Let’s Be Skeptical About Medjugorje


     In recent months I have seen an increased interest in the supposed Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. I have shied away from these apparitions on the advice of a prelate who recommended that out of prudence I should develop devotions to approved Marian apparitions and wait to see about Medjugorje.

     Marian apparitions are reports of the Blessed Virgin appearing to one or several people in order to give a supernatural message from God. The Church investigates these apparitions and has judged many like Fatima and Lourdes to be authentic. Even when the Church approves an apparition faithful Catholics are not obliged to believe them. Catholics are only bound to believe in public revelation that comes to us from Jesus handed on through Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition preserved by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Since Marian apparitions are made in private they are not public revelations and Catholics are not bound to believe them.

     While a belief in Marian apparitions is not required many people have come to a deeper love of Christ through Mary because of them. The purpose of Marian apparitions is to enliven faith, to bring about conversion and to give a message to God’s people. The Church judges the authenticity of these apparitions by looking at the messages and circumstances of the apparitions. In short the Church judges these apparitions with criteria set out by the bible; “‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits.”[1]

     The Visionaries of Medjugorje claim our Lady has been appearing to six children since June 24th 1981. Today one visionary claims to receive a vision on the second of every month and another on the 25th of each month. In the spring of 2010 the Vatican, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, opened a formal commission to look into the authenticity of the vision. While I am anxious to hear the commission’s findings I find it hard to believe they will be favorable.

     While I could go on for pages describing problems I have with the vision, I am most troubled by the questionable teachings that are revealed. On October 2nd 1981 the virgin said “all religions are equal before God.”[2] This statement is heretical. The Church clearly teaches, “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”[3] While other religions do contain certain elements of the truth only the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth and thus all religions are not equal.

     The simplest argument I have to hold the apparitions at Medjugorje to be suspicious at best, is the fact that it seems to contradict teachings of the Church. While I certainly have no right to say the apparitions are fake this one fact alone is enough to make me want to suspend judgment and continue to foster devotions to other approved Marian devotions and wait for the Church to speak on the authenticity of Medjugorje before fostering a devotion to this apparition.

[1] Mt 7:15-15

[2] Rene Laurentine and Juan Gonzales, Messages and Teachings of Mart at Medjugorje: Chronological Corpus of the Messages. (Garland: Riehle Foundation, 1988), 317.

[3] Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium (21 November 1964), 8.2 at The Holy See, http://www.vatican.va.

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