By Stephen Ryan, founder and publisher of Mystic Post
Recently,Â Bishop Robert Barron found himself in a high profile battle with â€œtraditionalistâ€ Rad-Trad Catholics who are active on social media. As the battle raged in the United States,Â halfway around the world, Pope Francis was sending a message of peace and hope to young Catholics celebrating the Medjugorje youth festival and embracing the special graces of the Mother of God.Â
Bishop Barron: â€œCut it out.â€
Bishop Barron was furious. â€œCut it outâ€,Â he fumed at rad-trads â€¦â€I must admit the vitriol, negativity, personal attacks, and outright calumny that come regularly from self-professed Catholics is dismaying and disedifying in the extremeâ€¦.armies of commenters, encouraged by certain internet provocateurs, inundated my Twitter and all my social media sites with wave upon wave of the most hateful, vituperative, venomous words that you can imagine.â€ Fr. Barron went on the say: â€œâ€œI was called spineless, gutless, cowardly, and thatâ€™s just to mention the most benign and unobscene remarks.â€
High profile traditionalist Catholic pundit, Taylor Marshall, author of best selling book â€œInfiltrationâ€,Â is a frequent target of Fr. Barron, and he would have none of Fr. Barronâ€™s lectures.Â Â Â
â€œWhat we see here is kinda tone deaf. We feel like we have been bullied, and pushed down and lied to by our bishops for decades,â€ Marshall said in a July 8 video.Â Mr. Marshalâ€™s book outlines a plot according to Catholic News Agency â€œby which â€œModernists and Marxists hatched a plan to subvert the Catholic Church from within.â€Â
To combat the attacks from traditionalists, Fr. Barron invited establishment Catholic media to an informal Zoom meeting to discuss tactics. National Catholic Reporter writes: The private meeting took place July 29 via Zoom and was confirmed to NCR by Brandon Vogt, content director for Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.Â
Vogt said that the meeting was initiated at his suggestion and had a threefold purpose, to discuss:
A “culture of contempt” among Catholics online;
The rise of “tabloid style” news in the Catholic press, “often in service of accruing web traffic and video views”;
The influence of the so-called “radical Traditionalist” (or “rad-trad”) movements online.Â
Brandon Vogt, sought input from â€œvarious Catholic mediaâ€.Â But to describe the invited Catholic media as â€œvariousâ€ is a stretch. America Media, Catholic News Agency, Catholic News Service, Crux and Our Sunday Visitor are nothing but an echo chamber for uber establishment icon Bishop Barron.Â Â
Mr. Vogtâ€™s narrow roster of Catholic media left out important voices who understand that finding Jesus through Our Ladyâ€™s heart is an important component of the new evangelization.Â Michael Brown at Spirit Daily would have been a helpful voice.Â
Not surprisingly, Mystic Post whose mission is to promote the establishment of the devotion to Our Ladyâ€™s Immaculate heart was not invited.Â Mystic Post has grown dramatically over the past couple of years simply because we believe that the devotion to Our Ladyâ€™s heart brings people back to Jesus.Â Pope John Paul II said: â€œChrist will conquer through her, because He wants the Churchâ€™s victories now and in the future to be linked to herâ€. Â This fact is sadly ignored by Brandon Vogt and Bishop Barron.Â Â
Mystic Post now has over 100,000 enthusiastic followers devoted to the Blessed Mother across its various social media platforms.Â Mystic Postâ€™s Facebook page has a higher engagement rate than Cruxnow and Our Sunday Visitors combined.Â Â Â
It is not clear what fresh insight Mr. Vogt was seeking from mainstream Catholic media beyond everybody nodding their heads in agreement that â€œsocial media activistsâ€ of the Rad-trad sort are mean and rude.
The irony of this â€œinside baseballâ€ Catholic cultural war is that across the Atlantic, Pope Francis was reaching out to thousands of young people celebrating the Medjugorje youth festival. As Catholic social media wars erupted, thousands of people in Medjugorje prayed the rosary, spent time with Jesus at adoration, went to confession and attended daily mass.Â A well-known fact is that after the festival, these young Catholics go back home and live their faith with their hearts and make a difference in their Catholic communities.Â
Many of these young Catholics would think Fr. Barronâ€™s sterile focus on the institutional beauty of the Church (he likes to talk about the beauty of the Church a lot) would ring empty. And many of the rad-trads would be viewed as followers of Col. Kurtz of Apocalypse Now, i.e. they are quite â€œliterally insane.â€Â Â
Pope Francis urged the young people gathered in Medjugorje to imitate the Virgin Mary by abandoning themselves to God. â€œThe great example of the Church that is young in the heart, ready to follow Christ with new freshness and fidelity, always remains with the Virgin Mary,â€ Pope Francis approved Catholic pilgrimages to Medjugorje in May 2019,
Mystic Post has followed news events about Medjugorje for many years and as we read these stories about Catholics tearing each other apart, a couple ofÂ interesting points come to mind.Â Â
First, there is one thing mainstream CatholicsÂ and traditionalist Catholics have agreed on over the years and that is Medjugorje is to be ignored, that it is a false apparition and it is disobedientÂ to the Church. Two: Both sides (traditionalists and mainstream Catholic media) have been entirely wrong about everything when it comes to reporting the truth on Medjugorje. Â The damage Catholic media and rad-trad pundits have done to the Catholic faith on account of their timid and lazy reporting on Medjugorje is consequential. For example, Catholic News Agency has some kind of odd editorial tic insisting on ALWAYS pointing out the â€œallegedâ€ status of the Medjugorje apparitions.Â Dear Catholic News Agency â€œwe get itâ€ – lighting will not strike you if you leave out the world â€allegedâ€ from time to time.Â To quote Bishop Barron: â€œCut it out.â€Â Church Militant and Michael Voris have never written an accurate word about Medjugorje. As the cliche goes â€œOften wrong, never in doubtâ€, applies to most reporting about Medjugorje.Â
What mainstream Catholic media, Bishop Barron and the Rad-trads ignore is that the Vatican is promoting and embracingÂ the special graces of Medjugorje like never before.Â For example, the Vatican envoy to Medjugorje, not long ago, said: â€œYou can say to the whole world that there is a light with Medjugorje and you can find the light again. We need these spots of light in the world that is going down to darkness. So friends, be carriers of this joyful news. But like the Russia collusion story, the perpetrators of the false narrative about Medjugorje have never apologized for being so wrong.Â Â Rather than report on one of the most significant Catholics events in modern times, an event with unparalleled spiritual fruits (conversions and vocations) activist Catholics in media fight among each other like â€œmean girlsâ€Â before a high school prom.
We would like to urge Bishop Barron to look to Our Lady and to be part of the triumph.Â Say â€œYesâ€ to Our Lady and embrace her as the critical component of the new evangelization and help build the devotion to Our Ladyâ€™s Immaculate heart.Â Â Â
Itâ€™s time to change hearts not minds.
Excerpt from Fr. Ivan Dugandzicâ€™s Homily for the 39th Anniversary of Our Ladyâ€™s coming to Medjugorje.
Dear brothers and sisters, Mary is the Woman from the future. Because she is the only person, who with her life and with her Assumption into Heaven, has achieved the fullness of Salvation. And according to that, we faithful are just walking in faith and hope towards that fullness of salvation, believing that it will be accomplished for us at the end of time. And since Jesus from the Cross left her to be our Mother and our Intercessor, our destiny has been tied to her and her role in the plan of salvation.
This is the theological background, and this is the grounding foundation of her frequent apparitions, especially in difficult historical circumstances. When the worldâ€™s countries are in a mess, and when even the Church does not have a clear vision of the future, God sends the Woman from Eternity, so she can encourage us. She can show us the way of salvation.
And just like the Angel once gave to her the word of encouragement, Do not be afraid, Mary; in the same way, Our Lady encouraged her surprised and terrified children [the Medjugorje visionaries] that she had chosen as her witnesses. Through them to the world, she gave and is giving a clear message of Peace.
And now, in this moment it is completely obvious that Peace cannot be guaranteed by state officials and mighty politicians of this world. There is conflict between various ideologies and military alliances, and peace conferences are being held in vain. And there are always new peace accords that are being signed. Peace has been endangered more and more, because people do not speak with their pure heart and sincere intentions. That is why it is in danger.
So, it happens, that in the desolation of the immorality of this world, from Apparition Hill, the clear stream from Eternity has been released into the desert of the world! Many have recognized and accepted this stream of peace. And that is how Medjugorje gradually with time has become the place of conversion and prayer, the confessional of the whole world. And so, in the meantime, the Church, after a long time and much careful observation and questioning, has recognized and accepted this clear stream of peace.
A year ago, a reputable representative from the Vatican, Archbishop Fisichella, right from this pulpit, publicly said that there is no better form of New Evangelization that the Church has longed for, for a long time, than what takes place in Medjugorje. It needs to be rooted and planted in every part of the world.
This has been confirmed to us indirectly in the words of Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in his recently published book. When asked by the journalist how does he feel about the spiritual stage of this world today, with great seriousness, after he mentions some concrete moral deviations, he warned that there is more danger in that which is invisible and is being hidden behind the visible moral deviations. And he says literally this: modern society at the moment is in the face of forming an anti-Christian credo; and opposing this credo is punished with social ex-communication. The fear of that mighty power of antichrist is completely natural. And what is necessary is the prayer of the whole Church to resist him.
Brothers and sisters, all of you who are honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace: We are the witnesses of this drama of mankind. The Antichrist, with the help of his many alliances, truly wishes to create man in his own image. That is why he wishes to wipe off the image of God in man; to kill that gene that man has when he as a creature comes from Creator. He wishes to define human nature anew. And he is declaring that what was once evil, now is something which is completely normal and acceptable. And all those who feel differently, they are forbidden. Then in the name of being politically correct and in the name of social tolerance, people represent and defend these evils, since otherwise they would be declared conservative and they would be harmful for advancement of society.
In such a spiritual state of the world, for 39 years, here, right here, the Woman from the Future, Queen of Peace, has been showing us the way to true peace and the future with God. She is reminding us permanently that this is the path of holiness, the path to God in the everyday realities of our lives. Our Lady of Medjugorje has been gathering the Church that prays. The Church that with the power of the prayer would successfully resist the opposing force of the antichrist, as Benedict said.
Let us be sincerely grateful that she considers us and calls us her Dear Children. And she wants us to be her witnesses and the apostles in that plan of salvation of the world. Devoted to her, let us be, in joy, open to the future that God is preparing for the Church and for the world. Amen!