Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


The Medjugorje Deception

The Medjugorje Deception was written by E Michael Jones. It claims to expose Medjugorje as more than just being a hoax, but as a very dangerous hoax.
A number of people have been allegedly seeing the Virgin Mary in apparitions at Medjugorje for years. The experts agree that the visions are probably fraudulent.

In 1981, on June 24th, a strange report heralded the beginning of the Medjugorje industry. Six children reported seeing a shape standing up a hill. The next day four of these with a few others went back to the hill and they got a closer look at the figure who said she was the Virgin Mary. Soon the Lady began to appear to them in the parish Church of Medjugorje. The seers are: Vicka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Marija Pavlovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Ivanka Ivankovic and Jakov Colo. She gave them ten secrets which prophesy the future. Only some of the visionaries report seeing the Lady on a daily basis. The Lady stopped appearing to the rest except on special occasions. The visions have been condemned by two diocesan bishops, bishops of Mostar who alone have been declared by Rome and “infallible” Catholic tradition to have the authority to pronounce upon the vision. The bishop in the Catholic system is the successor of the apostles while the pope is the successor of the apostles and also one specific apostle, Peter. The authority of the apostles to run the Church both in discipline and in caring for the faith has been transmitted to the bishops in an apostolic succession that can be traced back to the apostles which is why laypeople cannot ordain bishops.

The book reveals that Fr Tomaslav Vlasic became a father by a nun called Manda in 1977. Yet the Virgin had nothing but praise for this man - the spiritual director of the visionaries. She should have said nothing but simply recommended somebody more suitable to direct and guide the visionaries. A priest who does that is supposed to own up and stop celebrating the sacraments. Again the Virgin condones and even encourages disobedience and deception. Vlasic manipulated the nun by convincing her that it was God’s will that she say nothing about the child’s paternity. He compared her to Mary and said she and her baby would be blessed with wonderful gifts from Heaven (page 49). The real Virgin would not tolerate a man as sly as that. It would reflect badly on the authenticity of her appearances for he could be manipulating the visionaries. Sr Briege Mc Kenna told Vlasic that God would send him his mother Mary and she prayed over Vlasic. Briege must have approved of his deception for she had acquired a reputation for reading minds. Soon the Virgin began appearing in Medjugorje.

The Franciscans engaged in a regime of horrific persecution of the Orthodox Church in Yugoslavia in combination with the Ustashi in the forties. Symbols of the Ustashi were stuck to the candles on the altar after the apparitions began on at least one occasion (71). Zovko was in charge of the liturgical affairs. Nice reliable guy that!

The time the lady doctor tried to touch the apparition the visionaries all said the Virgin had called the doctor a disbelieving Judas whereas she should have said a disbelieving Thomas. Ivanka felt pressured when attention was drawn to this mistake so she changed the subject by claiming that the doctor saw a cloud as the Lady departed (page 78). Laurentin changed Judas into Thomas in his book on the messages (page 78). Even he agreed that the Virgin had made a mistake that the real Virgin wouldn’t have made and he decided to hide it.
Mirjana read a book on Lourdes before the visions and then she said later that she had never heard of Lourdes before they began (83). She knew that if she could make people believe she could behave as a true visionary without knowing how visionaries behaved she would make her visions more credible.

Fr Bubalo had a taped interview with Vicka who did not know what the annunciation, the time an angel told Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus Christ, was (120-121). Vicka was asked if she could recall a feast when the Virgin dressed richly. She thought on one at the end of March. He asked her if it was the annunciation. She said she was not sure and did not remember what the Virgin said about that day. She said that it is clear and it isn’t clear to her what is remembered on that day. Bubalo then told her what the annunciation was. Vicka said that the Virgin was extremely happy that day and was not as happy even at Christmas. Yet Vicka was allegedly told the life story of the Virgin in the apparitions. Her reply when asked about what the feast commemorated is a typical brush-off when one does not know the answer. Bubalo tries to prompt her for he is embarrassed by her ignorance. If the Virgin was that overjoyed she would have remembered why the Virgin was so hyper. And it is strange that Mary would be happier about the annunciation than the birth of Jesus. It was not as if the angel told her she was conceiving that very moment. The existence of Jesus is more important than the announcement that Jesus will exist.

The Virgin continues to invite and welcome pilgrims to Medjugorje even after the Vatican forbade pilgrimages to this apparition site in 1985 (124). The real Virgin would say that you can come to see what is going on but not as a pilgrim. A pilgrimage is only done where apparitions or whatever are recognised by the Church. Pilgrimage is the word for a prayerful trip to a recognised miracle site. She never said that. The fruit of her appearances has been disobedience to the Vatican which she commands obedience to! She kissed a picture of the pope on one occasion.

Zanic had a second commission in 1986 which pronounced the visions false but never made its conclusions public. This belies the notion that Zanic would do anything to destroy Medjugorje (124). He behaves like an honest man who does not wish to upset anybody. If he has to say something he says it but he does not set out to discredit Medjugorje so enthusiastically that his integrity comes under question. The Vatican got the report and its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith commanded a third commission and created it without the request of Zanic or any other bishop in Yugoslavia. The Congregation gave out a decree that nothing must be done that implies that the apparitions are supernatural such as pilgrimages or anything (125). Zanic was informed by Cardinal Ratzinger that the Cardinal believed the apparitions were inauthentic in 1988. Ratzinger never repudiated this statement so Zanic is telling the truth though many Medjugorians disbelieve him. A priest said that Ratzinger did say this (125, 127, 184). The Vatican bases its decisions on science and on compatibility with Catholic doctrine. It cannot have the prejudice attributed to the bishops.

A minority of experts claim that the apparitions cannot be naturally explained but the ones employed by the commission thought of natural explanations. In cases of doubt, the preference must be given to the persons who plausibly deny the supernatural appearances.

Fr Jozo Zovko who has spoken many things that make it seem the apparition is genuine and from God is said to be a molester of female pilgrims (164). A man called Waterinchx from Belgium raised thousands for Medjugorje says that he knows a dozen women who had this bad experience.  Zovko was eventually suspended as a result of the complaints in 1989 (165). Bishop Peric who succeeded Zanic suspended him again in 1994 for refusing to obey lawful orders. Zovko was proved to have been a liar in the Network 5 interview for the video, Visions on Demand. Marija said he was no saint in 1994 (165). The Virgin said to Marija that he was a saint in 1981. The real Virgin would not give anybody a big head by saying such a thing. And Marija would have been told not to tell. When the Virgin did not condemn his deep involvement in the spiritual lives of the visionaries she must have thought he was a saint from 1981 until the truth about him came out. She did not know his secrets so she was not the Virgin Mary.

Medjugorje is a major place of pilgrimage for New Agers (191). New Agers are into occultism and pantheism and believe that every person is God and tend to believe that there is no such thing as sin or evil. They can use Catholic terminology but with the meanings changed. A Fr Pavich found a quote from one of their occult books in a message of the Virgin in 1991. The book was dictated by a spirit called Orin who said that negatives should be changed into positives which was exactly the advice that the Virgin said. Since the children do not read the priest thought they were communicating with Orin and not Mary. Perhaps it is coincidence? Maybe. But then again, maybe not!

But Ivan Dragicevic once said that they were seeing something (352). This hints that he was not sure what they were seeing. Mirjana once had a vision of a handsome young man who said that the Devil can appear as a something beautiful and that makes people happy. One time the Virgin appeared and then Mary appeared and chased this Virgin away saying the first was the Devil. This looks too staged for the Devil would know that she would not be letting him take his form unless she was planning to make a fool of him.

Zanic commanded the children to deliver all messages to him and not to make them public (193). They disobeyed and if they had really been seeing the Virgin and they were going to disobey she would have said nothing to them at all. This was perfectly reasonable of the bishop for the authenticity of the apparitions was not certain. The bishop whether right or wrong has the right to stop messages that may be made up or from Satan or from psychic powers. Authority is not about being right but about keeping up order.

The Virgin approved the fanciful book of revelations about the life of Jesus by Maria Valtorta called the Poem of the Man-God (200-201). It is enough that this book says the Turin Shroud is authentic even though the Shroud man was not Jesus for he bled too when he was laid out. The Church put it on the Index in the sixties and though the Index was done away Catholics are still forbidden to read what was on it (202). Rome forbids bad reading so this is quite logical. The Medjugorje centres furiously rejected the suggestion that the Church and not the apparition should be listened to (204).

The Wikipedia article on Poem of the Man-God says, “The Medjugorje visions by Marija Pavlovic and Vicka Ivankovic have both stated that Maria Valtorta’s records of her conversations with Jesus are truthful. According to Ivankovic, in 1981 the Virgin Mary told her at Medjugorje: “If a person wants to know Jesus he should read Maria Valtorta”.”