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!


  1. Nice analysis Paul. Wondering why you did not post it to Patrick's post. Also, I would add (in fact I did comment the thread but Patrick ignored the point), a fortiori reasoning IS justified IF it is CONFIRMATORY and not asserted as the PRIMARY validation. So, if I choose to believe in Medjugorje because the messages have changed my life AND I accept Pope John Paul's testimony that the apparitions are the continuation of Fatima - that is a perfectly reasonable position.

    Furthermore, it would be disingenuous to assert that Medjugorje supporters use JPII or Mother Theresa as the PRIMARY reason they support the messages or events there. Rather, pilgrims are drawn to Medjuorje by the messages themselves (prayer, fasting, confession, the bible, and the Eucharist) and, secondarily, by the children who - despite their flaws (no scandal - despite the desperate attempts of detractors to imply such) - are genuine and compelling.

  2. Mr. Baylis, I would like to respectfully point something out about your post:

    Your entire point revolves around believing Medjugorje to be supernatural in origin.

    Why are you attacking Patrick Madrid for his skepticism because the Church has not ruled it as such but then apply a double standard to yourself?

    It IS a two-way street, Mr. Baylis. You can't ask people to withhold their negative/skeptical opinion(s) whilest you broadcast your positive/believing opinion to others.

    It doesn't work that way and I encourage you to be aware of this fact.

    Furthermore, even if all the skeptics are wrong and Medjugorje is proven to be supernatural in origin, none of the skeptics have sinned. Belief in private revelation is not obligatory and thus there is no penalty of sin if we don't obey/believe.

    Healthy questioning can only lead to positive things if Medjugorje is supernatural in origin.

    Don't fight the system. Work with it.

    -Kevin J. Symonds

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you for your reply. But, you're missing the key point of my posts, indeed this entire blog. I do not consider myself a promoter. See "Are we Promoters?" This whole effort by myself is simply to dissuade a very specific segment of people who step far beyond simply having a personal opinion about Medjugorje, but actively promote to the entire world only the so-called negatives, which have been shown to rely on speculation and inuendo and have been largely refuted anyway. This type of mischief has been condemned by the Vatican and what simply must happen is for people to WAIT AND SEE. Why must it stop? Because souls are ripe for harvest and God can reap even where He does not sow. This activity simply snatches souls from the very hands of God.

      This is not "the system" that we should all work with, as you say. The "system" is the Vatican's due process. This is simply the devil's work. I think there is indeed a sin to answer for. Have a private opinion by all means, discuss it with your friends and local community, but don't embark on a global campaign to deliberately smear and promote only the negatives. There a several people who are doing just this. Dianne Korzeniewski is probably the worst at the moment. They are persistent and with time on their hands. I work two jobs full time with 5 children. It is a hassle having to defend against them. I would rather not. I am glad I have been able to counter even a small part of this activity. All along I have only urged patient waiting. Read all my posts on Medjugorje.


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