A reader writes:
I read your blog from time to time and am generally inclined to your view that Medjugorje is not authentic and of course support the finding of the local bishop that he could not determine that anything supernatural was happening. Some commentators have even suggested there is a demonic element to it. As it is well publicised that the CDF has taken on the case and has passed its findings to the Pope, I cannot understand why there is continued silence on the matter? If people are being exposed to pronouncements contrary to the Faith, through the words of the alleged seers, and exposed to demonic influences, then surely the Church would identify these and speak up quickly and unequivocally? The continued silence makes me think that they have found nothing amiss? It is one thing saying that nothing supernatural can be proved and quite another to say that there is deliberate fraud, statement contrary to the Faith or demonic influence. The theological errors in the Maria Divine Mercy blog were quickly identified and condemned by a united front of a number of bishops worldwide. The same has not happened for Medj which has been going on for such a long time. Some influential bishops like Cardinal Schonborn have actually promoted it. Why is the Church being so slow on this?
As reader Mike Flynn has noted, when you look up the definition of “Rapid Response Squad” you will not find a picture of St. Peter’s as an illustration. This is a Church that took centuries to work out a definition of even its most core beliefs about the identity of Jesus. When the conflagration of the Protestant Reformation struck, it took decades to even begin the Council of Trent and decades more to finish it. The torch-wielding fanatics of Rome, hellbent on killing heretics, took something like seven years of careful deliberation to inflict one of their extremely rare verdicts of death against such an obvious loon as Giordano Bruno. (Not defending the Bruno verdict, simply pointing out that lynch mobs don’t go to all this trouble.) Heck, the Ents of Rome only got around to saying, “The Beatles were pretty good” a couple of years ago.
All of which is to say that this kind of deliberation is par for the course for Rome. Dealing with claims of private revelation, particularly ones that are enormously popular with well-meaning people who have been lied to and who find great solace in the lies, is tricky business. I am morally certain that Rome, when it has finished its work, is going to take a big fat magic marker and simply underscore everything the local bishops have already said. But the Ents are famous for wanting to have their ducks in a row. Look how long it took them to reveal the Third Secret of Fatima. Sr. Lucia said any time after 1960 was fine with her. But we didn’t see it till about a decade ago. And when it was made public, the professional Conspiracy Theorists immedately cooked up theories about how the Ents were engaged in a huge coverup of the TRVTH.
Exactly the same thing will happen when Rome fails to come through with support for the delusion that Medjugorje fans have convinced themselves of: that Rome “took Medjugorje away” from the local bishops and is going to vindicate the visionaries in exactly the way She vindicated Joan of Arc over the evil bishop who put her to death.
The reality, of course, is that the local bishops deliberately referred the case to Rome because the Medjugorje zealots were cooperating with the crooks and liars claiming “visions” and successfully creating a worldwide following of suckers who are cooperating in yet another foolish refusal to pay attention to the Church and run off after a fad that is full of dubious theology.
Bottom line: when the Ents finally get past hooming and homming and finally speak, the bishops who referred the matter to them will be totally and completely vindicated. The trick will be figuring out a way to break this to the honest and good people who have been lied to so that they listen to the Church and do not, like victims of Stockholm Syndrome, identify with the crooks and liars who have snookered them with this fraud for thirty years. It’s a pastoral issue, not a truth issue, that is primarily the problem here.