Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Recently, famed journalist and author and the “most translated Catholic writer in the world,” Vittorio Messori expressed his concern over Medjugorje. Messori is concerned that no matter what the Vatican commission decides (pro, con, or wait and see) many good Catholics will be very disappointed.
“Whatever will be the decision of the Holy See, the damage will be severe. If the International Commission of Inquiry, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, will end up ruling on the non-authenticity of the apparitions, if it made a statement of deceit, misunderstanding, perhaps of cheating, for pastoral care it would be a disaster”, Vittorio Messori explains his position in Tracce.
Vittorio Messori with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the mid-1980s when Messori interviewed the Cardinal for the influential book “The Ratzinger Report”. 25 years later, as Pope Benedict XVI, the German prelate ordered an inquiry on Medjugorje by means of an international commission whose final outcome leaves Messori with some anxieties
“I have met and continue to meet so many people who have changed and for whom Medjugorje is the center of their experience of faith: What would you say to them? It is an illusion, you have been the victim of a hoax? It would be a scandal because of the grandeur of the phenomenon of the last thirty years”.
“But if the ruling turns out otherwise, it would still be a serious problem. Canon Law states that the local ordinary, that the Bishop is responsible for the investigation of the truth or non-truth of these cases. And it is known that in the case of Medjugorje, the two bishops (Pavao Zanic and his successor, Ratko Peric, ed) have expressed themselves strongly and without hesitation against the authenticity of the apparitions. Zanic even called it “the greatest scam in the history of the Church”, Vittorio Messori continues.
He is undoubtedly correct given the level of angst and anger that is engendered by both sides in the Medjugorje phenomenon. It also seems unquestionable that no matter what the Vatican ultimately rules (if it rules,) the problems will continue.
Those adamant in their disbelief (and under no moral obligation to ever believe) will continue in that disbelief even in the face of a positive ruling.
For some of those so attached to the Medjugorje phenomenon, even a negative ruling might not not satisfy them or bind them. We unfortunately have seen this before with other supposed apparitions.
But the danger of schism over this issue is minimal. After all, this is only a temporary problem isn’t it? At the end of the day the thing that will solve the Medjugorje problem is Medjugorje itself.
Michael Brown has a recent quote from Ivan Dragicevic, one of the alleged seers.
“Many people ask me if Our Lady has ever talked about the second coming of Jesus?” he said. “No. Has Our Lady talked about the end of the world? No. Our Lady hasn’t come because of that. So many ask, what does Our Lady say? What do you talk, with her every day? We talk a lot. And believe me, if we had 24 hours, we would miss some minutes. But one day when the time comes, when some things get revealed, you will understand why the apparitions are such a long time and why every day. Later on, we will understand some things. Later on, our eyes will be opened. When we see physical changes that are going to happen in the world. This is so important to understand. I’m not going to tell you the secrets! (laugh). The time in front of us is the time of great responsibility.”
That is it, isn’t it? Either the “secrets” come to fruition over the next 30 years or so, or they don’t. Either they do or they don’t. Period. That is the ultimate answer.
Most of the seers are now in their late forties. One can reasonably expect that during the next few decades that some of them might even give up the ghost. One of the seers is supposed to, at the appointed time, provide the secrets to a priest for prayer and revelation days before they happen. Either this happens or it doesn’t.
It is for this simple reason that I do not understand why such a commission has been appointed this duty. If there were obvious heresies and fraud, the Vatican would have and should have let the local ordinaries disapproval stand. That did not happen so I can only assume that that this is not the case. If it is not, why not leave it be? It will work itself out eventually. What is to be gained by trying to rule on it now thirty years after the fact when another thirty years will likely answer the question definitively?
One way or the other, the truth about Medjugorje will be revealed. Medjugorje itself will see to that. It just requires patience. We have waited thirty years already, why not wait another thirty?