Investigating Medjugorje

The current issue of Our Sunday Visitor has a cover story on the new commission set up by the Vatican to investigate — and come to some conclusion over — the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. The examination will fall under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — Pope Benedict’s former office.

If you’ve followed the heated dispute at all over the past thirty years, you know there’s little middle ground between critics and supporters. Advocates point to some of the good results that have emerged from the site — conversions and reversions, new vocations, and apparent physical healings. But skeptics say there’s more to the story (E. Michael Jones bombshell 1998 expose’, “The Ghosts of Surmanci: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives” remains the single best critique of the alleged visions/visionaries).

“The good fruits of Medjugorje are undeniable,” said Patrick Madrid, director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College. “But we can’t disregard the fruits that aren’t good.”

Madrid, who calls himself “a skeptic, not a critic,” of Medjugorje, points to accounts of scandal surrounding several key figures as an example of those “not good” fruits.

He likewise finds fault in the very thing that so many proponents find good: the messages.

“From very early on, you see an incitement to disobedience in the messages,” Madrid said. “If this really is the Mother of God urging disobedience to the bishops, that seems at odds with her messages to people like St. Faustina, where she urged obedience even in the wake of disbelief and disapproval.”

I’m skeptical by nature, so it’s no surprise that I’m with Pat on this one. While I know a number of people who have been transformed by experiences they had at Medjugorje, I’ve also seen the damage firsthand. If the commission decides against the alleged visions, I fully expect a significant portion of Medjugorje’s true believers to break from the Church.

We shall see.

[Hat tip: Patricio Madrid]


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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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