By Stephen Ryan
Mystic Post has not spoken with veteran Vatican correspondent Mr. Edward Pentin yet, so perhaps there is more to his story. But Mr. Pentin’s recent article on the rapidly developing events at Medjugorje was disappointing in that he relied on perpetual anti-Medjugorje critic Donal Foley.
Mr. Foley, it seems, is the one Medjugorje “expert” Catholic Media ever seeks out. A large swath of the negative bias against Medjugorje in the United States can be attributed to one single man. This is a sad commentary on how big Catholic media reports on such an important story. The Vatican has recently completed a massive investigation into Medjugorje, yet it is only one self-appointed Medjugorje “expert” Catholic Media speaks to.
Mr. Foley has told me directly, via email, that Medjugorje was simply invented by children. He says six children lied about seeing the Virgin Mary to get out of some kind of trouble – smoking cigarettes is the urban legend. Then after the unanticipated massive eruption of interest in their story about seeing the Virgin Mary, the children were forced to maintain the lie to avoid severe punishment. Foley believes the “Visionaries” have continued to fool everybody, including the communist party and the Vatican for decades to enrich greedy townspeople, the Franciscan Friars and themselves. Oh, and while they were making buckets of money somehow along the way the children invented a world-wide spiritual movement unprecedented in modern times.
Mr. Pentin writes in National Catholic Register: “Faithful Await Vatican Verdict on Medjugorje”“Seen in the context of the Pope’s remarks and Archbishop Hoser’s appointment, Bishop Peric’s statement was to be expected, according to Donal Anthony Foley, author of Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? More significant for him is that, in his statement, Bishop Peric focused on the first seven days (when the “visionaries” were just boys and girls) were of the alleged visions, and in particular transcripts of the taped conversations with the visionaries during that first week in June 1981.
These transcripts are “the key to understanding Medjugorje,” (Mr. Pentin leaves us hanging by not actully telling the reader what this mystical “KEY” to understanding what Medjugorje actually is. ) Foley believes, as they “reveal the serious problems with accepting the visions as genuinely supernatural,” an aspect he highlighted in his book.
Foley hopes that more people will pay attention to them, and he would like the Vatican to publish “an agreed and authentic” multilingual version of the transcripts to help the ordinary faithful “better understand the phenomena of Medjugorje.”
Mr. Pentin’s article is not really a hit piece against Medjugorje but, as a news site, Mystic Post is troubled by the fact Catholic media has relied on one critic – for decades – Mr. Donel Foley without ever questioning his motivations. Mr. Foley, as far as we know, has never been asked by the Vatican to be part of the Church’s investigation into Medjugorje.
What really bothers us is Mr. Foley’s words are always accepted as authoritative without skepticism. As we have written many times before Cardinal Schonborn, the Pope’s right hand man, has been very accepting of the Medjugorje visionaries and this fact never gets any media attention while Mr. Foley’s words are sought out as Gospel.