I finished reading religion writer Donal Foley’s updated book on the Medjugorje phenomenon today; it’s called Medjugorje Revisited and I recommend it to everyone concerned about the affair.
Compared with the vast array of books promoting the shady apparition, there is only a handful of critical works. And I do mean vast: a list made in 2004 counts 646 works favorable to the alleged visions and messages. Offhand, I can think of just 13 critical books, and even after a little web-searching, I’ve only brought the count up to 14.
But no matter: while the stream of favorable propaganda flows on, and the production of boringly predictable “messages” is endless, Foley’s thorough research in Medjugorje Revisited is enough to expose the lies and deviations for what they are.
He walks through the case patiently, taking up topics as if they were exhibits in a gallery, presented in chronological order. Several of the early chapters are devoted to what the visionaries said in June 1981, when their interviews with Fr. Jozo Zovko were tape-recorded. This is material few of the promoters’ books ever deal with.
In that first week, the phenomenon was radically different from what it became later. At that time, the visions took place on the Podbrdo hillside, not in the parish church and not at sites on the visionaries’ speaking tours. Back then, the entity they saw had not given them any message to take to the world or even to the parish: in fact, Fr. Zovko made a public statement to that effect on the sixth day of the visions.
Moreover, when the seer Vicka asked the apparition what the “Gospa” wanted to happen on the Podbrdo hillside, the Vision “didn’t know”. Fr. Zovko responded to this: “What kind of Gospa is it who doesn’t know? Then she is smaller than a child.”
Such an answer — “I don’t know” — is absurd for Our Lady, who sometimes makes herself known on earth through marvels, but only for a reason. In the historic apparitions approved by the Church, there is a mission, a purpose, a divine plan. But at Medjugorje in June of 1981, there was an aimless “Gospa” making pointless appearances. This is not of God.
Image via Wikipedia
It’s impressive to see how much more material Donal has assembled and examined in just the past five years since he published his previous work on the subject. The new edition has grown about 40% and it now has almost 700 footnotes. Although I try to follow the case closely, it included quite a lot of material that was new to me!