If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

The Medjugorje Deception

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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”.”


APPENDIX MICHAEL DAVIES REFUTES THE "VISIONS"

 


Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?
Source: Davies
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For over two decades - since 1981 - it has been claimed that Our Blessed Mother (called the "Gospa" by devotees) has been appearing to 'visionaries' in Medjugorje, Bosnia (Yugoslavia), leaving messages for the faithful almost daily. Millions of devotees may make pilgrimages there annually and many have attested to various "good fruits" from the alleged apparitions (e.g. conversions, "miracles", etc.). However, these alleged apparitions are not without controversy. As the late Michael Davies has pointed out, there are various troubling aspects. For example:
• Examinations have found nothing of a supernatural origin
• There have been various promised healings which never materialized
• The 'visionaries' predicted a "great sign" which never came, even though it was supposed to come "very soon, quickly"
• The 'seers' have been able to produce 'apparitions' upon request
• Most of the 'seers' own hotels there, who profit greatly from the travel business
• One 'seer' is said to have "spoke and wrote much, and in doing so she fell into many contradictions"
• One 'seer' lied under oath (and only corrected her statement after she was reminded that she was under oath)
• One 'seer' allegedly had a vision while under anesthetic
• One 'seer' has been charged with being an "habitual liar"
• One 'seer', a former seminarian is "now extremely wealthy and drives a custom built BMW"
• There have been "fabricated miracles" (e.g. a miracle of the sun - "Many pilgrims damaged their eyes from staring into the sun")
• There have been charges of "great blindness, superstition, misinformation, and fanaticism" with regard to Medjugorje
• The priest that was "virtually the spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers" is said to have impregnated a nun asked her to lie about it
• Our Lady has supposedly given messages that go against even the high-ranking Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI)
• There has been well-known and scandalous disobedience on the part of religious in that area
• At least one 'visionary' has denied statements made earlier (even though the earlier statement had been taped)
• The "Gospa" in the alleged apparitions has given messages against traditional Church teachings (e.g. telling some people not to pray for themselves, permitting a Protestant woman to receive Holy Communion, etc.)
• Some of the messages seem ridiculous just on their face! For example: "Another of her stories is of a taxi driver who had been given a bloody handkerchief which he was about to throw in a river. A mysterious woman in black, who, of course, turned out to be Our Lady, prevented him just in time, because, had he done so the world would have been destroyed." (Davies)
• The "Gospa's" behavior in the alleged apparitions seems uncharacteristic of the Mother of God, based on previous, approved apparitions (e.g. she is said to sometimes laugh during the apparitions)
• The 'seers' have supposedly received "tens of thousands of messages most of which are notable only for their banality". As Davies points out, "One must also recall that apparitions are always something 'extraordinary', rare, and this is an important element for their discernment."
• At first the alleged apparitions were supposed to end soon, but later some 'seers' say Mary promised them "apparitions for life". Later, a so-called 'second generation seer' (e.g. a 'seer' to take over after the original 'seers' die) may be expected
• The alleged apparitions have been rejected by the local clergy. According to Davies, "Only one Croatian bishop..., a charismatic, expressed belief in the apparitions, and not one of the 100 diocesan clergy in Herzegovina accepts them as authentic."
• Some have died in consequence the alleged apparitions. As Davies points out, a small 'war' broke out in Medjugorje over the "monopoly" one family had in the "pilgrimage industry in Medjugorje." As a result, well over 100 people were killed. Also, at least one other person is said to have died waiting for a promised cure that never materialized (after refusing traditional treatment due to the anticipated "cure")
• Medjugorje 'apparitions' are not limited to Yugoslavia. Michael Davies speaks of the Medjugorje "road show" in which the 'seers' have apparitions wherever they go, almost upon request. "The Madonna seems to be following [them] around the world"
• Some of the words attributed to Our Lady are hard to reconcile with what we know about the Mother of Our Lord. For example, Our Lady is supposed to have said things such as: "Have you had enough of me already?" and she is supposed to have thanked the 'seers' for visiting with her. She also was supposed to have instructed a priest to be disobedient to his bishop. The priest in question was one that broke his vows, impregnated a nun, and left the religious life.
• Appearances seem to vary with the travel season (e.g. there may be more 'apparitions' when more people are in Medjugorje)
• Those critical of Medjugorje have "come across an organized boycott"
• Medjugorje has become a "tourist attraction"
• The alleged apparitions are very different from previous, accepted apparitions of the Blessed Virgin
• The 'seers' and others involved have become "very rich" off the alleged apparitions. In fact, the Medjugorje events have become a "lucrative source of income" for various people connected with the events there. So much money is involved, it is called a virtual "Medjugorje Industry". In fact, it is claimed that "If any of the 'seers' were ever to admit that the whole story has been a fraud from the beginning they would almost certainly be lynched by their families, friends, and neighbors who have made a fortune from the 'apparitions'. Monsignor Zanic has no doubt that 'the greatest motivator of all - money - is what inspires the 'seers' and their manipulators" (Davies). Even in the United States, Medjugorje is a "multi-million dollar business operation"
• There has been evident lying. As Davies reports: "[I]t should be noted that [one priest who was born in Medjugorje] reveals that two Franciscans, who were members of the bishop's first investigative commission, had detected 'thirteen apparent cases of deliberate and conscious lying' on the part of the alleged visionaries." A statement by Monsignor Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno is quoted as saying "For a short description of the falsehoods about Medjugorje we would need 200 pages"
• Medjugorje may be connected with the 'Protestant-inspired' Charismatic movement ["There has been a close connection between Medjugorje and the charismatic movement from its very inception." "...the charismatic movement, which if examined objectively, renders the magisterium unnecessary, for what need is there of a teaching authority when each individual Christian can communicate directly with the Holy Ghost" (Davies)]. As Davies further points out, "[T]he Catholic Charismatic Renewal was founded in Pittsburgh by two Catholic professors... who had received what they termed 'baptism of the spirit' through the laying on of hands by Protestant Pentecostalists."
• Some of the messages they attribute to Our Lady are of "very dubious orthodoxy". For example, despite the Church's constant teaching that "Outside the Church There is No Salvation" , Our Lady is supposed to have said things like: "To God all religions are the same". This completely ignores that fact that her Son established only one Church; the Catholic Church
• Disobedience by lay persons is widespread in the area. For example, pilgrimages are arranged without the bishop's permission - in fact, they are against his contrary orders. As Davies points out, "Pilgrimages to Medjugorje have, or course, been forbidden by the bishop, the lawful authority in the diocese, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and so every organized pilgrimage there constitutes an act of disobedience to lawful authority."
• Rather than engender obedience, one group of religious involved in the phenomena has remained in a "state of disobedience". Religious in the area have even participated in invalid sacraments (confessions, weddings, confirmations)
• There is controversy over the circumstances surrounding the beginning of the alleged apparitions ["The alleged apparitions began on 24 June 1981 when (one 'seer') claimed to have seen Our Lady while out walking... They later claimed that they were looking for their sheep when, in reality, they had gone out to smoke, a fact which they hid from their parents" (Davies)]
• Our Lady - the Queen of Peace - has supposedly appeared to the 'seers' each day for decades, yet she did not warn against the war that was to come - "one of the most vicious wars of this [20th] century" in Bosnia. That is some omission!
• There has been misinformation concerning papal approval of the alleged apparitions. Some involved in the Medjugorje events attempt to persuade others that they have received approval from the pope. However, according to the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno - despite claims to the contrary - the 'apparitions' were not approved by the Holy See. Davies points out that the pope has refused to visit Medjugorje and that some "papal blessings" (essentially passed off as an imprimatur) were really nothing more than items purchased from souvenir stores in Rome. "[I]t is very significant that during his visit to Croatia in 1994 and to Sarajevo in 1997, Pope John Paul II did not even mention Medjugorje let alone pay it a visit, much to the dismay of its proponents" (Davies)
• Alleged healings have not occurred. "The majority of the pious public has naively fallen victim to the great propaganda, the talk of the apparitions and of healings. These people themselves have become the greatest propaganda for the events. They do not even stop to think that the truth has been hidden by deliberate falsehoods. They are unaware that not even one miraculous healing has occurred that could have been verified by competent experts and institutions such as the Bureau Medical de Lourdes. No one knows of anyone healed from Herzegovina. Everyone knows that little Daniel, old Jozo Vasilj, Venka Brajcic and others cited in the first books about Medjugorje were not healed." (Monsignor Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno). Also, promises of miraculous healings may have cost some their lives, since those expecting a "miraculous cure" may have refused customary, potentially life-saving, medical treatment.
• The 'seers' may try to cover up facts when they are caught in lies. For example, during one alleged apparition, one of the 'seers' claimed she moved to prevent the Child Jesus (who she said was in the arms of Mary) from falling to the floor. As Davies says, "It is inconceivable that during an apparition of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, the Child could possibly slip." A more probable explanation was that the 'seer' was trying to cover up the fact that although she was supposed to be in a state of 'ecstasy' (and therefore insensible to all around her), she was startled by a cameraman who was testing her - and who caught the incident on tape.
• Many well-meaning people are misled. As Davies states, "The Medjugorje fraud is making so much money for so many people, particularly in the United States, that the propaganda in its favor must almost inevitably swamp any attempt to make the truth known. Thousands or even tens of thousands more well-meaning Catholics will be deluded into accepting the veracity of Medjugorje by a Hollywood movie called Gospa produced to promote it."
• There is an apparent contradiction between the humble and quiet Mary in Scripture and talkative 'Gospa' of Medjugorje
• There is concern that traditional, orthodox Catholics will become "'hooked' on [this] apparition [and] all their efforts tend to be devoted to defending it and propagating it. They have thus been removed effectively from the battlefield of orthodoxy. There can be no doubt that spurious apparitions are one of Satan's most effective weapons in his war against the [Church]" (Davies). In other words, those 'hooked' on Medjugorje, tend to put the true apparitions of Fatima in the background. Davies says, "I know that it was the view of the late Hamish Fraser that Medjugorje was a means being utilized by Satan to subvert the message of Fatima." Davies also warns, "Satan will obviously seek to introduce error and separate the faithful from the Church under a veneer of piety."
• Some involved in Medjugorje have spread misleading information about those who reject the alleged apparitions. For example, one bishop who was unfavorable to the alleged apparitions was said to have been "removed by his post". However, Davies points out: "The Truth is that...[he] offered his resignation in 1993 after reaching the statutory age of retirement, and was replaced by [a Monsignor] who is just as opposed to the authenticity of the alleged apparitions as was his predecessor."
• Comparisons between known seers of our Blessed Mother (e.g. the obedient, non-worldly, financially poor, saintly seers such as St. Juan Diego of Guadalupe, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette Soubirous, etc.) and the 'seers' of Medjugorje (e.g. the "disobedient, worldly, financially rich, lying 'seers'") appear irreconcilable


But some might ask "Haven't clergy gone on pilgrimages to Medjugorje - even bishops?" Yes, it is true that some bishops and priests have gone there. This doesn't change any of the above facts or make the 'apparitions' true. Even honest, sincere people may be misled - and this is even more true when a deliberate campaign of misinformation exists.

Still others might ask "But don't some people go there and feel spiritual? Aren't there some good fruits of Medjugorje?" The fact that something might feel good or "spiritual" does not of itself make something truly good or spiritually beneficial. If someone promised that a satanic ritual would make a faithful Catholic feel good or "spiritual", would they attend? Of course not! And further, one's feelings do not always correspond to truth. And as far as good fruits, there may have been some good fruits, but there have also been many negative ones. Frequently mentioned as a "good fruit" of Medjugorje are conversions to the Faith - but are such conversions a "truly good fruit"? Is it truly good to have a convert's faith based on false apparitions? Will their newly found faith crumble when they find the basis of it was false? And this is not even to mention the bad fruits of the alleged apparitions (disobedience, lying, invalid sacraments, damaged health, death, etc.). In any event, God certainly can bring good out of the bad, but that does not make the bad good.

There is no doubt that many (or even most) devotees of Medjugorje are honest, sincere people. They may have been caught up in the campaign of lies and misinformation by the promoters or they may have been caught up in the seeming appearance of good - but none of this changes the fact that these so called apparitions of the "Gospa" just may be a delusion of the devil, a great offense against the Mother of God and "an abuse of [Mary's] name for a commercial purpose" (Davies). Faithful Catholics should consider making reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the name of the so-called apparitions at Medjugorje.