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Author Topic: Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje  (Read 18681 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 11, 2003, 10:56:00 PM »

I found this to be interesting and thought I'd share it with you all, perhaps it may spark some discussion on this issue, any way I thought it was interesting!

Quote
Question: What is the Orthodox position on the visitations by the Holy Theotokos to Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje? Do we view them as true visitations by the Mother of God? If so, how much importance to we place on them.
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Answer: The Orthodox Church has no official position on Lourdes, Fatima or Medjugorje as these events associated with devotion to the Mother of God are within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church as they involve RC faithful.
Miraculous Icons and other issues of Marian (in the East, "Theotokological") devotion come under the same rules as does the veneration of Saints. For example, the Roman Catholic Church would not canonize someone who was not a member of her communion. As one writer once pointed out, to do so would be "poaching." In the same way, the Roman Catholic Church is responsible for the investigation of all events connected to Marian devotion, including apparitions, that involve members of her own communion.

The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, has a great veneration for the Most Holy Mother of God that is both beautiful and rooted solidly in the theology of the Incarnation and liturgical prayer. The Orthodox Church constantly honours the Mother of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ in her daily Horologion, with Canon prayers and Akathists (the forerunner of the Catholic litany) and through such private devotions as the 150 "Hail Mary's" as practiced by St Seraphim of Sarov.

There are, in fact, more than one thousand miraculous Icons of the Mother of God that are venerated both universally and locally by the Orthodox Church, including several western icons such as that of "Our Lady of the Scapular" in Horodyschenske in Ukraine (at a former Roman Catholic monastery), "The Three Joys," "The Immaculate Mother of God" and, yes, one actually called the Icon of "Mezhehirya" or, in Croatian, "Medjugorje" near Kyiv, which was no relation to the events at Medjugorje today.

Miraculous appearances and apparitions of the Mother of God are well-known in Orthodoxy, especially the dramatic rescue of cities and monasteries through apparitions where Our Lady extends Her Mantle or Pokrova of protection over the people. Many miraculous Icons, in fact, are associated with such apparitions.

There have been Orthodox faithful who have been devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes, especially Russian Orthodox emigres who were also inspired by the pentitential devotion of La Salette and of St Therese of Lisieux while in France. However, one should remember that the Orthodox Church has no doctrine of the Immaculate Conception since She does not believe that Original Sin involves contracting the actual guilt of Adam's Sin, but only the consequences of that sin. A number of Russian Orthodox who were at Lourdes therefore understood the words, "I am the Immaculate Conception" to refer to the Immaculate Conception of Christ Himself in the Womb of the Mother of God, which, as our Horologion signs, became "More spacious than the Heavens for it contained Him whom the universe cannot contain." This was therefore a private devotion for some Orthodox faithful.

At Fatima, three children (two of whom are now Catholic saints of the "Blessed" category), experienced apparitions of the Mother of God who told them to do penance for sin and for Russia's conversion. The problem for the Orthodox with Fatima is the view of some traditionalist Catholics that the Mother of God wants to "convert" the Orthodox to Catholicism. This attitude on the part of Fatima devotees has been a definite "turn-off" for Orthodox Christians with respect to Fatima. Some Orthodox writers even go so far as to discredit Fatima completely for this reason, even attack it as a false apparition etc.

One Orthodox priest who, one could say, accepts the Fatima apparitions as legitimate, stated that the words of Our Lady at Fatima have already come true, as the Orthodox Church is now free in the lands formerly dominated by communism and is growing with her members approaching the sacraments and participating in the liturgical life of the Church.

The evidence regarding Fatima is clear: there is nothing in the reported apparitions to suggest the "conversion" of the Orthodox to Roman Catholicism. If anyting, the reverse is true, since one report states that the Slavic Orthodox lands will be the place where the Mother of God will be most honoured throughout the world, something repeated again at Medjugorje.

There is even a Byzantine-Style Icon of Our Lady of Fatima which, so the tradition holds, first appeared in Russia itself before the Revolution and even before the apparitions at Fatima! It shows the Mother of God in white in the traditional pose of the "Oranta" with hands uplifted in prayer and, interestingly enough, with not a rosary, but a prayer rope in Her hand . . .

If anything, then, Fatima speaks about conversion to traditional Orthodoxy, not Catholicism!

The same holds true regarding the apparition in the west to Simon Stock of the Carmelites in Aylesford, England. Being a western Christian, he was  unfamiliar with the Eastern devotion to the Protective Mantle of Our Lady.

When he saw a vision of Our Lady holding Her mantle, and with it the accompanying words, "Whosoever dies under this will not suffer eternal fire," he assumed that Our Lady was asking his monks to actually wear this Mantle, like a polystavrion of the East, front and back, from which the Scapular devotion developed.

But the East is well acquainted with this, and to an Eastern Orthodox Christian these reported words of Our Lady would mean, "Whosoever dies under the protection of and devotion to My Heavenly Mantle will not suffer eternal fire" for the Christian who lives under this protection will surely be preserved from hell in the next life!

There are also Roman Catholics who accept neither Lourdes, nor Fatima, nor Medjugorje, including Croatian priests living within the diocese in which Medjugorje is situated! But no one may impose on any Christian devotions or beliefs that can only be accepted on piety after the Church has determined they are not opposed to faith.

One final thing, however. There is an historical marked contrast between Roman Catholic lay piety and that of the Orthodox Church. Catholic piety has, until recently, been largely rooted in the private revelations of individuals. Catholic devotions are often those associated with visions and apparitions of people, which tend to dominate Catholic prayer-books.

Orthodox lay piety is firmly rooted in the Divine Office, the Psalter and the Scriptures and Fathers.

Orthodox laity say the same prayers that are said by Priests (with some changes), monks and nuns. They are expected to and many actually do pray the Hours and Psalms and other services from the public prayer life and liturgy of the Orthodox Church. Private devotions have their place, but they do not dominate the spiritual lives of the faithful as they have and still do in the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican Council II was very concerned about this, tried to get Catholics to pray the Psalms and the Office and read the Bible. Efforts in this regard are still underway.

Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje, at least how they have been represented by Catholics, are in that unfortunate category of private devotion that is often pushed ahead of the public liturgical prayer life of the Church which should be the first priority and mainstay of all Christians.

I personally have no problem any of these three Marian apparitions insofar as they teach the need for penance, the place of the Mother of God in developing a solid devotion to the Incarnation of Christ, a return to the Sacraments and living the life of the Church which is participation in the Body of Christ. On the other hand, as an Eastern Christian, all these things, especially devotion to Our Lady, are already an integral part of Byzantine spirituality, quite independently of these apparitions. The more fantastic teachings of people who promote these apparitions for personal or ideological ends I reject completely.

Dr. Alexander Roman  

http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/marionology.htm
 
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2003, 11:21:49 PM »

I've always had a devotion to St Therese of Lisieux. I've wondered since converting to Orthodoxy from RC if prayers could/should still be offered to her.  I've never asked a priest about this but most likely should.
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2003, 11:43:56 PM »

A Catholic response about Medjugorje:

www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/9463/medjugorje.html
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2003, 03:53:02 AM »

Please note that the very long response quoted from Dr. Alexander Roman above is "slanted," wittingly or unwittingly, with a distinct Catholic bias, so, of course, he would have "no problem" with Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje.  Dr. Alexander Roman, with whom I have corresponded elsewhere, is NOT an Eastern Orthodox Christian, although he does not always identify himself as such (he often leaves the impression that he is an "Orthodox Catholic").  However, in reality he is a layman of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Eparchy of Toronto, i.e., in communion with Rome.  Readers here should be aware of where Dr. Roman is coming from, especially with the examples he uses above.

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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2003, 07:14:47 AM »

I knew there was something fishy going on there.

Thanks Hypo, i'm glad you informed us.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2003, 10:27:56 AM »

I don't think one can accept Dr Roman's versions of history as reliable without confirmation from another source, but to be fair to him:

1) He never lies about being Ukrainian Catholic - IOW, he never pretends to be Eastern Orthodox- even though in this article he doesn't say it, and

2) (Quotations)

Quote
The Orthodox Church has no official position on Lourdes, Fatima or Medjugorje as these events associated with devotion to the Mother of God are within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church as they involve RC faithful


and

Quote
There are also Roman Catholics who accept neither Lourdes, nor Fatima, nor Medjugorje, including Croatian priests living within the diocese in which Medjugorje is situated! But no one may impose on any Christian devotions or beliefs that can only be accepted on piety after the Church has determined they are not opposed to faith

and

Quote
Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje, at least how they have been represented by Catholics, are in that unfortunate category of private devotion that is often pushed ahead of the public liturgical prayer life of the Church which should be the first priority and mainstay of all Christians.


among other things in the article, are all completely true.

But:

Quote
Orthodox lay piety is firmly rooted in the Divine Office, the Psalter and the Scriptures and Fathers.

Orthodox laity say the same prayers that are said by priests (with some changes), monks and nuns. They are expected to and many actually do pray the Hours and Psalms and other services from the public prayer life and liturgy of the Orthodox Church. Private devotions have their place, but they do not dominate the spiritual lives of the faithful as they have and still do in the Roman Catholic Church.

sounds romanticized, not really true in practice. The Old Orthodox Prayer Book I reviewed elsewhere on this board is in many ways as extrabiblical and devotional as Tridentine RC books.

Quote
Vatican Council II was very concerned about this, tried to get Catholics to pray the Psalms and the Office and read the Bible. Efforts in this regard are still underway.

Just like the 'Reformation' in England - one of the only good things it tried to do. And unlike bogus changes, it has been a spectacular failure. I think the damage was too extensive in popular religious culture - 'the damage was done'. The first English-language breviaries weren't widely available until the 20th century.

It's amazing that this died, considering that literate medieval people used Books of Hours. I think I wrote earlier that one might blame the Renaissance, 'Reformation' and Counter-Reformation. The first took away the faith of the intelligentsia, and the last, reacting to the second, went in for catchy, simple devotions instead.
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2003, 05:10:52 PM »

{One final thing, however. There is an historical marked contrast between Roman Catholic lay piety and that of the Orthodox Church. Catholic piety has, until recently, been largely rooted in the private revelations of individuals. Catholic devotions are often those associated with visions and apparitions of people, which tend to dominate Catholic prayer-books. }

I don't agree with this there are many devotions not associated with visions.  "Rooted in the private revelations of individuals"??  Is Dr Roman in union with Rome?  Because from this I can't see how he is.

{There are also Roman Catholics who accept....Meddjugorje,}

I'm one of them.  This series of apparitions were not approved by Rome.

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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2003, 05:36:54 PM »

Alex Roman, Ph.D. is a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with Rome, as Hypo stated above.  

Maybe you are right, CR, that there are many devotions not associated with a particular private revelation.  I myself have seen very few where this is the case.  I suppose the most notable devotion not associated with private revelations is the Stations of the Cross.  Most devotions that I am familiar with are in some way--either in their origin or in their propagation--associated with private revelations.  

And then there's the Pieta prayer book... Wink
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2003, 05:43:32 PM »

I haven't seen the Pieta prayerbook but must agree that there are some really horrible prayerbooks floating around.  To the Stations could be added the Rosary(I agree there are some revelations around it but it at least started on it's own as it were)  Also lectio divina, the Jesus Psalter, the Angelus/Regina Coeli,the Holy Hour, and various litanies to the saints.

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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2003, 05:47:33 PM »

I suppose the most notable devotion not associated with private revelations is the Stations of the Cross.

Stations is properly a liturgy, at least as I've seen it done.
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2003, 06:07:45 PM »

What about Noveinas (most likely spelled wrong)?
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2003, 06:17:36 PM »

Keble

The Stations started as a public devotion sort of a para-liturgy and still is but also done as private devotion.  And you have a choice between the Ligourian or Franciscan Stations.

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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2003, 06:20:09 PM »

I was only off on the spelling by one "i"!   Grin

Keble

The Stations started as a public devotion sort of a para-liturgy and still is but also done as private devotion.  And you have a choice between the Ligourian or Franciscan Stations.

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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2003, 06:30:18 PM »


Regarding Medjugorje, it's best to go to Roman Catholic sources themselves regarding this sham.  because if the truthis presented by Orthodox, it is considered as not credible.

Below is from a website maintained by a very devout Roman Catholic millionaire named Phillip Kronzer who has spent years and thousands of dollars debunking the Medjugorie scam perpatuated by Franciscian  priests and monks.  Phillip Kronzer is well known in the Vatican and supports many Roman Catholic charities around the world as his website indicates.

What is not well known is that right outside of Medjugorie is a site where thousands of Orthodox Serbs were slaughtered by the Utashie.  Many who were led by Franciscian priests.

From his website -

http://www.kronzer.org/news_cardinal.html

Phillip Kronzer and his fight against Medjugorje:
A Brief Summary

Phillip Kronzer, a successful California businessman and devout Catholic, has dedicated himself to de-bunking the religious cult that has destroyed his business and personal life

Kronzer has spent over 4 years and more than $500,000 investigating the authenticity of Medjugorje, a city of religious phenomenon in Bosnia which he asserts destroyed his business and 39 year marriage. He is confident his ex-wife and other family members continue to be manipulated by the cult primarily due to their wealth.

Through his efforts, Kronzer continues to uncover a trail of lies, deceit, and sensationalism that Medjugorje supporters use to perpetuate this hoax for personal profit and leaving countless victims behind.

What is Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is located in eastern Europe in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was an economically depressed farming community until June 24, 1981 when six Catholic children claimed to have seen and spoken to an apparition of the Virgin Mary on a hillside.

As a result of this sighting, Medjugorje is now a thriving tourist attraction known as "Miracle City" and draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world each year. A town once with a population of 500, now boasts more than 15,000 hotel beds, restaurants providing international and domestic specialties, souvenir shops, travel and traffic agencies, and professional guides speaking all international languages.

A number of the original children, now adults, have become wealthy due to their alleged encounter with the Virgin Mary. To date, over 30,000 messages have supposedly been given to these six seers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

In addition, there are now an estimated 3000 Medjugorje centers throughout the United States which promote and facilitate pilgrimages.

The Message

Medjugorje is now the most controversial Catholic shrine in the world today. The Vatican has never endorsed it and many Bishops, including the local Bishop in Mostar, Bosnia have condemned the phenomenon.

Kronzer as well as many others have fallen victim to the repercussions of groups affiliated with Medjugorje. Critics conclude these groups have a pattern of deceitfully recruiting members, in effect brainwashig them and draining their financial resources.

"I have spoken with a number of good people who have experienced loss due to Medjugorje and now I have made it my mission to let the world know about this group and it’s damaging effects, so that others will not have to suffer the losses I have incurred," said Kronzer.

Kronzer has filed a lawsuit against the Medjugorje MIR Center of which his ex-wife is a member and is working to establish a victims network to provide resources to others who have incurred undue suffering as the result of the religious cults of Medjugorje.


Kronzer Foundation Applauds Cardinal Vinko Puljic

The Kronzer Foundation applauds the stance of the Cardinal of Sarajevo.   The Franciscan plague that is poisoning our Church must be halted and the disobedient Franciscan monks at Medjugorje and their allies in the United States prevented from spreading deception and lies in the name of religion.   Charlatans, false seers, Franciscan fakirs and scam artists have no place in the true Church.   As Cardinal Puljic undoubtedly knows, money not faith is the tainted fruit of Medjugorje.
-------------

OrthoMan


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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2003, 06:54:32 PM »

I haven't seen the Pieta prayerbook but must agree that there are some really horrible prayerbooks floating around.  

Oh, you really ought to see it.  There is some good stuff in it, but there is some wacky stuff in it also.  If you'd like, I've got a few of these, and I could send you one.  Let me know either way.

You are right about the other devotions you mentioned in your post.  

Keble,

How is Stations properly a liturgy?  The most I've ever heard it described as is along the lines of a para-liturgy, as CR writes, and I always presumed there was a difference between liturgy and para-liturgy.  How have you seen Stations done liturgically?
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2003, 07:25:11 PM »

Hey everyone, I am sorry I had no idea that Dr. Roman wasn't Orthodox...it is a Ukrainian ORTHODOX site and ALL of the articles on the site deal with ORTHODOXY, none deal with Ukrainian Catholicism! I had no idea, sorry.
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2003, 07:25:11 PM »

Mor Ephrem

Thanks for the offer but I'm in the process of moving and trying to reduce my library.

Orthodoc

Those of us in the Roman rite who disagree with Medjugorje usually just refer to it as "Mud-gorge".  I had heard about the horrors done by the Ustashi and knew that some RC clergy were involved but didn't know one site was so close to Mud-gorge.  Just one point though the Francisans are just from that particular area in Bosnia. The rest of their order is in line with Rome.  The Franciscan superior in Rome has told the friars involved to knock it off but they are disobedient.

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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2003, 11:35:04 PM »

Hey everyone, I am sorry I ahd no idea that Dr. Roman wasn't Orthodox...it is a Ukrainian ORTHODOX site and most of the articles on the site deal with ORTHODOXY, none deal with Ukrainian Catholicism! I had no idea, sorry.

No one is holding you responsible, Ben, don't worry!  {{getting the wet noodles ready for giving you a beating, heh! heh!  Grin}}  Yes, it is SUPPOSED to be a Ukrainian Orthodox site--that's what it claims anyway; why then, do you think, that the site features Alex Roman, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic, as one of the spokesmen for the ORTHODOX POV's on the site without identifying him as a Ukrainian Greek Catholic? Huh  No Ukrainian ORTHODOX spokesmen with Ph.D.'s available?

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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2003, 12:22:22 AM »

[Yes, it is SUPPOSED to be a Ukrainian Orthodox site--that's what it claims anyway; why then, do you think, that the site features Alex Roman, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic, as one of the spokesmen for the ORTHODOX POV's on the site without identifying him as a Ukrainian Greek Catholic?   No Ukrainian ORTHODOX spokesmen with Ph.D.'s available?]

Because being Ukrainian is more important than being either Orthodox Catholic or Ukrainian Greek Catholic.

A Ukrainian friend once told me your average Ukrainian will go to the church whose choir can sing "God Bless Ukraine' (In Ukrainian) the loudest!  At the time I thought he was joking.  But he wasn't!

Orthodoc
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2003, 08:12:02 AM »


Regarding Medjugorje, it's best to go to Roman Catholic sources themselves regarding this sham.  because if the truthis presented by Orthodox, it is considered as not credible.

Below is from a website maintained by a very devout Roman Catholic millionaire named Phillip Kronzer who has spent years and thousands of dollars debunking the Medjugorie scam perpatuated by Franciscian  priests and monks.  Phillip Kronzer is well known in the Vatican and supports many Roman Catholic charities around the world as his website indicates.

What is not well known is that right outside of Medjugorie is a site where thousands of Orthodox Serbs were slaughtered by the Utashie.  Many who were led by Franciscian priests.

From his website -

http://www.kronzer.org/news_cardinal.html

Phillip Kronzer and his fight against Medjugorje:
A Brief Summary

Phillip Kronzer, a successful California businessman and devout Catholic, has dedicated himself to de-bunking the religious cult that has destroyed his business and personal life

Kronzer has spent over 4 years and more than $500,000 investigating the authenticity of Medjugorje, a city of religious phenomenon in Bosnia which he asserts destroyed his business and 39 year marriage. He is confident his ex-wife and other family members continue to be manipulated by the cult primarily due to their wealth.

Through his efforts, Kronzer continues to uncover a trail of lies, deceit, and sensationalism that Medjugorje supporters use to perpetuate this hoax for personal profit and leaving countless victims behind.

What is Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is located in eastern Europe in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and was an economically depressed farming community until June 24, 1981 when six Catholic children claimed to have seen and spoken to an apparition of the Virgin Mary on a hillside.

As a result of this sighting, Medjugorje is now a thriving tourist attraction known as "Miracle City" and draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world each year. A town once with a population of 500, now boasts more than 15,000 hotel beds, restaurants providing international and domestic specialties, souvenir shops, travel and traffic agencies, and professional guides speaking all international languages.

A number of the original children, now adults, have become wealthy due to their alleged encounter with the Virgin Mary. To date, over 30,000 messages have supposedly been given to these six seers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

In addition, there are now an estimated 3000 Medjugorje centers throughout the United States which promote and facilitate pilgrimages.

The Message

Medjugorje is now the most controversial Catholic shrine in the world today. The Vatican has never endorsed it and many Bishops, including the local Bishop in Mostar, Bosnia have condemned the phenomenon.

Kronzer as well as many others have fallen victim to the repercussions of groups affiliated with Medjugorje. Critics conclude these groups have a pattern of deceitfully recruiting members, in effect brainwashig them and draining their financial resources.

"I have spoken with a number of good people who have experienced loss due to Medjugorje and now I have made it my mission to let the world know about this group and it’s damaging effects, so that others will not have to suffer the losses I have incurred," said Kronzer.

Kronzer has filed a lawsuit against the Medjugorje MIR Center of which his ex-wife is a member and is working to establish a victims network to provide resources to others who have incurred undue suffering as the result of the religious cults of Medjugorje.


Kronzer Foundation Applauds Cardinal Vinko Puljic

The Kronzer Foundation applauds the stance of the Cardinal of Sarajevo.   The Franciscan plague that is poisoning our Church must be halted and the disobedient Franciscan monks at Medjugorje and their allies in the United States prevented from spreading deception and lies in the name of religion.   Charlatans, false seers, Franciscan fakirs and scam artists have no place in the true Church.   As Cardinal Puljic undoubtedly knows, money not faith is the tainted fruit of Medjugorje.
-------------

OrthoMan




The man has a ax to grind. that is hardly the kind of source one should rely on for objective information.
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2003, 12:24:10 PM »

[The man has a ax to grind. that is hardly the kind of source one should rely on for objective information.
Peace,
Polycarp]

Does the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Sarajevo also have an axe to grind when he says -

"Then, turning his attention to his own land of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the cardinal said that the unity of the Church is threatened by the disobedience of the Franciscan monks serving at Medjurgorje, who "impose their own points of view" with the aid of "pseudo-charisms."

"The Kronzer Foundation applauds the stance of the Cardinal of Sarajevo.  The Franciscan plague that is poisoning our Church must be halted and the disobedient Franciscan monks at Medjugorje and their allies in the United States prevented from spreading deception and lies in the name of religion.  Charlatans, false seers, Franciscan fakirs and scam artists have no place in the true Church.  As Cardinal Puljic undoubtedly knows, money not faith is the tainted fruit of Medjugorje."

==========

http://www.oea.serbian-church.net/info/203.html

NAZI CONNECTION TO FRANCISCAN ORDER UNCOVERED

Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Near the site of a World War II wartime massacre of Serb women and children by Croatian Nazis
stands a Franciscan Monastery. It’s just down the road from Medjugorje or "Miracle City" where the Virgin Mary is said to put in nightly
appearances for the tens of thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims who flock there each year. The Franciscan Monastery at Sirkoi Brijeg
and its controversial contents are at the center of an international scandal involving the Franciscans, Croatian ultra nationalists and the
Vatican Bank.

A lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank, filed in San Francisco Federal Court in November 1999 by Serb, Jewish, and Ukrainian Holocaust
survivors against the Vatican Bank and Franciscans seeks return of Nazi loot stolen from wartime Yugoslavia. According to a 1998 US
State Department report, the money known as the Ustasha Treasury is thought to have been concealed in the Vatican and used in part to
fund the escape of Nazi and Croatian war criminals to South America. The Franciscans acted as facilitators and middlemen in moving the
contents of the Ustasha Treasury from Croatia to Austria, Italy and finally South America.

The Franciscans have denied their wartime ties to the Ustasha regime in Croatia, which slaughtered over 700,000 Serbs, Jews, and
Gypsies and set the stage for today’s ethnic battles in the Balkans. However, in Siroki Brijeg, plaintiffs’ attorneys have obtained tangible
proof of the Nazi Franciscan connection. Cameramen working for Phillip Kronzer, a staunch foe of Medjugorje and its Marian apparitions
obtained entry to the Monastery and filmed a secret shrine honoring the Ustashe. A plaque dedicated to Franciscan monks who were
Ustasha members was filmed along with a massive shrine lining the walls complete with photographs of Ustashe soldiers some in Nazi
uniforms. The inscription "Recognize us, We are yours" can clearly be discerned in the video footage. On a later visit to the monastery the
shrine had been dismantled but the videotape preserved the evidence and has now been made available by the Kronzer Foundation.

Just as in World War II, Medjugorje was the site of brutal ethnic cleansing by Croat nationalists. Alperin plaintiffs have alleged that
Medjugorje and its facilities are connected with the Ustasha Treasury and the monastery at Siroki Brijeg seems to provide hard evidence
of the connection.

For more information contact:

Jonathan Levy

Tel. 513-528-0586

Jlevy1@cinci.rr.com

www.vaticanbankclaims.com

An Orthodox pilgrimage to Medjugorje -

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/medjugorje.htm

OrthoMan

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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2003, 01:12:05 PM »

Frankly, I would appreciate it if the moderators would quash any discussion of Balkan politics, a poison which unfortunately lows throughout the EO newsgroup.

No group there is without sin. And worse, as far as their supposed Christianity is concerned, is the brooding over past injuries and the scheming to "reverse" them.
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2003, 01:15:07 PM »

Re: Medjugorje (devotion to which ISTM has been on the wane for several years):

GÇóAn acquaintance of mine, E. Michael Jones, has investigated and debunked it.
GÇóI used to know devot+¬es of it - the devotions they picked up from it certainly seemed orthodox (the true faith about the Eucharist, Marian devotion such as the Rosary and - amazingly - fasting!) but it was obvious to me the movement was bound up with the charismatic movement. (Another sign of its 'bogosity' - a socially acceptable hysteria/fad like this was OK with these RCs while they looked down on meat-and-potatoes, traditionalist Mass-and-office Catholicism as weird!)
GÇóPerhaps this imported Protestant influence is partly behind the continued defiance of what should be the end of the story for Catholics:
GÇóThe apostolic ministry has acted: the bishop ordinary of Split said no to Medjugorje years ago. (IOW, the apparitions were judged 'not authentic'.) When it comes to these things, the buck stops with the bishop!
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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2003, 02:58:26 PM »

Dear Friends:

Hoping that it will put our discussion on Medjugorje in a clearer perspective, below is THE offical position of the Catholic Church, as of 1998, which I copied from EWTN's document library, already translated:

---------------------------------------------------------------------
CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI
Pr. No 154/81-05922
Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. Uffizio

May 26, 1998

To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry,
Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion

Excellency:

In your letter of January 1, 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery several questions about the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar in regard to the so called apparitions of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages and the pastoral care of the faithful who go there.

In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency. The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: "On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." Since the division of Yugoslavia into different independent nations it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina to eventually reopen the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be called for.

What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion.

Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.

I hope that I have replied satisfactorily at least to the principal questions that you have presented to this Dicastery and I beg Your Excellency to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments.

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Peace,

Amado
 
 
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2003, 03:09:06 PM »

Quote
The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: "On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations."

Thanks. As I was saying:

Quote
the bishop ordinary of Split said no to Medjugorje years ago. (IOW, the apparitions were judged 'not authentic'.) When it comes to these things, the buck stops with the bishop!
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« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2003, 06:51:26 PM »

[The man has a ax to grind. that is hardly the kind of source one should rely on for objective information.
Peace,
Polycarp]

Does the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Sarajevo also have an axe to grind when he says -

"Then, turning his attention to his own land of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the cardinal said that the unity of the Church is threatened by the disobedience of the Franciscan monks serving at Medjurgorje, who "impose their own points of view" with the aid of "pseudo-charisms."

"The Kronzer Foundation applauds the stance of the Cardinal of Sarajevo.  The Franciscan plague that is poisoning our Church must be halted and the disobedient Franciscan monks at Medjugorje and their allies in the United States prevented from spreading deception and lies in the name of religion.  Charlatans, false seers, Franciscan fakirs and scam artists have no place in the true Church.  As Cardinal Puljic undoubtedly knows, money not faith is the tainted fruit of Medjugorje."


I don't believe the Cardinal has an ax to grind. The other person does. I know many people who's faith was strengthened by what is happening in Medjugorje. The fact that people tend to take advantage of situations where they see a way to make a profit dosn't automatically make the good that happened bad.
==========

http://www.oea.serbian-church.net/info/203.html

NAZI CONNECTION TO FRANCISCAN ORDER UNCOVERED

Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Near the site of a World War II wartime massacre of Serb women and children by Croatian Nazis
stands a Franciscan Monastery. It’s just down the road from Medjugorje or "Miracle City" where the Virgin Mary is said to put in nightly
appearances for the tens of thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims who flock there each year. The Franciscan Monastery at Sirkoi Brijeg
and its controversial contents are at the center of an international scandal involving the Franciscans, Croatian ultra nationalists and the
Vatican Bank.

A lawsuit, Alperin v. Vatican Bank, filed in San Francisco Federal Court in November 1999 by Serb, Jewish, and Ukrainian Holocaust
survivors against the Vatican Bank and Franciscans seeks return of Nazi loot stolen from wartime Yugoslavia. According to a 1998 US
State Department report, the money known as the Ustasha Treasury is thought to have been concealed in the Vatican and used in part to
fund the escape of Nazi and Croatian war criminals to South America. The Franciscans acted as facilitators and middlemen in moving the
contents of the Ustasha Treasury from Croatia to Austria, Italy and finally South America.

The Franciscans have denied their wartime ties to the Ustasha regime in Croatia, which slaughtered over 700,000 Serbs, Jews, and
Gypsies and set the stage for today’s ethnic battles in the Balkans. However, in Siroki Brijeg, plaintiffs’ attorneys have obtained tangible
proof of the Nazi Franciscan connection. Cameramen working for Phillip Kronzer, a staunch foe of Medjugorje and its Marian apparitions
obtained entry to the Monastery and filmed a secret shrine honoring the Ustashe. A plaque dedicated to Franciscan monks who were
Ustasha members was filmed along with a massive shrine lining the walls complete with photographs of Ustashe soldiers some in Nazi
uniforms. The inscription "Recognize us, We are yours" can clearly be discerned in the video footage. On a later visit to the monastery the
shrine had been dismantled but the videotape preserved the evidence and has now been made available by the Kronzer Foundation.

Just as in World War II, Medjugorje was the site of brutal ethnic cleansing by Croat nationalists. Alperin plaintiffs have alleged that
Medjugorje and its facilities are connected with the Ustasha Treasury and the monastery at Siroki Brijeg seems to provide hard evidence
of the connection.

For more information contact:

Jonathan Levy

Tel. 513-528-0586

Jlevy1@cinci.rr.com

www.vaticanbankclaims.com

An Orthodox pilgrimage to Medjugorje -

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/medjugorje.htm

OrthoMan



The above information comes from a Serbian source which is hardly objective. All of which is based on allegations and are unproven. Even if true it wouldn't make the apperaritions invalid. As another poster already said, there is no one free of sin in the region so no one should be casting stones, especially the Serbs in light of more recent history.
Peace,
Polycarp
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« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2003, 07:03:21 PM »

Polycarp

[The above information comes from a Serbian source which is hardly objective. All of which is based on allegations and are unproven. Even if true it wouldn't make the apperaritions invalid. As another poster already said, there is no one free of sin in the region so no one should be casting stones, especially the Serbs in light of more recent history.]


The apparitions are invalid as they were ruled so by the local ordinary and Rome.  What is that catchy Latin phrase?  "Rome has spoken the matter is ended"

True no one in the Balkans is free of sin.  Yes the sources were Serb but even RC sources will tell of these events.  Owning up to the sin and asking forgiveness is part of healing.  As an RC I have read accounts of the atrocities done by the Ustashi who in some case were led by RC clergy.  This was of course wrong and goes against the Gospel and the RC clergy involved should've been laicized immeadiately and "handed over to the secular arm".  The Church is bigger than the actions of some of her members even if they were priests.  I am sure that at Judgement St Francis will be the one to step forward before the Throne and strip the habits from those Franciscans involved.

Carpo-Rusyn
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« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2003, 07:25:16 PM »

carpo-rusyn<<True no one in the Balkans is free of sin.  Yes the sources were Serb but even RC sources will tell of these events.  Owning up to the sin and asking forgiveness is part of healing.  As an RC I have read accounts of the atrocities done by the Ustashi who in some case were led by RC clergy.  This was of course wrong and goes against the Gospel and the RC clergy involved should've been laicized immeadiately and "handed over to the secular arm".  The Church is bigger than the actions of some of her members even if they were priests.  I am sure that at Judgement St Francis will be the one to step forward before the Throne and strip the habits from those Franciscans involved.>>

Good post, c-p.  Cool I'm going to send a request to His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle of Serbia to invest you as an honorary member of the Order of St. Sava! Grin

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« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2003, 09:28:40 PM »

Hypo-Orth

Thanks but I'd need to check with JP2.  I'm waiting for the restoration of the monarchy then I'll accept the order from King Alexander (at least I think he's the claimant?)

CR Wink
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« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2003, 09:51:16 PM »

I don't believe the Cardinal has an ax to grind. The other person does. I know many people who's faith was strengthened by what is happening in Medjugorje. The fact that people tend to take advantage of situations where they see a way to make a profit dosn't automatically make the good that happened bad.

I know many people whose faith has been strengthened by the visions of Bayside and its seer Veronica (now deceased, I think).  For many of them, it was the push they needed to get their spiritual lives back in order.  But they weren't terribly crushed when the bishop condemned those visions as contrary to Church teaching.  Sometimes, good fruit can come of something bad.  That doesn't mean the bad is somehow good.
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« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2003, 10:42:29 PM »

I don't believe the Cardinal has an ax to grind. The other person does. I know many people who's faith was strengthened by what is happening in Medjugorje. The fact that people tend to take advantage of situations where they see a way to make a profit dosn't automatically make the good that happened bad.

I know many people whose faith has been strengthened by the visions of Bayside and its seer Veronica (now deceased, I think).  For many of them, it was the push they needed to get their spiritual lives back in order.  But they weren't terribly crushed when the bishop condemned those visions as contrary to Church teaching.  Sometimes, good fruit can come of something bad.  That doesn't mean the bad is somehow good.    

Way back when I used to keep up with what was happening before the civil strife that rocked the former Yugoslavia. It seemed authentic to me. Yet I am not one of the kind of folks who gets cought up in apperitions. Maybe it's authentic and maybe it isn't. I don't know and I haven't been concerned for several years now. I'm gratified that The Church dosen't jump in and make any judgments on these claims without a long and carefull investigation.
Off the subject, but have you eaver heard of Saint Padre Pio of Petriclina? He has been a favorite of mine since I was a child.
Peace,
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« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2003, 10:55:19 PM »

Of course I have.  I like him too!
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« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2003, 11:15:34 AM »

Medjugorje is an abomination to pravolslavny.  

1.  It was the sight of the genocide of Orthodox Serbs by the Ustasha during WWII.

http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/Archives/cw_feb98/surmanci.html

(A Roman Catholic source)

2.  Money collected from Medjugorje has been used to murder Serbs during 1990's and ethnically cleanse the region.

see www.vaticanbankclaims.com
www.pavelicpapers.com
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« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2003, 02:00:55 PM »

Dear CR:

----------------------------------------------------------------------
quote:

The apparitions are invalid as they were ruled so by the local ordinary and Rome.  What is that catchy Latin phrase?  "Rome has spoken the matter is ended"

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Based on the aforequoted letter from the CDF, Rome DID NOT declare the apparitions to be invalid at all. It merely said that there was no sufficient basis at that time (1998), as determined by the then Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia, for the "events" in Medjugorje to be "supernatural."

Time will tell; and Rome has not finally spoken! Wink

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« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2003, 02:11:27 PM »

Quote
Based on the aforequoted letter from the CDF, Rome DID NOT declare the apparitions to be invalid at all. It merely said that there was no sufficient basis at that time (1998), as determined by the then Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia, for the "events" in Medjugorje to be "supernatural."

Time will tell; and Rome has not finally spoken!

As I tried to say twice here, Rome doesn't decide these things - that's not how it works. The buck stops with the bishop, and the bishop in this case (the ordinary of Split) said no a long time ago.
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« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2003, 03:32:16 PM »

Dear C-R:

And I forgot to give you THAT Latin expression:

"Roma locuta est, causa finita est!"


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« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2003, 07:05:08 PM »

Amadeus

Thanks for the quote.  I may have been wrong on the Rome decision but Serge raises a valid point in that it is up to the local ordinary.

Did somebody mention St Pio???  He's one of my favorite saints.  I will have to check to see if you are both RC before you can have a devotion to him.  You see we've tightened things up a bit and only RCs can venerate RC saints. Wink


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« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2003, 07:10:22 PM »

Quote

As I tried to say twice here, Rome doesn't decide these things - that's not how it works. The buck stops with the bishop, and the bishop in this case (the ordinary of Split) said no a long time ago.

THANK YOU SERGE!!!

This is actually correct (with all due respect to my brother Amado G).  Rome will not overturn the local bishop--just like with a cause for canonization.

LatinTrad
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« Reply #38 on: November 17, 2003, 08:00:00 PM »

Quote

As I tried to say twice here, Rome doesn't decide these things - that's not how it works. The buck stops with the bishop, and the bishop in this case (the ordinary of Split) said no a long time ago.

THANK YOU SERGE!!!

This is actually correct (with all due respect to my brother Amado G).  Rome will not overturn the local bishop--just like with a cause for canonization.

LatinTrad

Much as I hate to disagree with my dear buddy Latin Trad's lightest word Smiley Smiley ... in the case of Medjugoeje, Rome has taken the matter out of the local ordinary's hands. Yes, this is unusual. But it is not unprecedented or technically impossible.

Rome will rule on Medjugprje when the apparitions end. As of now, it has not ruled either negatively or affirmatively.

God bless,

Diane whose friends have experienced profound conversion to Christ, His Church, and His Sacraments through Medjugorje
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« Reply #39 on: November 17, 2003, 08:30:40 PM »

Personally, I don't think Medjugorje is credible. Fatima, yes. Lourdes, I haven't studied. Guadelupe, I'm inclined to believe.

There is an entire culture of lavateria Catholicism, and Medjugorje, I believe, belongs to this brand of Christianity.

Believe it or not, there was one business that was selling salvation kits, for the lavateria catholic apocalypse. It included blessed candles for the three days of darkness, and holy water from some saint-chaser's holy site, I think Medjugorje.

The Vatican would be ill-advised to encourage this phenom.
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« Reply #40 on: November 17, 2003, 08:56:21 PM »

Funny, I actually see it the other way around - Lourdes yes, but not Fatima. I think it's important not to let emotions supercede good theology, and Mejugorje has alot of bad theology in my opinion. (eg. the "all religions are equally pleasing to God statement.)  Mejugorje may simply create a positive psychological setting conducive to let the Holy Spirit touch the hearts of those who visit...but the same thing happened to a Roman Catholic friend of mine who went mountain climbing one day as a non-believer, reached the mountain's summit, admired the view, thought about where his life was going and answered God's call that very moment to change his life. I guess the Holy Spirit "blows where he blows." Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2003, 09:20:11 PM »

Dear Byzantino,

Why Lourdes but not Fatima?
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« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2003, 11:38:40 PM »

Dear ResistK

It is a proved fact that many Roman hierarchs in Croatia and other Nazi-occupied nations sold themlseves to the local dictators because they guaranteed privileges for the Roman Church and were full of Nationalism. There are also proofs about participation and encouragement by Roman priests in the Holocaust (particularly in Croatia).

But there are also known massachres of Jews performed by Orthodox Christians and encouraged by priests (like the Pogroms in Belarus, for example). And there's another thing, Romania and Bulgaria, two Orthodox countries ruled by Orthodox Christian dictators and Nazi collaborators, closely supported the "Poglavnic" Pavelic, and called him soldier of Jesus Christ (Antonescu in particular).

I do believe that all Christians are kind of responsable for being silent during the Holocaust.

This is why you should not believe all the Anti-Catholic crap that is said in those sites. You must remember that the Communists after WWII falsified and exagerated the facts of the Holcaust and blamed religious men for that.
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« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2003, 02:06:48 AM »

Hi Phil!

What I meant to say was that I’m favourably disposed to Lourdes on the grounds that I see a manifestation of the presence of the supernatural because of 1/ the healings that occurred soon after the first apparitions and 2/ the lack of any doom and gloom. One of them was the miraculous and medically documented healing of a baby, who I think was crippled, after being plunged into the water by his mother. There’s obviously a cause and effect relationship between the apparitions and the healings, this much I’m convinced; where I have some doubts is in regards to the problem of the cause or origin of the apparition itself. The one thing I noticed when I was Roman Catholic, being around some very good RCs who approached their faith in a child-like but scholarly way, was the level of philosophical skepticism employed in regards to things, such as apparitions, which seem to be obvious signs of the presence of the Divine, sort of like difference between the professional who knows how to identify the fake Picasso painting, with those who accept the fake as genuine because they have no knowledge of the tools used to recognize fake from genuine. Certain facts about Lourdes do raise some doubts, such as how Bernadette could not have understood the term “immaculate conception” when it’s almost certain that she would’ve heard the term thrown around in places such as her church (at the feast of the Immaculate Conception), her school etc. I’d love to know the nitty-gritty biblical criteria required to test the authenticity of a revelation. During my catechism classes my priest firmly emphasized repeatedly that when Satan wants to deceive, he won’t take on the appearance of a hideous, frightening monster but would resort to more inconspicuous yet sinister methods. So in regards to Lourdes, while I approach it with very slight doubt, overall I think there are many good things about it and it might be credible.

On the other hand, Fatima has caused me serious problems. While I do believe something supernatural occurred there, I find it increasingly difficult to attribute the said phenomena to God. Firstly I find the Mary of the Scriptures and Tradition, and the God of the Gospel, totally absent. Instead I find a prophetess of doom who heralds a message of death and destruction, boldly asserting that she would heal people (a statement I see is as noticeably at odds with the humility of Mary) while God keeps a low profile in the background repeatedly threatening to inflict disaster upon disaster with flying thunderbolts.

Needless to say, the effects of all this were quite adverse on me in a number of ways including psychologically - my relationship with God and the way I perceived Him became disfigured so much that I had trouble accepting the concept of a loving all-Merciful Saviour, instead finding a “Supreme Being” who delighted in imposing heavy yokes and demanding intolerable “sacrifices.” So understandably, my opinions about Fatima will be influenced and shaped by my own experiences.

Secondly, the continuous self-tormenting behaviour of the three children getting the nod of approval by a loving, all-Merciful God is just astounding. We have accounts of them wearing a tight rope around their growing abdomens all day as a “sacrifice for sinners,” inflicting other forms of pain on themselves, and doing other things which by today’s standards would require a few weeks in a mental institution. Yet somehow these acts are supposed to have a salutary effect not only on themselves but on the rest of the world. I see such acts as totally contrary to the Gospel.

Thirdly, and what I consider is Fatima’s fatal flaw, is the repeated threats of impending doom unless Russia is consecrated to the “Immaculate Heart.” Not long ago in my catechism class my priest told us about a letter circulating among some churches purporting to be a true letter of Jesus Christ. The letter sounded quite Orthodox to begin with, until at the bottom was attached the warning that should anybody doubt the authenticity of the letter, then severe punishments would follow. Immediately discarded. Now the RCC clearly teaches that private revelations such as Fatima are not required to be believed by anybody, including clergy, as one might conclude. Yet Sr. Lucia repeatedly insisted that unless Russia was consecrated, punishments would follow. This is a glowing example of a non-binding apparition making threats that unless a certain action is performed, serious consequences will follow. Thus, the “non-binding” makes binding demands.  Unless we believe a self-contradiction, Fatima refutes itself.

Lastly, as far as I’m concerned anything advocating a morbid approach to the faith is not from God; and any apparition that says one MUST recite the rosary for their salvation (as the apparition said to one of the children) immediately casts dark clouds on the prospect of being authentic.

I’m not alone in believing that something which may bring about positive fruits, such as healing, may nonetheless find its cause in something other than God. So while I acknowledge at least something supernatural at Fatima, I shrink at the thought of ascribing it to God, and I can’t see Fatima as anything else but a bad case of grand deception. I feel sorry for those who center their entire spirituality around it and treat these things as though they were gospel truth, a’ la’ Fr. Gruber, causing controversies over such trivialities and “third secrets” as if the Gospel weren’t enough for them.

God bless,

Byz
« Last Edit: November 18, 2003, 04:07:10 AM by Byzantino » Logged
ZoeTheodora
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« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2003, 02:38:59 PM »

Fatima's Miracle of the Sun brought 70,000 people to their knees, crying to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. This is not the action of the devil! Satan does not convert people to Jesus. Yet that was the effect of Fatima--conversion to Jesus. Even hard-boiled atheist reporters were converted.

As Jesus Himself put it, a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Satan can't work against Satan. Yet conversion to Jesus is precisely that--it works against Satan.

Moreover, at Fatima, as in all her authentic apparitions, Our Lady pointed to Jesus, not herself. She urged the people to repent and to stop offending God--the classic Christian message, the message with which Jesus Himself began His public ministry. And while the people were watching the Miracle of the Sun, the three shepherd children witnessed visions of the Holy Family, with Jesus blessing the crowd, and of Our Lady of Carmel holding Baby Jesus (also blessing the crowd).

Linked with Fatima, moreover, was the vision experienced by the surviving seer, Lucia, in the Dorothian convent at Tuy, Spain, in 1929. Sister Lucia saw the Holy Trinity symbolically represented with the Father and Spirit over the Cross where the Crucified Son was shedding His Precious Blood into a Communion Chalice; the words "Grace" and "Mercy" appeared next to the Cross; Our Lady appeared at her proper place, at the foot of the Cross. This vision is orthodox through and through--and entirely Theocentric, not Marycentric.

Re the original Fatima apparitions (including the messages and the Miracle of the Sun): The Church spent 13 years exhaustively researching every facet of the phenomena before ruling them worthy of credence. Numerous eyewitnesses were interviewed. Every possible alternative explanation was considered--from diabolical deception to mass hysteria. At the end, the evidence for Fatima's authenticity and divine origin was so overwhelming that the Church ruled favorably. But the favorable verdict was neither hasty nor ill-considered--it was the fruit of 13 years of thorough, exhaustive research. I'd hesitate to jump to a conclusion re Fatima without first doing some research into the Church's in-depth research on the matter. Smiley Smiley

Here's another factor favoring the authenticity of Fatima: the fruits in the lives of the seers. Francisco and Jacinta went on to live lives of extraordinary holiness. Both died young in the odor of holiness. Lucia went on to become a Dorothean and later a Carmelite nun. She is alive today--and also known for her holiness.

If this is the work of the devil, then his kingdom is indeed divided against itself. :-

Re doom and gloom: Like the writings of many saints and mystics (including Eastern ones), Fatima has apocalyptic overtones. (Last time I checked, so did the Book of Revelation. Wink) But its message is far from "gloom and doom." For one thing, the chastisements it mentions are conditional--they can be prevented by prayer, penance, and consecration. Moreover, its final message is completely positive: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted, and the world will enjoy a period of peace." That's a promise with no strings attached!

Fatima's main message is not doom and gloom. It is penance. Fatima is pentitential through and through. I have a friend who goes to Fatima every year. She's been to Lourdes and Medjugorje, too. I once asked her how Fatima differs from these other sites of Marian pilgrimage. She said it has a more austere, penitential atmosphere. It leads people to repentance. Again, if this is the work of Satan, then his kingdom is divided and cannot stand.   Tongue

I agree that Lourdes is wonderful. Just re-watched The Song of Bernadette the other day--what a great flick! I'm more drawn to Lourdes in my personal piety, because I love St. Bernadette...and I also think it's sooo cool the way Our Lady revealed herself there as the Immaculate Conception. But even though Lourdes is my fave, I still cherish Fatima, too. And I have absolutely no doubt that it's from God. In fact, given its extraordinary fruits of genuine repentance and holiness, I'd venture to suggest that it may be a bit dangerous to ascribe the Fatima apparitions to the devil. I'd hesitate to do so, anyway.

God bless,

Diane

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