RESPONSE to Register 31417 article on Medj
March 24, 2017
“Faithful Await Vatican Verdict on Medjugorje: Cardinal Francis Arinze, whose new book about Marian veneration will be released this month, tells the Register ‘it’s not so simple’ for Rome to rule on the matter.”
It’s puzzling that the March 14, 2017 National Catholic Register article (headline above) didn’t cite anyone who was well-informed on Medjugorje. The principal sources for the story were veteran anti-Medjugorje partisans Donel Foley and Bishop Ratko Peric (see: http://marytv.tv/?cat=5 ). Perhaps things are “not so simple” because articles like this amplify and propagate the confusion they themselves create.
In an older variation of their assault on the apparition, Foley and Peric wield as their weapon early transcripts of conversations with the visionaries.
These transcripts are “the key to understanding Medjugorje,” Foley believes, as they “reveal the serious problems with accepting the visions as genuinely supernatural,” an aspect he highlighted in his book. Foley hopes that more people will pay attention to them, and he would like the Vatican to publish “an agreed and authentic” multilingual version of the transcripts to help the ordinary faithful “better understand the phenomena of Medjugorje.”
What Foley does not mention, although he is well aware of it, is that the version of the transcripts he cites was produced at the beginning of the phenomenon by two local Communist Party members operating under orders to end the apparitions. The two members were the nephew and niece of Fr. Ivo Sivric, a Croatian priest who moved to the USA a long time ago. When his relatives fell into disgrace for their efforts, Fr. Sivric sought to sabotage Medjugorje by publishing doctored versions of the transcript in English. Foley, E. Michael Jones and others then built their whole case against Medjugorje around these transcripts.
The whole affair calls to mind the famous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” produced by anti-Semites but publicized as having been written by Jews – and then used to justify attacks on the Jews. Anyone can write transcripts – and if it came from a declared enemy why should I trust them if I can’t listen to the actual tapes?
All this “he said-she said” kind of argument may have left the debate in the same situation as that reported by the Register if not for one major recent headline not mentioned in the story or by Foley, Peric, et al. Authentic transcripts of the actual tape-recorded conversations were recently published as Medjugorje: The First Daysby Fr. James Mulligan. The book has “a full, un-redacted transcript of 22 tape recorded interviews and on-the-spot commentaries with the visionaries.” A comparison between these transcripts and the snarky Sivric version not only exposes the deceit of the latter but also testifies to the transparency and innocence of the visionaries in the first days of the apparition! They support the authenticity of the apparition rather than the other way around as Foley-Peric would have us believe.
In an additional attempt to cast aspersions on these events, the article draws attention to what it thinks reveals Pope Francis’ negative opinion of Medjugorje:
Some believe he appeared to allude to the apparitions when, in a talk to 140 superiors general of male religious orders and congregations last November he said the real Madonna is not “at the head of a post office,” every day sending “a different letter that says, “my children, do this, and then the next day do that.”
It’s more likely the pope was referring to the apparitions in San Nicolas, Argentina, with which he is very familiar, and not Medjugorje. After returning from Rome last week, Bishop Hugo Santiago, of San Nicolás, declared the on-going messages being given by Our Lady there could no longer be disseminated (March 18, 2017, “Crux”). In sharp contrast the pope is sending his personal envoy to Medjugorje next week to oversee the pastoral care of pilgrims who are coming from all over the world. And the Papal envoy hasn’t concealed his joy! (“Archbishop Henryk Hoser to Aleteia: We should not be worried about Medjugorje!” Aleteia, March 15, 2017, Read Article)
The Register’s article notes:
For Cardinal Arinze, the pastoral effects of Medjugorje are “the most important thing. If the effects are good,” he said, “we rejoice.”
Important for Cardinal Francis Arinze are the positive effects Medjugorje has had on the faithful who visit. “One point that is not doubted is that people who go there actually repent. They actually go to confession, go to Mass — that is, they become better Christians…. So it is a shrine.”
On October 10, 2007 Cardinal Arinze thanked me for my book, “Medjugorje and the Church”. “May God bless you for the great diligence put into producing this well-documented work which I shall read with great interest.” For 25 years, readers of Catholic print media in the US have been bombarded with dishonest reporting on Medjugorje. I suggest their readers take a look at my book (which carries a Nihil Obstat) to consider the other side. (Medjugorje and the Church, Queenship Publishing)