July 20, 2006

Medjugorje: More Point-Counterpoint

For those interested, you might check this excellent review of Foley's Understanding Medjugorje:
In the case of this reviewer, it took only one sentence from an online preview of a chapter in Donal Foley’s new book Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? The sentence reads: "Similarly, the loss of a sense of the sacred which followed the changes in the liturgy has left many Catholics looking for spiritual solace elsewhere" (p. 257). Medjugorje had been an opportune outlet for expressing a Marian devotion that, especially in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, had been almost completely abandoned by the Church. A de-emphasis on piety, personal prayer, confession, Eucharistic devotion, and basically the lack of a sense of the sacred, created a spiritual hunger that looked for fulfillment. It was Medjugorje: the place, the messages, the visionaries, the apparitions – the entire movement that it had become – which seemed to satisfy a deep spiritual hunger that the late twentieth-century Catholic Church seemed unable to nourish.
I also received this email in the acceptance camp:
Another recently published book you may wish to consider reading is: Encounters with Fr Jozo, by Sabina Covic.

Below is an extract which I feel addresses very well the question of accepting or not accepting the claims of Medjugorje. Having been there 19 times since September 2006, intially kicking and screaming, you will understand that my feet are firmly planted in the acceptance camp.

Man can never be sure or objective, because his thinking, his opinion, never leaves him. If one doesn’t allow oneself to be convinced, if one clings to one’s naturally limited judgement, events will continue to occur without us. This is what happened at Medjugorje. Whether one is convinced or skeptical, for or against, the years pass by at Medjugorje; the signs remain, the fruits remain. And Our Lady’s invitation to peace is still valid. I do everything I can for people to hear this message, so that they may begin to renew their spiritual lives, their family lives.

The position of the Church or the position of individuals is not the point. The point is that this is a mystery in which signs are given. Jesus had forseen our weakness. He told us: “Either make the tree goood, and its fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit.”

...When persons describe a witness, such as myself, for example, they try to show me in the worst possible light so as to provoke a scandal so that the public will say. “Medjugorje is bad.” But I am not Medjugorje! Thank God, I never for one instance thought I was Medjugorje! Slander, lies provocations, I can easily overcome all that. Medjugorje cannot suffer on my account, because God is in it Himself who has wanted it and who protects it from human egoism, pride and disobedience...
• Fr Jozo Zovko OFM, from the book Encounters with Fr Jozo, by Sabina Covic

No comments: