Sunday, April 13, 2008


Before leaving for Mass this morning, I read an article titled "Missing Fathers of the Church" by Leon J. Podles. The article discusses the feminization of Roman Catholicism, tracing its history which is probably a longer history than most pewsitters realize. It's an interesting article in light of some of the discussion that has taken place over the last week in Running Off. By the end of the article I was once again convinced that the problems in our Church can largely be laid at the feet of women, because of their influence on pastors, and at the feet of men who have used those feet to exit the Church, leaving the women in charge.

Ironically, during Mass today my husband whispered to me "The Church is being taken over by women." He hadn't read the article. He was basing that comment on what was taking place during Mass--specifically the number of feminine Eucharistic Ministers.

An example of women impacting the Church was borne home even more emphatically to me in today's bulletin. The woman who brought Opus Angelorum to the parish is now bringing in Ivan Dragicevic. From today's bulletin:

Join us as we gather to honor The Blessed Virgin Mary. Ivan Dragicevic, Visionary, our featured speaker, is one of the six people who continues to have apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He will be here at St. Joseph, Saturday, April 26th. Mass At [sic] 5:00 PM [sic]; followed by the roasary at 6:00 pm with the Presentation at 7:00 pm. For further information please contact ---- ------ @ 330-+++-++++.

This is Good Shepherd Sunday. The Pastor is the parish shepherd. As such I would have very much liked to have talked with him about this after Mass. Alas he was not available after Mass. He has informed the parish that he no longer is able to read because of failing eyesight. When phone calls are made to the rectory he is seldom available. Thus discussing this with him is not an option.

When Opus Angelorum was brought in, I attempted to communicate the problems with this organization to the deacon. He brushed it off as of little importance. It doesn't seem to be an action worth repeating.

Medjugorje is an unapproved apparition. Does it honor the Blessed Virgin to present a counterfeit seer to speak for her? I would think not. Yet until the Church speaks, we have no way of knowing whether Medjugorje seers are the real thing or a counterfeit. What sort of shepherd offers his flock stones when they ask for bread? Has the pastor stopped caring, or is he taken in by what might very well be fraud and willing to approve it for the spiritual development of his parishoners?

Until the recent unconfirmed claim by Michael Brown that Medjugorje has been removed from the Bishop's jurisdiction and taken to Rome, Bishop Peric of Medjugorje had the responsibility for determining the status of the vision. Here is what the bishop said on May 31, 2004:

some Franciscans in Herzegovina as well as a number of priests throughout the world promote the concept of Medjugorje as the site of "supernatural visions and messages". A number of the faithful moreover persist in visiting Medjugorje, not only so as to bear witness to how "Our Lady appears" despite the Church's cautious stance, but also to bring pressure to bear on the Church authorities, not excluding even the very highest, to recognize the events at Medjugorje as visions worthy of credence.

I have to ask how Christ's Church could on the basis of such pilgrimages to a single parish, motivated by a range of emotions from mere curiosity to fanatical zeal, proclaim such "visions" to be supernatural, when three ecclesiastical commissions of inquiry into the events at Medjugorje lawfully constituted on the direction of Bishop Zanic, the local bishop, and the Conference of Bishops [of the former Yugoslavia] in 1991 confirmed that they could find no proof that there had been "supernatural visions and messages"? How could the Church, which is the pillar and support of the truth, recognize such more than questionable "visions" under pressure from such petitioners?

In an article at Catholic World News dated June 16, 2006, John Thavis writes:

According to Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, whose diocese includes Medjugorje, the messages now number more than 30,000, a fact that only increases his own skepticism about the authenticity of the apparitions.

Bishop Peric discussed Medjugorje with Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year during a visit to the Vatican. In a summary of the discussion published in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Peric said he had reviewed the history of the apparitions with the pope, who already was aware of the main facts from his time as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"The Holy Father told me: We at the congregation always asked ourselves how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years?" Bishop Peric said.

Bishop Peric noted that Yugoslavian bishops in 1991 issued a statement that "it cannot be confirmed that supernatural apparitions or revelations are occurring" at Medjugorje.

With so many authenticated apparitions abounding, why would any pastor allow this questionable apparition to be promoted in his church. Ironically this particular pastor spoke on the deception offered by the world and the devil in his homily at Mass today. Perhaps he might take a moment to review the situation right under his own feet.

E. Michael Jones had this to say about the very early days of the apparition in 1982 when the Bishop was named Zanic:

The roles which the seers would play would change with time. They would become messengers of tolerance, to the point of religious indifferentism, fund-raisers, promoters of books on the Index, and finally advocates of Croatian nationalism, to the point of writing to President Bush and calling for air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, but their first mission was getting the Blessed Mother on the side of the Franciscans Prusina and Vego in their battle against the bishop....

[Bishop] Zanic had come to the conclusion that the Franciscans were manipulating the seers from behind the scenes for their own benefit, and that the messages of the Gospa were tantamount to an attack on the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church.

The credibility of the seers continued to decline apace. On May 10, 1982, Zanic sent two members of the commission he had formed to investigate the apparitions to interrogate the visionaries about the miraculous sign. When asked point blank to describe the sign, all of the visionaries refused. Zanic later surmised that Rev. Ivan Dugandzic, OFM, a Franciscan on the commission, had warned the visionaries in advance that something was afoot. Unfortunately for the visionaries and their Franciscan handlers, seer Ivan Dragicevic
[who is the seer scheduled to speak at the parish I am writing about - ct] was incommunicado in the Franciscan seminary in Visoko at the time. When he was asked about the sign, he obligingly complied and wrote down something on two separate pieces of paper, which he placed in separate envelopes and then sealed, one copy being put in the seminary archives and another in the files of the chancery at Mostar. On August 3, 1982, Bishop Zanic invited all of the seers to Mostar to discuss "the great sign." On this occasion, he again asked all of the seers to write their version of the sign on a [sic] separate pieces of paper and put them in separate envelopes. All of the seers, including Ivan, refused, claiming that to do so was contrary to the Gospa's explicit instructions. Taken aback by Ivan's refusal to describe what he so willingly described at the seminary in Visoko in May, Zanic asked Ivan if the Gospa had reproached him for writing down the sign at Visoko, and Ivan answered, "No."

Almost three years later, on March 7, 1985, Zanic's episcopal commission was in session in Mostar, and three of its members went to Bijakovici to interview Ivan, who now under the impression that Father Vlasic had returned the envelope he had sealed in Visoko, insisted; "I put a blank piece of paper in the envelope; then I sealed it' then the Gospa appeared to me and she smiled." When the commissioners returned to Mostar, Ivan's envelope was retrieved from the chancery files and opened. The paper was not blank; in fact on it was a statement signed by Ivan and dated May 9, 1982, which stated that "the sign is: There will be a huge shrine in Medjugorje in memory of my apparitions and this shrine shall be [dedicated] to my person." The sign, Ivan also wrote, "will appear in June." Needless to say nothing happened in June of 1982 or any subsequent June either...

As E. Michael Jones relates concerning this seer:

Ivan Dragicevic married Loreen Murphy, the former Miss Massachusetts, in a Catholic ceremony in Boston. Ivan always claimed that the Gospa had a plan for his life. As of 1994 that plan included flunking out of two seminaries, taking an oath of allegiance to the officially atheist communist government to serve in their military, and now marrying a beauty queen and acquiring homes and expensive cars and furnishings on two continents. (ibid. p. 300)

This is the seer Father will apparently permit to speak on behalf of the Blessed Virgin at the church where I am registered.

What conclusion can one draw about a pastor who allows this? I confess to being unable to come to any rational conclusion at all either for or against him. Neither will I accept his spiritual guidance as reliable in the future after two such very disturbing incidents.

One more thing occurred at Mass this morning. It was announced both in the bulletin and from the pulpit that the communion ritual would be changed "because of a number of incidents" when receiving communion in the hand. Now we must place the host into our mouth directly before stepping aside for the next person to receive. Stepping aside before placing the host in our mouth will no longer be permitted.

"Incidents" were not explained. Father seemed to be hoping we would read between the lines, indicating there have been incidents not only at this church but at other places within the area. He referred to his responsibility and the responsibility of all of us "to 'protect' the Blessed Sacrament." Given that his homily was about the influence of the world and the devil, one could make obvious assumptions. I applaud his efforts to safeguard the Sacrament. I wish he could have been more forthright in explaining its motivation.

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