Recently there has been much talk in St. Blogs on Medjugorje and the recent homily given by Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and said that "the flood of so-called apparitions, messages, secrets, and signs do not strengthen the faith, but rather further convince us that in all of this there is nothing neither authentic nor established as truthful."
Rich at A Catholic Dentist (Shouldn’t his blog be called The Way, The Tooth, and the Light?) asked me my opinion on a post he wrote on the subject. I find his take to be right on especially in how he addresses the question of the Pope’s role in this situation. He also makes some good points on the the ordinary magisterium. As an aside I once posted a question as to whether a Catholic dentist is one where instead of gas you were asked to "offer it up" instead.
Kevin Knight at the excellent New Advent blog also has a good post on the subject when he says in relation to the Bishop’s homily.
Fortunately, Bishop Peric has just given us all a way to judge for ourselves:
Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church.
It’s a simple litmus test in the Church, confirmed by centuries of practical experience: if the apparitions are true, they’ll stop now.
I would only add that if the apparitions are true that the "seers" themselves will cease publicly talking about them. Obedience is a not a perfect sign in this matter, but disobedience certainly would be.
There was a time before officially coming into the Church that I followed the happenings at Medjugorje fairly closely and even went to a speech given by one of the "seers." I later decided though not to give them much credence. When it comes to private revelation even those that the Church has approved as being consistent with the teachings of the Church do not require that the faithful accept the apparitions themselves. I happen to accept previous apparitions that the Church has approved such as Fatima, Lourdes, etc. When it comes to Medjugorje I am pretty much a skeptic and will remain one unless the Church does approve it at some future point. Regardless though I don’t need any apparition to know that I need to pray and to fast more and if I want to see a miracle I will simply go to Mass.
My man skepticism on Medjugorje is that it certainly doesn’t follow the pattern of previously approved apparitions. Though not definitive proofs in themselves the fact that these messages have gone on for 25 years is rather strange. That none of the "seers" had a calling to priestly or religious life seems to be also telling along with their apparent lack of humility. There has also been much disobedience related in this matter, especially with the Franciscans involved in promoting it. The fact that both bishops of this diocese along with their bishop’s conference have determined that this is not of supernatural origin should be enough to put aside this question. There have of course been previous private revelation that was at first not seen by the local ordinary as of supernatural origin that was later revisited. Or a devotion such as Divine Mercy that was suppressed for a time (mainly because of a bad translation of her writings). In these instances though obedience was always involved and if God it truly behind something then it obviously won’t be suppressed.
Fr. Tucker also posts on the subject.
I have never put any stock in Medjugorje, although I know some fine people who do. To those who ask how good fruit can come from Medjugorje, if it’s a false apparition, I’d simply say that God can draw good from anything, so of course there will be good effects, too.
At any rate, Serge points to this bit of old news that I had never seen before. The Franciscans who are promoting the so-called apparitions at one point brought in a renegade "bishop" to administer Confirmation — and he turned out to be neither Catholic, nor a bishop, nor apparently even a valid priest. Here is the official announcement from the local bishop’s chancery, denouncing the act.
In the last century with many so-called apparitions that were later condemned there was almost always some fruit of conversion. We all have some of the Apostle Thomas in us and we seek signs to confirm our faith. There are those desiring faith and those seeking to strengthen theirs that will go to the sites of these apparitions who when exposed to the sacraments will truly have their faith strengthened and Fr. Tucker is exactly right when he says God will draw good out of anything.