The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church continues to tear away at her credibility. But did it also undermine the apparitions taking place in Medjugorje, the one place on earth where conversions, healing, and vocations spring forth on a daily basis?
AFTER having followed the Medjugorje apparitions for years, and researched and studied the background story, one thing has become clear: there are a lot of people who reject the supernatural character of this apparition site based on the dubious words of a few. A perfect storm of politics, lies, sloppy journalism, manipulation, and a Catholic media mostly cynical of all-things-mystical has fuelled, for years, a narrative that the six visionaries, and a gang of Franciscan thugs, has managed to dupe the world, including the canonized Saint, John Paul II.
Strangely, it doesn’t matter to some critics that the fruits of Medjugorje—millions of conversions, thousands of apostolates and religious vocations, and hundreds of documented miracles—are the most extraordinary that the Church has ever seen since, perhaps, Pentecost. To read the testimonies of people who have actually been there (as opposed to nearly every critic who usually hasn’t) is like reading the Acts of the Apostles on steroids (here is mine: A Miracle of Mercy.)
The Commission noted a very clear difference between the beginning of the phenomenon and its following development, and therefore decided to issue two distinct votes on the two different phases: the first seven presumed [apparitions] between June 24 and July 3, 1981, and all that happened later. Members and experts came out with 13 votes in favor of recognizing the supernatural nature of the first visions. —May 16th, 2017; lastampa.it
The committee argues that the six young seers were psychically normal and were caught by surprise by the apparition, and that nothing of what they had seen was influenced by either the Franciscans of the parish or any other subjects. They showed resistance in telling what happened despite the police [arresting] them and death [threats against] them. The Commission also rejected the hypothesis of a demonic origin of the apparitions. —Ibid.
The devotion of Medjugorje is allowed. It’s not prohibited, and need not be done in secret… Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem… The decree of the former episcopal conference of what used to be Yugoslavia, which, before the Balkan war, advised against pilgrimages in Medjugorje organized by bishops, is no longer relevant. —Aleitia, Dec. 7th, 2017
In closing, it was the Bishop of Mostar who once said:
While waiting for the results of the Commission’s work and the Church’s verdict, let the Pastors and the faithful honor the practice of the usual prudence in such circumstances. —from a press release dated January 9, 1987; signed by Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, president of the Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops and by Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar
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. (Acts 5:38-39)