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. 🙂