Vatican Bans Medjugorje Apparitions in US Churches

Medjugorje

I don’t much about Medjugorje.

I’m not even really sure how to pronounce it.

For those who are even more uninformed that me, Medjugorje is the site of what has been regarded by a lot of people as authentic visits by Our Lady.

I know people who’ve gone to Medjugorje and experienced profound spiritual awakening as a result of the trip. Was that because of the Marian apparitions, or the work of the Holy Spirit, Who is always there when two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name?

I don’t know.

It appears that the Vatican doesn’t know, either.

In a move that evidently surprised those who are promoting the validity of the Medjugorje apparitions, the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a letter concerning Medjugorje to the USCCB for distribution to all American bishops. The letter instructs that “clerics and the faithful” may not “participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations in which the credibility” of the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje “are taken for granted.”

After a bit of consideration, this instruction makes sense.

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is investigating these apparitions to determine whether or not they are valid. They are simply asking the bishops — along with the rest of us — not to indirectly put the Church’s imprimatur on the apparitions before they have made a decision about them.

It seems that this letter was prompted by a planned tour of the United States by Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic.

I think what the Vatican has done with this letter is a reasonable action. I know that Medjugorje inspires deep emotions. If the Church decides that these visions are valid, I will accept that and not worry about it. I will do the same if the Church decides that they are not valid.

At the same time, I believe the things my friends who’ve been there have told me about their personal spiritual awakenings. Since I believe that God works with all of us, all the time, I don’t see the two things as contradictory.

I think it’s good for us not to get ahead of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and promote the Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje as valid before they have made a decision about it.

I trust the Church in these matters.

From Medjugorje Today:

“His Excellency wishes to inform the Bishops that one of the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje, Mr. Ivan Dragicevic, is scheduled to appear at certain parishes around the country, during which time he will make presentations regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje. It is anticipated, moreover, that Mr. Dragicevic will be receiving “apparitions” during these scheduled appearances” the papal nuncio opens his letter to the US Bishops that has been obtained by the Catholic news portal Spirit Daily.

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on whose behalf the papal nuncio writes his letter to the US Bishops

CDF is also the body to which the current Vatican Commission for investigation of the events of Medjugorje is going to report, the fact next addressed by the papal nuncio:

“As you are well aware, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in the process of investigating certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of the phenomenon of Medjugorje. For this reason, the Congregation has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the “apparitions” in question, all should accept the declaration, dated 10 April 1991, from the Bishops of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, which asserts: “On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.”

The complete letter from the papal nuncio to the Catholic Bishops in the United States (click to enlarge)

“It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such “apparitions” would be taken for granted.”

“In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop Müller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible” papal nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano ends his letter.

  • michicatholic

    Glad to see it.

  • FW Ken

    For the record, I believe in some Marian apparitions, but not this one much. While I’ve heard direct testimonies of folks who were blessed on pilgrimage there, that says nothing about the validity of the apparitions.

    In fact, I’ve heard two off these”visionaries” speak. The woman was interesting enough. I feel asleep while the guy was supposed to be having a vision.

  • Peter Holiday

    In this article, Ms. Hamilton says: “Vatican Bans Medjugorje Apparitions in US Churches” The letter to the USCCB from the CDF says no such thing. This is what is says: “It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such “apparitions” would be taken for granted.” This article is misrepresenting the official directive of the Church, in favor of permitting such gatherings outside of US churches.

    • Bill S

      The Church already knows that the visions are a hoax and the visionaries are frauds. It is out of control.

  • pagansister

    In all honesty, how does the Church prove any of the visions/apparitions some claim to have seen?

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      You have to accept that miracles happen, of course. If you don’t, you will just explain away anything that happens. But now I ask you to pretend that you accepted church teaching in general. Compare two cases: Lourdes, and Medjugorje. At Lourdes, an illiterate little shepherd girl testifies that she has seen a wonderful Lady who said to her, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. This is a piece of theology – Mary having been born without the stain of sin – that had agitated the churches a decade or two before Bernadette Soubirous’ visions; but how was this little illiterate from the high mountains of far south France, whose very name is misspelled (it should have been Bernardette, with two Rs), to have heard of it, let alone build up such a story on it? Bernadette repeats her story again and again, in front of hostile investigators,always in the same terms. Neither she nor her family show any sign of wanting to profit from it. As soon as she is old enough, she takes monastic vows and disappears from the world, to the extent that she is forgotten even while alive and even while the place of her visions becomes the greatest pilgrimage centre in Europe. ON the other hand, compare the Medjugorje seers. The revelations they ascribe to the Lady are sentimental, flat and sometimes in downright contradiction with the Christian religion – in particular, she is said to have said that all religions are equally valid. (“I am the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the father except through me.” This may sound arrogant to you, but it is Christian doctrine, and you can’t call a vision Christian if it contradicts such a plain statement. I am not asking you to approve or agree, but to understand that this is a necessary minimum, and that to contradict it means to be outside what we regard as Christian truth.) They profit from their revelations; one decamps to Italy with a trophy wife and a considerable fortune. They are condemned by two local Bishops in succession and merrily ignore a condemnation that should have been final. Tell me, if you were a Christian and argued from Christian viewpoints, which of them would sound to you like she had really seen the Mother of God in the face, and which like they had seen a good business opportunity?

      • pagansister

        As always, Fabio, you have the in depth information. The child does seem, from your accounting of her background, to have seen what she claims to have seen. The other folks? Out for fame and fortune. Thanks. :-)

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          I got one thing wrong. The character who married his mistress and decamped to Italy with a fortune was not one of the seers themselves (although they have not done badly for themselves), but one of the priests who first backed them and advertised the “apparitions”. This charming fellow had an affair with a nun, actually married her, and was defrocked by order of the Pope in person as a result. He not only insisted on celebrating Mass and giving sacraments after this final condemnation, but he got one of the “seers” to say that the Lady had pronounced in his favour and declared the local bishop hard-headed and cruel! (I just wish he had pushed his chutzpah to having Her condemn the Pope, who was the one who had actually condemned him; but that might have woken up the thousands of ordinary Catholics who are the economic life of the place.) When last heard from, he was living in Italy with his wife and five children.

          One consideration is that this fellow and his wife do seem to have seriously been in love and that they have a real family – it goes a bit beyond mere lust. In that case, however, there was a legitimate way out: both of them could have renounced their vows, as many religious do in similar circumstances. The procedure, however, is rather humiliating – you have to imply that you never really meant them – and defrocked priests tend to struggle finding a stable living. So this man tried to have it all – the priesthood, his wife, his children, and his career – and got a fraudulent prophecy to endorse him.

          • pagansister

            Just like a “soap opera”. :-) I taught with at teacher who left the convent to marry. Her husband wasn’t a priest, however. He had come to visit his sister, who was a “sister”. It does sound like the priest and nun were actually in love, as you say, they married and had a large family.

            • FW Ken

              Ok, here’s another story. I used to work with two men who left the priesthood, not to marry, though both eventually did. In fact, I attended the wedding of one, conducted by yet another priest, or ex-priest if you will, who actually did marry a nun. They all invited me to a retreat for ex-religious (though I’m not one), which I regret not attending. It would have been interesting.

              Fun times we live in, eh.

              • pagansister

                “fun times we live in,eh.” That is for sure, FW Ken, for sure. :-)

    • FW Ken

      They don’t “prove” them, they “approve: them, or not.

      Frequently, the the finding of the local Church is that they can’t say it’s supernatural , and may put certain restrictions in place, such as maintaining devotion outside of a Church building or the like.

      Sometimes condemned visions are reviewed and approved. The devotion to the Divine Mercy is a good example of that. There’s a website out there that tracks visions and their status. Personally, I do not go to the vision sites, but I’ve been at a couple of places and went to see (ok, gawk if you like). I did spend some time at the Trappist monastery in Conyers, Ga. when the Nancy Fowler visions were winding down and met some folks who had seen the dancing sun and a couple of other oddities. They were nice, normal people, not weird at all. We talked about roses, mostly, which was a common interest.

      • pagansister

        Thanks FW Ken. I would think things of that nature would be hard to pin down as an actually happening.

  • Gerard

    Medjugorje is not valid. The simple test to determine for sure in the negative is whether or not the alleged apparitions say things that conflict with Catholic doctrine.

    Syncretism is not Catholic. The apparitions promote syncretism. Therefore, no matter what other laudable or pious statements are made. The visions are false. Even if the Vatican were to say they were worthy of belief, they would not be since infallibility is not invoked in matters like this since no Catholic is bound to believe in any apparitions.

    The late Michael Davies wrote an extensive refutation of Medjugorje that is available online citing the many erroneous statements and claims coming from the visionaries that are at variance to right reason and explicitly contrary to Catholic doctrine.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Medjugorje is a ramp. Period. A gang of atheists could not have invented a more obvious and more damaging piece of religious fraud. Yes, I know about it, and the thing I know is that two bishops of Mostar – the local ordinaries – have condemned it utterly, and that the religious body that manages it – a local band of what were originally Franciscans – are both spectacularly enriched and in practical schism. The failure to come down hard on this open and atrocious fraud is the worst stain on the otherwise glorious papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, especially in that they failed to support their brother Bishops as Peter and his successors are supposed to (“and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers”). I am glad to see that Francis looks like he is starting to take the horror in hand, like Benedict did with the equally corrupt Marcial Maciel at the beginning of his papacy.

  • Matthew Underwood

    The Bishop of the town (along with others) was asked to investigate and give his report to the Vatican. He had some VERY compelling reasons as to why he believes it might not really be Mary. The consistency, truth, fruit and humbleness of the visionaries, it is ALL in question. Included in his report are the things “Mary” says, also how her long, drawn out, many worded, rambling doesn’t line up with how our mother interacts with us, the rate at which the visionaries’ stories change and so forth. The Vatican has accepted his assessment. He gives many examples and records all the visionaries words when interviewing, so the Vatican’s “worry” is not based on one man’s opinion. IT IS WORRISOME. Because so many believe w/o a thought as to the Church and Her desire to protect us. We do not NEED Medjugorje. We only need Jesus, so I implore people to wait until the Church decides on the matter, for She knows things we do not. Even if She doesn’t decide in your lifetime, it is better to be safe from false prophets, then to get the miracle you are desiring. Pray to our Lady of Fatima in the meantime. Visit the shrine of our Lady of Lourdes. We as Catholics are never short of Marian miracles!!

  • Madzi

    I, too, am pleased to see that this letter has been sent to the bishops. As for those who have been spiritually blessed and enriched by exposure to Medjugorje, remember that our God can bring good out of any situation and does. For me, there are entirely too many red flags with these “visionaries.”

  • Tom Quiner

    I have two friends leaving for Medjugorje in ten days. I had another friend go there ten years ago. He and many witnessed the inexplicable, some would say miraculous, during Mass there, inspiring him to become a deacon. Nonetheless, I agree with you that the Church’s warning makes sense.

    • hamiltonr

      Thanks Tom. My only opinion about this is my last sentence in this post. I trust the Church in these matters.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I’m one of those who was less informed than you. I’ve seen the headlines and had no clue. Thanks.


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