In Defense of Medjugorje

I have long predicted that the Church would issue a disapproval of Medjugorje and Garabandal prior to the Warning, Consolation, and Miracle. I’ve written about this in my book: The Secrets of Medjugorje and Garabandal and I’ve discussed it on my blog and in my discussion group. And now it seems that this predicted disapproval is about to occur. The Pope has stated to reporters that he will soon issue a decision on the claimed private revelations at Medjugorje.

“The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith met recently to discuss the issue and “we’ve reached the point of making a decision and then they will say,” he told journalists on the flight back to Rome June 6.

The expected announcement will include “just some guidelines (the congregation) will give to the bishops,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.” [The Pilot]

My prediction is that the decision will be in the negative. This will result in a great falling away of belief in Medjugorje. I also expect that the Pope will soon issue a negative decision against many claimed private revelations. Perhaps he will in some way restrict all claimed private revelations not formally approved by the Church, rather than give a list of disapproved private revelations. The “guidelines” for the Bishops will likely include restrictions on all non-approved claimed private revelation. And this would include the unapproved claimed private revelation at Garabandal.

In my judgment, most claimed private revelations today are false. It is wise for the Pope to guide the faithful away from most claimed private revelations, since most are false. And this guidance from the Church is good and necessary. For the tribulation is about to begin, and the faithful will be struck with a very great fear. Then, they will seek guidance from the Church. But unfortunately, some who are weak in faith will seek guidance from false private revelations. So the Church must warn the faithful against false private revelations, in advance of the start of the tribulation.

Why then does God permit the disapproval of Medjugorje and Garabandal, which I firmly believe to be true private revelations?

First, it is to test the faithful of the devotees of those two true private revelations. Some persons believe in Medjugorje because it is popular, exciting, and many signs accompany that private revelation. Only those who believe out of love, faith, and hope will continue to believe. And many whose faith is weak will fall away from belief in Medjugorje.

Second, it is a just rebuke to those persons, associated with Medjugorje, who have used its popularity to gain influence, power, money, and to exalt themselves. For when a private revelation is true, God still permits persons associated with the private revelation to sin, if they so choose. He does not take away free will from us, for without free will we would not be made in the image of God.

Third, not every decision of the Church is infallible. The Church has two types of authority: the teaching authority (also called the Magisterium), and the temporal authority. The Magisterium teaches either infallibly (no possibility of error) or non-infallibly (limited possibility of error). All the teachings of the Church are of the Magisterium. But when the Church issues rules or rulings, things that are of discipline not doctrine, Her judgments are of the prudential order, and are therefore fallible. A decision on the veracity of a claimed private revelation is a judgment of the prudential order, which is fallible and changeable. In the not-too-distant future, the Church will change Her ruling on Medjugorje and Garabandal, and formally approve of these true private revelations — though not until after the Warning, Consolation, and Miracle.

Can I still believe in Medjugorje?

Yes. No matter what the ruling states, continued private belief in Medjugorje is permissible without sin. The Church requires the faithful to believe every teaching. The infallible teachings require the full assent of faith (sacred assent), while the non-infallible teachings require only the religious submission of will and intellect (ordinary assent). But since non-infallible teachings can error to a limited extent, there is a licit but limited ability to faithfully dissent from particular few non-infallible teachings. Even so, the Church’s ruling on Medjugorje is not a teaching, but a ruling; it falls under the temporal authority, not the teaching authority. And since such judgments and rulings are fallible, the faithful can disagree with the prudence of the judgment without sin.

[Luke 6]
{6:1} Now it happened that, on the second first Sabbath, as he passed through the grain field, his disciples were separating the ears of grain and eating them, by rubbing them in their hands.
{6:2} Then certain Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful on the Sabbaths?”
{6:3} And responding to them, Jesus said: “Have you not read this, what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him?
{6:4} How he entered into the house of God, and took the bread of the Presence, and ate it, and gave it to those who were with him, though it is not lawful for anyone to eat it, except the priests alone?”
{6:5} And he said to them, “For the Son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.”

As for myself, I will continue to believe in the private revelations of Medjugorje and Garabandal, even after the Pope issues a negative judgment. For I understand that obedience to the Church is first and foremost obedience to God. Therefore, sometimes the faithful can violate a rule or disagree with a ruling, without sin.

Publications

What if the Church restricts the publication of material promoting unapproved or disapproved claimed private revelations? I will still publish, in violation of that rule (if such a rule is issued) because I understand that the tribulation is near, and the faithful need guidance. In particular, the faithful need to know about the Warning, Consolation, and Miracle, so that when these events occur, they can give guidance to other persons.

And the same is true for my books of eschatology. If Pope Francis, or more likely his conservative successor, restricts the publication of writings on eschatology, I will still publish. The faithful will be in dire need of guidance once the tribulation begins. It is reasonable and therefore likely for the Pope to restrict publications about eschatology, because the fear of the tribulation will cause people to speculate wildly. Unfortunately, many false teachers will rise up to take advantage, publishing foolish, false, and harmful claims about the end times and the future. So I actually support this decision of the Pope. But I also am morally obligated to violate that rule, so that the faithful will have some guidance from sound Roman Catholic eschatology.

Online Discussions

It seems to me that some Catholics, arguing various controversies online, are not seeking truth. They choose whichever position is likely to win the argument. So I expect some persons to argue strongly against Medjugorje, once the Pope gives his disapproval. And if later a subsequent Pope (or the same Pope) changes the ruling, to grant approval, these persons will then switch sides and argue in favor. They like the “first places” in Catholic media, but they are not faithfully seeking truth.

Every faithful Catholic theologian will hold some theological opinions contrary to the majority view. Anyone who holds only the majority opinion on every subject is not a seeker of truth, but a seeker of approval from men, not God.

Where to Start

If you are new to eschatology or to the claimed private revelation at Medjugorje, I suggest reading my book The Secrets of Medjugorje and Garabandal and my book The Bible and the Future: 2015 edition. The booklet The Warning, Consolation, and Miracle in 2016 is a subset of the material in the The Secrets of Medjugorje and Garabandal book.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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6 Responses to In Defense of Medjugorje

  1. Paul says:

    I don’t know enough about Medjugorje and Garabandal to decide one way or the other. Although I do respect your opinion, Ron (else I wouldn’t be here), I’m nonetheless quite indifferent to these messages and apparitions. I’m glad to have knowledge of the potential Warning, Consolation, and Miracle, but I don’t feel the need to engage beyond this. I feel like I already have enough encouragement from the Holy Mass; saints’ writings; and other devotionals.

    Do you think it wrong to have this attitude?

  2. Michael says:

    I’ve always believed that something is happening in Medjugorje. Even the most casual observer can see that. However, there is a mountain of conflicting evidence on the internet that suggests Medjugorje and Garabandal are not of God. I don’t have the resources to sift through the lies nor should it matter. I trust in whatever the Holy See decides and I don’t believe that in any way weakens my faith. In my opinion, to continue on promoting these apparitions in light of a negative and restrictive ruling by the Holy See only contributes to the schism that will surely happen. It’s prideful and arrogant to believe we know what the faithful are in dire need of more than the Holy Father does. You’ve said that non-infallible teachings require only the religious submission of the will and intellect. However, you’ve also said in a previous post that, “For if you only believe those things that seem right to your own intellect, you do not have even little faith the size of a mustard seed.”

    • Ron Conte says:

      Each person must follow their own conscience. Faith pertains to teachings of the Magisterium, not to rules and rulings. So continuing to believe in Medjugorje is not a type of dissent from a non-infallible teaching. And according to the Gospel teachings, one can sometimes violate a rule (as David and his men did eating the bread of the Presence) without sin. It is not necessarily an expression of pride to care for souls according to the teachings of the Magisterium, the teachings of Tradition and Scripture, and one’s own humble assessment of the needs of one’s neighbor, in contradiction to a rule or ruling. But God is the judge of souls.

  3. Faith can’t depend on an apparition, even an approved apparition. We already know that the world is nearing its end, but I don’t need Medjugorje or Garabandal to know that. I know nothing about Garabandal and I’m totally against Medjugorje – I’ve met far too many people who “believe in the Gospa” but, in fact, are living against the faith. I believe in the genuity of Lourdes, Fatima and La Salette, but I’m not interested in pilgrimages or even the contents of these private revelations. Ultimately, what matters is faith, and a person must believe independently of the apparitions. Once an apparition converts your soul, we should’ve no more interest in the apparitions and just start to live the Catholic Faith as it is. This is my opinion and I respect those who believe in Medjugorje, but I have a question. What if the Church claims that the apparition contain express heresy and excommunicates the Seers with this charge? Since the Pope is infallible, he can clearly point out heresy and declare it, after all…

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Magisterium would need to teach that a particular idea is an heretical error, in which case the condemnation of the error is a teaching, not merely a ruling. Teachings require assent. When I evaluate claimed private revelations, I look for and often find doctrinal errors, even to the extent of heresy. But in the messages of Medjugorje, I find no doctrinal or moral errors. The problem is that the faithful are poorly catechized, and so they mistakenly think that they see errors, where there are none.

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