(Empty and just the way we like it)
If you’re going to get into the miracle business or hope to do so, then DON’T journey to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Just delay your trip. Because in the last 25 years, according to five or six local children, Mary was supposed to have appeared to each of them offering, over 40,000 ambiguous messages, revealed some 57 secrets (none of which it is claimed have been confirmed) and performed, it is suggested, many diverse miracles (again none have been authenticated).
Today this popular Bosnian Madonna continues to travel the world (dare I suggest, in Club Class?) and will appear, on instant demand, in such diverse places as the back of transit vans!
Since 1981, over 20 million pilgrims and many others have flocked to the shrine to pray and beseech the lady of Medjugorje for help. But most importantly they bring assorted currency with them, to happily $pend!
This gesture once prompted the late Duke Santos to cynically remark:
“If you get into the miracle market, you’re into the money market.”
Perhaps the old crook was right after all!
Yet sadly, as one commentator wrote, after visiting the path that leads to the summit where it is alleged the vision happened, where a large wooden cross marks the location of the first sighting seen by the children, there were:
“Strewn about are other, smaller crosses, planted by groups of pilgrims. Here and along the way, one sees innumerable messages to Mary (who else?), some painted on rocks and some written on bits of paper attached to the crosses. In one way or another, and in multitudes of languages, most say the same thing, “Mary, help us.” Candles, flowers, bits of clothing, fragments of coloured glass and so on have been carefully placed beneath many of the crosses.”
So what is going on here, we have to enquire?
Well according to Philip J. Kronzer, the whole thing is just a fake/cult. (Kronzer has made it his life work to expose Medjugorje for personal reasons. Unfortunately, his organisation does support other Marian shrines worldwide.)
And even the current pope, Joseph Ratzinger, who when he was John Paul II loyal enforcer at the (CDF) said, that:
“Private revelations posed a threat to the unity of the Church.”
He later forbade future Catholic pilgrimages to Medjugorje, and poked a bishop from Holland in the clerical eye who had approved assorted claims, perhaps from Medjugorje, and other locations that Mary had appeared in Amsterdam under the guise of “The Lady of all Nations who once was Mary.”
Even in Rome, they won’t buy this blasphemy it seems! Well not yet!
But one good thing about this is that it was, for the time being, the death knell to the international movement who wished and hoped to define Mary as “co-redemptrix,” “Mediatrix” and “advocate.” Some worried theologians have claimed that if the Vatican had approved this, Mary would be virtually the fourth person of the Trinity!
Maybe someday, Benedict XVI will launch an investigation into the assorted financial motives of the Franciscans into this dubious matter. The local cardinal would welcome such a decision it seems. He was very scathing about them in a statement published some years ago.
But what does the Bible say about all of this we have to ask?
In John’s Gospel 4:48 Jesus said:
“Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe.”
Do you remember what Jesus said to Thomas in the upper room:
“Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29.)
Paul also offered the following:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-16).
And to further cry out to people to be very careful, he said this:
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:9-13).
So until then, the Vatican’s usual safe official position is that it neither approves nor disapproves of this Bosnian shrine known as the “miracle city” of the “queen of peace.”
In conclusion, President Tito’s Communist Yugoslavian State has long expired and good riddance to that I say. Instead, today’s religious fanaticism and superstition in assorted disguises and countries seem to have taken its place.
Medjugorje is just one more ingredient in the religious cocktail of Marian cults that seems to be increasing rather than decreasing in a troubled world. And miracles it seems do not come cheap.
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 16:4).
I haven’t visited this so-called shrine nor do I wish to do so, but apparently millions of others have felt called to do so, including the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras who performed a concert there some years ago. And did you know the Hollywood film star, Jim Caviezel sought artistic celluloid inspiration whilst filming Mel Gibson’s torturous The Passion of the Christ? Now make of that what you will!
I am indebted to five informative articles that I can recommend concerning the whole crazy aspect of Medjugorje and where it goes from here:
Medjugorje’s Miracles; Faith and Profit, by Denis R. Janz
Globalisation and Medjugorje, by Jonathon Levy
Appearances can be downright deceptive, Simon Caldwell.
Medjugorje; Another View. Robins religious Page, Philip J. Kronzer Foundation for religious research
8th April 2006
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