Friday, April 16, 2010

Medjugorje - Slippery Slope for Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid must be feeling chuffed with all the buzz he has generated over Medjugorje on his blog. Now he's got a new banner which reads "Medjugore True or False?". These types of banners and headlines have appeared everywhere since the 1990's, invariably from people without day jobs who won't just leave it to the Vatican, whose daily business it is to sort the truth from the lie in regard to private revelation. The purpose is mischievious and uncalled-for. It is cleverly disguised as an invitation to question or even debate, but then begs the question with a negative verdict already clearly indicated in the premise.

There will be a price to pay. Certainly we are all entitled to our point of view. But, that doesn't absolve us from any spiritual mischief we cause in the process of airing that opinion to the world.

Patrick veils his obvious anti-M stance with such statements as:
If I am wrong about this, and if the Medjugorje phenomena are truly the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then I will rejoice to have my error corrected.
Sorry, it doesn't quite work that way. If you don't believe in Medjugorje, and you still want to be able to rejoice in your error if proven wrong, better not burn your bridges by promoting only the anti-Medjugorje side of the story. That might be like Judas expecting Jesus to freely permit him to rejoice in his resurrection having handed him over to his enemies.

I have not seen any article on Madrid's blog which gives credence to Medjugorje. I haven't seen much in the way of a "on one hand...yet on the other hand" mediatory/conciliatory tone. I have only seen comments and articles that paint Medjugorje in various shades of dark grey, using quotes and articles from highly dubious sources. He sounds exactly like what we hear from the same tight-knit anti-Medjugorje group we keep hearing from on the internet and which is so obviously feeding him. He isn't doing Medjugorje, or himself, any favours. Why should he rejoice in the glorious sunrise of Medjugorje when scattered along the road behind him are confused wet-blanketed Catholics and unbelievers who never converted in time because they ignorantly fell for all the innuendo, half-truth and poor logic.

Speaking of poor logic......

A recent post on Madrid's blog (the very same article in which he added the disclaimer that he would gladly be proven wrong and join in the rejoicing) spotlights the error of judgment by John Paul II concerning Fr Maciel - a red herring which the anti-M promoters are calling "The Maciel Effect" and which they are using to poison the Medjugorje well. Madrid, now apparently having both feet planted in the anti-Medjugorje camp, displays a preparedness to abandon discretion for one of the weakest arguments I've seen and to allow this argument to propagate across the mega-audience that is the world wide web. Hardly discrete and hardly indicative of an openness to being wrong. And hardly something you would do right before hoping to rejoice if proven wrong.

Madrid summarises:

We might think of this as the "Maciel Effect," which applies to Medjugorje and can be expressed in the form of the following argument:

"If even a good and holy pope can be deceived and be utterly wrong in his sincere personal opinion about the character of Fr. Maciel, then how much more so is it possible that you could be sincerely wrong in your personal opinions about Medjugorje?"

I'm not sure if I should forward this argument to one of his long-time debating opponents, Dr James White, to give him hope that Madrid, without the support of other apologists, could be found rather wanting in the debating arena.

In strictly debating terms, this summary statement commits a number of logical fallacies, including poisoning the well, non-sequitur, begging the question, red herring and probably a few more. This false reasoning comes together and can be summarised in the following expression:

One pope made one error of judgement:

  • in a single case

  • which was unrelated to Medjugorje

  • concerning an invidividual

  • for which little contrary information was available

Therefore, because of this single error of judgement, we should question our belief in Medjugore based on JPII's approval of it, even though JPII's approval concerns an event (not a person):

  • which could be closely monitored over a quarter of a century

  • which was closely studied by three scientific teams and found to be inconsistent with hoax

  • during which he had many opportunities to meet, and establish the credibility of, a wide variety of involved individuals (including franciscans, seers and others)

  • about which literally thousands of other high-ranking officials, cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns have formed exactly the same opinion as John Paul II, compared to those genuinely opposed to Medjugorje, who can be counted on one hand.

  • about which all of the informed world had the same information and thus are in more or less the same position as JPII to make a judgement

  • about which by far the majority of JPII's colleagues have made the same positive judgement.

This is truly shameful. With very little foresight, this man, Patrick Madrid, whom we would expect to deliver more reason, logic and insight, has done Pope John Paul II an injustice and tainted many other Catholics' feelings towards him. Notwithstanding the fact that he has muddied the waters and poisoned the well of Medjugorje even further by attempting, via this flawed logic, to cast Medjugorje in a greyer light.

Come on Patrick. You can do better!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Carver Alan Ames - Modern Mystic

We have quite an amazing individual in our midst.

In 1993, Carver Alan Ames (known commonly as Alan Ames) had a conversion experience that would rival that of some of our greatest saints. The Vatican has not made a pronouncement on his authenticity. However, his bishop, Archbishop B.J.Hickey, has given him permission to speak and to pray for healing. The Archbishop also appointed a spiritual director to investigate and watch over what was happening and to guide him in his work for God. Today, Alan enjoys the continued support of Archbishop Hickey who encourages him in his work.

In 2007, Alan was interviewed in great depth by famed mariologist René Laurentin. Click here for that interview.

Laurentin describes Alan's startling conversion:

Alan Ames, 54 years old, violent during his youth. He gets married very young to Kathryn at the age of 20 and have 2 children. He quietens down his life. He migrates to Australia where he becomes a talented sales manager. There he becomes more and more addicted to alcohol and drugs. This restarts his violence.
At the age of 40 an angel warns him: "Change your life, pray".
During the first months of his conversion he is physically and morally attacked by the evil one. At the beginning he asks himself if he is going mad but St. Theresa of Avila confirms to him what is happening and says: You are going to hell unless you change! He changes his life, his wife converts to Catholicism.
He receives messages from ... the Trinity, Our Blessed Mother and the saints. He published 16 books. He is supported by his archbishop from Perth. He travels all around the world where his conferences gather big audiences. He has the charism of conversion and healing. He lives painfully the Passion of our Lord, more often without visible stigmata but blood is shed rarely.
During the interview, startling details of his many and regular encounters with up to 100 saints came to light.

Here are some excerpts from that interview, any emphases mine:

Laurentin. You live in great union with God, but there are moments or lights where you feel the presence, have you also moments of night where you feel nothing?
Ames. No.
Laurentin. You are always in the transparence?!
Ames. From the first time I received the Eucharist never have I not experienced the presence of God. Never, every day since 1993/94, every day, all day.
Laurentin. Because this happens frequently, the night can be very profound. Don’t you suffer from ordeals and temptations of evil. In these moments what do you feel, don’t you feel that God is far away when you are attacked by the evil one?
Ames. When these attacks occur, I see them as a blessing because when they happen I turn to God, I ask for his help and give myself totally to Him and trust completely in Him. The evil one is stupid because every time he attacks me it turns more to God. There have been several times when I thought I would die. Once I was in Rome, I was in convent near St. Peter's. I thought I would be safe there, I was asleep and I was woken up in the middle of the night being strangled. I thought I was going to die, my back was arching, I could feel the veins in my neck were about to burst, I thought I would take my last breath: I am going to die, so I said: - Jesus if this is Your will, I accept it and I give You my soul. From the moment I said that, the attack stopped. And it’s always the same. So it’s why I say that the attacks turn me more to God even though at the beginning sometimes I am terrified because some of them are horrible, always it turns me to God and it’s a great blessing.
I will write more about Alan Ames and his many profound messages in upcoming posts.

Catholic-Bashing Media is a Painful Cause for Joy

Chins up Catholics! Far from being disillusioned at all the recent negative media attention, we should be thanking and praising God at the top of our lungs!


It's easy to forget, isn't it, that times of trial are indications of God's presence and love.

Hebrews 12:4-11

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

A recent article by Bill Underwood in The Examiner brought just these sentiments to my mind. The writer attempted to paint such a dastardly picture of the state of the Catholic Church that the only remaining question to be answered is why one would ever wish to remain in the Catholic Church.

The writer didn't even realise that he had pretty much answered his own question. The fact that the Church has been around for 2,000 years is the first indication of God's true presence. The second indication is the attempted infiltration and destruction of the Church by the evil one over those 2,000 years, attempts which have not stopped even today. The third indication is the fact that the Church is constantly being held publically accountable for its indiscretions. This public accountablity has inevitably led to correction and purification.

Dirty laundry aired - dirty laundry cleaned. This is God's work! We should celebrate!

And we already have history as our guide. Luther took the way prescribed by Bill Underwood. And what has the world learned about rebellion and running away as a way of life? It might work in other cases, but it doesn't work where Christ's church is concerned. For Christ's most fervent prayer is recorded in the Bible "That they may be one". But, instead of the unity Heaven desires, the "reformation" has taken shape over the last several centuries in 33,000+ denominations, none completely agreeing with one another - a juggernaut of chaos, confusion and disunity. And the more the disagreements, the greater this number becomes as each new self-styled leader cries "I protest!"

No, we will never abandon our beloved Church. God's will is being done here. Encouraged by this time of cleansing, graciously coinciding with this Easter season, stiffens our resolve to endure the pain and look forward to the next period of grace within the Church, according to God's great and Holy Will.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Leading Catholic Apologists Jump on the Anti-Medjugorje Bandwagon

It is rather trying time for the Catholic Church. At a time when Catholics need to be most united, crevasses keep appearing on the landscape, some widening to dangerous degrees. Medjugorje is one such case of a sore that just won't heal, mainly due to the co-ordinated and concerted efforts of those that seek to destroy it. It can be put no other way - destruction of Medjugorje is what they seek.

Recent news of the commencement of the work of the new Medjugorje commission and Benedict's positive statements about Medjugorje have done less than we hoped to silence the clamour coming from those who have made smearing the Medjugorje apparitions their mission. We are in the Easter season and I find the opposition to Medjugorje ironically reminiscent of the Good Friday baying of the Jews for Christ's blood while Pontius Pilate called for reason.

A secular carmelite from Detroit, Diane M. Korzeniewski, not herself an apologist of any note, started the ball rolling after the much publicised statements of Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico were released by the official Medjugorje website This news surely brought peace to many who had been confused by all the conflicting reports, but Diane was up for a little creative challenge. To this point, Diane could be found anywhere Medjugorje was being discussed, leaving comments which seemed to deliberately foresake truth for something embarrasingly far less.

I have personally exposed many of her untruths and unique angles on such things as the letter from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of the CDF which told confused, bullied pilgrims that indeed they could travel to Medjugorje and that they need not consider the "opinions" of the local bishop to be Vatican-held. Somehow, from this stance, she managed to scrape a defence of the local bishop, rather than acknowledge anything against him - not that having anything against the Bishop was the key point here, rather that his condemnations did not need to be heeded.

Another unique angle she adopted was to portray the passing of the Medjugorje dossier from the hands of the local bishop to the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference as a necessity forced by the global nature of the apparitions, using a cherry-picked quote to support this, all the while ignoring the voluminous evidence that contradicts her stance, including damning interview comments by member of the Yugoslav Bishops Conference - Frane Franic, who said, among other things:

"The bishops do not wish to humiliate Monsignor, Zanic," Franic stated, "And
when it was brought to his attention.. that his opposition was unfounded, he
began to cry and shout, and the bishops finally stopped arguing."

More information on this matter can be found here.

She doesn't like it when positive things are said about Medjugorje. So, she puts a little spin to suit her purposes.

So, what was her purpose in attempting to create the illusion that we had all misunderstood the comments of Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico? I think it was to deflect attention from herself as a principle source of much of the "opposing information" Benedict was speaking of, thus allowing her to continue on her anti-Medjugorje crusade.

To this end, the totality of her efforts were to tell the world that D’Errico's statement, which was translated by as follows:

He is aware of huge amount of positive and good influence of local priests,
religious, Franciscans, lay people, and therefore, it is very difficult for him
to perceive that there can be so many opposing information about the same

should actually be read as:

He knows about great deeds which are done in this territory by the priests,
religious, franciscans, lay people. [pause]

[new sentence] On the other side he asks himself how come
there are such opposed information about that phenomenon.

What's the point of this? To show that the second statement doesn't follow the first via the connector "therefore". Huh? Even if you divide the two sentences and omit the "therefore", it still says exactly the same thing. The second statement can still be readily understood as following inexorably from the first. The word "therefore" is not even needed, because the phrase "one the other hand" or "on the other side" does a pretty good job connecting the two statements.

Diane simply didn't like hearing that she's one of those Benedict was speaking of, causing all the surprising opposition. But, her solution was to vainly attempt to change what Benedict actually said, rather than change what she was doing.

Yes folks, there are actually Catholics in our midst as reprehensible as this.

Worse, she appears to have enlisted the support of major Catholic apologist, Patrick Madrid. We all know what type of an influence he has in the global Catholic community. But, we absolutely do not need him to get involved, particularly as, from what I've seen and read from him, he has a very limited knowledge of Medjugorje. He appears to have been handed very select pieces of information, mainly from the website of the Bishop of Mostar which as everybody knows cannot possibly be objective, unbiassed information. Yet, on the basis of this, and what looks like little much else, he has unwisely decided to associate himself with Diane and others like her.

Another well-known Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, has also been promoting the anti-Medjugorje cause and writings of E Michael Jones, who wrote a book called "Ghosts of Surmanci" in which he attributes the Medjugorje apparitions to a ghostly personification of the collective guilty conscience of a nation involve in muslim genocide. Conspiracy theory gone haywire in the United States.

Benedict has already expressed his surprise at the opposition of people like Diane M. Korzeniewski. I think patience and prayer is needed all the more as the evil one crouches at our door, invoking us to impatience and unwise judgement and plain old human stupidity. I never thought I'd put Patrick or Robert in that category. Nevertheless, may God's will be done in all things. May nothing happen in regard to Medjugorje that is not in accordance with His perfect and holy will. Amen!

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