I have followed the events of Medjugorje for a number of years and for me the best news reporting on Medjugorje comes from secular media.
A couple of months ago Cardinal Schonborn, a man at the top of most lists to be the next Pope, invited Medjugorje seers into his Cathedral to give testimony about their experiences with the Virgin Mary. This incredible event was met with silence by the entire United States Catholic media.
In contrast to Catholic media’s boycott on all things Medjugorje, late last year National Geographic’s award-winning author Maureen Orth came back from Medjugorje and wrote a lengthy cover story about the Virgin Mary. Ms. Orth admits she was personally moved by Medjugorje and was impressed by how the Virgin Mary was so important to so many people around the world.
In Ms Orth’s piece on Medjugorje, not only did she not find fault with Medjugorje, she concluded that the Virgin Mary is the “Most powerful woman in the world”.
American Catholic journalists, on the other hand, takes a passive approach on Medjugorje. Rather than report on the extraordinary activity taking place at Medjugorje they almost cowardly hide behind proclamations issued by American bishops on how to speak about Medjugorje.
Where is the journalistic freedom and investigative reporting we should expect from our Catholic media? Medjugorje is a fascinating news story important to millions of Catholics around the world yet the story is almost universally ignored.
Search Medjugorje in “Google News” and you will find dozens of articles from European magazines, particularly glossy Italian magazines discussing news worthy events and celebrations taking place in Medjugorje, now one the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe. You will also find a handful of stories about Medjugorje written by American journalists, but the content there is not so happy.
American Catholic media publishes stories about Medjugorje that are positioned in a negative light – articles about censorship of Medjugorje public events, limitations on Medjugorje “Seer” activities, Pope Francis NOT going to Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a “fraud!”, etc. American Catholic media reporting on Medjugorje is universally negative.
In stark contrast, Italian magazines gleefully reported a meeting between Pope Francis and Paolo Brosio. Paolo Brosio is a famous Italian journalist, TV personality and now full time advocate for Medjugorje . The writers wrote about the warm welcome the Pope gave the Medjugorje promoter. The articles were accompanied by large glossy photographs of a smiling Pope including one of Pope Francis happily receiving gifts from Medjugorje. It was reported that the Pope recognized Mr. Brosio’s Medjugorje experience as the Virgin Mary’s work:
“He hugged me, I told him my story. And he said that is definitely the work of the Madonna which is great. I gave him the shirt (for Brosio’s current Medjugorje hospital project, ed.), I had a picture taken, and look at it: it says more than a thousand words. I understood that he is very much aware of Medjugorje as a great confessional. The impression is that there is a large opening and a great willingness,” Brosio told the Italian news portal The news magazines reported that Pope Francis had asked for the private meeting to specifically talk about Medjugorje. The meeting lasted forty minutes as Pope Francis encouraged Mr. Brosio to tell him about his personal conversion and all that he knew about the fruits of Medjugorje. Source Wayne Weible/ Medjugorje Today
In an interview for the Italian magazine Chi, Mr. Brosio said that during meeting at the Vatican Pope Francis said: “GO TO MEDJUGORJE and tell everyone you have spoken to the real Pope.”
The dichotomy between USA Catholic media reporting on Medjugorje with that of European is so striking that it begs the question of its origin. Why is America Catholic media so collectively negative towards Medjugorje?
It seems European media reports on Medjugorje for what it is – an extremely intriguing spiritual mystery important to millions of Catholic and non-catholic alike. Millions of people have been to Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a hugely popular tourist destination. The Vatican is deeply involved in an extensive investigation of Medjugorje.