With all of the provocative answers that Fr. Malachi Martin gave to the questions that I asked him, (detailed in the November '95 issue† of The Hammer), the† one that provoked the most controversy was his response, “I believe Medjugorje* is a Satanic hoax.”† I have had several readers write to me because they were upset† by† this† answer.† Not† only† this but they wished† further† explanation of why Fr. Malachi would say what he did.† I have, therefore, written to Fr. Martin asking him for a more detailed explanation of his position on the subject.† I am bothered by† the fact that no one seemed to be disturbed by his answers to the really important questions. Until we hear from Fr. Martin† I† will† give 3 reasons why the supposed “apparitions” in Medjugorje should present grave problems to any informed Roman Catholic.
††††††††††† *(For my readers who do not know† about† Medjugorje, it is a small village in ††††††††††† Bosnia/Herzegovina where† alleged apparitions† of† the Blessed Virgin Mary have been taking place to a group of young men and women† since 1981.†
There has been controversy because of different† events surrounding these alleged visions and sayings attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.)
Let me begin by stating emphatically that as far as I am concerned authentic private revelations in and of themselves are merely interesting side notes to the really necessary issues concerning the Church.† The Roman Catholic Church contains the Fullness of† Faith and the† Fullness† of† Grace;† it needs nothing more than this.† Christ Our Lord has, at† various† times,† in† various places, to†† a† very select† few,† revealed† Himself† or† has† allowed His Blessed Mother or the saints to† reveal themselves for the edification of certain individuals or to deliver a prophetic message such as at Fatima.† Nonetheless, these visions and revelations (even when belief in them is permitted and recommended by the Church) are not necessary to the Faith and should never be given more weight in the scheme of things than they deserve. It is, therefore, very important that belief or disbelief of purely private revelations† should never be a source of division or contention within the Catholic community.†† We, as Roman Catholics, do not rest our faith upon anything but the revelation of Jesus Christ given to the Church and protected by the Church through the activity of the Holy Spirit. No mere private revelation should† cause† anyone† to reject or have disdain for any other Catholic. Whether they have† weighed† all† the† evidence or just have a predisposition that† inclines them to reject all alleged private revelations† out of hand - this is perfectly within the rights of† any Catholic.† No† Catholic is† required† to† believe† anything other than the official teachings of the Magisterium of the† Church nor should anyone be forced† or† coerced to† do† so.† It† is very important† that† we† as† loyal† Roman† Catholics should† have the same attitude of the Church in regards to private revelations. Every private revelation that has not been officially investigated by the Church should first be looked upon with grave suspicion by every Roman Catholic and should be assumed false before being proved true.† This is the wise attitude of the Church. Throughout history these things have occurred, and many if not the majority have been found to be less† than† genuine. The burden of† proof† always lies with the one claiming the revelation. If† an† investigation has been conducted our† attitude should be to follow the conclusions of that investigation. Stubborn clinging to a mere private revelation and resistance to legitimate Church authority, especially after a proper investigation with negative conclusions, is spiritually dangerous. To resist legitimate Church authority for something this unnecessary† to the Faith and to continue to promote it as if it were authentic borders on mortal sin.†††
There† is an incident in the life of St. Theresa of Avila who was “plagued” by private visions and revelations.† In discussing these things with her spiritual director† she was† commanded† under obedience that when “Our Lord” appeared to her again she was to curse at the apparition† and give it† a profane gesture telling† it† to† go† to† hell.† St. Theresa obeyed her superior with complete obedience.† After having done† what† her †spiritual† director† had† commanded,† she looked at† the visage† of† Our Lord with embarrassment and apologized.† Our Lord’s reaction was significant.† He told her† she† did† exactly what she was supposed to do.† She was never to obey Him (Jesus) if doing so would go against the direct orders of her superiors. If† He wanted her to do a special task and they would not allow it she was to obey them first and† He would† eventually† open† their hearts to what He wanted so that† they† would† give† her permission to do what He had requested.† Notice, OBEDIENCE to her superiors was the necessary element not obedience to the vision. This, dear reader, has† always been the constant teaching of the Church. We do the will of God by obedience to our legitimate superiors.
When† I was studying philosophy and theology† at† Loyola University one† of† the† main† subjects upon which I† concentrated was mystical theology.† In fact, had I† gone for a doctorate in theology it would have been within this field of study.† Therefore, whenever there are reports of visions, locutions,† stigmata and the like I am always interested in discovering their† veracity and† authenticity.† I would† consider myself well† informed† on† this† subject. Because of† this† interest I have followed the events† in† Medjugorje† since they began in 1981. These† apparitions were taking place full force while I lived in Rome† studying theology. I† had† several† opportunities† to† go† and† visit† Medjugorje. I† opted† to† stay† in Rome.† I had heard too many things† which disturbed† me† about† these “apparitions” and began to have very severe doubts even back then in the early 80’s.
There have been 4 official investigations by the Church, 3 of which were official Commissions set up† to investigate† the† alleged† apparitions† and claims of supernatural† events† at† Medjugorje. The first† was† set† up† and† completed by Bishop† Pavao Zanic who was the bishop of the diocese in which† the village of Medjugorje is found.† The findings of this bishop and his commission were both negative in regards to the events at Medjugorje. His commission found that the events† at† Medjugorje were not† from God.† He† discovered† that† during† his† personal investigation,† 4 of the “visionaries” had boldfacedly lied to him and to others many times.† Subsequent to his negative findings he has been accused of being a Communist sympathizer, at best, by those who wish to believe the “visionaries”.† This is patently untrue.† Bishop Zanic himself has suffered at the hands of the Communists. He would have suffered† again at† their hands but not for the sake of what† he† considered† a† sham.† The† Franciscan† priests† in the parish† at† Medjugorje were† very hostile to their legitimate superior, defying him at every turn.† One† of† these† priests† has† subsequently† left the priesthood and has had a child from an ex-Nun. I† wonder† if anyone†† has ever† considered the possibility that† these† priests† could† have† actually been†† Communist† plants.† There† was† never† a persecution of the children by the Communists.† Notice how the Communists basically† left† Medjugorje† alone.† Why† shouldn’t† they?† They have† made†† a mint† in† revenues† from† all† the† tourists.†† Medjugorje† was† quite† a† lucrative† deal† for† the† government† before the war† since† all†† tourist† money went† into† government coffers.
Because the visionaries, parish† priests† and† the† people continued to refuse to obey their legitimate superior, 2 more commissions were established - one by the Yugoslavian National Conference of Catholic Bishops and another† by the Vatican. Both† commissions† found† no evidence of† the supernatural involved in the† alleged apparitions† despite† the† fact† that† they† had years and years† of† gathered† facts and supposed evidence. The Croatian bishops and the Vatican† came to the same conclusion as bishop Zanic. “...It cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions† and† revelations†† are occurring there.”†† In Fatima the commission that was† established† to† investigate† the apparitions gave† a positive† affirmation† of their authenticity† and† they† only† had the evidence of 6 brief apparitions to investigate.† Yet with nearly 10 years of "evidence"† neither the Conference of Bishops nor the Vatican could come up with enough evidence to†† affirm the claims of† the "visionaries" at Medjugorje. Nor† could they† confirm† that† any† real† miracles† of claimed healings had taken place† according to the strict† guidelines† of the Church.† Nonetheless, even† after these negative results† the “visionaries”, parish priests† and people continue to† disobey their superiors.
This† lack† of† obedience is my primary† objection to the† Medjugorje phenomenon.† We have enough of that among those† who† claim† to be Catholic† but† have† denied essentials of the Faith.† Now the objection I† get from the Medjugorites” to these commissions† is† that† Lourdes† and Fatima had Church opposition also but both were finally confirmed to be authentic.† Here’s the difference: When† commissions† were set up to investigate the events associated with Lourdes and Fatima they both ended with the same results† which† positively† affirmed their authenticity.†† They didn’t have commissions condemn the apparitions and then new ones affirm them.† The fact that the Medjugorje events† have† had† three commissions† and a total of 4 investigations with no positive results should be more than enough for† any loyal† Roman Catholic† to† reject† these alleged† apparitions out of hand.† Where† is the sense of obedience among the adherents of the Medjugorje phenomenon?† In fact, disobedience† has† been† the† constant† undercurrent from the very beginning of these events. The father of disobedience must be very proud of his accomplishment.
"Even if an Angel of Light..."
According to the "visionaries" of Medjugorje the Blessed Virgin Mary has made several† statements† that†† are basically heretical. I will choose† only one which has been repeated many times† and† in† many† different† ways.† It†† is† reported by the visionaries that†† "Our Lady" said† :" All† religions† are† equal before God."†† This, dear reader,† is heresy, pure and simple.
"Not without sorrow we have learned that another error, no less destructive, has taken possession of some parts of the Catholic world, and has taken up its abode in the souls of many Catholics who think that one should have good hope of the eternal salvation of all those who have never lived in the true Church of Christ.
...as is Our Apostolic duty, we wish your episcopal solicitude and vigilance to be aroused, so that you will strive as much as you can to drive from the minds of men that impious and equally fatal opinion, namely, that the way of eternal salvation can be found in any religion whatsoever.
For, it must be held by faith (de fide) that outside the Apostolic Roman
††††††††††† Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood...."
(Pius IX, "Singulari quadem" D1646-1647)
Since, therefore, the real Blessed Virgin would never commit such a heresy this† is† one† of three things: It† is a hoax perpetrated by the "visionaries" in collusion with the parish priests, or† it† is† a hoax perpetrated by Satan, the father of lies, or finally,† it† is† a† mass †hallucination† with the suggestionable minds of the weak being influenced to† see and believe things that† are not really there. Whatever the case, the bottom line† is† that† the Mother of† God† cannot†† and† would† never† proclaim anything contrary to the Faith.† Because of this fact, priests and theologians who have swallowed the Medjugorje bait hook, line and sinker have scrambled to performed† Olympian† feats† of mental gymnastics to try to explain away this blatant statement† of† heresy† as if it came from the mouth of the Blessed Virgin but she really didn't understand what she was saying via the way the rest of† the† world† would† look† at† it. How pathetic!† These priests and "theologians" when hearing this statement, should have instantaneously proclaimed the whole thing a fraud but they've been bamboozled like all the rest of those poor deluded people that hunger† for the supernatural† in† a† Church† that† the modernists have† so secularized† and stripped of the supernatural that† they† will† run† after anything that† gives them a sense of† what† they† haven't† been given through the Modernist religion. The fact is that no matter how these theologians† attempt to explain this† statement† to† make† it† sound† orthodox,† they† can't.†† Does† anyone† think† for† a minute that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church would ever make a statement† about the Faith that would be confusing and cause consternation to those who know the dogmas† of† the Faith? Please, let's be real!
To† promote† and† believe in a mere private revelation after such damning evidence is† beyond† my† comprehension.† Let's face it.† It's just not worth the trouble. As† orthodox Roman Catholics, we have much more important matters with which to concern ourselves, such as the Modernist destruction of the Faith.† What† a perfect† triumph† Satan has in dividing those who are truly faithful over such a minor† matter, and that† is exactly what he has done. If nothing else the division this† insignificant†† phenomena has† created† is† enough to reject it if not to completely ignore it.
She goes on and on and on...
Now there† are about a hundred more reasons that I could go into about the Medjugorje† phenomenon† and† why I believe it is dangerous. However, I would like to† concentrate on one last reason that† indicates† the supposed "apparitions" are not authentic.
When† God† became† man in order to reveal to us who He was,† He first spent 30 years† in silence.† When† He† was† finally ready to† complete His†† mission he went about teaching and performing miracles† for† a† short† 3† years.† If† you take the longest† of† the† gospels (St. Luke's)† it†† is† only† approximately 33 pages in length. 80% of† the gospel is narrative about the events surrounding the life of† Christ.† Only 20% contains the words† that† came forth from the mouth of God.† There are† 3 most famous approved† apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego she came to ask for a chapel to be built in her honor so that God could use her intercession for the Mexican people in this special place.† This took 4 apparitions and approximately 700 words.† Then came the dramatic proof required by the bishop. When Our Lady appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes there were 18 apparitions.† She† did not speak until the 3rd one. In all she spoke less than 100 words.† She gave proof before the end of the visions that she had appeared† to† Bernadette† by bringing forth from her hands the miraculous† spring.† In Fatima the Blessed Mother appeared only 6 times. She spoke approximately 850 words.† She proved her† presence† by† the† spectacular miracle of the sun. Each of the above authentic apparitions spoke only as a Catholic would, reiterating Catholic dogma.
Now contrast these authentic visions with the supposed apparitions at Medjugorje.† To date there have been approximately† 5295 reported apparitions with volumes of reported messages and still there† is† no† end in sight. This "vision" speaks† of such mundane subjects† as the fashions the young "visionaries" wear.† Just† think,† according† to† what the "visionaries"† have reported, "Our Lady" has decided† to outdo her Son in† quantity if not† in† quality. If you took all the recorded words that Our Lord ever spoke you couldn't even come close to what "His Mother" has supposedly spoken in the nearly 15 years she's† been continuously† repeating herself† ad† nauseam.† And still there is no proof.
God's modus† operandi† is brevity. He says† what† needs to be said and leaves it at that.† Mary has† demonstrated this same trait† in her authentic apparitions, and when† opposed by the legitimate superiors of the visionaries she has always, almost immediately, provided the proof they have required.† None of these things are present† in† the† alleged "apparitions" of Medjugorje. If† there† is one fruit which seems† to have come from this phenomena† at Medjugorje it is disobedience.††††††††††††††††††††††††