Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cherie Blair on Modernisation in the Catholic Church

Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime minister Tony Blair and women's rights activist, fronted a programme on BBC Knowledge called "Christianity: A History". I am nearly always disappointed by shows having such titles because they end up NOT being a presentation of the history of the said topic but a crusade about some aspect of the history that the presenter did not like or agree with. And, needless to say, I was duly disappointed by this one.

Cherie focussed on women's issues and concerns within the Church - notably the issues of abortion and contraception.

I sent an email to Cherie to express my thoughts on her programme:

I understand how women have progressed and enjoy the feeling of having progressed. We have crossed many bridges thought impossible many years ago. And you appear to have done very well for yourself. and all power to you.

Or should I say "All power to God". Ah, there's a twist! After all, we believe in God don't we? That's why we're Christians. If God exists, surely we owe Him complete love and obedience. Surely, a starting point, therefore,  would be to discern His will.

There are certain timeless truths that are immune to "modernisation".

The sixties kicked off a period of "free-thinking" for want of a better word. What was God thinking then? As time progressed, more and more things have become acceptable according to how freely we can think and suited people very nicely. We have legal same-sex marriages now. What will be our next goal? Who's looking to God and wondering what HE thinks??

We will do all we can, like little children sometimes, to get what we want. We will squawk and wriggle until we are allowed to get that ABORTION, use CONTRACEPTION and never fulfil our God-given biological role. Damnit, we'll beg, bite and scratch till we feel things are "fair" and wholly suit us.

But, things are not always obviously "fair". Some of these things we can deal with and should be dealt with, as you have done successfully. But others cannot and should not.

Women of today do not like to feel they in any way "subservient" or "inferior". Did anyone actually ask God why he made male and female the way He did? We may not like many things God does, but that's because we don't understand, or care to understand, why He did them. We just want our own way.

Serious believers do not want modernisation. In fact, the less modernisation, the more conducive to genuine worship, which is God's first commandment. That's why there are cloistered monks living simply in silence.

People who say they want modernisation are simply saying "I want to live MY way, not God's way". But, how God actually wants us to live is outlined in the Bible. It needs no modernisation to live a pure lifestyle, for example.

People who say they want modernisation are all about THEMSELVES and their own gratification rather than in sincerely wishing to know God's will and DOING His will out of love. They want to compromise ancient truths over a restless itch or craving. It has nothing to do with modernisation. "Modernisation" is the smokescreen, a red herring, the con we use to get what we want.

People think they are so progressive and advanced. In fact, people today are flakier than they have ever been. If anything, we need to step backwards. Along the way, we've ditched many important things, which the Catholic Church seeks to preserve. The Catholic Church is the last bastion for considering what God's actually desires for us.

The Catholic Church is the unpopular strict parent in this world of screaming, selfish children.

Yes, we have a Father, who is God. We must love and obey Him. If that is not our view, then why even bother.

God has appointed a Church to administer His will. If we don't agree with His will or don't believe this or that is really His will, we have recourse to the Fathers of the Church, St Augustine et al, who faced, over the centuries, the various issues we may wish to debate. These men were filled with the Holy Spirit and fully capable to discern God's will.

My wife is a genuine Catholic woman. She has a degree and a mind of her own. However, she is completely happy to have Our Blessed Mother Mary as her role model. Mary sought to please God, first and foremost. Our Lady should be the role model for all women - from the simple to those who consider themselves on the cutting edge of modernity. Any professional woman would only add to her beauty and credibility by assuming the attitude, countenance and behaviour of Our Lady. A genuine, pure, humble woman is a thing to behold and has brought many a man to his knees.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Medjugorje Antagonists Cling to New Hope Via More He-Said-She-Said

Apparently an Italian news site, Correspondenza Romana, published a report claiming that Pope Francise spoke negatively about Medjugorje.

This report was unofficially translated by Richard Chonak as follows:

On Saturday September 7, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis apparently spoke during his morning meditation on the theme “there is no Christian without Jesus”, during which time he criticized “revelationist” Christians and expressed his strong reserve about the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje.

However, the official site of the Holy See and the Osservatore Romano purged their words of any reference to Medjugorje, referring to it only in these terms: “There is another group of Christians without Christ: those who look for rarities and curiosities that come from private revelations,” whereas Revelation was completed with the New Testament. The Holy Father warned about the desire of such Christians to go “to the spectacle of a revelation, to experience something new”. But the Pope addresses to them this exhortation: “Pick up the Gospel!”
We do not have anything more than this - no source, no witness, nothing to corroborate. So, we are led to believe that:

  • The Pope expressed some type of explicit reservation about Medjugorje specifically, even though the likelihood of this would be extremely slim, given the delicate nature of an ongoing investigation. We have no idea exactly what that reservation was.
  • The Osservatore Romano doctored the Pope's words to exclude the reference to Medjugorje.
Very strange on many levels.  Not for those who hate Medjugorje though. A thimbleful is as good as a tankard to these types. And as you can imagine, very little time was wasted disseminating this rather useless information across the globe.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Are we "Promoters"?

I, and others who are known to speak out against the outspoken anti-Medjugorje sect, are constantly labeled "Medjugorje promoters". I have even attracted the term "uber promoter" by one such Medjugorje detractor. I would like to respond to that.

In 1991, as soon as the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference had submitted their findings of "Non constat de supernaturalitate" (not proven to be supernatural) and left the door open for future investigations, the media went crazy with slogans like "No miracles at Medjugorje", allowing those who had opposed Medjugorje to feel justified in their opposition. The source of this opposition was the Bishop of Mostar, Pavao Zanic and his successor Ratko Peric. For whatever reason, we know that the Vatican did not agree with Zanic's preferred declaration "Constat de non-supernaturalitate" (proven not supernatural). We also noted the subsequent removal of the Medjugorje dossier from the hands of the local bishop and the start of a new investigation under the auspices of the Yugoslav Bishops Conference. We also note that around this time, Bishop Zanic circulated a letter around the world containing the reasons for his stance against the apparitions.

Thenceforth, we constantly witnessed and heard stories about people, who were planning to visit Medjugorje, having wet blankets draped over them by these detractors. Even though the Vatican never forbade private unofficial pilgrimages, these pilgrims were constantly reminded of the Vatican's "opposition", which was never an opposition in the first place. We constantly had Bishop Peric's continued opposition thrust in our faces with the threat of dire consequences for disobedience to the local bishop. In short, the local Bishop's opposition became confused with official Church opposition and anything resembling opposition to the local bishop became confused with disobedience and opposition to the Church itself.

Such was the level of confusion among pilgrims that a letter was finally sent to the Vatican asking for clarification of the current status of Medjugorje. The answer was obvious  - the Vatican hasn't yet decided, the local bishop's opinion is not the Vatican's opinion, and anyone can go on unofficial pilgrimages to Medjugorje where they will receive the full extent of pastoral care. You'd think this would be an end to things. Far from it. Detractors seemed hell-bent on continuing a forum of debate and the dredging up of anything resembling support for their militant opposition. Some of the sneakier ones enlisted the support of unsuspecting prominent apologists.

This irked those who yearned for peace and unity on the subject and were prepared to wait for the final declaration, meanwhile appreciating God's apparent hand in reaping an abundance of good fruit from this phenomenon. Although the Vatican effectively had its hands tied, God appeared to be moving unencumbered. We all appreciated that, with one exception: the most vehement of detractors, who completely overlooked the good fruit, preferring to rifle through the barrel to find as much bad fruit as they could lay their hands on. The paucity of what they found was embarrassing, but well-promoted.

We never stopped hearing about a couple of alleged disobedient Franciscans, who were eventually exonerated by the Holy See anyway. We were constantly forced to listen to unfounded slander and calumny against the visionaries, who apparently had houses that were too large, were smoking at the time when Mary first appeared, and shouldn't be marrying certain people, if at all. Father Jozo himself was the subject of unfounded and later disproven personal attacks.

Mama Mia! I am not one to stand by and let God's fruit be stolen away by hearsay and slander!

As I looked, I lamented what these spiteful actions were doing to God's harvest while the rest of us were summoning our patience for the Vatican's final declaration. Souls were literally being snatched out of God's hands. Some of us took action - not to PROMOTE Medjugorje - but to DEFEND GOD'S HARVEST and to try to instill some sensibility and balance to the whole affair. If God called someone to Medjugorje for healing or whatever reason, and that pilgrim was being put off by some half-truth or innuendo from a Medjugorue detractor, I personally wanted to be on hand to correct their misconceptions and hopefully undo the damage that lies and hatefulness had done to God's harvest. That's the extent of my involvement.

I would particularly like to hear from others to speak out FOR Medjugorje and what their motivations are. Who are the "promoters" in this whole affair? Think about it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Cloudy Lens of Dianne Korzeniewski on Medjugorje and Franciscans

Dianne Korzeniewski seems, on the surface, to be an honest and good Catholic woman who, according to her self-description enjoys "sharing the faith as I see it through the lens of my camera".

The problem is her lens becomes decidedly cloudy on the issue of Medjugorje, and I don't know why. For some time now I have suspected that there is a type of dark stronghold that makes the minds of certain people completely and irrationally closed to some potentially powerful good, that God wishes to accomplish, and/or renders them incapable of just leaving things alone for the Vatican to figure out.

She pokes and prods and seeks and searches for the anything that can be found, alluded to, intimated or whispered which can be used against Medjugorje and the Franciscans. It seems to possess these people and they won't listen to any reason.

On the subject of Medjugorje, all I have ever asked of detractors like Dianne is this: Let the Vatican decide and stop making your own negative judgments. If you can't do that and if you are going to publicly condemn an apparition, against the wishes of the Holy See, and against wisdom and sensibility, at least provide a balanced report. Balance is so far from her reports on Medjugorje, you simply cannot tolerate it and must speak out in order to preserve the balance in the minds of those who are perhaps less educated about Medjugorje and easily swayed by such awful reporting.

Dianne's latest lens fog occurred on April 7, 2013 on her blog. There, she embarks on a creative exercise in rebuilding the Mostar/Herzegovinian affairs in such a way to make the Franciscans look like convicts deserving of death row and the local bishops as being on the brink of spontaneous canonisation. She summarizes her creation with:

Many Medjugorje enthusiasts...are left with the impression that this is a "Bishop vs. Franciscan" disagreement, often creating contempt for the local bishop. In reality, it is the Franciscans vs. the Holy See.
Do not be fooled. Dianne has apparently not fully versed herself on these affairs and probably has only read versions from the "dark side" shall we say. Indeed, she invokes Donal Foley - a known acrid Medjugorje antagonist.

The reason it came down to an issue between the Vatican and the Franciscans is when the Franciscans appealed to the Holy See to intervene in the abhorrent injustices that were occurring out of sight of the Holy See as the newly-arrived secular clergy carried out their policy of divesting Franciscans of their parishes in a way that would not have been approved by the Vatican if they had known about it. Indeed, the Vatican eventually realised what was going on and made token gestures at repairing the damage, but much was too late to be undone.

Diane cites the DECREE ROMANIS PONTIFICIBUS as the killer blow to the Franciscans, after which nothing more can be said. But, as usual Diane fails to provide the balance. Indeed, there is much more to the story.

Decree Romanis Pontificibus was essentially the result of, at best, a misunderstanding, at worst (according to the Franciscans)  an outright con, i.e. the Vatican was duped by misleading statements made by the seculars, including the use of the term "mutual agreement" and the overlooking of certain preconditions whereby certain parishes were to be retained by the Franciscans. This resulted in a letter from the Franciscans to the Pope in 1976, noting that the Decree Romanis Pontificibus was contradictory to the truth. The Franciscans henceforth never ceased with negotiations and discussions, resulting eventually in an "Alleviated" Implementation of the Decree of 1975, whereby parishes were to be redistributed by negotiation between the parties. These efforts appear to have been blocked at every turn by the secular Bishop and nothing was ever resolved.

I encourage all readers to familiarise themselves with these affairs and particularly to read the Franciscans' side of the story. My blog has information here, which should open a few eyes, hopefully. It is truly fascinating stuff. You'll see the full progression of events and motives. It won't open Dianne's eyes. If she reads it, she'll probably stop right at the beginning where it says.

With Austria now the dominant force in the region, a new Church hierarchy was born. Austria didn't want the Slavs and Croats unified into a strong local Bosnian population, desiring to keep them as separate and uneducated as possible. But, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Franciscans were considered a threat to the fulfilment of this plan because they stressed and promoted a Croatian belonging. The Austrians thus felt is was necessary to diminish the influx and influence of the Franciscans. And so it came about that a succession of Austrian secular bishops came to the region to implement Austrian policy.

What was that policy? Divest the Franciscans of their parishes and send them into exile.

She needs to rebuke her own irrational hatred towards Medjugorje as a starting point. But, I'm hoping I can save a few from being conned into viewing things through her dirty lens and to see it freshly through their own.

Please understand that I do not wish intentionally to speak against any bishop or any clergy. God placed them in their positions of authority, including the Bishops of Mostar in all their imperfect glory. We owe them our love, prayers and support, but at the same time we are not asked to jump into the mouths of wolves in our quest to be obedient. If I am proven wrong about anything, I will certainly heed it.

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