Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Ven. Fulton J. Sheen reminds me in his book, which I have been following, of a prayer which I said as a child. It was actually in my First Communion Prayer Book. Here it is:
Lovely Lady, dressed in blue
teach me how to pray!
God was just your little Boy,
tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares
if I tell Him things
Little things that happen? And
do the angel's wings
make a noise? And can He hear
me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me for you know!
Lovely Lady dressed in blue
teach me how to pray!
God was just you little Boy
And you know the way.
Mary Dixon Thayer from "The Child on His Knees."
Announcement On Vassula Ryden By The Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Orthodox Church, following strictly the shining example and teaching of the Holy Apostles, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church who have their succession, and the divinely-inspired decisions of the Ecumenical Synods, safeguards as a pearl of great price the faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which the Christian plenitude experiences through their participation in the Sacraments and entire spiritual life of the divinely-founded ecclesiastical body.
Hence, whatever movement and improvised tension, personal or collective, in contempt or in breach of the dogmas of the Orthodox Christian faith and life in Christ within the Church as the only path for the salvation of our souls, all the more the self-proclaimed "supposedly charismatic" personality, is rejected always as an unacceptable innovation.
In this spirit, and for the beneficial protection of our pious Orthodox plenitude from dangerous spiritual confusion, who do not know well matters underlying the risk of delusion, we denounce from the Mother Church Vasiliki Paraskevis Pentaki - Ryden, widely known as "Vassula", and her organization founded under the title "True Life In God" which rashly and frivolously proposes teachings based on the supposed "direct dialogue between her and the Founder of the Church Jesus Christ our Lord", and those conquered by her and the supporters of "True Life In God", which deviate arbitrarily from the God-given teaching of the Church, but also scandalize the Orthodox phronema of pious believers.
Hence, we call upon the proponents of these unacceptable innovations and the supporters who maintain them, who henceforth are not admitted to ecclesiastical communion, not only to not be involved in the pastoral work of the local Holy Metropolis, but also to not preach their novel teachings, to prevent the appropriate sanctions under the Holy Canons.
We express, lastly, the profound sorrow of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the acts of some - fortunately few - clergy of the Orthodox Church to be found at talks of the said "Vassula" and give to her a "certificate of Orthodoxy."
At the Patriarchate, the 16th of March 2011
Of the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod
Only obedience could be my motto.
At various times, His Mother has visited us as well: Fatima, Lourdes, Akita...but she does not come that often. She does not need to do so.
I shall probably lose readership with this blog, but I cannot remain silent any longer. Spirit Daily, which has picked up my posts in the past, will most likely now have me on their no-no list.
Those who know me well, know I have never believed in the apparitions of Medjugorje. There are very few Catholic writers or priests who have been willing to tackle the problems surrounding the visions and visionaries. I was aware of it from the very beginnings of the alleged visions and I had one of those spiritual gut reactions that something was not right when I first heard about it way back in the early 1980s.
I believe that these false visions undermine the authority of the bishops and the Church and contradict some of the things said by Mary before and by great saints. I think satan wants schism here, those pro and those against will split over this more and more.This whole thing is creepy......
Early on, because I knew E. Michael Jones and worked for Fidelity Magazine for one summer in grad school, I learned more about the serious problems surrounding the supposed visions.
Humans are easily deceived when they want something badly enough. Deception is based on self-love and disobedience.
There are too many things involved in the "apparitions", including things which seemed manipulated from the very beginnings.
Things which may seem from God may be deceptions from the Evil One, and fruits, such as conversions and even confessions, do not mandate that a certain apparition is true.
I was increasingly distraught by the number of Catholics who went and came back from multiple visits still supporting, contraception, same-sex marriage, universal salvation, and other serious heresies, which indicated to me a lack of a real spiritual conversion or mature appropriation of the Faith.
Now, the reason after almost five years of blogging I am mentioning this, is that I am doubly concerned about the lack of orthodoxy of those who are still following these almost daily messages and the lack of real holiness. Too many of those men and women who follow Medjugorje are stuck in the baby-stage of Catholic growth, looking for consolations instead of asking for the purification, the suffering needed for holiness.
One must be careful not to attribute to God what comes either from the imagination of humans, or worse, from demonic involvement.
I am particularly worried about priests, friars, nuns, sisters, as well as lay people, who follow Medjugorje as if it had been approved, which it may never be, and which I doubt will.
There is one order which is fixated on these so-called visions-not a good thing.
People follow unapproved visions, instead of reading the great classical writings on spirituality, such as Father Jordan Aumann, or listening to talks by such solid priests as Fr. Chad Ripperger.
I cannot believe it would take the Queen of Heaven and Earth from June 24, 1981 until, as this is presented, September 11, 2013 to say what she wants to say to the world. And, to be honest, much is a repetition of Fatima and Lourdes messages. Hamish Fraser thought it was an undermining of Fatima and so do I think that.
As Catholics, we are under NO obligations to believe in private revelations. And, a rule of thumb for the laity should be, do not look into something until it is approved by Rome. Caution when approaching mystical or spiritual phenomenon is wisdom.
This is from the Davies' article, noted below.
A partial translation of the interview appeared in the February 1994 issue of Fidelity. Mgr. Peric testified that his predecessor had been open to the veracity of the apparitions in the beginning. He pointed out that Mgr. Zanic would evidently have been predisposed to believe in the alleged apparitions. He continued:
What bishop wouldn't be delighted that the Virgin Mary should be appearing in his diocese? Especially Mgr. Zanic, a very Marian bishop, who as a priest and later as a bishop made eleven pilgrimages to various Marian shrines all over Europe: Lourdes, Fatima, Syracuse, etc. And then for the Gospa (Our Lady) to have mercy on him and begin to "appear" in his own backyard as if to bring an end to all his wanderings all over Portugal.
But after a few months, when he heard the small fibs and large lies, insincerities, inexactitudes, and all sorts of fabricated stories from those who claimed that the Gospa was appearing to them, he became totally convinced that it was not a matter of supernatural apparitions of the Gospa. Then he started to bring out the truth and to expose the falsehoods. The greatest satisfaction of his ten years of hard work was when the bishops of Yugoslavia at their spring meeting at Zadar on April 10, 1991, dutifully declared: "On the basis of studies it cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring." This is an exceptionally clear ecclesiastical ruling, and is a rebuttal of the claims of all those who claim to have seen the Gospa everywhere and at any time since 1981.
The verdict of the Bishops' Conference is for me an authoritative instruction, responsive and binding unless another kind of verdict is brought. But until now there has been no other (ecclesiastical) judgment. If, after serious, solid, and professional investigation, our Bishops' Conference had the courage to declare that Medjugorje's apparitions are not supernatural, in spite of massive stories and convictions to the contrary, then that is a sign that the Church, even in the 20th century "upholds the truth and keeps it safe" (I Tim. 3:15). I affirm this unequivocally (my emphasis).
Other sites can help you discern. Be open. And, there is an interesting thing which someone said to me a few years ago. Why are all the rad-trads anti-Medjugorje? Maybe it has to do with the clarity which comes from regular attendance to the Mass of the Ages...I really do not know. Rad-trads tend to be more orthodox than the neo-Con Catholics. Maybe that has something to do with it as well.
One of my favorite traddies, may God bless his soul, was Michael Davies, the champion of the Latin Mass in England for years and years. Here is his famous essay against Medjugorje.
Here is a list of other documentation Michael listed in his paper, as his references. If you are truly a daughter and son of the Church, you must read these. We need to be discerning.
1. MEDJUGORJE: The Other Side of the Coin, Geoffrey Lawman, p. 7
2. 1987 Communiqué of the Yugoslav Bishops Concerning the Facts of Medjugorje, p. 15
3. Declaration of the Bishop of Mostar Concerning Medjugorje
Medjugorje, 15 July 1987, p. 17
4. An Extract From the Letter of the Bishop of Mostar
to Mariya Davies Thanking Her for Her Translation, p. 21
5. Visions in Alabama, Excerptedfrom "Letter from London",
The Remnant, 31 March 1989, p. 22
6. Marija Pavlovic Contradicts Herself, p. 24
7. The Truth About Medjugorje-----A Statement by Mgr. Zanic
Published in 1990, p. 27
8. Irish Bishops' Conference Statement of 13 June 1990, p. 49
9. "Bishops 'leaked' Ruling on Yugoslav Shrine, p. 49
10. "Rome Studies New Medjugorje Report", p. 51
11. The Medjugorje Industry , p. 51
12. A New Bishop of Mostar , p. 58
13. Further Information , p. 60
Another serious source is this condemnation of the visions by Bishop Gemma.
and from here, this statement as a reminder.
What the Church has forbidden. From the statements given to date by ecclesiastical authorities it is clear that no one holding an office in the Church (bishop, pastor, rector, chaplain or other) may by virtue of that office lend official sanction to activities which tend to assert the supernaturality of Medjugorje, that is, to contradict the decisions made by competent local authority. Those statements speak only of pilgrimages organized under official auspices; however, common sense tells us that a conference or other activity sponsored by a diocese, parish or other Catholic institution would also be prohibited. Likewise, there could not be public veneration (cultus) of the Blessed Virgin under the title of Our Lady of Medjugorje, since this would suggest the certainty of her appearing there. The title Queen of Peace, however, is already part of the patrimony of the Church.
And, I have serious reservations about these statements below from the seers and there are more like this...Mary would never contradict the teachings of the Church. In fact, one priest in England said that if a person did not believe in Medjugorje, he or she was an “idiot”. Strong words on something which may never be approved. And, such a statement leaves the door closed for intelligent discussion on the matter. I was especially disturbed about a television broadcast I watched on this. I got that good old gut reaction of “Something is not right here.” But, how is it that so many priests are deceived by this phenomenon?
Would Mary, the Mother of God say these things?
“I do not dispose of all graces…Jesus prefers that you address your petitions directly to him, rather than through an intermediary.” (Chron. Corp. p.181, 277-278)
Oct. 1, 1981: “All religions are equal before God,” says the Virgin. (Chronological Corpus of Medjugorje, p. 317)
If one wants to read one of the best philosophers who are Catholic on marriage, one could not do better than Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. Out of all the modern commentators on sex and marriage, I find his writings the ones which connect the spiritual world with the world of matter, the world of the flesh better than most. And, his comments on marriage are realistic signposts for today's married couples as well.
From the same book into which I have been dipping, here are a few choice gems for meditation on marriage.
"When married life becomes dull, one has not hit the bottom of life; one has hit the bottom of one's ego...One has not hit the bottom of his soul, only the bottom of his instinct; not the bottom of his mind, but the bottom of his emotional life. These trials are contacts with reality which God sends into every life."
"Whenever there is discontent, God is stirring the waters of the soul. He is reminding us that the perfect love for which we crave is not here; we're on the road to it.
"Love, which began with pleasure and self-satisfaction, changes into love for God's sake. The other person becomes less the necessary condition of passion and more the partner of the soul."
"Just as there is the Dark Night of the Soul, there is the dark night of the body."
"Just keep in mind that in every marriage, a man and woman promise each other something only God can give."
He also says that children are the paradox of the answer to aloneness together in marriage. Children bridge the gap in the tension between the seeking of perfect unity in the body and the spirit. Children, "are the link that binds the lovers together, body and soul."
Those who study the theology of the body could benefit from a few chapters written by Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. More than most, he understands the crisis of nothingness, as he puts it, which destroys marriage, unless, as in the Dark Night of the Soul, one turns to God in faith, hope, and love.
To be continued....