MEDJUGORJE: Setting the record straight

It is no secret that there is a divergence of opinions regarding the events in Medjugorje, Bosnia. Some believe in the entire 40 year history of these alleged apparitions, some believe in the first year, some believe in the first 7 apparitions and some believe Mary has not set foot in the place, even once. For the record, and full disclosure, I am a member of this last group. I believe the entire thing is a diabolical deception of the devil with a huge assist from Mammon (his demon of the love of money).

Other members of this very group- DEEPER TRUTH- run the gamut of the other positions.

This divergence of opinions has created some emotional chaffing and raised the question of whether differing views on a private revelation can be held by practical Catholics in communion with the Holy See. There has been some miscommunication and misperception among the DEEPER TRUTH members and followers as to what these positions and requirements are and how they relate to Medjugorje.

I have decided tonight to clear up the misunderstandings, citing official Church teaching as the guide.

First, Private Revelations that are approved or unsubstantiated are not binding on the faithful. For example, the Church ruled in favor of the appearances of Our Lord to both Margaret Mary Alacoque and Sister Faustina Kowalska and established devotions according to those private revelations. Though the church does encourage the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy devotions and days, it does not compel them, nor require belief under pain of sin.

This is not the case with condemned private revelations. When a private revelation is condemned by the Catholic church, devotion to- and promotion of- that revelation must cease or the offender is guilty of willful heresy. Examples of condemned private revelations are the messages of so-called "Maria Divine Mercy" and the alleged apparitions of Bayside New York. The only exception to the ban on promotion and devotion to private revelations is if the condemnation is fully and officially overturned such as was the case of Our Lady of All nations in Amsterdam.

The jurisdiction for approval or rejection of a private revelation falls under the ordinary magisterium of the local Bishop. This brings us to Medjugorje.

Let me repeat, the approval or rejection falls to the magisterium of the local Bishop. Period. Full stop. That's church law. A Marian apparition does not have to be approved or rejected by the Vatican. Apparitions such as Champion, Wisconsin and Betania, Venezuela were approved by the Bishop. Bayside, New York was condemned by the Bishop.

Medjugorje was also condemned by the Bishop.... but not just once....

from the site Catholic Apologetics:

The bishop in the diocese to which Medjugorje belongs, Msgr. Zanic of Mostar, remitted this duty by forming a diocesan commission to do an impartial inquiry into the events that had been taking place since 1981. After a few years of thorough and intense investigative study, which the Church always exercises to determine an unmistakable decision in these matters, the Bishop issued a statement in 1986 giving the results of the study. In the statement, Msgr. Zanic condemned the apparitions as not made by the most Holy Virgin Mary and he forbade the pilgrimages set up from the beginning without ecclesiastical approval by the pastor of Mostar.
1) The second Diocesan Commission, which worked from 1984 to 1986, voted explicitly on 2 May 1986, by an overwhelming majority for the Non constate de supernaturalitate (11 negative votes, 2 positive, 1 in nucleo, 1 in abstention). 2) The declaration of the Episcopal Conference of 1991 stated: "On the basis of studies conducted so far, it cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring." ...My conviction and my position is not only Non constat de supernaturalitate, but also Constat de non supernaturalitate as regards the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje. --Msgr. Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar, Letter of October 2, 1997, to M. Thierry Boutet, Editor of the journal Edifa.

Mr Carpenter has claimed that the Bishop is against all apparitions even Fatima and Lourdes but that's just not accurate.

In a resulting interview given by Fr. Deleclos of the Libre Belgique, Msgr. Zanic was asked: "Are you, as a matter of principle, against apparitions?" The Bishop replied: "Quite the contrary! I myself have been eight times to Lourdes and I have organized pilgrimages. I have done much for the devotion to the Most Holy Virgin. I was even in Banneux, in Beauraign (Belgium), and Syracuse (Italy), three places where the apparitions of Mary had been stated as authentic."
"However, you are not convinced of this in Medjugorje?" Reply: "I should really be glad to have a Lourdes in my diocese. It would be something grandiose. But I cannot before God, before my conscience and before the Church proclaim these apparitions are authentic and supernatural. I am certainly a sinner and unworthy to be a bishop, yet I believe it would be the worst of all the sins of my life to let this falseness pass for truth, knowing that it is a lie." Despite these words of the Bishop, which the faithful should accept as a decision from God, people continued to flock to Medjugorje and the priest did not desist from organizing pilgrimages as ordered.
Another committee on the national level, composed of 20 bishops, was organized to decide on the "apparitions". This committee also spent several years in patiently studying the matter and finally in November 1990 issued a statement which concluded that there is no proof that Marian apparitions have occurred at Medjugorje. This statement was approved nearly unanimously, with 19 bishops in favor and one abstaining. A Vatican doctrinal official said the bishops' statement against defining the apparitions as supernatural should be accepted by the faithful around the world.

That is 4 times that the Apparitions in Medjugorje have been declared Non constate de supernaturalitate or unworthy of belief. 4 times in a 9 year span. Medjugorje supporters such as Donald and John insist that these verdicts were agenda driven. 4 times? by 4 different parties??

Under church law, these phenomena stand condemned unless an equal or greater body overturns that ban.

These are the facts, folks, plain and simple. I do not say this to hurt anyone.

In 2014, a commission was sent by the Pope to study the events in Medjugorje. After 3 years, the commission, headed by Cardinal Rouini, issued a non-binding report for the Pope's consideration. 13 members voted in favor of the recommendation. The report recommended consideration of a designation of constat de supernaturalitate (worthy of belief) to a total of 7 of these alleged apparitions ( about 1/1000th of 1% of the total). The Pope concluded that the issue needed further study so he sent an envoy to study the pastoral needs of the ever growing pilgramages.

After nearly 4 1/2 years, Pope Francis has not accepted the Rouini recommendations and they have no force of authority unless he does. The Pope's remarks have been very negative about Medjugorje. In published comments he said the woman of Medjugorje is not the mother of Jesus and that he prefers Our Lady as a Madonna and not as chief of the postal service sending daily messages. Again, these comments- by the only man who can approve the Rouini report- are a matter of public record.

Now, Pope Francis might surprise me and suddenly reverse course and sign the report tomorrow. I would bet my house against it, mind you, but he could. If he does, the condemnation is lifted. Until then, these apparitions stand officially condemned by the Catholic church.

Here is where things really get confusing for me.

Msrs Hartley and Carpenter are-simultaneously denying the condemnations exist while arguing that they were motivated by nefarious considerations. Are you seriously arguing against the validity of bans you deny the existence of? These 4 bans are binding until they are proven...not alleged... proven to be invalid.

A non-binding report that the Pope has still not approved 55 months later, does not accomplish that.

There are 16 Marian apparitions approved by the Vatican. 10 more approved only by Bishops. Medjugorje is not listed among those 26. Here is the list.

In conclusion, John Carpenter and Donald Hartley need to suspend saying that Medjugorje- or any part of Medjugorje is approved. It isn't and a 30 second google search proves it. They are certainly welcome to believe it will be approved but they must cease saying that it is because the credibility of our great apostolate is suffering colossal damage by this misinformation.

As for whether or not they will be approved, I look forward to that debate with Mr. Carpenter. To me, Medjugorje is a laughable and absolutely diabolical fraud and this video is just a tiny sampling of the overwhelming amount of evidence to prove that position. This is why I have gotten so miffed by the smart @$$ "peanut gallery" and "agenda" remarks. There are mountains of evidence against Medjugorje and people who oppose it are just as devout and longing for truth as you are.

The Catholic luminaries against Medjugorje reads like a "who's who" of prominent Catholics including former Catholic Answers apologist Patrick Coffin, EWTN Priest Father Mitch Pacwa, Pope Francis, many of the members of Deeper Truth and Bishop and exorcist Mons Andrea Gemma who calls it an "absolutely diabolical event".

I have now stated my position clearly. Let's review:

  1. Please stop falsely claiming Medjugorje is approved when everyone on earth knows is isn't.

  2. Please stop namely calling and insulting the countless devout Catholics who disagree with Medjugorje in good faith.

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

John Benko, co-founder of Deeper Truth