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

 

Mercenary Medjugorje
Why Mary is not Appearing There

 
OFFICIAL CHURCH DOCUMENTATION REFUTING THE APPARITIONS: http://medjugorjedocuments.blogspot.ie/
 
In the light of the fact that Medjugorje and the three days a week fasting its apparition demands while it gives us loads of detailed visions we can think of Colossians 2:18 to 19: "Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions".
 
The Setting

The apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six youngsters in the village of Medjugorje in the former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia, are the main force in the strength of Catholic style devotion in modern times. I say Catholic style deliberately because whatever the Medjugorje Lady leads people to it is not real Roman Catholicism. The apparitions and their divine origin can be refuted and refuted conclusively and this is the task which I lay out for myself now. These apparitions resulted in independence for Croatia (page 190, The Medjugorje Deception) and the support of Croatian nationalism may have been one of the main objectives that motivated the seers to fabricate the visions.

The Vatican decreed in November 2013 that attendance at anything that assumes the visions are from God is forbidden. Yet on 2 December 2013 the apparition supposedly tells Mirjana that she is really appearing.
 
"Dear children; with a motherly love and a motherly patience I am looking at your ceaseless wandering and how lost you are. That is why I am with you. I desire to help you to first find and come to know yourself, so that, then, you would be able to recognize and to admit everything that does not permit you to get to know the love of the Heavenly Father, honestly and wholeheartedly. My children, the Father comes to be known through the cross. Therefore, do not reject the cross. Strive to comprehend and accept it with my help. When you will be able to accept the cross you will also understand the love of the Heavenly Father; you will walk with my Son and with me; you will differ from those who have not come to know the love of the Heavenly Father, those who listen to Him but do not understand Him, those who do not walk with Him - who have not come to know Him. I desire for you to come to know the truth of my Son and to be my apostles; that, as children of God, you may rise above the human way of thinking and always, and in everything, seek God's way of thinking, anew. My children, pray and fast that you may be able to recognize all of this which I am seeking of you. Pray for your shepherds and long to come to know the love of your Heavenly Father, in union with them. Thank you." 
 
What are we aiming to refute?
 
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.

Medjugorians make out that the bishops are acting in bad faith which justifies their ignoring them. But even then they have to be obeyed for that is what the rule about obedience is for: making you do what you are told even if you think the bishop is wrong or in bad faith for the sake of unity and order in the Church. If you keep thinking the bishop is wrong or deceiving and that entitles you to disobey, there is no point in him asking for your obedience. Jesus would then have been a fool for setting up the apostles and bishops to lead the flock.
 
The fact that the Virgin has revealed ten secrets some of which are scary and predicted war and chastisements from God if her message is unheeded is adequate proof that the visions are heretical. The Church says that apparitions are not to add to the gospel message which was delivered once and for all by the apostles to the Church hundreds of years ago. So they do not add to revelation which is why, in Catholic dogma, you are not bound to believe in them. But an apparition that makes threats of natural disasters and plagues and wars is stating very serious stuff. Information like that has to come from a totally reputable source. And if it comes from such a source the source has to make it clear that it is not enough for it to be honest and knowledgeable but it has also to be able to prove to the people that it is such a source.
 
The Medjugorje Virgin with her dislike of scientific investigation which she stated was not necessary is obviously either not aware of this or she does not care or she does not exist. The visions then by making threats are claiming to have as much authority as scripture which the Church says they cannot have for scripture cannot be added to and therefore they are heretical. The Church has tolerated many apparitions similar to Medjugorje which made violent threats and evoked much terror which indicates that the Church has no competence in judging if an apparition is supernatural or not. How could it manage that when it cannot even judge if it is heretical or not?
 
Vego and Prusina

In 1980, Zanic made a parish in Mostar by taking away most of those parishes run by the Franciscans. The Franciscans rebelled viciously against the bishop and the two worst recalcitrants were Fathers Vego and Prusina. They were suspended in 1980 and were told to leave Mostar the next year. The Vatican even sent a delegate to tell them that if they did not obey the bishop they would have to be thrown out of the order (page 74, The Medjugorje Deception). The Virgin told Vicka that the bishop was wrong about them (page 97). Vego was delighted to hear this message and because of it he went back to Mostar (page 99). The Vatican expelled the pair in 1982 (100). The Virgin and the visionaries welcomed them to Medjugorje to hear confessions and say Mass in spite of the prohibitions (118). There is a video of Vego asking praying children if they can see the Virgin and using techniques to try and make them see her. The real Virgin would be able to appear without the visionary being prepared so it shows there were people who were expert at ways of inducing visions which would at best be psychic illusions. It also shows Vego making a boy lying on his stomach write down the message the way it is done in automatic writing. He felt the boy’s limbs to make sure the boy was okay (page 119). We have a case of a vision being induced somehow that can even cause physical harm. Mediums in spiritualism are all developed more or less the same way. Perhaps if one read up on it and devised new techniques one could create somebody with a brain like a medium’s but which would baffle the experts. If there is anything baffling about the Med Six and I am not sure there is then that could be the explanation.
 
The Virgin told the children in January 1982 that Vego and Prusina should stay in their ministry at Mostar (page 41, Medjugorje After Fifteen Years). She repeated herself in April that same year. Vicka said on tape that the Virgin said all this and she never went back on that (page 42). The Virgin has no right to cause trouble in a Church that says apparitions are not a substitute for Church authority but are optional for belief. The Med Virgin should be honest and claim that her utterances are new scripture.
 
Other Problems

Fr Vlasic sent a report to Pope John Paul II and Bishop Zanic on the 2nd of December 1983 that relates Mirjana’s account of what the Virgin told her about Satan one day in a vision. The Virgin started off by saying, “Excuse me for this, but you must know that Satan exists”. But why would the Virgin have to apologise for something that needs to be told and which Mirjana already believed? The mother of God does not need to apologise for she is full of the power and protection of God.
 
St Paul wrote that Christians must respect and obey and pay taxes to the Roman Empire for God gave it political power even though it is pagan and brutal and unjust (Romans 13). The children of Medjugorje had visions and promoted them in spite of governmental prohibitions as did the children of Fatima and Bernadette of Lourdes. Bernadette went to the grotto to have her vision because she had the supernatural feeling that the lady was planning to appear meaning Mary called her to the grotto despite her parents forbidding it. The Med six risked their safety for the apparitions which is foolish for when apparitions have been made subject to the Church and are under Church authority it is dangerous to take risks for them. The apparitions put them in unlawful danger for most apparitions according to the Church are not supernatural and are not from God if they are supernatural and only the Church is in a position to decide. The apparitions encouraged disobedience to political authority so they cannot be really from God for the Bible and commonsense cannot condone their action.

Mirjana said that the Devil did not know that Mary would often appear during the twentieth century to warn, that God would give more grace then than ever before, and would sent chosen people whose loyalty to him could never be shaken (page 11, Fall 1995). As if the Devil wouldn’t know what God was like and would do something cataclysmic to counteract the satanic influence even if God gave him more influence and power. 
 
Does Satan know that Mary is appearing in Medjugorje if she is? He might be intelligent but that doesn't mean he knows. He might have no explanation for the visions either. He might not use God as an explanation. Attacks on Medjugorje are blamed on Satan. But those who blame the attacks on him are doing wrong to him for they have no reason to think he knows what or who is appearing in Medjugorje. Apparitions always lead to slander even against the Devil.
 
The Virgin told Mirjana in the second year of the apparitions that anybody who has an abortion has to do penance for it all their life (Queen of Peace, Fall 1995, page 17). Rationally and theologically, abortion cannot be the worst sin. Most abortions are done when it is believed the baby has not become a person yet.
 
The Queen of Peace newspaper prints all sorts of material from discredited stigmatists and visionaries and ones who have not been checked properly. It shows no regard for scientific or even religious honesty. Yet among its directors is Medjugorje apostles, Fr Rene Laurentin and Fr Michael O Carroll. Their names appeared in an ad for it in the edition for spring 1997 which listed them as advisers and directors.
 
The Virgin of Medjugorje claims that she was 2000 on 5th August 1985. A celebration of prayer was held in Medugorje at the time to mark this occasion. But since the Matthew gospel says that Jesus was born before 4BC the year Herod died and this is accepted as being right by nearly all believers in the existence of Jesus it is undeniable that the lady has made a fatal mistake and inferred that she got pregnant at 10 or younger. That is too young. The lady contradicts the gospels.
 
No apparition can be true because Jesus said God comes first and he claimed to be the way and the truth and the life meaning that we should investigate Jesus and see who he is and get the facts right about what he stood for above all things. It is only natural if God comes first that you will put truth first and keep it pure and check that it is pure. Apparitions call us away from this for we can’t investigate everything and they call out for investigation. It takes a vast amount of money to investigate them and Jesus was the one that wrecked the Temple money area and was more concerned about money going to the poor. All apparitions since the New Testament was completed should be treated as false and satanic no matter how thrilling or edifying they seem to be.
 
Fr Vlasic’s interview with Mirjana shows that she is a bit mentally disturbed despite what the psychiatrists who have proclaimed all the children normal have been saying.
 
Ivan wants people to fast on bread and water three days a week according to the Virgin’s command. But he is not doing it himself for he is very heavy and I would add the following: his example is a poor one for he lives in a mansion and drives a Mercedes. The visionaries make the excuse that this does not mean that his heart is not with God alone. But Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount stated that we must not hide our light under a bushel which is what Ivan would be doing then. If we start accepting excuses like that we will never know when a religious nut is taking us for a ride for a nut rolling in cash and donations is most likely to be a confidence trickster. It is interesting that Mary does not correct her visionaries’ errors when it comes to money and glory.
 
Fr Vego had been trying to make young people have visions of Mary before the apparitions took place and there is a video to prove it. He was believed to have had a lot to do with the entire hoax.

Vicka’s lie about not being aware of her surroundings when having a vision – a lie which was backed up by some scientists who tested her – and Mirjana’s lie about the Virgin going to appear for the last time in three days in 1981 and years later she is still appearing are mentioned. Mirjana was stated by her schoolmates to show signs of very bizarre and even crazy behaviour.
 
Despite the fact that the visionaries say that God will overthrow all things and send a terrible disaster over the whole world they have built opulent houses for themselves. They are not very trusting of their Virgin when they feel they should enjoy their lives so greedily while the poor starve. Why not give the money to them when their houses will soon be in ruins? The site exposes the lies of Fr Rene Laurentin, the main instigator in the respectability that the cult has got, who has apparently resorted to getting people to forge and lie to cover up the blunders made by the so-called Virgin Mary. Laurentin asked Bishop Zanic in 1983 not to publish the fact that the visionaries said the Lady had been speaking against the bishop.
 
Belief in miracles, when you see how fake miracles such as those of the US televangelists, Hindu "holy" men and Medjugorje and so on are the most popular, has mostly bad fruits. Religion, in its duplicity, ignores this in order to pretend that some miracle sites such as Lourdes are good. They say we are throwing out the baby with the bath water. We are not. There is not enough good coming from belief in miracles to make the propagation of that belief acceptable.
 
Conclusion

The feet of the Virgin Mary have never touched Medjugorje.
 
The logic in this book should be applied to similar cases. Let it stand as a warning that people can be so persuasive and seem sincere and still be leading you astray. It shows the madness of letting religious figures like Jesus and Mary have the final say in what you decide to do.
 
It is easier to prove that an apparition is false for only one mistake tells the tale than to prove that it is true and has the hallmarks of a divine origin for faith itself demands complicated evidence.
 
Medjugorje offends the Catholic faith and refutes it if it is genuine for it demands belief and if the Catholic faith is true then Medjugorje is false. The Bible says that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. It says that Jesus was the perfect man and intercessor and saviour and there is no need for the Med Virgin to be another mediator. Medjugorje is certainly more convincing than the gospel accounts of the risen Jesus appearing to the disciples. Hoax or not, it is clearly proof that something that is without authority from Jesus though it uses his name has done better than he ever could. Evangelicals cannot use the gospels to prove or give convincing evidence for Christianity when something has went into competition with their Jesus and won.
 
When one analyzes many of the alleged miracles that accompany Marian apparitions, they seem to be of a different kind than those found in Scripture. This is true of biblical miracles as a whole, as well as the miracles in Jesus' public ministry. When did Jesus ever make the sun dance or crosses spin? All of His miracles were done in the context of ministry. Biblical miracles had a strong practical aspect. Many of the miracles associated with Marian apparitions seem dramatic and sensational; attention-getting if you will -- the kind of miracles that Jesus consistently refused to perform (Matt. 12:38-39). This is a good reason to at least suspect the source of these miracles.

 

APPENDIX

 

Fr. Hauke responds to criticism from Medjugorje supporters (updated)
Apparitions and Mystical Phenomena
Sunday, 21 February 2010 12:33
Richard Chonak

(UPDATE 2/25: See the end of this article for an update on Thomas Müller’s remarks.)< Theologian Fr. Manfred Hauke’s recent interview with the Tagespost Catholic newspaper has drawn a lot of attention since it was published on January 15.

The interview on the subject of Marian apparitions and the Medjugorje affair was picked up by news sites in Germany, Austria, the U.S., and Argentina. Recognizing the value of Fr. Hauke’s contribution in moving the debate forward, Dutch- and Spanish-speaking sites translated all or part of the interview.
Outrage from offended followers of the Medjugorje visions was swift too: here in America, a Yale graduate student titled his rant “Theologian Manfred Hauke flunks Medjugorje 101“. That text was copied to other websites and offered through the Google news service. Since then, the author seems to have felt some shame at his insult and changed the title of the commentary.

Christian Stelzer, a member of the “Oasis of Peace” community which illicitly operates in Medjugorje, countered the interview with a set of rather pat denials [in German] about some of Fr. Hauke’s points. He pointed vigorously at the medical studies of the seers, as if they could produce a theological proof, but he did not even address the most critical argument against the messages: that some contain false doctrine.

From Germany, where the interview first appeared, a transitional deacon by the name of Thomas Müller attacked the professor on the news site kath.net, which promotes the alleged apparitions, accusing him of “spreading lies and half-truths” and of unscrupulously considering “any means correct”. Müller writes:

It is frightening how lightly Prof. Hauke calls for the “love of truth”, but spreads complete lies and half-truths himself in this interview, and silences known facts. Through it all, he sets about to mix with Medjugorje negative incidents which have nothing to do with it.

The high point, then, is the indirect conclusion that the fruitfulness of Medjugorje, which has been unique in the world in relation to conversions, vocations, the revival of the sacrament of penance, the rosary, and love for the Eucharist, comes from the work of the Devil and that the messages represent a spiritualistic phenomenon. This is an insult to God, since Hauke is thereby saying that the Devil, in order to deceive the Church, is more fruitful than the Holy Spirit.

[my translation –RC]

Clearly this is a man in high dudgeon, and not above putting words in other people’s mouths.

(Here is a machine-generated translation of Müller’s denunciation, for those who cannot read the original.)

But, as St. Paul teaches, all things work together for good, for those who love God. These overwrought and reckless offerings have done a service for the Church, by revealing the depth of illusion, of denial, even sometimes prelest, if I may say so, generated by the false mysticism of Medjugorje.

Professor Hauke, in turn, has replied to this criticism with a statement that backs up his assertions. In the face of outrage, he is calling for more objectivity and scholarly prudence. The German original of his response is on kath.net, and an English translation follows here:

An Appeal for Objectivity

A response by Prof. Manfred Hauke to Thomas Müller’s critique of his interview on Medjugorje

For years there has been a contentious debate about the so-called “Marian apparitions” of the seers who originated from Medjugorje. The current official position of the Church is still the 1991 declaration of the Yugoslav Bishops Conference, which emphasizes: “non constat de supernaturalitate”, i.e. it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelation. The local Bishop Ratko Perić goes beyond this affirmation and has emphasized his conviction, according to which it has been established that the pertinent phenomena are not of supernatural origin. Among Catholic Christians, it should be possible to discuss the questions connected with this matter objectively. My interview in the Tagespost, which has been propagated in various languages since then, was a contribution to this very necessary discussion. If it should happen that I have, in the process, repeated any false information, I am ready and willing to correct these errors. Thus far I do not see any reason for corrections.

In any case, I am shocked over the unobjective reactions of certain followers of the Medjugorje movement, who ascribe bad intentions and “lies” to me. To “lie” means to consciously state a falsehood. In my scholarly career of nearly thirty years now I have fought out many battles and have had to bear many criticisms, for example the polemics of a “woman priest” ordained somewhere on the Danube between Linz and Passau, in the magazine Publik-Forum. But even in these circles no one has ascribed a “lie” to me so far, or a presumption “that the end justifies the means”. Such reactions are character assassination. Among these, sadly, is the contribution of Deacon Thomas Müller, which appeared in kath.net (18 Feb.). Deacon Müller, who has published a master’s thesis (“Diplom” in German) on Medjugorje, asserts that I have spread “complete lies and half-truths” in my interview and that I “set about” “to mix with Medjugorje negative incidents that have nothing to do with it.” He speaks of “untruths and distortions”. Because I, on the basis of the facts presented to me, consider the possibility that the visions come from the workings of the evil one, I am even accused of an “insult to God”. These accusations are very grave.
I have been to Medjugorje myself and, in the mid-’80s, believed in the authenticity of the “Marian apparitions” there. Because of a great number of indicators, which have increased with the passage of the years, I have reached the conviction that the visionary experiences of the seers in Medjugorje cannot be due to the working of God. This conviction has been shared in the meantime by numerous Christians who have followed a similar path. In the meantime there is an extensive international literature on the subject pointing in the same direction. This literature, which I was not able to thoroughly cite in my interview, has mostly appeared in the English and French languages. In contrast Müller’s thesis, with which I am acquainted, limits itself to the narrow horizon of titles then available in the German language. For example, it omits the important work of the Franciscan Father Ivo Sivrić, born in Medjugorje, who cites a great quantity of sources (over 200 pages), among which are tape-recording transcripts of the seers’ statements from the first days of the “apparitions” (La face cachée de Medjugorje, Saint-François-du Lac (Canada), 1988; in English: The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, Saint-François-du Lac (Canada), 1989). How can someone write a scholarly work on Medjugorje without reaching back to these critically edited sources? In the face of such facts, the accusation by a master’s-level theologian against a theology professor with a post-doctoral habilitation, that he was not working in a scholarly manner, leaves me astonished. I can document all my assertions sufficiently, but to demand a full scholarly apparatus from a newspaper interview is to confuse the literary genre of the newspaper with a journal article in which there is room for footnotes.

Before I go into the individual accusations, I would like to establish that Müller does not address the central problem points I mentioned at all. Among these are the seers’ statements preserved in the tape-recording transcripts. Prominently, on June 30, 1981, the last appearance of the “Gospa” was announced to be on July 3 (cf. Sivrić 1989, pp. 346ff., 381; see also the critical discussion in Donal A. Foley, Understanding Medjugorje , Nottingham, 2006, pp. 70-84; Joachim Bouflet, Ces dix jours qui ont fait Medjugorje, Tours, 2007, pp. 147-175). At the sixth “apparition”, on June 29, 1981, the “Gospa” announced the healing of four-year-old Daniel Setka, which, however, never happened in fact (cf. Ivan Zeljko, Marienerscheinungen …, Hamburg, 2004, pp. 69, 155, 310; Bouflet, 2007, pp. 135-138). Müller also does not go into the theological problems of many “messages”, and just as little into the differences from Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe, where obvious miracles, recognized by the Church, confirmed the Marian apparitions. If false prophecies and erroneous teachings can be found in the statements attributed to the “Gospa” by the visionaries, those messages cannot come from God. If in the messages just one “horse’s foot” is found, which can be traced back unequivocally to an external reality which is provoking the visions, and not to the seers’ subjectivity, then those errors stem from the evil one. It is, at basis, similar to a filename in a computer: a single error in typing the filename makes it impossible to access the file. Thomas Müller does not seem to have understood this problem. Furthermore, the fruits of grace connected with pilgrimages cannot in any case neutralize the “rat poison” that is contained in deceptive messages. The fruits of grace experienced in Medjugorje are certainly not to be ascribed to the Devil, but to the goodness of God, who hears the trusting prayers of human beings. These good fruits (next to which there are also negative effects in Medjugorje) cannot by themselves alone prove the supernatural origin of a visionary phenomenon.

Müller’s reference to the sensus fidei of the People of God does not bring any solution for judging Medjugorje, because Marian apparitions, according to the declaration of Pope Benedict XIV, do not constitute an object of the divine virtue of Faith. In regard to the position of Pope John Paul II, let it be recalled that he consciously avoided taking a public stand on the matter (cf. Foley, 2006, pp. 175ff.). The remarks mentioned in the work of Slawomir Oder are of a private nature and do not claim the authority of the Petrine office.

In seven points Müller claims to set right my “greatest untruths and distortions”.

 

(1) The first point addresses the so-called “little war” in Medjugorje, according to which there are said to have been 140 dead and 600 refugees during conflicts among three family clans in Medjugorje in 1991 and 1992. This information rests not only on press reports, but finds its confirmation in the study by Mart Bax, now emeritus professor of political anthropology at Amsterdam, Medjugorje: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Rural Bosnia (Anthropological Studies, Vol 16) , Amsterdam, 1995 (cf. also his “Warlords, Priests and the Politics of Ethnic Cleansing: a Case-Study from Rural Bosnia“, in Ethnic and Racial Studies 23, 1/2000, pp. 16-36). For his studies, Mart Bax spent several weeks each year in Medjugorje for many years and counts, if I see things aright, as a serious scholar. By itself, that doesn’t settle the correctness of every detail in his studies, but for me it seems hard to imagine that the great amount of information on the “little war” which he has presented should be mere invention. Müller’s assertion is not correct: “In 2008, this untrue story was deleted from the Wikipedia article because, by the measures indicated, it lacks any veracity.” Leaving aside the point that Wikipedia articles do not fulfill the requirements of strict scholarship, the German Wikipedia article before me states something different: “The credibility of this passage of his [Mart Bax’s] book was called into question in August 2008 in the Croatian and German press, and the conjecture was expressed that this report was an invention or was based on false information.”

 

(http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mart_Bax, retrieved on Feb. 18, 2010). Here Müller makes a “conjecture” by journalists into a historical fact. Besides that, it seems quite naive to me to deduce the non-existence of a crime from an inquiry of village residents: with that kind of search for truth, one will be able to conclude, for many villages in Sicily, that there has never been a Mafia crime there. Müller says to the contrary, “All the contemporary witnesses testify unanimously that it [the ‘little war’] never existed.” Does Müller know “all the contemporary witnesses”? If Bax’s historical study really can be disproved, I’m ready and willing to accept such a disproof. Besides, for a positive or negative evaluation of the Medjugorje phenomenon the existence of the “little war” is only an incidental factor.

(2) Müller accuses me of two “false statements” about Fr. Jozo Zovko (to be precise, there are three). 1. According to Müller, it is not true that Zovko was “forbidden any contact with Medjugorje by his superiors.” Against this stands the fact of a whole row of decrees by the Bishop of Mostar. The last decree is from June 26, 2004. It contains a long list of preceding sanctions and emphasizes that Zovko may not conduct any pastoral activities in the Diocese of Mostar. In November 2009, the Provincialate of the Franciscans of Bosnia-Herzegovina ordered the transfer of Fr. Zovko to Austria. The entire proceeding can be read on the website of the diocese (www.cbismo.com), and in Italian translation with numerous additional details on twelve pages of the website of the Medjugorje specialist Marco Corvaglia (http://marcocorvaglia.blog.lastampa.it/mcor/la-ver.html, cf. the published book Marco Corvaglia, Medjugorje: è tutto falso, Torino, 2007). 2. According to Müller, my reference to “grave moral accusations” against Zovko is “nothing but a evil, slanderous rumor.” In the Bishop’s document of June 26, 2004, it is stated: “You are not authorized to conduct priestly activity in any form in the territory of the dioceses of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan; in particular, you do not have the faculty of hearing the confessions of the faithful. As diocesan bishop, I invite you once again, to bring your priestly status into order…. Upon your written request, I can show you here in Mostar the entire documentation at hand which is available in the bishop’s office, even in connection with your moral life.”[!] 3. Müller additionally writes: “Also, the claim that Fr. Jozo was a spiritual advisor to the seers for years is, on closer examination, not tenable”, because he has not been in Medjugorje since 1981. Against this is the fact that the above-cited documents of the bishop refer, for example, to the pastoral activity of Zovko in the parish of Siroki Brijeg, which is located in the diocese of Mostar, about thirty kilometers from Medjugorje. Zovko maintained contact with the seers very well through the intervening years, for example, at the annual meetings in the Mazda Palace in Milan up to the year 2008. For this reason, Fr. Zovko is regularly presented in the Italian-speaking area as the “padre spirituale” (spiritual father) of the seers.

(3) In relation to Fr. Tomislav Vlasić, Müller also accuses me of “half-truths and slander”. He states that Vlasić did not work in Medjugorje until 1988, but only until 1984. Against this I would point out that Vlasić only lived in Medjugorje from August 1981 to September 1984, but he stayed there often in the following years, until he transferred his residence to Italy. Evidence for this is available, among other places, at http://marcocorvaglia.blog.lastampa.it/mcor/tomislav-vlasic-era-il-padre-spirituale-dei-veggenti-le-prove.html. Anyway, Müller himself admits that Vlasić then set on “a strange and lamentable path.” About the “mystical marriage” with Agnes Heupel, he says: “but to connect [it] with the Mother of God or the seer Marija Pavlović, is shameless and borders on character assassination, since the seer has repeatedly made clear in response to queries, that she had nothing to do with it.” Against this I would point out: Marija Pavlović issued a declaration in the Croatian and Italian languages on July 11, 1988, according to which she retracted her statements of April 21, 1988. She said that her first statement did not correspond to the truth. “I never asked the holy Virgin for her blessing for the undertaking begun by Fr. Tomislav V. and Agnes Heupel. I personally did not have approval to issue any kind of written statement. But Fr. Tomislav V. suggested to me again and again and pressured me again and again, that I as a ‘seer’ should write the declaration that the world was waiting for.” (E.M. Jones, The Medjugorje Deception , South Bend, 1988, p. 144.) In other words, the “seer” is publicly admitting to having lied in the name of the Mother of God.

(4) Additionally, Müller accuses me of “dishonest conflations”, on the ground that the suspension of nine Franciscans in the Mostar diocese had nothing to do with Medjugorje. To the contrary, the disobedience toward the Bishop presents a continuation of the disobedience of two Franciscans from 1981 and 1982, who appealed to the repeated statements of the “Gospa” reported to them by Vicka, according to which it was not necessary to carry out the Bishop’s directives (cf. the texts from the episcopal archive of Mostar in Michael Davies, Medjugorje after Twenty-One Years, 2002, updated version 2004, pp. 214-218: http://www.mdaviesonmedj.com).

(5) What Müller means with the accusation of “mixing up mysticism and charismaticism” is not clear to me. I did not treat the two realities (mystics and charismas) as identical.

(6) Müller asserts that I called for “psychological” investigation of the seers, in order to investigate their mental condition. These investigations have already taken place, he says. To the contrary, my interview expresses no doubts about the psychological health of the seers and also does not call for any corresponding investigation. The reference to psychological health relates to the question from the Tagespost about the criteria for Marian apparitions in general. Müller then mentions the medical investigations of the seers during ecstasies and gives the opinion: “These scientific results are flatly ignored by Hauke.” It is correct that my interview does not name the works he mentions, which are very well known to me (cf. my contribution on Medjugorje in Sedes Sapientiae. Mariologisches Jahrbuch 9, 1/2005, pp. 159-174, in particular 166ff.), but they do not suffice for the evaluation of the Medjugorje phenomenon. Those investigations can at best ascertain that the visions are dependent on an extra-mental factor: this factor can be the Mother of God, or also a deceptive spiritual being. For example, there are ecstasies and visions in spiritualism. Besides the extra-mental explanation, the relevant literature on the subject also includes indications of a psychogenic dimension of the ecstasies (cf. the discussion of the works of Joyeux et al., in Foley, Understanding Medjugorje, 145-155; Corvaglia, 2007).

(7) Lastly, Müller complains that I had ignored the miracles that have happened in Medjugorje, especially the healing in 1984 of the Italian woman Diana Basile, who suffered from multiple sclerosis. I must also reject this accusation. Dr. Mangiapan, director of the International Medical Bureau at Lourdes (1972-1990), expressed his view as follows: since multiple sclerosis can spontaneously disappear, it is very difficult to verify whether a medically inexplicable healing really has taken place (cf. Foley, Understanding Medjugorje, 169). Müller then gives the opinion that it is possible to speak of a “miracle of the sun” if people can look at the sun for a quarter-hour without problems. I am personally convinced of the miracle of the sun in Fatima, which has been proved by a critical historical investigation, and which even led a journalist of a masonic newspaper to write about the “miracle”. Before anyone describes the phenomena of light in Medjugorje as “supernatural”, one should first study the natural possibilities, which can be very extensive (cf. in this regard the references to literature in various languages in http://marcocorvaglia.blog.lastampa.it/mcor/lho-visto-con-i-miei-occhi-quindi-e-falso-parte-1.html).

Müller reproaches me for false statements and insufficient information. I think this accusation is a boomerang. The debate about Medjugorje is not served by slander and character assassination, but only by an objective discussion of all the pertinent elements in the light of the Catholic faith. I would truly wish that Deacon Thomas Müller, who is preparing for his priestly ordination in Cologne, avoid the mistakes which he wrongfully criticizes in my interview.
[This commentary appeared on http://www.kath.net/detail.php?id=25688, Feb. 20, 2010; a few typographical errors have been corrected; the translation has been reviewed and corrected by the author, but any remaining errors are solely my responsibility. Thanks to Prof. Hauke for his permission to publish the statement here. –RC]

UPDATE 2/25: In a constructive step, Deacon Thomas Müller has retracted the offensive expressions and apologized:

I can wholeheartedly support the wish for an objective discussion of the facts regarding the Medjugorje phenomenon and everything that pertains to it or is connected with it. For my part, in order to contribute to objectivity and decrease the tension of the heated atmosphere, I retract the expressions “insult to God” and “lie”, which I used rashly in my commentary on Prof. Hauke’s interview with the Tagespost, and ask for forgiveness.

Deacon Müller went on to say he did not intend to accuse Prof. Hauke of any intent to deceive, but only of repeating untruths from the writings of Mart Bax and I. Zeljko; and Müller recommended Stelzer’s commentary as a rebuttal.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED

“I BEG YOU: LISTEN TO MY MESSAGES AND LIVE THEM,” Padraic Dunne, published privately, Drogheda, County Louth, 1992
BIBLICAL EXEGESIS AND CHURCH DOCTRINE, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
Encountering Mary, Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Avon, New York, 1991
LOOKING FOR A MIRACLE, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
MEDJUGORJE, David Baldwin, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2002
MEDJUGORJE HERALD, Vol 13, No 2, Feb 1999, Galway, Ireland
MEDJUGORJE, A TIME FOR TRUTH AND A TIME FOR ACTION, Denis Nolan
MEDJUGORJE, FACTS DOCUMENTS THEOLOGY, Fr Michael O Carroll, Veritas, Dublin, 1986
OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE, Tomislav Vlasic OFM, published by Peter Batty, East Sussex, 1984
POWERS OF DARKNESS, POWERS OF LIGHT, John Cornwell, Penguin, London, 1992
QUEEN OF PEACE (Newspaper), Fall, 1995, Pittsburgh Center for Peace
SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL STUDIES ON THE APPARITIONS AT MEDJUGORJE Rene Laurentin and Henri Joyeux, Veritas, Dublin, 1987.
ST JOHN’S BULLETIN, Medjugorje by Br Michael of the Holy Trinity, Society of St Pius X, October-December 1992, no 32, Dublin
THE APPARITIONS OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY TODAY, Rene Laurentin, Veritas, Dublin 1990
THE HIDDEN SIDE OF MEDJUGORJE, Fr Ivo Sivric, Ed. Psilog, Saint Francios Du Lac, Quebec, 1989.
THE THUNDER OF JUSTICE, Ted and Maureen Flynn, MAXCOL, Vancouver, 1993
UNDERSTANDING MEDJUGORJE, HEAVENLY VISIONS OR RELIGIOUS ILLUSION? Donal Anthony Foley, Theotokos Books, Nottingham, 2006
VISIONS OF THE CHILDREN, Janice T Connell, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1992
WORDS FROM HEAVEN, Anonymous, Caritas of Birmingham, Sterrett, Alabama, 1996
 

The following books are available from Militia Immaculatae Trust, 35 New Bond Street, Leicester.

CRITERIA FOR DISCERNING APPARITIONS REGARDING THE EVENTS OF MEDJUGORJE by Monsignor Peric.
MEDJUGORJE – AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS, Michael Davies, Remnant Press, Minnesota, 1998.
MEDJUGORJE THE UNTOLD STORY, E Michael Jones Fidelity Press, 206 Marquette Ave, South Bend Indiana 46617, 1998.
MEDJUGORJE, Bishop Zanic, Mostar, 1990.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND MEDJUGORJE by Michael Mazza.
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, E Michael Jones, Fidelity Press, Indiana, 1998.
TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDJUGORJE, Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. Pangaeus Press, Dallas, 1999.

THE WEB

CHRISTIAN REFUTATION OF MEDJUGORJE
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0079a.html
 
CRITIQUE: POEM OF THE MAN-GOD
http://members.lycos.co.uk/jloughnan/critique.htm

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES DONE ON THE VISIONARIES OF MEDJUGORJE – 1998 SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON THE VISIONARIES
www.childrenofmedjugorje.com/medj/research.htm

THE WANDERER by Paul Likoudis, 1998
www.unitypublishing.com/wanderer.html
 
Unity Publishing has pictures allegedly proving that the messages from Mary are being made up by the priests and that the visions are hoaxes. Ivan was snapped acting as if he was guarding the door while the priest and a visionary were inventing the message. This is however is a pro-Catholic site.
 
AN OVERVIEW OF THE MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC TESTING OF VISIONARY NANCY FOWLER CONYERS GEORGIA
http://members.aol.com/bbu84/biblicalstupidity/science.htm#10

DISCERNMENT AND SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF VISIONARIES FROM THE MEDJUGORJE STAR
http://members.aol.com/bbu84/biblicalstupidity/study.htm#11

Videos
 
VISIONS ON DEMAND, Network 5 International, 1997
DIVINE OR DECEIVED? COVER-UP, Network 5 International, 1998
 
Contact:
Network 5 International
PO Box 51
Liverpool
L69 3EE
 
UNDERSTANDING MEDJUGORJE, HEAVENLY VISIONS OR RELIGIOUS ILLUSION? Donal Anthony Foley, Theotokos Books, Nottingham, 2006
 
To Order Understanding Medjugorje visit http://www.theotokos.org.uk or write to Theotokos Books, PO Box, 8570, Nottingham, England