Update: directives on Medjugorje


[SUMMARY: Bp. Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia and Herzegovina has sent letters to the pastor and a parochial vicar at Medjugorje, with specific directives about how they and the parish are not to promote the alleged apparitions of the place:

  • that alleged messages and commentaries on them are not to be published;

  • that prayers from the apparitions are not to be used publicly;

  • the parish church is not to be called a "shrine", even privately;

  • that foreign priests may not give conferences or retreats without permission of the bishop;

  • foreign priests wishing to offer Mass must present a celebret from their diocese or order, and the information is to be recorded;

  • a privately-built church has already been closed and is not to be used;

  • unauthorized religious communities have no permission to set up residence;

  • and about regulating several other forms of promotion of the alleged phenomenon.

This is a newly published document from the website of the diocese of Mostar-Duvno. (Note: the web page contains three documents; scroll down to see the source for what follows.) Here I am presenting a translation based on the Italian version on the website, so I have to acknowledge the limitations involved in a derivative translation. Any mistakes are my responsibility; please inform me via the comment box of improvements or corrections. Thanks! -- Richard Chonak]

Letter of the bishop to Friar Petar Vlasic, parish priest of Medjugorje

Mostar, 12 June 2009.: Prot. 648/2009

Reverend parish priest friar Peter!

After having made the canonical visit to the parish of Medjugorje last Wednesday, 10 June, where nine other Franciscan fathers share the pastoral care of souls with you, according to the directive issued by this office, I wish to make reference now, by this means, to several points.

Inasmuch as you are the current parish priest, who have been working in that capacity since September 2007, I express to you my sincere thanks for maintaining transparent records in the books of registration and other matters. For a parish priest, as for a bishop - it is really essential to carry out not only the munus docendi et sanctificandi, but also the munus gubernandi entrusted to us.

Munus docendi:

The rule is still valid that in the parish of Medjugorje priests coming from elsewhere are not permitted to conduct retreats or spiritual exercises, nor to hold conferences, without the approval of this office. (Circular of 23.8.2001, #1290/2001)

Analogously, neither foreign nor domestic priests can promote alleged "messages" or "apparitions" which have not been proclaimed authentic in that church or on church property.

Munus sanctificandi:

It is praiseworthy that you require from every priest who wishes to celebrate the Holy Mass at Medjugorje the celebret of his ecclesiastical superior and that you record in a particular book all the concelebrants, from the beginning of this year.

As well, you have kept me informed about the "Oasis of peace", which, since the intervention of this office on 15 December 2008, no longer keeps the Blessed Sacrament privately in their chapel and no longer conducts adoration, which they had been doing according to their own account. They do not have permission as a religious association to reside in the territory of this diocese.

Munus gubernandi:

You have informed me that the church in Bijakovic, built by a foreign member of the faithful as his ex voto, without the necessary request and approval of the competent ecclesiastical authority, has been closed by now and that no services are conducted in it.

In the parish chronicle you have made sure to record, with the right terminology, everything that happens to this parish as a pastoral unit of this diocese, without regard to all the stories about "seers", "apparitions", and "messages" connected with the parish.

"The phenomenon of Medjugorje":

The "Shrine". The parish of Medjugorje cannot be called a shrine, neither privately, nor publicly, not officially, because it is not recognized as such by any level of competent ecclesial authority. And that wording cannot appear on the web site of "Medjugorje - place of prayer and reconciliation", where it is currently found in many places. In a statement on that site - where there is no indication of who is responsible for it - this message appears:
"To avoid any misunderstanding, we wish to underscore that the Shrine has not given the mission of representing Medjugorje to anyone. The Shrine has not given the mission to any community or person either in Medjugorje or outside of Medjugorje - of speading or interpreting the messages of the Gospa. All these initiatives are private and voluntary on the part of the faithful and the communities."

From that statement it appears as if the site is proclaiming itself as being a "Shrine". Then it seems in some way to be the only competent [source] to give instruction to the world. As the local Ordinary, in this present letter, I declare that the so-called "shrine" has no mission to declare itself a "Shrine", nor to present (the parish) with that title, because it has no ecclesiastical mission to present itself in the name of Medjugorje, nor to spread or interpret the "apparitions" and "messages" of Medjugorje.

Commentaries on the "messages": I have already discussed with you and with another vicar, with friar Danko Perutina, who writes and publishes the commentaries on the "messages" issued from the "apparitions" on the 25th of the month. It was said that he receives the "messages" of the "seer" Marija from Italy or from Medjugorje when she is in that location, and then he presents them there, comments on them and publishes them. This is contrary to the decision and request of this Curia, especially after the declaration of 10 June 2006, which was repeated in the parish church on 6 July 2009 (the accompanying homily).

The Cenacolo. After our intervention, on Christmas Day of last year, there are no longer private "apparitions" in the courtyard of the Cenacolo by the alleged "seer" Mirjana Dragićević, married name Soldo, on the second of each month.

The association "Queen of Peace..." I have been informed in our meeting that in the association founded by Tomislav Vlašić at Medjugorje, which equally has no permission to reside in the territory of this diocese, there are some members, men and women, who dress in lay clothes.

The number of prayers. In September 2007, on the occasion of your installation in the office of parish priest, I indicated to you that the so-called "seers" cannot present themselves on any occasion to promote their private "apparitions" and "messages", nor to preside, nor to have anyone preside in their place, at the recitation of a certain number of prayers "received" in an "apparition". Therefore, they cannot use prayers from scripture or those approved by the Church as a means of introducing "numbers" and "messages" from the private "apparition".

The intentions of the rosary. It is equally not permitted to introduce intentions received in an "apparition" or "message" during the prayer of the Rosary of Our Lady. We have sufficient official intentions (from the Pope, from the bishop, for the missions) and there is no need to arbitrarily have recourse to alleged apparitions and messages and mix them with the Church's public prayers.

Anniversaries. It is not permitted that the "seers" be invited and present themselves in the parish church or on any church properties at any time, especially on occasions related to the "apparitions" of Medjugorje, to promote their private "messages" and "apparitions". Therefore, we do not mix the unrecognized with what is recognized, the private with the official, the non-liturgical with the liturgical.

Grateful for what you, together with the other friars of the parish, undertake for the good of souls, and because you know how to clearly separate pastoral care from private "apparitions" and "messages", I greet you with devout respects.

And the second letter:

Letter of the bishop to friar Danko Perutina, parochial vicar of Medjugorje

Mostar, 12 June 2009; Prot. 649/2009

Reverend friar Danko!

After your priestly ordination in 1999 and at the conclusion of your studies, I appointed you, at the suggestion of your religious superiors, in 2000, parochial vicar of Humac. Then, again at the suggestion of your provincial governor, in 2001, vicar of Medjugorje, in 2005 again of Humac, and in 2007 at Medjugorje. In the meantime, you studied and obtained a degree in mariology at Rome.

I write to you in reference to your commentaries on the so-called "messages" and "apparitions" on the 25th day of the month. In an official visit to Medjugorje on the 10 June, I had a conversation with you, with the parish priest friar Petar Vlasic and another vicar present.

In the conversation it became clear that Marija Pavlović, married name Lunetti, daily "seer" who lives in Italy, and temporarily also at Medjugorje, sends to the parish office or to some one of your pastoral workers in the parish of Medjugorje, her "message" of the 25th day of the month, which is then published on the Medjugorje web site and in other mass media. And you regularly make commentary on the monthly "message", which is published in various languages.

When I asked how the "messages" of the 25th were published, and not the other "messages" said to be "private", I did not feel I received a clear and convincing answer. I do not know who has sent and authorized you to comment on them and publish them on the site. What sort of person is assuming the right to decide that some "messages" be omitted and others published, and that this is done through the parish office and the site connected with the parish of Medjugorje?

We are gradually succeeding in distancing the unrecognized "apparitions" and "messages" from the parish church and from church property, and the appearances of the "seers" before or after Holy Mass. In that conversation I reminded you of having asked in 2006, and reconfirmed in 2009 from the altar, that "No priest who works canonically in this parish of Medjugorje or who is here temporarily, is authorized to present his private opinion, contrary to the official position of the Church on the "apparitions and messages", neither at the celebration of the sacraments, or during the regular acts of devotion, nor in the Catholic media." (homily attached).

To avoid any misunderstanding, in this present letter I declare that you, according to my decree, are not authorized, either in the name of the parish office or as parochial vicar, to comment upon and publish the "messages" of the 25th or any other day of the month. These are private "messages" of private persons for private use. And we cannot permit that this is given the form of a message from the parish office, from the parish priest, or any parochial vicar, or even of the "Shrine" which is not recognized as such at any level: not diocesan, or the level of the episcopal conference, or of the Holy See.

Therefore I expect with trust, without any further admonitions, that from now on you will not publish your commentaries, either in the name of the parish office or in your own name, or under a pseudonym, not after the 25th of this month or at all, as long as things continue as is.

I greet you with devout respects.


These are strong letters; the door is being slammed shut. Bravo, Bishop Peric!
Thanks for the English translations, Richard...

Well, just like the RC faithful, you'll never convince the Medjugorje faithful to give up their belief that Our Lady is appearing.

"All the graces and conversions", etc., etc. Sigh. It's true that God can draw good even from disobedience, but why all the wilfull disobedience to the Church?

It's the same with the Christine Gallagher "Houses of Prayer."

People just have itchy ears and are looking for signs and miracles, rather than just living simple, hard, daily life.

"People just have itchy ears and are looking for signs and miracles, rather than just living simple, hard, daily life."-by Lucien Tenebrae

Exuse me, but didn't the our catholic church APPROVE the appirations of Guadalupe, Fátima, Lourdes, La Salette, Amsterdam, Paris, etc!??? Our Holy Church DID APPROVE them all, and also will approve the appirations of Medjugorje, after the appirations ended as it was with all appirations until today!

Yes, the control of the bishop is being imposed and things are being straightened out, as they probably should be. But let's look at what has actually happened. What has the bishop done here:

-closed a church
-halted Eucharistic Adoration in a chapel
-told the parishioners what their prayer intentions will be
-informed the local authorities that they are under no circumstances to call what is probably the third largest pilgrimage place on earth a "shrine"
-reiterated that these authorities had better not try to invite any foreign priests to give retreats without his approval (Fr. Cantalamessa comes to mind here)

Yes he has laid down the law. I do not think that this is the "doors being slammed shut" (to quote Tominellay) and it is incredibly arrogant of you anti-Medjugorje folks to continue to disparage and belittle those of us who happen to have changed our lives because of extremely powerful and grace-filled experiences at Medjugorje. To continue to lump us all together and label us as those "who have itchy ears, looking for miracles" (Lucien Tenebrae).

No doubt some of you have met people like that but the vast majority of the people I know who have gone on pilgrimage to Medjugorje are serious, practicing Catholics who live the messages of daily Bible reading and rosary, twice weekly fasting, weekly mass, monthly confession. This is the essential message of Medjugorje and we take it seriously. We are well informed, conservative Catholics providing a fine example to our families, neighbors and co-workers. Next time you think of labeling us as a bunch of misinformed, miracle-searching nitwits, why don't you please reconsider and hold your insults.

I was at Medjugorje in late June 2009 and attended a Eucharistic adoration from 10:00 PM to midnight where at least 5,000 people stayed in silent adoration for the full two hours, most of whom were on their knees (in shorts on small, loose gravel). Many stayed well beyond midnight when adoration was moved indoors. Where else on earth do you find such behavior among so many people gathered together? Where else do you find 100+ long confession lines where dozens and dozens of priests hear confessions for hours on end in over 50 different languages?

Here are two statistics for August of the non-shrine, taken from the non-shrine's website:

Holy Communions distributed: 283.000

Concelebrating priests: 6.897 (222/day)

"Exuse me, but didn't the our catholic church APPROVE the appirations of Guadalupe, Fátima, Lourdes, La Salette, Amsterdam, Paris, etc!??? Our Holy Church DID APPROVE them all, and also will approve the appirations of Medjugorje, after the appirations ended as it was with all appirations until today!"

Most Marian apparitions never recieve any decision from Rome and no small number has been diapproved bu the Holy See. There is a substantial list just from the 20Th century at http://www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/unapproved_apparitions/index.html.

Deacon Mike Brainerd says: Where else on earth do you find such behavior among so many people gathered together? Where else do you find 100+ long confession lines where dozens and dozens of priests hear confessions for hours on end in over 50 different languages?

How sad that people feel the need to travel half way across the world for such an an experience - an experience they should be getting in their own parishes, but in many cases are not. That so many Catholics go to adoration in a place which makes it available and promotes it is not a suprise. It does not validate a phenomena of Our Lady. Rather, it shows that the faithful are rightfully hungry for adoration and confession.

I'm in a parish with long confession lines each and every Sunday (with multiple confessionals running). We also have daily opportunities for adoration.

Good fruits cannot be weighed to the exlusion of the bad fruits. Many members of the Medjugorje movement with whom I have dialogued have strong distaste for the Ordinary of Mostar because of his position. His words need to be weighed very carefully. Humble obedience to his orders is far more precious to God than time spent in adoration. In adoration you give your time to Christ. In obedience, you give up your will.


Thanks so much for the translation.

While Catholic News Service covered this earlier, their reporting didn't do it justice. It seemed to make it sound like it was just a reiteration, yet it was not just that.

Using a google translator for part I, the bishop seems to take on the Catholic media in how it reported the Vlasic laicization. He then goes on to give facts to show the links between Vlasic and Medjugorje. Those links explain why he was forbidden to be involved in anything related to Medjugorje under pain of excommunication.

In that first part, he also talks about a serious theological error.

In the secon part, he says something about a birthday for Our Lady.

Although some claim papal approbation of Medjugorje from JPII, I'd challenge anyone to find anything positive from the current pope about Medjugorje. I'm guessing this will all be shut down and dismantled within two to three years.

It was me who commented positively on Medjugorje (mgseamanjr), not Deacon Mike. I agree with some of what you said, especially about obeying the ordinary but I have to disagree with some of what you wrote. For instance, you wrote the following:

"How sad that people feel the need to travel half way across the world for such an an experience - an experience they should be getting in their own parishes, but in many cases are not."

Five thousand people adoring Christ and thousands going to confession and reinvigorating their faith is not sad, Diane. I traveled to a remote village in Bosnia not because I was a miracle-seeker but because I was on a prayerful pilgrimage with fellow Catholics. Despite your disdain, pilgrimages are good for the soul. Going to Lourdes or to Fatima or to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on a week-long pilgrimage, where a week of prayer is the only thing on the agenda is not the same experience as driving five minutes to your local Catholic church.

Moreover, by your analysis, Mary would never have needed to appear to anyone at any time because we already have everything we need in our local Catholic church. The fact is that at times God has deemed it necessary or at least desirable to send his Blessed, Immaculate Mother to urge us to return to Himself. If you do not need to hear the message, good for you. I did. And millions of others with me.

Medjugorje without mask (English/Italian website]

Five thousand people adoring Christ and thousands going to confession and reinvigorating their faith is not sad, Diane.

First, thanks for clarifying who wrote the comment.

Secondly, my note about what is sad was taken completely out of context.

Sad is not people who are in adoration. Sad is that people visiting Medjugorje for a rich spiritual experience are not getting the basics at their home parishes. Some are, some aren't.

People go to Medjugorje and see long lines of Confession. Is it any wonder why they would be prompted to go to Confession as well? I had this very experience at Assumption Grotto in Detroit when I visited the first time on a Sunday. There were several confessionals running before Mass and all of them had long lines. It is a tender grace that we are attracted to the Sacrament by witnessing others using it.

I have the greatest hope, that if Holy Mother Church believes the alleged aparitions at Medjugorje are inauthentic, she will not resort to consquentialism for the sake of lots of people going to Confession, adoration and Holy Mass.

The ends do not justify the means when those ends are not fully aligned with Truth.

Please note that first paragraph in my comment above was a quote.

"Humble obedience to his orders is far more precious to God than time spent in adoration."

I think this is a key point to keep in mind. In many of the cases of visions throughout history, obedience was asked of the visionaries for a time. To either not go or to obtain a specific sign/miracle. In each case the visionary was obedient to the earthy authority and verified the visions through their obedience (and obtained the eventual conversion of the earthly authority to their side through supernatural intercession). In cases where it was not authentic, their disobedience quickly drew a light to its false nature.

If those so closely connected with Medjugorje are obedient to this decision, then God will prove it valid. If they are disobedient, then they prove through their obstinacy and pride that it's of non-divine origin.

This is a test - I hope it passes since I have many friends who were touched by Medjugorje, yet I have many doubts that it will.

I am a personal witness of the real graces present in Medjugorje, and in no way a convert to faith in Medjugorje, as some people here are trying to bash those who had a wonderful personal, very often supernatural, experience in Medjugorje.
I do find the orders very precise and even welcoming. The bishop needs to make sure everything Church-wise is under control and in good order with the teaching of the Church.
These orders give everyone the opportunity to be obedient to the Church and our supperiors. As St. Maria Faustina said in her journal: "I am following your instructions, Lord, as much as my superiors allow me to do it". And she was praised by Jesus for her obedience.
Father Danko, was already obedient, just look at Medjugorje's web site, he ceased to give sermons on messages, as of June, the date of the aforementioned letters from the bishop.
On the other hand, in no way the letters from the bishop prevent anyone to go to Medjugorje, or for that matter to 'shut down' Medjugorje. Any priest on travel there should have permission from his own bishop and local bishop, simple, correct and in good faith I would say.
A silent (not less crowded) and obedient Medjugorje in this times is required and I am convinced it will be, as much as I believe this is not human's work but God's and His Mother's.
People continued to go silently at Lourdes even though walls were built around the Grotto...

I am a personal witness of the real graces present in Medjugorje, and in no way a convert to faith in Medjugorje, as some people here are trying to bash those who had a wonderful personal, very often supernatural, experience in Medjugorje.
I do find the orders very precise and even welcoming. The bishop needs to make sure everything Church-wise is under control and in good order with the teaching of the Church.
These orders give everyone the opportunity to be obedient to the Church and our supperiors. As St. Maria Faustina said in her journal: "I am following your instructions, Lord, as much as my superiors allow me to do it". And she was praised by Jesus for her obedience.
Father Danko, was already obedient, just look at Medjugorje's web site, he ceased to give sermons on messages, as of June, the date of the aforementioned letters from the bishop.
On the other hand, in no way the letters from the bishop prevent anyone to go to Medjugorje, or for that matter to 'shut down' Medjugorje. Any priest on travel there should have permission from his own bishop and local bishop, simple, correct and in good faith I would say.
A silent (not less crowded) and obedient Medjugorje in this times is required and I am convinced it will be, as much as I believe this is not human's work but God's and His Mother's.
People continued to go silently at Lourdes even though walls were built around the Grotto...

RE: "Humble obedience to his orders is far more precious to God than time spent in adoration."

This is so very true. I've gone through a few approved apparitions, for example, the diary of St. Margaret Mary, and have collected the quotes where Our Lord emphatically expressed obedience to His Church even before obedience to what He was asking of the Seer. Even if the Church authorities explicitly forbade the fulfilment of Our Lord’s requests, the seer was to obey the Church first without question.

For example Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary: “Further, I am satisfied that thou should prefer the will of thy Superiors to Mine, whenever they may forbid thee to do what I command thee; I shall know well how to find means for the accomplishment of My designs, even though they may appear to be opposed and contrary thereto.”

“Therefore, not only do I desire that thou shouldst do what thy Superiors command, but also that thou shouldst do nothing of all I command thee without their consent. I love obedience, and without it no one can please Me.”

Here is a link to the document mentioned, which collects quotes from St. Margaret Mary, St. Faustina, Blessed Jacinta and Sr. Josefa Menendez:

I think part of the Church's approach, when she decides that a certain pilgrimmage spot, or sight of apparitions, will be reigned in, is to gauge the reaction of the priests and faithful.

Even if the Church were to make an error in judgment, in thinking something should be reigned in that, in fact, is not harmful, it is her domain. It is her domain to err in that manner, and her erring in that manner, if she does, is not something she needs to apologize for. And it can't be called "erring," properly speaking, because she is perfectly within her rights to make a decision one way or the other, and expect that decision to be followed.

In her prudence and wisdom, she determines to the best of her ability what is good for the faithful, what is from God, etc.

If the faithful become hostile to her decision, that speaks volumes.

It can happen that she decides one way, and then some time later decides something different. But that is unlikely to happen in instances where her first decision is met with outrage, dissension, and hostility. Because it gives her an indication of the spiritual formation of those who are protesting.

She's kind of like, um, a mother. If a mother notices a group of kids are running around the neighborhood wearing purple shirts because they have joined a pagan cult, she might tell her daughter, I'm sorry honey, you can't wear your purple sweater at present.

If her daughter screams, gets outraged, and throws a tantrum, that's a whole new problem.

The mother has ever right to decide, in prudence and wisdowm, this or that about her daughter's life. The daughter will then reveal a great deal about herself in how she reacts to her mother's legimitate authority.

Loose analogy, I know. But it's worth some thought.

I don't understand why the detractors of Medjugorje rejoice at this news. This is wonderful news. For Medjugorje! The bishop, as a good father, is cleaning his house of everything that he spotted was not done with his permission. But that's excellent news for both believers of Medjugorje or nonbelievers. In no way, as somebody said before, he is shutting down the apparitions or people's belief (or disbelief) in them. Nobody can speak in the name of the Church unless the Church does it in her name, that is to be clear to everybody, even to the most excited about what is really happening at Medjugorje.
I agree, this is a time of obedience. Let us not forget Padre Pio, he was literally imprisoned for 11 (!!) years by his superiors for false accusations. He suffered greatly because of it, but he put it simple: "The will of my superior is God's will".
Let also not draw misrepresentations of what these letters are meant to be. They are very precise about very precise matters. Nobody is shutting down Medjugorje, that would be like shutting down the free will of God.

Also re: the comment of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary: "I love obedience, and without it no one can please Me."

What is He to think, not only of the Seers, but also of His own Mother, who is advocating and fulminating absolute disobedience, not only to the local Bishop but to the Sovereign Pontiff Himself. You only have to read this quote of an interview with 'seer' Vicka.

Jan. 1982: The Virgin states that two Franciscan priests, removed from their order and under suspension by the bishop, one of whom later fathered a child by a nun, may continue to say Mass and hear Confessions. Vicka the seer is asked, "If the Lady said this, and the Pope says that they cannot...” Vicka answers: "The Pope can say what he wants. I'm telling it as it is.” (From Bishop Zanic's document, 1990)

Here is 'Our Lady', the Queen of Peace, threatening the local Bishop of the time:
June 21, 1983: The Virgin states: "Tell the Father Bishop (Zanic) that I request his urgent conversion to the events of the Medjugorje parish...I am sending him the penultimate warning. If he is not converted, or will not be converted, my judgment as well as that of my Son Jesus will strike him.” (Seer Ivanka writing to Bishop Zanic)

"Here is 'Our Lady', the Queen of Peace, threatening the local Bishop of the time:
June 21, 1983: The Virgin states: 'Tell the Father Bishop (Zanic) that I request his urgent conversion to the events of the Medjugorje parish...I am sending him the penultimate warning. If he is not converted, or will not be converted, my judgment as well as that of my Son Jesus will strike him.' (Seer Ivanka writing to Bishop Zanic)"

Uh, yikes. Huge red flag.

My general human prudence would say: Shut it down.

I had no idea. I don't follow Medjugore closely. My comment above was a general observation about these types of things.

No one here on either the pro- or the anti- side opposes pious devotion. The question is whether or not Mary appears/has appeared to the "seers".

The Medjugorje industry has marketed the "apparitions" extremely well...

What if, instead of Martin Sheen as Fr. Jozo Zovko, and Morgan Fairchild as the nun, the film "Gospa" had featured John Wayne as Bishop Ratko Peric and Morgan Freeman as Diocesan Chancellor don Ante Luburic?

...it's salesmanship...


. . . and therefore, the Holy Spirit is NOT given to those who do NOT obey!

I see all the disobedience to the bishops and the Church in the matter of Medjugorjie. This MORE THAN ANYTHING THE CHURCH HAS THUSFAR SAID ABOUT IT, makes me believe that Medjugorjie is NOT a true apparition.

I don't know WHAT spirit is upon them, but I do not believe that it could possibly be the Holy Spirit, or these pervasive disobediences would not be occurring.

"Obey your leaders AND DEFER TO THEM!"
(Hebrews 13:17, emphasis added)

I have plenty of pro-Medjugorje friends who've said they experienced grace there, so I'm disposed to think well of it.

I used to be agnostic about it, but I don't think one can ignore the now decades of evidence against the validity of the apparitions. This is just from memory from someone who's basically been ignoring the whole phenomenon most of the time:

* Things Our Lady has supposedly told the seers that defy reason and good common sense. (See earlier comment about how she was going to punish the bishop for his opposition.)

* Decades of supposed daily messages from Our Lady which are banal and boring, if obviously true. ("You must pray hard, my children, and be good." would sum up most of them.) Our Lady is not banal, if she's anything. And what's the point of her showing up every day and saying things that any 5th grader could write? What's the message other than prayer and conversion, which you could get in any pulpit any day of the week in any church in the world?

* The unedifying lives of most the seers, who greatly profited financially from their positions. Truly holy people don't go around giving talks for money. How many of them have found religious vocations? How many of them have edifying marriages?

* The disobedience of the Friars and the priests involved, for years and years. Holy people don't disobey their pastors, no matter how wrong the latter might seem to them.

* The defrocking of one of the biggest promoters of the message just recently.

Again, true believers will never give up their persistence, even in the face of all this evidence against. Even if the Vatican clearly declares M is not a valid apparition, they won't give up. They'll cling to some gnostic hope that "they just don't get it, and history will vindicate us."

I tend to believe, after reading some of the comments posted here, that it is the non-believers who are actually looking for sensational in Medjugorje. "Why doesn't He come down from the Cross so that we may believe?" Indeed the messages are 'boring' for those who believe themselves 'adults' in order of the spiritual life, but not so for children, because a child ever knows he is NOT an adult.

If the Church is trying to close down Medjugorje, she can do it and we will obey. I truly believe that people do not know what they are doing and they are closing, for themselves, not a stumbling block, because people are converted, but a great source of HOPE for the days that, as we look around, grow darker around us...

The most important message of Medjugorje is, let us stay united in faith, be converted, live a life of love and obedience to the Church. If I misundertood Medjugorje, mea culpa, but this is what it WAS revealed to me at Medjugorje. This is why and how I became a Catholic.

Even the priest who went astray obeyed the Church in the end, even without him willing it. He was defrocked indeed, but accepted his fate. What he did was wrong, but he departed from Medjugorje and visionary Marija a very long time ago, if that matters for the detractors...

Marriage, my dear Lucien, is a great VOCATION, even though it seems 'boring and banal' at times, and, if the seers did not embrace celibacy, they are not without blessings, especially in a time when it needs one's HEROIC virtue to keep a marriage going and to bear children, unless you lack a true understanding of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony... You should try to first think well of Marriage than think well, as you said, of Medjugorje.

I am grateful for the Catholic Church, for her sacred Scripture, her sacred Tradition, for her Magesterium, for her deep history, her historic devotions and fullness of truth, and as a former protestant minister, I am especially grateful for Confession and the daily Mass in which we both know (rationally) and experience (mystically) our Eucharistic Lord in Communion where one may find healing of every kind, emotional, relational, even physical. I cannot imagine exhausting her resources or wanting to substitute or supplement her message such that I would look beyond sound faith and reason.

Thank you for the detailed article and for the opportunity to comment.

David, I don't see where in my comment that I disparaged the vocation of marriage.

Believe me, I think very highly of the holy sacrament of matrimony, having lived in it for 27 years (with many very dear children proceeding from same), through hell and high water. ;-)

The Catholic Church all began with a "private" revelation to a young girl called Mary. An angel appeared to her and gave her a wonderful message. That "private" revelation has changed the lives of people for two thousand years. And Medjugorje has been the reason why so many young men have become priests here in Ireland and loads have returned "on fire" to the Church. Hope this proves helpful - Blessings - Rene

Why do people insist that "good fruit" mean that the apparition is good? It's the same with the Legionaries/Regnum Christi group: they insist that the order is God's Will because of all the "good fruits" (completely ignoring anything bad that came out of same order, of course).

God allows good to come out of evil. The good that comes out of evil is not because of the evil but because of God's grace. Thankfully, He does not leave us to reap the deserved miseries of our own sinfulness but instead steps in and uses even bad situations to bring about great good. That does not lessen the evilness of the situation. Something bad cannot be declared good just because God in His mercy allows good to be brought out of it.

I've always gotten the big bad feeling Medjugorje, the same big bad feeling I had when I first read about Maciel's 4th vow. Some of the "messages" from Our Lady are downright creepy (as the ones mentioned above). Creepiness is not from God. Thankfully we are not required to believe in private revelations, and I will continue to steer clear of this very messy situation. Let's pray that God will give Benedict the wisdom to deal with this situation in a way that is best for all involved.

Thank you for the update on this situation, Richard.

Well, no. Seeing as Our Lady didn't hatch out of an egg on the ground, the Catholic Church didn't "begin" with her. It began (strictly speaking) with the Holy Trinity from all eternity.

It also began (in time and space)with the ancient Israelites.

And Our Lady's vision from the Angel was confirmed by the Son she bore, who rose up, and was who he claimed to be, and founded his Church on his apostles.

Making it sound like the whole shebang began with one girl's vision that went unequestioned and unverified is silly.

By Mrs. Rene O'Riordan:
"The Catholic Church all began with a "private" revelation to a young girl called Mary. An angel appeared to her and gave her a wonderful message. That "private" revelation has changed the lives of people for two thousand years. And Medjugorje has been the reason why so many young men have become priests here in Ireland and loads have returned "on fire" to the Church. Hope this proves helpful - Blessings - Rene".

Actually, the apparition to Mary was not just a "private" revelation but was part of "public" revelation which ended with the death of the Apostle John in c.100 AD. The proof of this is that the apparition is found in Sacred Scripture - one of the two channels of "Public" Revelation.

By David:
"Marriage, my dear Lucien, is a great VOCATION, even though it seems 'boring and banal' at times, and, if the seers did not embrace celibacy, they are not without blessings, especially in a time when it needs one's HEROIC virtue to keep a marriage going and to bear children, unless you lack a true understanding of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony... You should try to first think well of Marriage than think well, as you said, of Medjugorje".

Marriage is a "good" vocation, celibacy is "better". That is Church dogma. Authentic apparitions tend to attract one to the heavenly (such close contact with the Divine will do this). That is why Lucia became a contemplative nun, and why Jacinta wanted to join religious life as well. That all six would choose marriage does not bode well for its authenticity, but by itself it does not mean much. Combined with all the other things already mentioned in the comments, and it is just one more straw that is breaking the camel's back. Also, regarding the marriages of the "seers", the youngest "seer" is now 39, and none of them have more than four children. If they are all living by the teachings of Humanae Vitae, I would expect some of them would have bigger families. Ivan and the former Miss America have only three children together - considering the fact that he is well off enough financially to buy a BMW and purchase a huge New England mansion, I do not believe he would have much of a reason to practice NFP.



Wade= I'm not a Medagorje Fan, BUT

It's inappropriate to judge someone's moral state based soley on the number of children they have.

You don't klnow if they have fertility problems-- you don't know if they've had miscarriage after miscarriage.

I mean, seriously. Look at Elizatbeth and Zechariah. He claimed to be so holy, but they only had one child! Surely, if they were as good as they SEEMED, they would have had 7 or 8 in their long marriage!

I know many good Catholic couples with 4 or fewer children. From the outside, you might think they were unrepentent contraceptors. But if you KNOW them, you realize that God has just said 'no,' to their prayers for more children--and that they've struggled terribly to accept and understand the mission that God has given them as parents of smaller families.

Sorry about the rant, but your comment betrays how the contraceptive culture wins out even among 'orthodox' Catholics. When you see fertility as something that can be turned on and off, rather than as a gift from God, you've been poisoned by the culture.

We don't have enough sympathy for the barren today-- we assume a lack of children must be proof of a couple's sinfullness--when often it's actually proof of their silent suffering.

One of the most interesting things about Medjugorje is the apparent personality change of Our Lady. From time immemorial she has been very unassuming, parsimonious in speech, leading us by example and word to serve rather than being served. Now, if we are to give credence to Medjugorje, she has become rather garrulous, a read extrovert (appearing over 36,000 times to the seers), telling them to ignore their bishop. Sounds almost like a mid-life crisis.

Dear Lucien and Ward, I am greatly surprised by your views of the incompatibility between married life and a true mystical experience, which you and other people are saying through your words. I know the dogma of the Church that celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God is better for what it can do for the Kingdom of God (therefore the reward is greater), but many times God has chosen the lowly of this word to humble the wise. Should I remind you here that St Bridget of Sweden was a married woman with 8 children and she is one of the greatest mystics of all times? Or rather that St Anthony the Great (of Egypt) when he asked God to show him what is his measure or how does is compare to others since he had no one in the desert, then God sent him to a humble married shoemaker in Alexandria and told him: “you are no greater than him”?
There is a great misconception about the supernatural gifts that God bestows to whomever He chooses and the ‘natural’ state of life. What happens to the children of Medjugorje, of for that matter to the other visionaries of Lourdes or Fatima is not because of their chose state of life but by election by God.
In fact, this proves the orthodoxy of Medjugorje, because neither God nor Mary enforced their will on the children of Medjugorje regarding their state of life. Mary of Medjugorje suggested them (again orthodoxy of faith) to chose consecrated life as a better option, but she also said “it is your choice”.
To see married life as an ‘impediment’ for this kind of revelation is dead wrong is what I am claiming here and, at the same time, proves the supporters of this idea as unorthodox (non-catholic, to be more precise).
There is another notable difference between Medjugorje and Fatima and Lourdes: at Lourdes there was ONLY Bernadette, at Fatima, even though there were three children, ONLY Lucia lived an adult life. But at Medjugorje there are SIX children from the same village, or who moved in the same village, who eventually became adults. The idea for them to found real families and TO LIVE TOGETHER come easily to mind. For a single person to chose to go to monastery is more APPROPRIATE and comes easier as an option than to convince or do the same with SIX children who were living, playing, praying and living the ordeal of being visionaries together, everyday of their life, not just 13 or 14 times in their lifetime, like Bernadette or Lucia.
I found the choice of the visionaries to become married and live a good married life very appropriate for our time, they are and they can be good examples of married persons, not extra-terrestrials, as many people tend to expect from them. Lack of good marriages is the cause of the lack of vocations these days. In the domestic Church faith, trust, fidelity and a spirit of sacrifice for the other is learnt. This present time needs, I would say, especially good families IN ORDER TO for us to have good priests, who would consider their parishes - as Humanae Vitae and later Familiaris Consortio demands of the priests – their own FAMILY, where they are FATHERS not merely priests, or worse, only ministers of the Sacraments.
So people, let’s stop bashing the seers, and look at the messages given us through them.
I will continue in another post about the ‘creepiness’ of Medjugorje messages that Anonymouse referred above, by the example of another ‘creepy’ message given to the Church in 1917 and, as is happening today, because was considered too ‘creepy’ at the time, was not listen to…

The messages will never get approved because they will never end as long as the Seers are alive - and they will never end because the Seers know that if they did end, the messages would never get approved.

As for the alleged "fruits", conversions, etc. see http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2009/01/tired-old-fruits-argument.html

"...So people, let's stop bashing the seers, and look at the messages given us through them..." - David, at 10:58

"...Therefore, brothers and sisters, we cannot behave as if these 'apparitions' are authentic and approved..." - Bishop Peric, June 06, 2009

Non constat de supernaturalitate...Nothing to see here, folks...

Dear Richard, I spent a lot of time searching the internet resources on Medjugorje messages, aside from the fact that I've been to Medjugorje three times and, like many other tens of millions of people, did not really find or see anything suspicious happening there, liturgically wise.

After this search and the visit there I found less credible the sources which detract Medjugorje than those who are in favor.

According to your logic, if bad stories about the seers are mixed with evil one, the existing of the evil ones is a sign of a fake apparition. But, if I look at the vast majority of the detractors web site, I can barely find one which is not HERETICAL about the point that I just mentioned, considering the married state not 'worthy' of the election of God for such matters... So heresy mixed with truth? = Not credible either!

Yes the real problem is if there are indeed heresies in the middle, if there are lies and disobedience. So far, disobedience FROM THE SEERS has not been proven by anybody yet. Heresy and lies remains to be proven by competent commission not from private meetings with the bishop, who was already mounted against them because of the issues he had with the local Franciscan priests. On the other hand, there are also good 'reviews' of the seers from major Church figures as well, for example Sept 28, 2009, Cardinal Schonborn. (search the internet)

With regard to heresy and lies, I believe that there are many more words put in their mouth than they have actually said. I always remember in situations like this, that Padro Pio suffered 11 years of imprisonment in his own cell, mainly because of his Archbishop. Padre Pio's false image (from lies about him) was not restored but later after his death, so I always take detractions with a drop of salt unless the Church pronounces definitively otherwise.

My hope is that we will soon see a real commission from Vatican taking care of the case.

Let us have a look at the message of Fatima. We don’t see there a Mary that is necessarily feeding Baby Jesus, but rather a mature woman who is DEMANDING her adult children, the Church, and more precisely THE POPE, to OBEY her word. Isn’t it daring? She is not even saying please, but ASKING and then threatening with the spread of communism, if the Pope (because the consecration was asked of him) refuses the consecrate Russia on one hand, and on the other, if bored and exhausted people – who were still busy fighting World War 1 at the time – would not repent then an even greater war is at hand. But who would care less about repentance in the middle of a bloody war which engulfed the whole world, which was all about revenge, supremacy and ‘justice’?
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. IF WHAT I SAY TO YOU IS DONE, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but IF PEOPLE DO NOT CEASE OFFENDING GOD, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that HE IS ABOUT TO PUNISH THE WORLD for its crimes, BY MEANS OF war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I SHALL COME TO ASK for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. IF MY REQUESTS are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; IF NOT, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. THE HOLY FATHER WILL CONSECRATE Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.
Is this change of attitude, to a rather demanding one, a ‘mid-life’ crisis of our Lady? Does this sound to anyone: “could you please”? Not to me. And nobody listened, neither the people, because World War 2 existed, nor the Pope, because communism spread up to the borders of Italy, the Pope suffered the shooting on May13th, Fatima Day, and only then the Pope remembered the words of Mary and put them in practice, consecrating Russia for real on March 25, 1984. A few years later, communism fell in the all Eastern countries…
Indeed some of the messages of Medjugorje sound like this, one time it was even addressed to the bishop of Mostar. The reality is that Mostar – the residence of the bishop, just like Sarajevo, was indeed heavily hit by war. That may have been the answer to Her ‘threat’. What a ‘bad’ God, what a ‘abd’ Lady! I went to Medjugorje soon after the war ceased and there was no stone on stone in any village for hundreds of kilometers with the exception of Medjugorje.
It’s hard for me to believe that the demons are cast out by the lord of demons…

Tominellay, don't take it so hard, Archbishop Gagliardi has sworn before the Pope that Padre Pio is a fake old monk, and the Pope believed him for a good while. I recommend for that matter an excellent book on Padre Pio's life,


Let's be more prudent here and what we are saying about the apparition until all things are made clear. It is not ultimately bishop's decision which will validate or invalidate an event la Medjugorje, but Roman Curia.

For those of you who are really rushing into incriminating the seers and the apparition of Medjugorje as coming from the devil, I would only say hold you breath, and don't blow it out until a true Vatican commission has spelled its final verdict.

That the bishop of Mostar does NOT have the final word in this matter, and whatever he said so far is only his PERSONAL opinion (not to be ignored though), is very clear from Cardinal's Tarcisio Bertone latest statement from May 1998, when he was then Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:


You can also find other previous declarations if you go here:


There is also a new book from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone if someone is interested to check it out, called "The Last Secret of Fatima" (http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Fatima-Cardinal-Tarcisio-Bertone/dp/0385525826/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254338643&sr=8-4).

In this book, under the chapter "Medjugorje", he reinstates the same thing as 11 years ago, but adds even more to it: he is basically saying that Medjugorje still needs a true investigation and, plainly, Medjugorje, because of its amplitude and witnesses, it is either the greatest scandal in the history of the Church or the greatest miracle so far. Cardinal goes even further to say that in the cancerous world in which we live it is highly probable that God takes such measures to sends His Holy Mother for such a long time on Earth. But he is not drawing the line yet...

The bishop's directives are consistent with the "non constat" judgment formula.

Tominellay, we are in the era of YouTube. Do a search for the seers during the apparitions, especially when they were younger and were all together during the apparitions, then another search when they are alone, and look especially at the apparitions of Mirjana.

I see what happens to them during the apparition as anything but 'natural'. To say 'non constat' of anything out of ordinary during the apparition is equal, to me, to say that the bishop has never seen them. That's why maybe other Cardinals like Schonborn or Bertone are not willing to embrace the quick dismissal of the local bishop, even though they respect his view and the 'clean up' actions that he is trying to enforce.

There were no miracles 'on demand' yet, like at Fatima or Lourdes, because no official figure has asked it yet.

There were physical and psychological tests done to the seers during the apparitions and NONE of them could prove a mass histeria or a collective illness of the seers.

Have a look also at the pictures of the children of Fatima, they look exactly the same as these seers during the apparition.

The only problem to be judged in my opinion is not that there is nothing supernatural here, but who are they really seeing. But that is a different matter.

From this 'non constat' alone, it seems to me that the bishop is not really fair in what he is doing and saying so far. Even though his orders should be obeyed...

Yes Richard, I stand corrected, thanks for the remark.

'constat de supernaturalitate', in fact, stands for the true approval of the event of Medjugorje.

'non constat de supernaturalitate' stands for neither good, nor bad, but to be determined. (This is the current position of the bishop of Mostar)

'constat de non-supernaturalitate' (or 'constat de preternaturalitate') invalidates the phenomenon or declares it of demonic origin.

From your comments I understand that you are a convert and that your conversion come about, atleast in part, from Medjugorje? I myself are a cradle Catholic, 57, and a pragmatist, having an engineering background; i.e., a "show me" person. However, I do believe in miracles and that they are happening up to this present time. I have been following the developments of Medjugorje since the early '80's, and the thing that has most struck me, is the extraordinary duration over which the "children" have continued to "stick to the program" --28 years +. I have personally met one of the "visionaries" here in Canada, in 1992, and if he was "of the devil", then Satan has converted! I don't doubt that some of the priests have fallen, since even one of the 12 apostles betrayed Jesus, JESUS ! If anything, these realities speak to the authenticity of this event. As I recall, early in the "messages" there was a caviat that if people will not convert a great calamity will occur. Who would have ever thought that, Yugoslavia --the most free of all the communist satellites, the most horrific civil war of the post Soviet era would break out? The same could be said about the prophetic warnings given to "seers" (Kibeho), in the '80's, in the African country of Ruwanda, one of the most stable countries on that continent at the time --"the rivers will run red with blood if people will not repent". In the early '90's, thanks to the inaction of Pres. Clinton and the UN, over 500,000 people were massacred and the rivers literally ran red with blood. I don't know of any secular soothsayers who have come even close to making a prediction with this accuracy of the future. Satan is powerful, but as we know from Scripture and the Church, he doesn't know the future. Let's pray that some of the even more dire warnings do not come to pass.

Blessings. -Ron

Yes Ron, you are right about me. Below is my answer that I was preparing for Richard, the owner of this blog, while you posted your answer...

Dear Richard, and all who may read this blog in order to find yet more scandalous things about Medjugorje, I think you deserve an answer to your 'litany of sadness', posted by you a few lines above, and also elsewhere on this blog.

I shall give you yet another example, my own, and tell you that not too long ago I was an Orthodox. A practicant and educated Orthodox. It was my visits to Medjugorje though, which made me believe that there is grace flowing in the Catholic Church and that the Sacraments are valid, unlike what a large majority of Orthodox theologians are saying about the Catholic Church. Cardinal Journet, in his 'Theology of the Church' - as I could find it out later - said that it truly requires the miraculous intervention of God for an Orthodox to become a Catholic... If I am to believe the Cardinal, it is indeed a miracle. After my last visit to Medjugorje, and what happened there in the inner room of my soul, I got the understanding and the courage that this is the true faith, most specifically that complete and unconditional obedience to the Vicar of Christ on Earth is not an option but a requirement. Through Medjugorje I decided for a fundamental truth of faith.

Now, if you and others like you believe that the Devil turned at Medjugorje an Orthodox into a Catholic (since the problem of Papacy is the most stringent between the two) than too bad for the Devil, because he lost yet another soul for the Truth, since my ultimate belief is not in Medjugorje but in 'one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church'. All I know is that I was blind and now I see...

If all Medjugorje fails, with the seers altogether, I am still a lost and found sheep for the Church and for eternal life. If Rome decides categorically that all Medjugorje is a fake, I will gladly accept it, since, as I said, I did not convert to Medjugorje, nor to Virgin Mary, but I believe that through Her intercession in everything good and peaceful that happens at Medjugorje, I was converted to Truth. I came to believe in the office and authority of the Rock, upon which Christ has founded his Church. From a divided Church I came into communion. What an 'evil' event, isn't it?

Likewise my friend, if the Church decides that Medjugorje is veritable, are you willing to obey Rome's decision, after all the discord that you have done for many years on this web site? If your answer is 'yes', than why don't you anticipate now that moment, and prevent yourself from searching fanatically ONLY for 'sad fruits of Medjugorje's fanatism'? In the end, what does it have to do with Medjugorje and the seers the fact that some people are hunting fanatically for miracles there?

Where is the objectivity of your exposition of the events? Are you ashamed to also present opinions of supporters of Medjugorje, or at least the temperate opinions on it, like those of Schonborn, Bertone, Cantalamesa, Laurentin, Amorth, to name just a few sound names?

I know people like me who were either converted to the Catholic faith (not TO Medjugorje, but AT Medjugorje), or renewed in their faith, or healed in body and soul, or restored to their Church after living a lifetime in adultery, or delivered from other addictions. The one time event of deep conversion happened there at Medjugorje, and persisted in the life of many, but the undisputed proof is that it started THERE. Jesus Christ was clear about it: it is not possible for the devil to trigger or produce good, out of his evil, when the Jews blindly accused Him of casting out demons with the lord of demons. I don't know anybody who going to Medjugorje for recollection have experienced evil, but rather true conversion of heart, which is the action of the grace of God.

If Medjugorje is proved valid, then all discord and partiality that a site like yours incited among the Catholics is going to be a heavy burden for you.

Cardinal Schonborn called Medjugorje a factory of conversion. Wouldn't be better for you and others like you to adopt at least the prudent view of Gamaliel: "if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God"?

Think about it...


How can we not rejoice in your conversion? That God allows such good to occur is truly a wondrous thing. That proves nothing to me about the validity of Medjugorje, however. I've been around this world of Catholic movements far too long to allow the argument of "good fruits" to mean anything at all. That argument was used to defend the likes of Br. Gino (so many conversions! so much good happened for people through him!) and Marcial Maciel (look at the fruits of this holy man! He cannot possibly be evil! So many conversions have happened through him!), and now that we know both of those men to be evil con artists and frauds, the "good fruits" argument pretty much tastes like sawdust.

I am glad to hear your faith is not tied to the fate of Medjugorje. I'm afraid that may not be the case for many fervent followers. Such is the power of these types of movements.

As for whether I will care if the Church declares Medjugorje "valid" or not, I really personally don't care one way or another. Thankfully, the Church does not require us to believe in any of these apparitions/private revelations, so a declaration of validity will not change my feelings on the matter. I have seen too much damage done by movements such as these to invest any time/energy into them myself. I will stick with the Church basics---the Sacraments are enough for me these days.

May God continue to bless you with His great gift of faith, no matter what the outcome of Medjugorje.

Dear Anonymous, thanks for the kind wishes. I understand your point, and I think it is valid.

I am pretty much done with what I had to say about Medjugorje and its seers on this site. By posting here, I intended to point out that the 'fanaticism' to criticize Medjugorje, its fruits and the seers is really uncalled for and biased, unilateral, and I explained why. It is clear to me that most of the people start with serious preconceptions and great disinformation about the situation in Yugoslavia, about the seers, about the religious life in those parts of the world. I am originally from Romania with Serbs living among us and with Romanians living among them. It's hard at times for Westerners to understand the Easterners and vice versa.

Many people also, do not realize that the seers are married people and don't take them for what they are. They expect from them extraordinary things, and sharply criticize them for their chosen state of life, for their wealth, for their way of making money (as if having a guests house and making a living serving those who are visiting is not honorable enough - common' people!), for their public lifestyle as if it was possible otherwise living in the world. People are used to think in patterns about visionaries, and don't see them right mainly because Medjugorje shows something new, and none of them is a monk. People are pointing fingers at them and at us, which were blessed in one way or another by going there, for the same things that they do or want: like trying to make a living, to grow families, to live a life of love and communion with the Church. With these basic preconception any other scandalous 'additions' come in easy.

Thankfully, Medjugorje is not about charismatic seers as other movements were, the seers are rather 'boring' as many complain here. Most of the people don't go there for the seers or even to meet them, but because they heard that Mary is working there in a powerful way at our inner conversion and healing. Most people find this extra-ordinary grace participating in the ordinary liturgical activities.

I did not speak personally to any of the seers, but just saw one or two of them at a distance. Still, the grace of God around that place was powerful in me and in many others with me. Medjugorje is a great laboratory of healing for those who fill sick spiritually or physically, a source of renewed faith, hope and love. Do not be troubled too much about the falling of some, as Ron mentioned before, it is the INTENTION of heart which directed Judas' actions.

I shall end my apology saying again that whatever the Church and her various authorities command it should be obeyed without complain. At the same time ridicule and discord should cease and let the rightful authorities do their job. So far, private pilgrimages are still allowed, but the bishop wants to distance the official Church from the event. Nevertheless that which was not started by humans cannot be muted by humans. I believe it will come to and end not sooner than the One who started it chooses to put an end to it.

Thank you David for your well informed and articulate (and tireless) explanations. It never ceases to surprise me that, even though there are people who speak favorably and intelligently--not fanatically--about Medjugorje, speaking of their own incredible conversion or reversion to the Catholic faith, brought about through Medjugorje, we still continually hear from the anti-Medj. crowd how these people (I mean you and I, for instance) are misinformed, miracle-seekers without solid grounding in the faith and who would abandon our beloved Catholicity if the Church were to declare Medjugorje a fraud (a foregone conclusion in their minds; Tominellay: "nothing to see here, folks"). Anonymous says, also a bit arrogantly, I might add, that "he's afraid" that "many fervent followers" have tied their faith to the fate of Medjugorje.

Anonomous, you seem confident in your dismissal of Medjugorje even if it proves to be legitimate. But is this prudent? If we assume for a moment that the apparition is legitimate and that God has seen fit to send his Mother to warn humanity to return to Himself, to pray, fast, confess, read the Bible and go to mass, or else very bad things will happen, is it prudent to ignore everything concerning Medjugorje, insisting that we are not required to believe in private revelation? If the Catholic Church pronounces favorably on the apparitions, proclaiming that in fact the site is a source of extraordinary grace, would it be wise to look the other way and avoid it just because your allowed to, despite the Heavenly advice?

Similarly, someone who runs a very prominent Catholic website, one that often prints anti-Medjugorje articles, recently told me that if the Church were to pronounce favorably on Medjugorje, he would not be phased a bit because he's "not required to believe in private revelation." I don't agree or at the very least think this is a rather careless approach. If the Virgin Mary has a grand Heavenly plan that she is trying to bring to fruition through Medjugorje and you have fervently set yourself up against it, I don't see how (1) you will succeed, or (2) how your relationship with the Blessed Mother would not be affected.

If the Church has not yet after 28 years made a proclamation on Medjugorje, how is it that so many people in these forums are so much more knowledgeable and extraordinarily confident in their dismissal of the place? David is right in quoting Gamaliel to advise taking a more prudent approach. If nothing else, it is perhaps helpful to think of Pascal's Wager and apply it to Medjugorje.

I see nothing careless at all about choosing to steer clear of such a controversial movement.

You see arrogance in my statement regarding that I fear that many may tie their faith to this movement; I regard it as genuine concern. I've been around the block when it comes to Catholic movements and have seen too many lose the faith when it turns out the Movement that brought them so much "good" and such wonderful "conversions" was actually a hoax perpetrated by a callous fraud.

If the Church thought it was necessary for us to believe in private revelation, she would require it of us. She does not; I understand that to mean that as Catholics, we are given everything we need through the deposit of the Faith and the holy Sacraments. What is wrong with sticking to the Sacraments? I see no insult to our Lady in that.

If you find this Medjugorje helpful to you, so be it. I've been there and done that with similar movements and am all over it.

The Blessed Sacrament is enough.

Anonomous you should re-read my latest email. I take issue with your labeling of Medjugorje fans as (perhaps because they are not as enlightened as you) so shallow that they would abandon the faith for a new Medjugorje-based religion. You conclude without sufficient evidence that supporters of Medjugorje are fanatical and whose faith is so shallow that they would discard the true faith if the Church disapproves of the apparitions. This is an arrogant and judgmental statement and reveals your ignorance of the matter.

Second, I did not say that you are wrong to steer clear of a controversial phenomenon, though I would suggest that one of the reasons Medjugorje is so “controversial” is that people like you fan the flames of any hint of scandal. I wrote that you are imprudent in stating that you are free to ignore the whole phenomenon even if the Church approves it. Perhaps it would be wise to review what Pope Benedict says of Church-approved private revelation:

“Although an assent of Catholic faith may not be given to revelations thus approved [by the highest authority of the Church], still, an assent of human faith, made according to the rules of prudence, is due them; for according to these rules such revelations are probable and worthy of pious credence” [De Serv. Dei Beatif.].

Here’s how Colin Donovan of EWTN interprets what the Pope wrote:

“The Pope is saying that a Catholic, seeing that the Church […] has investigated and approved certain revelations, is being prudent to give them human assent. That acceptance does not rest on the guarantee of Faith, or the charism of infallibility, but on the credibility of the evidence as it appeals to reason. The assent involved is not supernatural but the natural assent that the intellect gives to facts, which it judges to be true. Approved private revelations are thus worthy of our acceptance and can be of great benefit to the faithful, for as the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes: ‘Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church (CCC 67).’”

Simply put, if the events concerning Medjugorje are approved by the Catholic Church, then the scenario concerning your reaction to it that you have described is akin to this:

1) God asks or allows the Blessed Mother to warn the world that it must return to God
2) Mary advises a return to Christian roots: pray, fast, Bible, Mass, confession
[by the way, who else has been advising fasting?]
3) The Catholic Church approves the apparitions as authentic; Mary is speaking to mankind and warning us, advising certain behavior lest terrible things happen; The Church teaches that we should be prudent towards such apparitions and give our ascent.
4) Anonomous replies: “Thanks anyway but I’m not interested. I’ve been around the block a few times and anyway I ‘m not required to believe this is real.”

I find parts of this conversation ironic. On the one hand, Anonymous, Diane and others here have convicted the pro-Medjugorje crowd as fanatically tied to their beliefs and to the site to the extent that they would abandon the Catholic Church and cling to the “apparitions” even if the Church were to declare them “not supernatural.” But who is more wedded to a fanatical position? Diane believes that millions of people go to Medjugorje because they lack confession and adoration at their home parish and that the countless confessions and resulting conversions taking place there are merely the natural result of people mindlessly feeling peer pressure to go to confession because they see others doing so. Now THAT”S a tenuous argument. Diane, this may be what you’ve experienced (i.e. seeing people get into the confession line because others do so) but you can’t be serious when you suggest that the countless CONVERSIONS brought about through Medjugorje, not to mention the vocations, took place because someone felt pressured to get in a confession line. It seems clear to me that Diane, Tominellay, Anonymous and others have made up their minds before the Church has and will go to any length to devise an excuse that disproves any legitimacy regarding Medjugorje. As a result, and by your own words, your credibility suffers.

I do not claim to be an investigator into all the miracles or dilemmas surrounding the events at Medjugorje. I can speak of my experience which has been 100% good fruit. In the end, I will abide by what the Vatican decides.

Since the jury is still out on Medjugorje, as they weigh all the facts, I find it a bit extraordinary that you, Richard Chonak, seem to be so enlightened and to have all the answers and appear to even point to 1981 as the time when it was already a dead giveaway. Perhaps you ought to write the Vatican and inform them off all this information that they have apparently missed all these 28 years.

By the way, it is not just your perceived historical circumstances that go into an examination of a site to determine whether it is legitimate. Certainly good fruits vs. bad fruits must be taken into consideration. Recall Mt. 7:17-18:

"Every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit."

You apparently would like to amend verse 18 to read: "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit but a rotten tree can bear good fruit in some instances, provided there are negative historical circumstances, which would trump them."

You apparently would like to amend verse 18 to read: "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit but a rotten tree can bear good fruit in some instances, provided there are negative historical circumstances, which would trump them."

mgseamanjr, who says the good fruits in Medjugorje case were born by the apparitions? Conversions, confessions were brought about by the grace of God, who is himself present in the sacraments. Medjugorje apparitions did not establish the sacrament of confession or the sacrament of the Eucharist, it was Jesus who has done that 2000 years a go. He is the tree that bears the good fruit.

God is the one who asked us to pray, fast, receive the sacraments in the first place. Our salvation does not depend on whether we believe any apparitions of the Blessed Mother, even those approved by the Church, like Fatima. We do not need apparitions (real or imagined) to reveal to us any new truths or give us any new instructions, we already have all the knowledge and tools we need to help us on our way to heaven. God revealed Himself to us 2000 years a go. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect, and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one." (http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a1.htm)

This is truly amazing. Because you are so incredibly biased against Medj., you have determined that nothing good can be attributed to the place. Therefore, you must remove the good fruit from Medj. and give the credit only to God. Of course God deserves the credit--no argument there. But why would God choose an evil, fraudulent place to be such a vehicle of His grace? Your point does not make sense. When God said that "good fruit can not come from a bad tree" he meant just that--no need for strange interpretations. He did not mean "good fruit can not come from a bad tree but may appear to when I decide to involve myself and trick you into making it appear so."

You write: "We do not need apparitions (real or imagined) to reveal to us any new truths or give us any new instructions, we already have all the knowledge and tools we need to help us on our way to heaven."

While this is certainly true, it is not prudent to ignore the Blessed Mother's instructions. Did you read my reply to you at October 1, 2009 10:29 PM? What's your reply? People ignored Mary's pleas at Fatima and the result was disastrous. The Church pleads with you to give your assent to her valid apparitions, which are "worthy of pious credence."
Assuming the apparitions are authentic, how can you take her intercession so cavalier?

I stand behind my statement about apparitions. The Church does not "plead with me" or anybody else to believe in them. The Church actually says that even private revelations recognized by her "do not belong to the deposit of faith", I am not bound to believe in them. As for disasters happening as a consequence of ignoring messages from a private revelation - I believe that the disasters happen as a consequence of not obeying God, as a consequence of our sins. We know what to do without the apparitions. In fact, the Church herself constantly invites us to conversion, prayer and fasting. All you need to do to hear this message is to go mass in your parish and listen to the Gospel.

In the particular case of Medjugorje, there is no acknowledgment from the Church that the apparitions are real. I used to be more open-minded about them, but after reading about all the controversies, I chose to steer clear of this phenomena. I simply do not find it prudent to put my faith in something so controversial. I prefer to wait for the Church to pass her wise judgment on this issue.


I am glad you removed your own comment from the other posting. It was a huge red flag. To say that Virgin Mary is lower in Her authority over the Church on Earth than a bishop and for that matter she cannot demand a bishop or the Pope to accept a prophetic message or a vision, given to Church's authorities through whoever instrument she chooses it, it is a great misunderstanding of Her role and position regarding the Church.

Mary's authority over the Church is closer to that of Jesus than to that of Peter, much less below of Peter or of another bishop. There is NOTHING that God does on Earth but through His Mother. He is extending even His kingship and authority over the Church ONLY through His mother, and He will do it increasingly more as we approach the end times, as St. Louis de Montfort, the Marian spiritual master of John Paul II, exposes it in "True devotion to Mary".

Why do we celebrate the Queenship of Mary, only to remind us of a future, distant and eschatological reality, or rather because of Her past, present and future queenship over Her children, over Her Son's Kingdom, which is His Church, of whom Archtype and Mother She is?

The recent story of Fatima proved it plenty what it was though in our books, that Mary has the right to instruct, to lead and to command Her children, including the Pope. Nobody's free will and discernment is substituted when She is calling us, but what happens to us it depends greatly on how we respond to Her ordinary or extraordinary calls, as we have seen it especially at Fatima.

I am not trying to condemn anybody by what I am saying, but I believe that the key ingredient for your PRE-DISPOSITION against Medjugorje resides in your assumption that She does not have the right to govern the Church in this way, exercising Her authority over any of Her children, including the Pope... "Woman, behold, your son."!

One thing is Mary's complete authority over the whole Church, but another thing is our position, or of the seers, in front of the ecclesiastical authorities. The seers cannot command to the bishop what to do (and they DID NOT), instead we have to obey his decisions even if we all suffer, but they can certainly transmit Mary's message to him and to the world as it is spoken.

I am hoping that you will not censor my message this time just because it tries to address a general problem (the root of the problem in my opinion) and not just a particular 'bad fruit' of Medjugorje, but I believe that with your deleted statement on the other post we reached a critical point.

The way we perceive and ASSUME IN OUR LIVES this theological truth about Mary it makes, in my opinion, all the difference with which one approaches the events of Medjugorje.


I agree 99% with you, even tough your prudent position is far different from the vehemence with which Medjugorje, the seers and those who where blessed there are treated in a context like this blog.

The only exception I have to your prudent position is this:

Indeed, the disasters that are happening with us are the consequence of our sins. But Mary, just have a look at Fatima, OFFERS to us an extra-ordinary chance not only to repentance, but to AVOIDANCE of the consequence of our sins, IF we did the extra-ordinary things which she asked. Don't you agree?

If many, or all of the faithful starting 1917 would have put cloth sack on them and took the First Saturday's devotions seriously AND the Pope would have consecrated Russia, do you still believe that all prophesized horrors would have happened?

I strongly believe we would have been EXEMPT from them, because of Her promise. She did not ask unusual things, they were all in the power of people and of the Pope to do them, but we and our leaders lacked the necessary trust in Her and the love to respond promptly and wholly, as a family, to Her requests.

If something similar is asked at Medjugorje today, would we AGAIN turn our back, saying that we are not required to listen to a 'private' revelation?

Mary is already asking at Medjugorje not unusual things, but she is demanding us to do them seriously:
1. Daily Prayer (Of the Rosary)
2. Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays (we in the East, never ceased the strict rule of fasting in those two days)
3. Daily Reading of the Bible
4. Monthly Confession
5. Holy Communion
all this enveloped in our own conversion and in charity towards our neighbors. It's nothing new, but she cries it out, IT IS URGENT!


for the pampered world and mentality in which we live today, the 'threat' of a Mother that she is going to 'correct' (that's Her word) her child if he is not considering the repeated signs that she has given him to understand 'the events of Medjugorje' may sound worthy of a 911 call, or at least arrogant as you say. Even though they are very similar to me to the threats from Fatima.

It may just happen that Mary has not yet converted to our modern way of thinking about Her authority over Her children...


Enough already. Why waste your time going on and on defending your stance on the validity of Medjugorje? You are not going to convince anyone who sides with the Bishops on this to change their mind. The facts are the facts. The disobedience to any Church authority is enough to discount it altogether.

I'd be interested to hear your take on the "seer" Marija and her involvement with the organization, Caritas of Birmingham. This is the place where Marija schedules appearances in the "Bedroom of the Apparitions" and the Caritas website and mailings announce the Blessed Mother's "appearances" on certain dates and times - like she's some Vegas act. Much of the propaganda produced from that particular organization uses fear tactics to squeeze money out of its followers not to mention the fact that it barely ever refers to Our Lord Jesus Christ by name in pages and pages of material.

On another note: You said you went to Medjugorje 3 times. Why the need to spend $7,000+ to be converted? To receive grace?

I know God likes it when we sacrifice for him to make pilgrimages, but the problem here is that once is never enough. A person goes to Medj. to pray for something. They receive it and then they have to go back to give thanks. Something else comes up - they have to go back again to pray for it. They receive it and have to go back to give thanks again. This just seems unhealthy to have grace so locked in to a particular geographical place. It leads one to believe that there is some force behind this which seeks to control it's followers.

Thankfully, the Church has been set up in complete opposition to this. We have the Sacraments right down the street so we are free to live and move wherever we please and still receive the greatest gift of God's grace. While pilgrimages to Holy sites like Jerusalem, the Vatican, Lourdes, etc can be beneficial to us - they are not required to receive grace. What a merciful and loving God have we! We don't have to travel far to meet Him. He meets us right where we are - if we are believing and willing.

So, my advice to all Medj. followers is this: instead of investing your time and money into a place half-way around the world for a personal experience that only you can "feel", invest your time into your loved ones and friends that are right around you. Instead of trying to convert your children by going there for the 4th time to pray for them, give them the money for a second honeymoon to enrich their marriage or offer up the time spent watching your grandchildren while the parents get time away. Or, help out a needy family and make a retreat at your home parish in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Encourage people to attend Mass and receive the Sacraments - not because you believe Our Lady is appearing in Medjugorje, but because without seeing or hearing you have a faith unshakable and you believe in the truth that is Jesus Christ and in His Church. That witness will bring more people to Jesus Christ than any trip to Europe.


thanks for the wise advice. But here are some facts:

All my trips to Medjugorje were done while I was still an Orthodox. The first two trips I made from Romania in '95, '96, and it cost me, both ~$300. Also you do not know the reasons for which I went there, since the owner of this site is not interested to hear from me anymore, because I am off-topic.

The third trip to Medjugorje was, again from Romania, but I needed to fly to Romania from the States, indeed, because my mother was suffering from cancer. While in Romania I took the train and went to Medjugorje by myself, with no group, for three days, and I spent around $200.
I came back with courage and motivation to become a Catholic, at the expense and outrage of all my fellow Orthodox friends, including my own family.

Was your 'presentation' of me in any way, form or sort comparable to the true story I just exposed here?

Under canon law (as I understand it), we are bound to submit to the judgement of the Bishop until it's proven that he's wrong. Because both of the Bishops and all of the comissions have concluded non constat de supernaturalitate, we the faithful are bound to NOT act as if this is a legitimate apparition. The mere fact that the Vatican has decided to look into it further does not change that, and in fact to date the Holy See defers to the judgement of the Bishop in response to questions about the proper attitude toward the events at Medjugorje.

There are many dozens of approved apparitions in which our Blessed Mother has asked for the things this alleged apparition at Medjugorje asks. There is no need to chase after an unapproved apparition merely because it piques our fancy.

We do not benefit from being disobedient to the law of the Church. It seems to me that even if we believe that this is a legitimate apparition, if the Bishop judges that it is not we will gain more grace by refusing to listen to the alleged apparition in obedience to the Bishop, than we will by engaging in the pious acts that the alleged apparition requests (even if they otherwise would be good and pious acts in accordance with Church teaching).

Even if I were the one to whom the alleged apparition appeared, I would submit myself to the judgement of the Bishop. If he concluded non constat de supernaturalitate, then all of my public and private acts would be in accordance with his judgement. That is my proper role in the Church.

Do nothing without the Bishop.

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on September 28, 2009 1:15 PM.

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