In Whose Back Yard?

Last week Cardinal Christoph Schönborn set off a storm of controversy by making suggestive comments during his visit to Medjugorje, the controversial Marian apparition site. Socon or Bust takes no view on this phenomenon.  It is disconcerting, however, to see such division in the Church over these alleged apparitions.  Readers should be aware that both the current bishop and his predecessor have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the authenticity of these apparitions, and the Catholic Church will not officially approve any apparition without the consent of the local bishop.  That means, now and into the indefinite future, no positive Church ruling will occur on Medjugorje.

Questioned about the recent visit to Medjugorje by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn—which drew criticism from Bishop Ratko Peric of the local Mostar diocese– Cardinal Saraiva Martins again chose his words carefully, but made his meaning clear:

Far be it from me to think of judging the conduct of Cardinal Schönborn, but I, considering the morbid attention which is concentrated on Medjugorje, and as I always do every time I go out from Rome, would have spoken beforehand with Monsignor Peric: when we Cardinals enter into a Diocese, we are entering into the “house” of the Bishop of the place and we must have the good manners and good sense to announce ourselves. (Source)

It’s too bad Development & Peace and the Canadian Bishops did not accept the same principle in letting the bishops of the Global South know that they would be funding pro-abort groups in the back yards of these bishops.  Even if their activities were legitimate, it’s still the appropriate thing to do. Let us pray that the Canadian bishops have the good sense and courtesy to co-operate with their brother Bishops in the Global South and LISTEN TO THEM in deciding where Canadian Catholic donations should go.

9 thoughts on “In Whose Back Yard?

  1. The local bishop where Medjugorje is located has also requested that no pilgrimages be organized if the intention is related to the alleged apparitions. Unfortunately, we see pilgrimages being organized left and right in our parishes.

  2. Steve, you misunderstand. Let me clarify:

    Over and over it has been stated & confirmed that traveling to Medjugorje is permitted. Where people speak of “restriction” they are referring to pilgrimage organized by the Church, because that indicates an authentication that has not and cannot occur until the alleged apparitions cease and are investigated.

    But priests, bishops, and cardinals can travel to Medjugorje alone or with groups, as pilgrimers and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Now do you understand?

  3. Kelly, it’s one thing for a lay person to travel to Medjugorge. It’s quite another for a bishop to do it and speak positively about it while there and even say mass at the site. It’s even more noticeable if it’s a Cardinal.

    If you don’t think that is totally inappropriate, why then did the bishop in Mostar express his frustration publicly and even another Cardinal in the Church? Give me a break. Cardinal Schonborn did not only cross the line, he ran 100 yards down the field.

  4. Hi John. I am not engaging directly with what the Cardinal did, but with Steve’s comments about the “pilgrimages being organized left and right in our parishes.”

    Please read more carefully. The substance of your critiques will improve.

  5. I did read carefully. *My* problem is with *your* remark:

    “But priests, bishops, and cardinals can travel to Medjugorje alone or with groups, as pilgrimers and there is nothing wrong with that.”

    There is most certainly something wrong with that since no bishop would enter Medjugoje to give credence to the apparitions.

    Cardinal Schonborn, the subject of the post by the way, did that. That’s what makes his example problematic.

    Just by being there is problematic for a bishop because it sends conflicting messages at best.

  6. Conflicting messages? In the absense of an official position from the Vatican (no position can come until the alleged apparitions cease), there is conflicting opinions about the alleged apparitions. That is legitimate.

    I find the Medjorgje case very different from Lourdes, Fatima, or Guadalupe, and so my opinion is probably not hard to figure out. However, I still take issue with Steve’s deploring of how “we see pilgrimages being organized left and right in our parishes.” The apparitions do not have to be real in order for the spiritual experiences people have there to be also.

  7. A bishop’s PUBLIC presence AND celebration of mass AND positive comments about the site are problematic, Kelly. It’s very bad manners at best and a scandal at worse. Again, I point to the Bishop of Mostar who basically screamed bloody murder in churchspeak.

    And if and when the apparitions are finally denounced by the Church, there’ll be a lot of shattered faith.

    The visionaries made supernatural claims about messages from the Virgin. If they were not true, do you think the spiritual experiences will be positive? The apparitions had better be true because there are precious few things that come out well out of a lie, Kelly.

  8. “And if and when the apparitions are finally denounced by the Church, there’ll be a lot of shattered faith.”

    That is unfortunate, and that is possible. But that is a difficult thing to prevent. People need to be taught well, and reminded that their own spiritual experiences, and those alleged by others are not necessarily the same thing. This happens all the time with bad preachers. Suppose a person was moved to conversion by someone like Bishop Lahey, or Jimmy Swaggart or whoever. That conversion does not lose its genuineness, when the converter is shown to have been living doubly. People have a tough time distinguishing, and that is understandable, but it doesn’t mean its right.

    I think this more or less engages with your comment about the possibility of it being a lie (which wouldn’t be the only possibility, even if it is false) and the implications.

    Once again, I am engaging with Steve’s particularl comment. Now you have picked up on the “Cardinal” comment, and that’s fine, but you aren’t engaging with the bigger picture, so at some point were just going to end up saying the same thing over and over. I stand by what I said.

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