January 19, 2014. A verdict on the Medjugorje apparitions is not far off. The Mejugorje inquiry commission which was set up in March 2010 and is chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini has concluded its work. Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the commission held its last meeting on Friday and the results of the inquiry will now be examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by the Prefect Gerhard Müller.
The large volume of messages going round poses a problem for the Commission. As does the forecasting of supernatural signs and secrets which the seers have refused to share, even with Church authorities. Such is not a sign from God!
The Medjugorje Phenomenon
Medjugorje, the international cause of division among Catholics, will it ever end?
There are those who claim that Marian apparitions have been taking place at Medjugorje since 1981. Such claims are not based on any heavenly supernatural sign. For there has been none! Such claims are based on hearsay, that thousands of conversions have taken place. Such claims are based on what many say, that Medjugorje is such a holy place, many going to confession and receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Such claims are based on the fact that sinners have returned to the Church after being away for many years. Surely, this must be the work of God through the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Indeed, it is the work of God through the Blessed Virgin Mary! But it is not the work of Medjugorje or any "Our Lady of Medjugorje." Allow me to explain.
GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN
It is a known fact that "He (God the Father) makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous." [Mt. 5:45]
It is also a known fact that Jesus said, "For truly I (Jesus) tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." [Mt. 17:20]
Finally, we must remember the words of Lucia years after the Fatima apparitions had been approved. Standing by the side of Lucia and pointing to the thousands of pilgrims who were visiting Fatima on a regular basis, the older man who was once the town drunk, said to her, "Look at all what you have done." He gave credit to Lucia for all the wonders that had happened at Fatima. To this comment, Lucia humbly replied, "It was not I. It was their faith." Indeed, Lucia was not responsible for the faith of each individual person. Faith is a gift of God by the grace of God to each individual who ask for it. Without such faith, there would have been no Fatima.
GOD SHINES HIS GRACE ON THOSE WHO SEEK HIM OUT
The point that I am trying to make is that, although Medjugorje is the greatest deception of the century, God has never abandoned His children when they were deceived. As He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good and as He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous, He shines His grace on those who allow their faith to be moved by their love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Because God's grace is at work through the faith of thousands, this is not a Divine stamp of approval in support of Medjugorje as a place of authentic apparitions. It is an affirmation that God's grace shines on those who seek Him out, even in diabolic situations.
WHAT MOVED THE FAITH OF THOUSANDS?
What is it that moved the faith of thousands? It was the environment. Yes, the environment! It was the same holy environment that is found at dozen of Marian Shrines all over the world. It is the holy environment of people humbling themselves on their knees while praying. It is the visiting of a Church that looks like a Church, nothing like the ugly buildings that have been erected since the 1970, these alleged to be Catholic Churches. It is the holiness of the Candle Light Procession at night. It is the singing of the Ave Maria by thousands of people. It is the easy availability of the Sacrament of Confession. It is the friendliness of the people. It is the celebration of the Holy Mass in a foreign language. It is the priests, brothers and sisters who are wearing their cassocks.
Each and every above mentioned example echoes the pre-Vatican era! Medjugorje has a staged holy environment that echoes the reverence and beauty of the Catholic Church that once existed in every local Churches. The Franciscans know what Catholics want when it comes to their faith. The reverence and beauty that the Catholics want was literally thrown out of the Churches following Vatican II. The outcry of the people for the Medjugorje environment is a spiritual outcry for an international return to the reverence and beauty of the pre-Vatican era.
What is most amazing in all of this is that the younger generation is crying out for the implementation of reverence and beauty in their local Churches, such being an environment that existed before they were born. They cry for what they have never tasted outside of Medjugorje. If the environment of Medjugorje was found in every local Church, the people would not be flocking to a foreign land in search of holiness.
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION
Why is the Sacrament of Confession so popular at Medjugorje? There is a number of reasons for this. The main reason is because the Sacrament is available. In most parishes, the Sacrament of Confession is rarely available. Few priests want to spend time in the confessionals while waiting for the sinners to come and confess their sins.
In many parishes nowadays, in order to receive the Sacrament of Confession, you have to make an appointment, this removing the element of remaining anonymous that was once available between the priest and the penitent.
Many Catholics will never confess themselves to a priest that they know, especially now when they can no longer remain anonymous. The Church rule that allows one to remain anonymous when receiving the Sacrament of Confession has not changed. What has changed is the attitude of the priests who insist on knowing who they are confessing.
In many Dioceses, the Sacrament of Confession has taken a turn for the worst. Prior to Vatican two, when you went to Confession, what separated the priest from the penitent was a wall with a small window through which the penitent confessed himself. In many parishes, the wall has been torn down and the confessional has been turned into a meeting room where the penitent must now face the priest. There is no more privacy. The penitent can no longer remain anonymous. With this change has come a great reduction in the number of Catholics going to confession.
Considering the large number of victims who were sexually abused during the last few decades in the confessional, one would think that the Church would have implemented changes to further protect the penitents from the priest. One such change could possibly see putting a window on the doors so the people, while not being able to hear the penitent's confession, can see what is going on in the confessional. Instead, the local churches have implemented face to face confessions in meeting room style confessionals. This, beyond any doubt, facilitates the abuse of Catholic children by pedophile priests who have yet to be identified.
The implementation of meeting room style confessionals clearly demonstrates that many bishops are indifferent to the abuse of children in their Dioceses. They have not implemented the most basic action to protect children from future abuses.
So why do so many penitents go to confession at Medjugorje? It is because they do not know the priest. They do not have to face the priest in a meeting room style confessional. And they do not have to fear being sexually abused by the priest during the Sacrament of Confession.
THE DIFFICULT POSITION OF THE VATICAN
The Vatican is in a very difficult position. It recognizes that much good is coming out of Medjugorje, not because of any apparitions, but because of the faith of the people. The Vatican recognizes that while Medjugorje is the greatest deception of the century, God has never abandoned His children when they were deceived.
The Vatican recognizes its obligation to provide the spiritual needs of pilgrims, no matter where they gather to worship. It recognizes its obligation to provide the Sacraments to the souls who seek spiritual growth, even though they are being deceived by Medjugorje.
The Vatican recognizes the fact that if it officially condemns Medjugorje, many Catholics will turn against the Church. Some may even leave the Church and start their own cult as has been seen in other countries. We live in a generation in which Catholics have no respect for Church authority. They disobey their Bishops or any Church authority that opposes what they want to believe. This was clearly demonstrated when endless Catholics rejected the decisions of the Medjugorje Bishops who condemned the Medjugorje apparitions as being false. In total disrespect for the authority of the Medjugorje Bishops, a large number of Catholics went crying to the Vatican, demanding that the local Bishops' decisions be contradicted. These Catholics, instruments of Satan, strived to create division within the Catholic hierarchy of the Church.
While the Vatican would like to expose the truth regarding Medjugorje, it is trying to avoid division.
So what can the Vatican do? Exposing the truth will create separation among the zealous Catholics, Marian devotees, who have been misguided. At present, the most urgent matter, is for the Church to provide the necessary number of ministers of the Sacraments to provide the spiritual needs of the faithful. This spiritual obligation has been recognized by the Vatican and implemented by the Bishop of Medjugorje.
Other than that, the Vatican must sit back and remain silent, awaiting the day when one or more of the seers will die. At that time, the misguided Catholics will begin to realize that they had been deceived throughout their lives by a handful of persons who used the Catholic Church and the Most Holy Name of Mary for personal gains such as fame and wealth.
If there are spiritual conversions and cures at Medjugorje, it is not because of any alleged apparitions. It is because of the faith that Catholics have in the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of Jesus. Let us go to Jesus through Mary!