of popping off with demonstrably false and absurd claims declares that those who don’t buy Medjugorje are “fools” and skepticism toward this is treated, not as common sense discernment, but as dissent from the Creed by the partisans of Medjugorje. The amazing regularity with which “faithful conservative Catholics” (again, not all, but an absurdly large representative sample on the Internet) keep on repeatedly exercising a sort of anti-charism of discernment in anointing Folk Heros and manage to not see the bleedin’ obvious amazes me.  We gotta do better than this and I refuse to believe we can’t.

  • Tominellay

    That’s it exactly: an “anti-charism of discernment”.

  • http://www.askmeaboutgod.org Doug Lawrence

    Mark, as you know, it’s tough to come up with something new to write or speak about, every day. Deadlines put a lot of pressure on people, which often causes them to act in haste and repent at leisure. While there’s never an excuse for lack of charity, especially regarding fellow Catholics, there’s still plenty of room for disagreements and wide variations in how people exercise their own prudential judgment. Before his fall, Fr. Euteneuer was indeed a great advocate for the pro-life cause. Similarly, for a long time, John Corapi did manage to boldly go where few of today’s lukewarm priests ever have (unfortunately, in more ways than one). Like him or hate him, Michael Voris does an excellent job of promoting the principles of conservative, traditional Catholicism. You manage to hit one out of the park, every now and then, too. But nobody consistently bats 1000, (not even EWTN, the bishop of Corpus Christi, the K of C, or the Register) and anything better than .300 is still way above average, so we need to cut each other a little slack, put away the long knives, and realize that everybody has a right to their own opinion, even if, some of the time, it happens to be wrong.

  • Chris

    Doug: I think you’re missing Mark’s point. His point isn’t that these guys are/were bad guys, but rather that they should never have been treated as above reproach. His complaint is less with them than it is with the reactions of their followers when criticisms that turn out to be legitimate start coming out.

    Re Voris, I have to disagree with you. In my mind, he makes it seem like traditional conservative Catholicism is something purely negative by spending 98% of his time making fun of or criticizing perfectly legitimate Church practices. The reason to love traditional Catholicism is that it is beautiful and brings you closer to Christ, not because people who accept Communion on the hand reject Jesus. It seems to me that the best brief for traditional Conservative Catholicism (to use your term) has to be what it has to offer, not a constant denigration of other people.

    • Mark Shea

      You get me.

      • Will

        But by your logic elsewhere, if Voris says something, that is THE voice of The Thing That Used To Be Catholicism.

        • Mark Shea

          There is no such thing as the Thing that Used to Be Catholicism. The Church is indefectible. Demagogues are not indefectible. Perhaps if you did not look for a cheap tu quoque, you could make more sense in trying to attack my point.

  • Bill

    I disagree with the premise. Of course we’re all flawed sinners. But because mankind was settling for a poor standard is why Christ came to begin with.

  • http://www.cappadociainlowell.blogspot.com Renee

    I’m amazed how we still exist and function.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      By God’s grace.

  • Andy

    This hero worship whether it is in the Catholic Church or other churches, or in our politics points out what the Bible is so clear to say – put not your faith in princes. We as a people seem incapable of looking to Christ to lead us and are always looking for a person to be our model. Into the breach step those who would be models – not perhaps out of malice, but out of self-delusion – that they know. We as a people must put away this type of hero worship and look to the model we need.
    Mark’s comments more eloquently point out the problem – hero worship leads to tribal allegiances, which leads to pride that I am not like those others, which is the exact opposite of what Christ preached.

  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

    Bishop Peric says that the messages contain “contradictions, falsehoods and banalities.” But when I read his report describing those alleged contradictions, falsehoods, and banalities, I was not impressed. For one thing, I have noticed that anti-Medjugorje folks have a major tendency to conflate the actual visions with the foibles of some of the people involved with Medjugorje. Lots of people think there are contradictions in the Bible too, but a contradiction is not proven so unless there is no other explanation. Certainly, if the Church as a whole would have been satisfied with the Bishop’s handling of the Medjugorje situation, these larger commissions (the first of which took a wait-and-see attitude rather than outright condemnation) would not have been necessary.

    • Cheri

      I love Our Lady with all my heart but harbor some serious doubts about Medjugorje. Here’s one reason: Our Lady is reported to have told the seers and others to disobey their bishop. Sorry, but I just can’t see that as something the Blessed Mother would *ever* do.

      • Dave

        I don’t think she really told them to disobey the bishop. If she did, it would have been condemned long ago. I would ask for documentation on this.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          This might be the incident in question, The late Michael Davies, a critic of Medjugorje, wrote:

          “But the most flagrant and (to my mind) conclusive case is that involving Fathers Prusina and Vego, two Franciscans being disciplined by their superiors (and who have since been expelled from the Order). Bishop Zanic’ had ordered them to leave the parish. “Our Lady”, questioned by the “visionaries”, is stated to have said on two occasions (19.12.81 and 20.1.82) that the bishop was “in the wrong” and that the Franciscans “should stay put”! “Our Lady” is thus shown as inciting disobedience to a lawful order of a bishop. ”

          (from “Medjugorje: A Warning” – widely available online.)

          It’s a secondhand source, true, yet defenders of Medj cite this incident as well:

          http://mariantimes.blogspot.com/2006/11/medjugorje-arguments-of-bi_116450362192226976.html

          Now, this is not a direct command to the seers to disobey their bishop, but it does not set a good example of obedience for them, either. Also, the apparition reportedly told the seers that Bishop Zanic “has no real love of God in his heart” (from the second link). Something is not right about that.

          • Dave

            And yet, that was 30 years ago, and no condemnation. So I think there is probably more to the story. We’ll see.

            • Tominellay

              I believe that Medjugorje is a fraud, and I think that the Church will (once again) announce that there is no reason to believe that Mary is appearing in Medjugorje; the difference is that the next announcement will come from Rome. As far as “condemnation” goes, I think there’s really nothing to condemn: the perpetrators aren’t proclaiming a different gospel and they’re not advocating for female ordination/gay marriage/etc….They’re just people who have been faking apparitions. And there’s nothing for the Church to “shut down”: the “seers” aren’t “seeing” in the church – they’re drawing their crowds on a hill or in their homes, or in Alabama, and coming this summer, in the Holy Land. It’s private enterprise.
              So, no, the Church hasn’t “condemned” the thing, and nobody’s been excommunicated; but the responsible bishops and a conference of bishops have announced that the evidence does not support the claim of apparitions. These “apparitions” don’t seem to be authentic to the bishops charged with the task of discernment of apparitions.
              I expect Rome to reiterate that there’s “nothing to see here, folks.” And maybe if the disappointing news comes straight from the Pope this time, and perhaps by way of a “constat de non”, it’ll take fewer than thirty more years for things to quiet down there.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                It can be argued that the Church condemns more swiftly “apparitions” that teach blatant false doctrine. Like the Bayside “apparition” which taught that Vatican II was “manipulated by Satan,” and that test-tube babies don’t have human souls, only animal ones. Those are at least part of what quickly did in that false apparition.

                Medjugorje’s errors are perhaps more subtle. Like when the apparition was asked, “Should we pray to Jesus or to Mary? ” and replied: “Please pray to Jesus. I am His mother and I intercede for you with Him. But all prayer goes to Jesus. I will help. I will pray, but everything does not depend only on me. It depends also on your strength, the strength of those who pray.”

                This is problematic in that it seems to discourage direct prayer to Blessed Mother, which would be contrary to Church teaching. Though I’m sure Medjugorje supporters would defend it somehow, perhaps by arguing that she is asserting the importance of prayer to Jesus so that people don’t just pray to Mary all the time and ignore Him. If that’s so, wouldn’t a better answer have been something like: “You can pray to either one of us, for any petition you bring to me I bring right to my Son.”?

                Of course, the apparition has also allegedly dictated prayers to the “seers” that are directly addressed to Mary, so I do wonder how the “all prayer goes to Jesus” statement squares with that.

                • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                  Well, using precise theological terms, it is true that we don’t “pray” to Mary or the saints, in the sense of asking them for favors that they themselves can grant. We ask them for intercession. I’d be careful before condemning that statement without having examined it in the original language, understanding the nuances, etc.

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    True, it would be best to find out the sense of the original language. Though common Catholic parlance does speak of “prayer TO saints” – that may consist pleas for intercession yet we are still making a request of them which is the original meaning of the English word “pray.”

              • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                Actually, you don’t understand the assignment of apparitions very well. There is “Constat de non supernaturalitate” which means “established to be not supernatural” and this is the opinion of the local bishop. There is also “Non constat de supernaturalitate” which means “not established to be supernatural” and is basically a neutral statement which neither condemns or approves. This was the ruling of the commission of bishops back in the 1990′s.

                • Tominellay

                  Actually, I do understand, and well. The “non constat” and “constat de non” formulae are both opposites of the “constat” formula, although they are not equivalent to each other.

                  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                    Certainly, neither are approvals, but they are not both condemnations either. Only the latter that you mentioned is a condemnation. The former is nondefinitive. You disagree?

  • http://www.logosandmuse.com Scott Alt

    I used to listen to Voris a lot soon after I became Catholic; Corapi too. Something about them appealed to the conservative in me, but in the end it was “what I wanted to hear.” Discernment, though, doesn’t always fit up neatly along liberal / conservative lines. No more Voris for me–and definitely no more “maybe” about Medjugorje, though I’ve always had suspicions about that one. Keep calling it like it is, Mark.

    • Stu

      Why stop listening to Voris? Listen to him and read Mark Shea’s stuff at the same time.

      All part of discernment.

      I think the Jets and Sharks routine that keeps getting played is what is harmful.

  • Dismas

    This is the first article I’ve seen that addresses and identifies an issue of commonality and lack of discernment I see so prevalent and evident by those who display rabid adherence and inordinate attachment to certain movements and people in our Church. Their defense by adherents, in many cases seems fanatic, even idolatrous. The adherents seem to be much less about real faith and the Magisterium of our Church but much more about division and idolatry.

    On the bright side, the reaction of those who display this blind adherance, inordinate attachement and rabid defense of these movements and people have quickly become quite a calling card for me regarding discernment of the good and true versus what might be false and idolatrous. Great article Mark!

  • frenchcookingmama

    I just can’t with this movement. THAT site has been pushing Father Gabriel Amorth and his support of Medj yet again…I have no qualms with the man, but the way these things are written, people gobble this gobbedlygook up over the teachings of Rome. And THAT led to those “faithful conservative Catholic” blogs that tar and feather the American cardinals and bishops.

    Remember the recent fallout with Cardinal Dolan and the Al Smith Dinner? That’s the “fruit” of this movement. Absolutely appalling.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Say what? Spirit Daily is responsible for Voris and similar critical websites? I don’t see any connection between Voris and Spirit Daily.

      Fr. Amorth, in an article, gives his opinion that Medjugorje is authentic. So what? I don’t see why Fr. Amorth and “the teachings of Rome” are in conflict. This whole thing smells like Satan to me. And by “this whole thing” I don’t mean Medjugorje, I mean the fact that Satan is able to easily divide faithful Catholics by tangential issues, such as differing discernment on prudential issues such as whether one believes in Medjugorje or not, or whether one favors gun control or not.

      If us Catholics can’t show each other a shred of charity and humility (admitting that one may not be in possession of all the facts), I don’t see how we are ever going to win a soul for Christ, much less the world.

      • Mark Shea

        Spirit Daily recent sicced a herd of Voris’ fanboys on Simcha Fisher, demanding she be fired from the Register for criticizing Voris’ tacky “Lenten Caribbean Cruise”.

        Fr. Amorth is, frankly, another unreliable folk hero that a lot of Catholics credit with very little discernment. His pronouncements about Medj and many other matters are highly subject to question and dispute: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2011/11/fr-gabriele-amorth-loose-canon.html but his fanbase treat any questioning of his frequently absurd claims as dissent from the Creed.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          Really? That doesn’t seem like something Michael Brown would do. Is there a link?

          • Mark Shea

            Not any more, as far as I know. The turnover at the site is pretty fast. Both Pewsitter and SD picked out Simcha for daring to blaspheme the great man and portrayed it along the lines of Evil Register Columnist Attacks Living Saint, with perfectly predictable results from the Cult of Voris demanding her head and screaming at the Register for being a pack of CINO’s if they didn’t fire her immediately. Voris, as is his custom, stood by and let the assault go on unhindered. He has, so far as I know, never apologized for any of the reckless and unjust things has said, nor has he ever intervened to stop his cult from trashing people who criticize some stupid thing he as said or done.

            • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

              OK, well, there is a site archive and I couldn’t find anything, but I’ll take your word for it. It’s strange because SD doesn’t usually get into controversies like that, and I can’t remember them ever linking anything from Voris.

              • frenchcookingmama

                “Catholic newspaper attacks priest, activist”

                That was their banner linking to the Simcha Fisher post.

                It wasn’t an attack. It was justified criticism of the event and its (astoundingly bad) timing.

                It only became a hot-button post because Voris is involved.

                Spirit Daily rarely outwardly criticizes people. They do it one of two ways: veiled in their editorials, or by sending their hordes of readers to the link by using a red-flag banner.

                p. s. They did this to Mark last year. It’s all in this post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2011/03/this-is-pretty-funny.html#comments

                • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                  Well, one person’s “justified criticism” may well look like an “attack” from the other side. I wouldn’t read too much into it. Not sure why people launch a criticism and then are butthurt when they are criticized in return. I think the whole thing was sad and uncharitable on both sides. Still, I’m surprised that Spirit Daily carried it.

                  • Mark Shea

                    If anyone was butthurt, it was the Cult of Voris that responded to a perfectly sensible guffaw at the thought of a Lenten Caribbean Cruise by demanding that Simcha Fisher, a mother of a very large family on a very limited income, be *fired*. Discernment-free bullies. Fortunately, the Register refused to capitulate to the Cult. But it’s the thought that counts.

                    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                      Yes, I agree that this was terrible. They did lack discernment. I don’t want to defend anyone who calls for someone to be fired over something that minor. I think that’s one of the poisonous fruits of Voris, intended or not. It trains one to hypervigilantly look for enemies everywhere, and apparently once the “enemies” are found, mercy and charity are not in the playbook. On the other side, Simcha has her own style of writing, and if one is not familiar with it, what is intended as a criticism through humor can be interpreted as a vicious attack. Regrettable…I hope we all can do better.

                    • Mark Shea

                      We don’t disagree about the poisonous fruits of Voris. But I can’t agree that what Simcha wrote was anywhere near a “vicious attack”. It was a passing chortle at something that is ridiculous: a Lenten Caribbean Cruise–and one hawked, to boot, as some sort of noble sacrifice undertaken because Voris and his fans are just so in need of rest because of their epic struggle with evil. That kind of eyeroll inducing posture before the mirror of self-regard deserved a lot more ridicule that Simcha gave it. And the butthurt hysteria of his fanboys only illustrated the truth of everything she was chuckling at–in a vicious, scary way.

            • Stu

              Mark,

              Simcha, of her own free will, published things on her blog and at the Register. People reacted to it. The fact that somebody read it, disagreed with it and then pointed it out to others is simply par for the course.

              Words have consequences. Depending on what you say, you might get some negative feedback.

              • Mark Shea

                The flying monkeys didn’t “disagree”. They demanded she be fired. They declared her a fake Catholic and all the rest of the usual crap the Cult trades in. Par for the course indeed with that particular Cult.

                • Stu

                  Yes, when you publish something, especially when using a strong tone, you run the risk of getting that reaction when people are angry.

                  Seems to me that one needs to measure their words in that line of business and/or be prepared to have some negative repercussions for taking a stand.

                  • enness

                    Simcha is an experienced blogger and not some green, thin-skinned whine-baby; I’m sure she’s well aware that people get angry. Still, it’s not naive to be shocked by such disproportionate vituperation (to a throwaway line, at that), because it is shocking. It says a lot about the people doing it, and about the alarming state of our culture. We shouldn’t lose that sense.

                    • Stu

                      Then dismiss it for what it is.

                  • Mark Shea

                    That Simcha. Always slamming her nose into the fists of innocent butthurt bullies. It’s clearly all her problem.

                    • Stu

                      Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.

                      Mark, if you want to go around confronting so-called bullies or anyone else for that matter, don’t be surprised if they push back.

                    • Mark Shea

                      Gallant.

                    • Stu

                      Realistic.
                      I can assure that most opponents actually fight back when confronted. Those who choose to start an engagement should take that into account. If they don’t, they may find out that there is a fine line between THEIR own gallantry and just plain foolishness.

                      Honestly Mark, this is a grade school lesson. There are bullies in the world. If you want to be brave and confront them, then be prepared to get a black eye in doing so. You don’t go pick a fight with someone and then whine about getting smacked in the process.

                    • Mark Shea

                      I’m not whining about getting smacked. I’m protesting their thin-skinned attack on the livelihood of a fine woman.

              • Stu

                If you are going to write things as a means of making money, and you make statements that may offend others, that’s part of the job. Life is full of risk. Your job is to manage and balance it.

                I joined the military. I expected that I might one day get shot at. I did. I didn’t “protest the thin-skinned attack” on my actual life by the opponent. It was part of the job.

        • bob

          I think many were upset about the Simcha articles – there was more than one and the first one on her blog was a very nasty personal attack on Voris, and seemed to be rather unbecoming of a Catholic. Of charity, there was none in the article. And then there is her selling of pants on her website store that speaks of men’s eye going to the crotch of the woman etc – really something one would see on nasty gal clothes site, not a Catholic mother, blogger, and author. And as for the cruise, even Karl Keating weighed in in her combox and basically corrected her for misconceptions of the cruise. And another criticism is she implies the best Catholics are those who give to the poor (rather than, for example, spending money on a cruise). Giving to the poor does not make one Catholic – Shiners give to the poor and run hospitals, Buddhists give to the poor, and even atheists give to the poor. That is not what makes us Catholic.
          I suppose you haven’t quite discerned these issues with your fellow NCRegister blogger; perhaps you too could exercise a little more discernment and a little less fanboy, towards Simcha.

          God bless you.

  • Elaine

    I noticed that in the case of Medj, Corapi, and Voris there is a sentiment of dissent or distrust toward the bishops. It has made me wonder why on the Internet there are so many who do things that these “folk Heroes” advocate, but I have not seen anyone talking about whether or not they are doing the Daily Rosary for Life, marriage, and religious liberty or fasting on Fridays like our Bishops asked us to do. It seems like our bishops are trying to lead but Catholics would rather follow someone who is more dynamic.

    • bob

      Anyone living the messages of Medjugorje – the true followers of it – are already saying a daily rosary and already fasting on Fridays (and also Wednesdays). It is more interesting to me that the US bishops have now turned to giving the same ‘medicine’ for us that came out of Medjugorje many years ago. Blessed Mary allegedly said the only remedy for us in this time of great evil would be to reconcile ourselves with God through daily prayer especially the rosary, fasting, confession, the Holy Eucharist, daily reading of Holy Scriptures, living ‘good’ lives, and forgiving and loving our ‘neighbor’. It seems the US bishops finally realize the extent of the evil we are facing, and ‘see’ the same remedy as that allegedly given by Our Lady. Of course, being the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, she is always in the lead.

      God bless you.

  • frenchcookingmama

    Unfortunately, “dynamic” – not always, but often – becomes “cult of personality”.

  • Brian

    I like Michael Brown. He seems to be a kind and charitable man. I like much of what he writes. I read Spirit Daily and this blog (Mark Shea) along with many others.
    I love my 86 year old Irish immigrant mom. She has told me a few hair raising stories that some of you would call “rubbish”. I whole-heartedly believe that my mom’s personal spiritual experiences (mostly gifts of the spirit which have lead her and others closer to the faith, but also some demonic attacks) are true. (She went to a priest for help once and he laughed at her. To her credit, she figured that she was led to him because HE needed prayers)
    I don’t believe everything that I read on Spirit Daily. Brown himself usually urges discernment. I don’t think that he’s the “Pied Piper” that many commenters make him out to be. He does seem a little too hopeful about Medj. It’s a huge phenomenon that the church hasn’t spoken forcefully about. Quite frankly, I’ve seen about 20 online debates about it with exactly zero “checkmate” moments.
    I don’t really “have a horse in this race”. I don’t think much about Medj. It seems like a sideshow and possibly a distraction. But I think that most people like Michael Brown are very good, well meaning, Catholics. I think that he hears allot of the “snootiness” talked about in the referenced article, as does my mom from some of her own family, and he offers it up. I don’t think that “believing in Medj.” or “not believing in Medj”. are mortal sins.
    I think that there is a hope for some on both sides of this debate to have the opportunity to dance on the other side’s grave. THAT probably is a sin. Sin no more! ; )
    Thanks

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      I too have had some memorable and positive experiences of the articles on Spirit Daily. I’ve had a few personal experiences of my own, and they are very precious to me. But they are entirely personal, and it is impossible to convey to anyone else the quality of the experiences, or even to adequately describe them.

      I think your Mom may have had experiences like those.

      As for Medjugorje, no one is obliged to “believe” in it. No one is obliged to “believe” in Fatima or Lourdes either. I rather suspect that whatever good comes out of these places and events comes out of the genuine faith and need of the beholder.

      One of my own experiences of the Blessed Virgin happened while traveling on the Moscow Metro on the way to Taganskaya Ploshchad, when I was scared out of my wits about something.
      I believe that what happened happened because of the infantile urgency of my prayer – I thought I was about to be fed into a figurative meat-grinder – although a literal one was possible too.

      Mamma!

      You don’t have to go to Medjugorje. But you need to be very small and very needy.

  • Toni

    Your plea for discernment falls on deaf ears, Mr. Shea, because it isn’t a plea, but browbeating. Your points might gain more traction if they didn’t come across as an attack.

    • Mark Shea

      That’s odd. A lot of other readers aren’t deaf. Or is it merely that I criticize one of your sacred cows?

      • Dismas

        Mark, perhaps it’s your lack of a spinning pencil?

  • enness

    “faithful conservative Catholics” (again, not all, but an absurdly large representative sample on the Internet)

    Overrepresented, I think — I hope. I know I usually have nothing more to add on the subject.

  • An Aaron, not the Aaron

    I’ve been mulling over a couple of questions about Medj and apparitions in general for a while, but haven’t found any answers, so this seems like a good spot to throw it to you, Mark, and your other readers:

    1) What in canon law or Catholic Tradition gives someone the right to form a devotion to an unapproved apparition?

    I haven’t found any explicit or even implicit canon law provision that grants this right (does anyone else know of one?). I suppose you could argue that silence means it is ok, but this doesn’t sit right with me either. At some point don’t we have a moral obligation to act with prudence in the manner in which we practice our faith? Do devotees of Medj ever ask themselves, “She didn’t appear to me and the apparition is unapproved, so what does this have to do with me at this point?”

    2) Does anyone know of any approved apparition that first received even one negative formal judgment from the proper authority before finally being approved, much less two (Bishop Zanic and the Yugoslav Bishops Conference (yes a non constat de supernaturalitate is a negative judgment))?

    I’m not a Marian apparition expert, but it seems to me her modus operandi is to bend over backwards to prove it’s really her (e.g., Castilian roses in Mexico). With Medj, she had ten years to do this before the conference ruled, and she still couldn’t give them enough evidence to say it was her.

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      Yes, there is often evidence. I can testify to that. But that is my personal experience.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      No, “Non constat de supernaturalitate” is not a negative judgment. It means “the supernatural has not been established.” It is neutral.

      • An Aaron, not the Aaron

        This will probably not be noticed because I couldn’t respond in time, and the post has dropped off the main page, but for the record here is my response to Dave:

        A “non constat de supernaturalitate” is a negative judgment. You need to look at the 1978 norms established to give bishops guidance on these sorts of things. Those norms do not mention a judgment of “constat de non supernaturalitate,” only “constat de supernaturalitate” and “non constat de supernaturalitate.” It is reasonable to believe from this that “constat de non” is no longer to be considered as a possible judgment and that all negative judgments are subsumed under “non constat.” I have heard it argued, though that since the norms do not unequivocally eliminate “constat de non,” the bishops may consider it to still be a possible judgment. However, nothing in the 1978 norms can be read to support the position that “non constat” is a neutral judgment.

        “Constat de” and “non constat” are juxtaposed against each other in the text: “…modern mentality and the requirements of critical scientific investigation render it more difficult, if not almost impossible, to achieve with the required speed the judgments that in the past concluded the investigation of such matters (constat de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate) and that offered to the Ordinaries the possibility of authorizing or prohibiting public cult or other forms of devotion among the faithful.” This passage speaks of authorizing or prohibiting cults and concluding investigations, and only gives “constat de” and “non constat” as examples of those judgments that would accomplish those ends. In other words, the norms anticipate that a “non constat” judgment would conclude an investigation. Neutral judgments do not conclude investigations.

        There are more reasons than this, of course, but this should be enough to make it obvious. You have no basis upon which to claim that “non constat” is a neutral judgment. It is definitely negative.

        • bob

          I believe the 1978 norms (which non of us non-bishops should be able to read, is my understanding) says there are two judgments – positive or negative – but the negative one can be qualified with commentary indicating more information could change it or is warranted.

          God bless you.

  • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

    BAALAM’S ASS

    Why do you beat me, stupid?
    An angel standing there
    With sword of lightning flashing
    Shouts by his mien: Beware!

    Open your eyes and see it
    Or are you stone stark blind?
    Against the wall I’ll crush your bones,
    Has Baalam lost his mind?

    But when my long descended
    Comes to Jerusalem,
    He’ll carry one most blessed
    The Christ – His will be done

    And He will see most clearly
    How angels line the street,
    How all the crowds about Him
    Cast garments at His feet

    And then when I have carried
    The Son of God to dine,
    He will dismount and pat me
    And bless the bread and wine

    Pavel
    January 11, 2013

  • Mike Harrison

    Hi, Pavel. (add “post too short” disclaimer)

    • http://pavelspoetry.com Pavel Chichikov

      Hi Mike. Thought about you recently. How’s it going?

  • Teresa G

    Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone actually addressed Bishop Peric’s statements in his book “The Last Secret of Fatima” on behalf of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, so this really shouldn’t even be a discussion. Cardinal Bertone does not seem to be “pro-Medjugorje,” he seems to be a skeptic. It’s frustrating that this keeps getting brought up, because the information is out there. Get the book and read the chapter on Medjugorje. Even though he is skeptical, he is at least honest about the way the Vatican views the events.

    • Teresa G

      Look the book up on Google Books – you can search for Medjugorje and read what I am talking about. Pages 93-94.

  • bob

    Look to the Holy Father to make Medjugorje an official shrine; do not expect any other ruling.

    God bless you.

  • bob

    The Fatima phenomenon warned about Russian errors [of atheism] (and said these errors would infiltrate the world.)

    The Medjugorje phenomenon warns about Western atheism and speaks of the concurrent restoration of faith to Russia:
    “The Russian people will be the people who will glorify God the most. Regarding the West: The West has made civilization progress, but without God, as if they were their own creators. …Monthly Confession will be a remedy for the Church in the West. One must convey this message to the West. [...] Whole sections of the Church could be cured, if the believers would go to confession once a month. ”

    You see, Fatima says the pendulum of unbelief will swing into Russia, and it did a few weeks after Fatima ended in Oct 1917. But the pendulum of unbelief will then swing from Russia back to the West. So while Russia again finds faith (and it has), the West will lose it (and it is losing it even as we speak).

    Can you not discern that this is what has and is happening? Look at the events of the last decades. Look at the gay-marriage approvals this election cycle. Look at the British Airways woman having to fight to wear a small cross to work, because her employer said it was offensive to customers.
    Look at your own paper’s article the other day about Gov. Cuomo now pushing abortion as a fundamental right. Apostasy is all around us.

    Focusing on petty issues of the seers and not the larger point of the Fatima/Medjugorje apparitions – the loss of faith in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century followed by the loss of faith in the West in our times – is to not see the forest for the trees, and imho shows more discernment is needed by the anit-Medj crowd. Just as Our Lady has said, the West including the US and even devout Ireland is caught in a death spiral of secularism/atheism.

    As for signs, this coming Christmas season a gigantic comet is expected to light up the sky. And a few months later, on Passover of April 15, 2014, there will be a total lunar eclipse (blood moon). Interestingly, April 15, 2014 is exactly 3 1/2 years before October 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. And it is the start of a rare Jewish tetrad – four total lunar eclipses in a row falling sequentially on Passover, Sukkoth, Passover, and Sukkoth.

    Wake up people. Discern.

    God bless you.


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