a Third Order brother of mine left us because he was dismayed over some of
the other members conversations upon various apparitions happening
(or not) around the world. . . . He voiced his displeasure
many times. . . .
long and short of this, is it has made me reflect more upon Medjugorje and
such. . . . Five years ago, I would have agreed with him
wholeheartedly, and supported such a stance with every vocal cord in my body.
But I have found since then, that . . . rather than encouraging
souls to come closer to [Christ], I was in fact discouraging
them. . . . Now I see my indignation was a subtle form of
pride in my own superior perception of spiritual
things . . . not inspired out of love for Christ or His starving
children, appreciating the means He uses to feed them.
the picture so differently now! I see God drawing souls to Him in many various
ways. . . . Anyway, perhaps what started out as a trip to
Medjugorje made out of curiosity, or some more shallow emotion, a desire
to see Our Lady perhaps, a need to feel good
even . . . at least that soul has gone out of its way, to
draw closer to Christ somehow. Their soul is hungry for something and they
are trying to find food, even if it is cotton candy. It may be a first step,
but at least it is a desire for something holy rather than just another trip
to the tavern, you know? . . So, how can I mock anyone who
goes to Medjugorje who is inspired to pray with more faith as a
admire the man, and, given the
same circumstancesbeing surrounded by others who persist in sin despite
a legitimate warningI would do the same thing.
The underlying problem within your
group is the same problem within the Church in general today. Rather than craving love
for God more than anything else, and rather than desiring to surrender humbly
to Gods providence and justice, people crave the social glamour of
apparitions and mystical phenomena. Its true that mysticism and genuine
religion are inseperable, but actively seeking out apparitions and mystical phenomena
is a disordered desire that leads a person away from
humility and right into the realm of
of an Alleged Apparition
Please understand that no
oneat least, no human beingcan determine whether an alleged
apparition is truly an act of God. All that can be determined is whether the events
may be worthy of belief. Therefore, when the Church needs to investigate
an alleged apparition, the task falls to the local bishop. First he will
look for an explanation by natural causes; and then, if no natural causes
can explain the phenomena, the bishop will determine if the events surrounding
the phenomena contain anything contrary to the faith.
Finally, if nothing contrary to the faith can be found, the bishop can declare
the events worthy of
Note carefully that the declaration
worthy of belief does not mean that the apparition has
been determined to be an act of God, nor does it mean that anyone has
to believe in
it just means that, because the Church does not see anything surrounding
the apparition to be fraudulent or harmful to the faith, the Church sees
no reason to order the faithful, for their own good, not to believe in
Now, in regard to Medjugorje,
the local bishop concluded his investigation in 1985 and he declared that
he not only found no evidence of anything supernatural, but also that
all evidence pointed to natural causes. Because of his findings, he
prohibited devotion to and propagation of the so-called visionsa
prohibition which forbids organized pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
Furthermore, nothing has changed
to this day. Nor has the Vatican made any pronouncements of its own yet,
leaving things nowas Church law requiresin the hands of the local
bishop. Those who believe in and propagate information about the events of
Medjugorje do so in flagrant disobedience to the local bishops directive.
And thats that.
So, what real good can come from
disobedience? Well, noneand here is
where we must recognize the work of the devil.
Perceiving our social emptiness and our spiritual
hunger today, Satan is quite happy to hand out
sugar-coated devotions that have a pernicious core of disobedience. He is
quite willing to tolerate popular enthusiasm in order to snare the gullible.
He knows that the few souls he might lose through genuine conversions resulting
from his lies are nothing compared to the myriads of souls he will gain through
the spread of disobedience and mis-information. He knows that the
good surrounding disobedience is only temporary and that his
poison will ultimately injure the roots of faith. He knows that once people
start saying to the Church, We dont care what you want, we want
what we want, and we will get it, one way or another, they have
already abandoned their faith. This isnt a matter of God drawing souls to
Himself, its a matter of the devil drawing souls to their doom.
What Can You
Therefore, if others around you
want to believe in the so-called apparitions at Medjugorje and
the prophecies of the visionaries,
then stay away from them for the sake of your own soul. Dont ridicule anyone,
though. Ridicule belongs to the devil and has no place in a Christian
Avoiding ridicule, however, does
not mean that you should be nice and
approve the sins of
others. To the contrary, you have two obligations.
The obligation to tell Medjugorje
enthusiasts (i.e., those who propagate information about Medjugorje) that
they are committing sin: the sin of
disobedience to the original local bishops directive, and the
sin of pride in identifying with unapproved
The obligation to protect the
orthodox, catholic, and apostolic faith (which should
be your faith) from being infected with false beliefs
and impure behaviors. Witness your faith politely.
If anyone pressures you, just say, calmly yet persistently, I do not
want to hear anything about Medjugorje.
Be careful, though, not to argue
with anyone. Even the disobedient have
free will, so they can do what they
want if they want. Respect their free willeven if they use it to defile
lovebecause without free will we would not
have the capacity to love.
Now, we might
hesitate to reject unapproved apparitions and dubious visionaries
because some persons will say to us,
Dont be judgmental! But to
say that something is contrary to the faith is simply a statement of
factits not judgmental in any way.
Others will say,
Didnt the traditionalists and legalists reject Jesus? If we reject
something that seems to be an apparition, isnt that like the Pharisees
rejecting Jesus? Well, no. The Jewish leaders not only rejected Jesus,
they plotted against Him and killed Him. Besides, they had the genuine prophecies
about a Messiah to prepare them for hearing Jesus. So what do we have? We
have the warning from Jesus Himself that many false prophets will arise
and deceive many (Matthew 24:11) because, in a world grown cold in
love, many who hunger for spirituality will consume
anything sweet, even if it is just a thin,
superstitious shell of piety stuffed with
obedient, like the Blessed Virgin in her
humility. Pray as she would
have you pray, O Lord, behold Thy servant. Thy willnot my
. . . all heavenly
visions, revelations, and feelingsor whatever else one may desire to
think onare not worth as much as the least act of
Saint John of the Cross
The Ascent of Mount Carmel,
Book Three, Chapter 9, no. 4.
The Motto of
Furthermore, never forget the
motto of Satanism: Do what thou wilt. Its like demonic
flypaper, sweet on the surface, but ultimate doom once you are careless
enough to touch it.
1. Although belief in approved apparitions can
help to inspire faith, it is not necessary for the Christian faith to believe
in any apparition other than those mentioned in the Bible. In other words,
modern apparitions are completely irrelevant to living a
holy lifestyle. So why waste your time arguing
about unapproved apparitions? Why not just deny yourself (and
your pride), take up your cross, and follow the