"Private" Revelation and Medjugorje
Date: July 20, 2005 , Originally published November 10, 2001
Author: Dr. fra Ljudevit Rupcic, OFM
Category: Medjugorje in the Catholic Church , Theology reports , Priests of Medjugorje
Content of the article
The Judgment of the Church on the Medjugorje Apparitions
Since the Medjugorje apparitions, visions, and messages belong to extra-biblical revelation, the competence of the Church in judging their authenticity is somewhat different than in biblical revelation. The magisterium of the Church has a direct guarantee of infallibility only in regard to biblical revelation, and only an indirect guarantee in regard to extra-biblical. If, namely, the latter were contrary to the biblical, it would certainly be false. In other cases, other criteria remain, according to which one can arrive at trustworthiness of some revelation being supernatural. Those are primarily scientific conditions. What is false according to reason can neither be authentic in revelation. With regard to the serious and expert work of individual scientists, in the first place, of the international medical-theological commission and of other expert, scientific teams, it has been clearly established that in the Medjugorje apparitions there is nothing that is contrary to science. They are not contrary to reason, but are above reason. Likewise, not a single theological commission found anything in the Medjugorje apparitions that would be contrary to the faith. Even the latest commission, established by the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, declared only that it has not yet arrived at the necessary proofs of the supernaturalness of the Medjugorje apparitions and that, therefore, it will continue with further investigation. It, thereby, acknowledged at the same time that it did not find in them anything whatsoever that would be contrary to biblical revelation and the faith. When God gives some revelation, whether biblical or extra-biblical, he always enables the people to whom it concerns to be able to recognize it and at least to have the moral certitude that this revelation is authentic. It is very important that simple people have easily recognized God's revelation in the Medjugorje phenomena and that they accepted it, not just in theory, but also in practical life. The word of Christ proves true here, "Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God" (Matt 18:3). That quality proper to a child in the first place is openness to the truth. On the other hand, those also who refuse to acknowledge the trustworthiness of the proofs of Medjugorje, nevertheless unintentionally acknowledge it. Because the findings of their position and arguments show that their proofs are from some other area of interest rather than of Medjugorje. In addition to that, the opponents of Medjugorje are, in that regard, a recognizable tiny handful of people. Their arguments consist of deceptions, lies, and ignorance of what they are nevertheless judging. In contrast to them stand millions of people, who mainly carry the proofs for the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions also in their personal experience of encounter with God, and on the other hand, in the obvious deficiency of the arguments against them. Here one can speak about the sensus fidelium which is commonly a locus theologicus of revelation and faith. The evident and abundant spiritual fruits of faith, conversion, prayer, and profound mass spiritual renewal have a special proving strength in favour of the Medjugorje apparitions. Even the opponents of Medjugorje cannot call this into question. They only attribute it to faith, and not to the Medjugorje apparitions. There is no doubt that they are fruits of faith. But why are these fruits unusual and why are they precisely connected to Medjugorje? Why are they not in other places and ordinary pilgrimage shrines or in cathedrals? In question is precisely that extraordinariness and the great multiplicity of the fruits of faith that must have their own reason. In this regard the opponents behave like the Jews who attributed Jesus' casting out of an evil spirit to Beelzebul and not to Jesus. When they could not deny the fact because it was obvious, they then denied its true cause.
In this entire matter, in addition to the evangelical criterion that a good tree is known by its good fruits, the position of the Pope is decisive. And it is completely clear. He has expressed it on several occasions when, asked by many bishops whether they may go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, he not only encouraged them, but also recommended himself to their prayers in Medjugorje. On the occasion of his ad limina visit, the President of the Bishop's Conference of South Korea, Archbishop Kim, greeted Pope John Paul II with the words, "Holy Father, thanks to you, Poland was able to be freed from communism." The Pope corrected him and said, "No, not thanks to me, it is the work of the Virgin as she claims in Fatima and Medjugorje" (Catholic News, the Korean Catholic Weekly of November 11, 1990). Everything is contained in this that the Pope and the Church can at all say about the Medjugorje apparitions. From that comes forth that Our lady is in Medjugorje, and that there she announced the destruction of communism. Many more times lacking in seriousness are all the other stories, which, only for non-religious reasons, want to obscure the truth about Medjugorje and turn the world away from accepting Our Lady's evangelical messages.
fra Ljudevit Rupcic, OFM , 1995
Previous : Miracles