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.

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