Well, well, well…

…well, well, well, well, well.

Vatican Commission Ends Four-year Investigation of Medjugorge — Jan. 18, 2014

“Yesterday, on Friday January 17, the last meeting of the International Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje, established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the presidency of Cardinal Camillo Ruini took place. The Commission has thus completed its work” [Fr. Lombardi] said….

No one knows how long CDF will take, or how much or little it will expand on the work of the Commission. But the experienced Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli believes it could be a while until the public hears more.

“The end of the Commission’s work does not mean that the outcome will be immediately disclosed. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will review the file and then will present its conclusions to the Pope.

“One problem that the Commission has been facing is the huge amount of messages attributed to Our Lady, (messages) that continue to be disclosed. It looks like the Commission initially embarked on a road of focusing on the early events and the first messages” Andrea Tornielli further reports.

Medjugorge Commission Finds Real Fruits, No Fraud — Jan. 19, 2014

“The verdict could be positive, albeit partial. Vatican Insider [La Stampa] has learnt that the Commission has focused mainly on the first phase of apparitions. There is apparently no proof of any tricks, hoaxes or abuse of popular credulity. However, it is proving difficult for the Church to form a definitive verdict on the supernatural nature of a phenomenon that is ongoing” … La Stampa continues.

Medjugorge has always been “one of those weird Catholic things” that I just took in stride when I was a new convert. Over the years, it has popped onto my radar every few months (e.g. in the last item of this post), but I just brushed it aside. It always seemed like a very, very “para-ecclesial” quagmire, even assuming it were genuine. I have simply never felt a draw towards it, much less suffered one of my periodic obsessions to “get to the bottom” of something like Medjugorge. Pope Francis made waves a few months ago when he seemed to cuff “Medge” devotees on the nose, but those devotees are confident that Pope Francis is not against them, nay, even that he’s on their side.

(There seems to be a lot of such “confidence” going around with this protean pope.)

Zacchaeus in the Scyamore Tree Luke 19:2-5Maybe they’re right, though, since Francis’s recent “Bring Zacchaeus to Work Day” photo op involved sharing the spotlight with a fan of Medjugorge. Whatever Pope Francis thinks about Medge right now is irrelevant, since, as Tornielli prudently notes, the CDF review could take just as long as the commission’s investigation, so the pope might not be faced with issuing a verdict for years, at which point–well, frankly, my hunch is that Francis will punt on a final verdict. As long as the revelations keep coming (i.e. as long as “dialogue” remains “open” and there’s not too much self-absorbed doctrinal security on either side of the issue), and, above all, as long as there’s no “semi-Lefebvrist drift” in the movement, who is he to judge?


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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9 Responses to Well, well, well…

  1. Proph says:

    If they are giving their final report, and the apparitions are reportedly still ongoing, isn’t the safe conclusion that their findings are negative?

  2. Tony Jokin says:

    I think the same as well. It is most likely a “negative”. Or perhaps it might be “inconclusive” in which case the local Bishop’s verdict stand (as it does now).

    But I see the chances of an affirmation are most certainly none. On a different note, imagine what might happen if after giving approval, these visionaries “reveal” a heretical message. That would be disastrous.

  3. ErnstThalmann says:

    It seems to me that in judging the authenticity of a visionary experience, any outsider is at an enormous disadvantage. One is reminded of the experience of the disciples at the time of the Resurrection. The term used in Scripture to describe their experience is “appeared” and is appropriately subjective and nondescript. But whether an experience of this kind can be trusted as to its authenticity, the first challenge would be to remove any suspicion of psychosis, which ought to be easy enough in itself in 2014: The subject in these cases identifies the event as something originating outside of himself. Ruling out psychosis at that point and moving on, one is likely to find oneself nonplussed. How to know if an otherwise sane person is reporting on an experience that was actually lived? If the vision is experienced as internal to oneself, those assessing it are left only with the word of the “visionary”. Frankly, I’m intuitively suspicious of a “vision” which creates the kind of public sensation that occurred in Yugoslavia. I’m more inclined to trust the less publicized, the privately reported.

  4. Tony Jokin says:

    I agree with most of your reply except the part about the resurrection.

    I am pretty sure that Scripture translations do NOT use the word “appear” in the context of “we just don’t know if they actually did see Christ” or to communicate some subjectivity. Even in the case of the resurrection, one can rule out psychosis by the fact that Christ appeared when most of the disciples were present and on multiple occasions. Psychosis in that case must be ruled out for the possibility that all the disciples and those present were hallucinating or imagining things is improbable. I am sure the gospel writers understood this as well when they penned the gospels. So the resurrection and the subsequent appearances of Christ would be historical fact (objective knowledge rather than some subjective experience).

  5. Tony Jokin says:

    EDIT: I also forgot to add, lets not forget the empty tomb!

  6. ErnstThalmann says:

    I’m afraid that you may have come away from my comment with the impression that I was somehow challenging the authenticity of the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ post-crucifixion appearances or explaining them as the product of a kind of psychosis. Most emphatically, I’m not. As to the use of the term “appearance” in scripture in this connection, the New International, the King James, and the Douay-Rheims Bibles, along with many other translations each use the term “appearance” to describe the experience of Christians with Jesus immediately following the crucifixion, just for example in Mark 16:9:

    “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” (New International Version)

    My point here is simply that the resurrection appearances of Jesus were subjectively experienced visions, perfectly historical and authentic, and lacking in any way the usual marks of psychosis. Even perceptions of what would otherwise seem to be objective fact – Thomas and Jesus wounds, an example – were subjectively apprehended. If memory serves, Joseph Ratzinger gives offers a helpful account of these “appearances” in his popular book, Introduction To Christianity. I’m thinking along these lines, largely.

  7. Tony Jokin says:

    I guess there is a dfference in how we use the word “subjective” perhaps. To me, the experiences of the ressurection are objective i.e. Jesus was present there independent of the mind of the witnesses. The word appears is simply used to convey the idea that Jesus showed himself to them. I am not sure how or why we should read anything more than that to a single word.

    Now is there a subjective element? Yes, that is what each individual thought about the resurrection after seeing the risen Christ. Scripture really does not speak of such things and only gives us the objective doctrine on what we should think from the resurrection. So I am not quiet sure I agree with the word “subjective” in the context of the resurrection.

    If anything, I feel that it sounds a bit modernist to use the word subjective in connection with the resurrection appearances (I know you are probably not arguing for the modernist, but that is just how I have seen the word subjective used in this context. So alarms were going off as I was reading your post :)).

    In any case, I don’t think its worth arguing over as long as we mean the same thing….

  8. ErnstThalmann says:

    Admittedly, this comment is a bit off topic but here’s a news report about one of Maradiaga’s choice recent statements:

    Reuters reports:

    “Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a “kitchen cabinet” the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Mueller (sic) – who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce – was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms.

    “The world isn’t like that, my brother,” Rodriguez said in a German newspaper interview, rhetorically addressing Mueller (sic) in a rare public criticism among senior Church figures. ”You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don’t just listen and say, ‘here is the wall’,” Rodriguez said in an interview with the daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger.”

    Frank really knows how to pick ’em, eh?


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