Another Reason to Listen to the Bishops Responsible for Medjugorje…

Another Reason to Listen to the Bishops Responsible for Medjugorje… August 2, 2012

…and not the fraudulent “visionaries”:  The Poem of the Man God, which “Mary” allegedly recommends, but the Church put on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1960.

But the Index is abolished!  Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s evaluation was wrong, merely that the Church is past the point of trying to micromanage what crap people decide to fill their heads with.  As recently as 1994, Cdl. Ratzinger was reminding us that the Poem was junk that was not of supernatural origin–just like two bishops were likewise warning that nothing supernatural is happening in Medj.

Here is the formidable Sandra Miesel, demonstrating why the Poem is junk, why you should accord it the same respect as The Da Vinci Code as a source of Exciting New Information about Jesus, why urban legends about Pius XII’s “approval” are bushwah, and why “Mary’s” recommendation of it is just one more reason to stay far away from the fraudulent rubbish coming from Medjugorje.

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  • JB

    Hoo boy. I’d never heard of “Poem of the Man of God” before, but its excerpts cited by Miesel make Jesus sound like a creep. Guess who wants to smear Jesus? Hint: Not his Mum.

    • Klaus

      Interestingly, the “Poem of the Man-God” has been repeatedly promoted by the SSPX’s Bishop Williamson (that’s the “conspiracy nut” Englishman, in case you struggle to keep track).

      • Klaus

        Then again, given what Miesel describes in the last two paragraphs of her article, and +Williamson’s public statements on Jews and the Holocaust, perhaps his endorsement of Valtorta’s fable isn’t entirely surprising.

  • JB

    And this statement ascribed to Mary is enough in itself to condemn the book:

    “”Man disgusts and frightens me.”

    That’s not Mary, that’s her enemy Satan talking.

  • In a long story for another day, my own return to church was influenced by Medjugorje, but I would have to say that the long view prevails from here. I can’t explain why it happened that way, but it did… however, I am not recommending that trip to others.

    When I did go, I was also influenced to read The Poem of the Man-God, well one volume of it anyway. That was a huge red-flag to me, even in those less-informed days of my faith. Not good in so many ways.

  • Betsy

    My mother-in-law gave me her copy of The Poem of the Man-God after I converted and I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. The book now resides in a landfill somewhere.

  • Jacqueline Y.

    It’s been wisely said that when the Index of Forbidden Books was abolished, all those books on the Index didn’t suddenly become “good” books.

  • Ingvar

    I had always distrusted “The Poem of the Man-God”. It rubbed me the wrong way from the time I first started reading it for a lot of the same reasons Miesel mentions. My Uncle (a priest) became a fan of it and his attempts to win members of my family over to it probably drove some of them further away from the faith.
    That being said I know a number of people, including some who went on to become priests and religious, for whom the pilgrimage to Medjugore was very important in their conversion or retention of the faith. I wish things there were different. I’m sad about all the evidence of fraud. Yet God writes straight with crooked lines. My summer as a candidate in the Legionaries of Christ was very beneficial for me spiritually. Obviously I didn’t stay.

  • Ted Seeber

    I’m actually a fan of Poem of the Man-God; *BUT* even I can see that there are significant problems with it (starting with the fact that the pious housewife who wrote it had never been the the Holy Land and didn’t know enough history to know that while the Romans had nails they had no screws- and even Christ wasn’t miraculous enough to jump ahead on the very slow march of physical technology).

    I’m a fan of it not as a religious work, but as a political alternative history science fiction story, in which scenes from the Synoptic Gospels are expanded with one Italian woman’s idea of modern politics. I absolutely love the scene between the Woman at the Well and Christ- in which she is not only a serial adulterer and a divorcee, but also an abortionist, yet still merits Christ’s consideration and forgiveness.

    But as far as Theology goes- I wouldn’t so much say it is The Da Vinci Code as it is Cottonpatch Gospel (which I STILL think of when I try to remember the Two Great Commandments “Love the Lord Your God, with all your Heart, Soul and Mind; Love Your Neighbor as you Love Yourself”)

  • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

    On reading Sandra Miesel’s review of Ms. Valtorta’s work, I find myself shocked about several things: One, how vulgarly and extremely anti-Jewish it is; two, how coarsely Puritanical and Jansenist-esque it is; and three, how little these facts have been pointed out even by opponents of the Medjugorje visionaries’ claims. How can such stuff, supposedly recommended by the “Gospa”, be counted among “good fruits” of Medj?

    • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

      To avoid ambiguity: By “it” I mean Ms. Valtorta’s work, not Ms. Miesel’s review.

  • Andrew

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a test for the viability of an apparition is that as time goes on the details and accounts of the apparition become stronger, instead of the opposite? My point being, by the time Lourdes and Fatima were formally approved, they had long been considered as such. Medjugore, on the other hand, only gets shakier and shakier as time goes on.

    Others have said this. While considered a sacred shrine and the cause of many conversions and purported miracles, Our Lady never appeared at Częstochowa either (nor did it’s adherents ever say she did either) , so “well, i became a better person so it must be true” doesn’t mean Mary has appeared at Medjugore.

  • Sam Schmitt

    With all the fantiastic AUTHENTIC writings of the saints out there, why bother with any of the questionable stuff?

  • Barry

    Read Responses to Medjugorje Criticisms here:
    Note that there is no unchristian language used either.

  • I can’t understand why anyone that thinks themselves traditionalist would argue with the judgement of the Church regarding the placement of the Poem into the Index, especially knowing that it was the orthodox Ottaviani who put it there and wrote the scathing review that Sandra Miesel gave it.
    The fact that this condemnation is re-emphasized by the Church has to give it weight with all who would call themselves Catholic, whatever their liturgical preferences.
    You’ve struck a home run with this one, Mark.

    • LV

      Speaking as someone who once thought very highly of the Poem (but has long since soured on it), the argument I found most compelling at the time was the counter-example of Saint Faustina’s Diary, which was on the Index right up to the end.

      That being said, though, the Poem is a doctrinal and theological disaster area, and the “Gospa’s” endorsement of it is one more bright red flashing light with regards to the apparitions.

  • Sandra Miesel

    Thanks, Mark, for the posting and compliment. No thanks,Ted. but there is no merit whatsoever to be seen in the POEM. It’s deeply and pervasively twisted as well as theologically objectionable and historically inaccurate . Somebody could get good psych thesis out of unravelling all the kinky sexual subtexts, for one thing, not to mention why someone who had probably never seen a Jew could be so anti-Semitic. And Valtorta wasn’t a housewife. She was an invalid whose mother had twice prevented from marrying. If you want a cozy novelization of the Gospels, try Emmerich.

    St. Fautina’s diary was never on the INDEX. It had bee initially censured because of what proved to be a bad transcription of her poor handwriting. I own a copy of the INDEX and its final supplement in 1960.
    Luigia Piccaretta did have three works therein, something her enthusiasts gloss over.

  • Sal

    So glad for the ‘private revelations’ rule, because Emmerich gives me the willies. One of the reasons I have not seen “The Passion of the Christ” is that he used supplemental material from her works. I like my Gospels straight up, without fanciful embellishment.

  • caroline

    Thanks Sandra for writing this and Mark for linking us to it. My sympathy on having had to read through it to write your article. Your remark that for a certain element, visions and apparitions will become the source of doctrine, to which I would add as already they have become the source of piety and devotion, is frightening as the center of gravity in the Church shifts with population changes. Left and right may become obsolete as the issues resolve themselves for better or worse, but the crazies will increase and multiply.

  • Michael Cummings

    I am someone who converted at Medjugorje (technically reverted but, practically, converted). All the evidence I have seen convinces me now that the Medjugorje apparitions are fake — although it’s such a powerful fake that I strongly suspect it is not merely a human fake.

    The main take away for me is that Medjugorje nonetheless shows the tremendous and unfathomable graces that God has granted to the Blessed Mother. Even if someone’s devotion to her is flawed in some way, she will nevertheless steer that devotion toward a true devotion to her Son. Thus, in spite of it’s being fake, Medjugorje has resulted in thousands, if not millions, of true conversions. As Screwtape might say, “Curses! Foiled again. That woman has ruined everything!”

    • JB

      I’ve sometimes speculated that the instrinsic goodness so often found in otherwise heretical creeds or corruptions of Christianity stems from the incorruptible holiness of the truly holy elements of what they claim to be based on.

      Two examples might be Islam and Mormonism:

      1. Hillaire Belloc argued (persuasively I think) that Islam is basically a Christian heresy. At any rate, it seems to me that the portions of Christianity which Islam includes – not only belief in The God but also acknowledgement of Jesus as a prophet (which He was, although he is More than that), account for the considerable holiness in much of Islam. In that sense, although Muhammed was not truly a Prophet of God, still God found ways to use Muhammed as His instrument, eg converting formerly pagan Arabs to monotheism. Oh and also formerly pagan Javanese, etc.

      2. Mormonism isn’t even Christian, however as the Mormons do at least formally acknowledge the Bible as Holy scripture, this would seem to account for the considerable goodness in many of their habits.

      In other words, although the Devil can attempt to employ corruptions of Holy persons and words to his own ends, ultimately he is unable to corrupt what is holy, and he is particularly unable to corrupt invocations of Mary’s name. So even – or especially? – his mischeif at Medjugorge backfires on him.


      • JB

        PS, digressing from my above comment, two more examples of misguided and/or corrupted forms of religion retaining some Holy elements, might be the Samaritans and post-exilic Talumdic Judaism, the latter being mainly a derivative of Pharisaism.

        1. The Samaritans’ religion was basically a stripped down version of the kind(s) of Hebrew religion practiced before the destruction of the Northern Kingdom. They might be semi-analogous to some of today’s American “fundamentalist” Christians, mistaken about many of their beliefs about fundaments, yet still faithful to many fundaments of God’s law and revelation. Jesus seemed (to my reading) particuarly sympathetic to them among his “lost sheep”, eg the Samaritan woman at the well.

        2. Contra popular modern myth, most forms of post-exilic (more accurately p0st-Pentecost) Judaism are the residue of just one stem of ancient Judaism, mainly Pharisaic. Also contra popular belief, it is not at all clear that the majority of ancient Jews rejected Christianity; there is ample evidence that perhaps the majority of ancient Jews actually became Christians. At any rate, after the first century the main residue of Judaism was Pharisaic, which alas adopted considerable anti-Christian elements into its consequent (largely Talmudic) developments…but NONETHELESS Judaism remains essentially Holy, even today.