October 24, 2006

The results from the Medjugorje Litmus Test

A few months ago, Bishop Ratko Peric (Mostar-Duvno) reported that "something similar to a schism" was occurring in his diocese.  He attributed it to the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje, and said:

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be "seers", as well as those persons behind the "messages", to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private "apparitions" nor private sayings before the official position of the Church.

As New Advent said in July, It's a simple litmus test in the Church, confirmed by centuries of practical experience:  if the apparitions are true, they'll stop now.

Well, three months have passed, and as Dawn Eden pointed out yesterday, the apparitions didn't stop.  This suggests one of two things:

  • the "visionaries" are making it up, and they blew a good chance to save face and fall silent, or
  • the visionaries are indeed seeing a real person, but whoever that person is, he's an expert at arousing human curiosity while undermining Church authority.

Either way, Medjugorje calls for extreme caution, to say the least.

Someone recently gave me a copy of a book called Understanding Medjugorje:  Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? by Donal Foley.  I haven't read it yet, but since the situation in Medjugorje is continuing to deteriorate, it might be a good time to start.  I'll post a review later on New Advent.  (In case you're interested, free PDF extracts of the book are available here.)

In the meantime, if you've read Foley's book yourself, please give us your thoughts -- pro or con -- in the comment boxes below.