Saturday, July 04, 2015


In our last post
we pointed out that the Encyclical "Laudato Si' " contained a beautiful summary of much of Catholic Teaching but dressed up in latter day environmentalist and anti-capitalist rhetoric.

It seems we were not alone in reaching this conclusion. Surprisingly a rather more scathing assessment was made in the Lead Editorial in last week's "WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN" the weekend edition of the nation's most serious newspaper. Oddly, the Editorial attracted little media attention and even seemed to slide by on the Internet forums due to the overwhelming effect of the U.S. Supreme court's decision to make law regarding Homosexual Mirage. But it is worthwhile examining just what this secular Editorial had to say about the Encyclical and its likely effect.

The Editorial begins by praising Pope Francis' earliest initiatives as wholly to be praised. But it is brought up short by its encounter with " Laudato Si' ".

 It soon continues:

" But in his second encyclical " Laudato Si' " (Praised Be) he appears to have swallowed a new, pernicious dogma, that of the anti-development, anti-free market global Green Movement. Much of his 40,000 word letter to the world is a denunciation, dressed up as religious instruction, of free market principles and an enthusiastic embrace of the most dire, catastrophist warnings of the global environmental movement. "To degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate....these are sins", he writes, urging the world to reject the
 " magical conception of the market" and bestowing a quasi-religious status on contentious policy prescriptions. Francis and his advisers, ..... emerge as environmental populists and economic ideologues of a quasi-Marxist bent" .

The paper goes on to say:

"But his "solutions" are secular economic and political opinions. They are not part of the Church's deposit of the faith and they are not tenets of faith and morals.............this outburst betrays a fundamental ignorance of economic history that, given the Pope's influence and moral authority has the potential to hurt those he cares for most - the poor. It deserves urgent rebuttal."

The Editorial goes on to review recent economic history, noting , despite the occasional reversal, that the general trend in the world has been one of the most marked economic progress in free market economies and those that have been liberalised such as China and India. It continues :

" In Africa, economic progress has been throttled by corruption and war, and in South America by repeated reversions to populist socialism. Indeed the Pope's pessimism may stem from experience in his native Argentina which, at the beginning of the 20th Century was - along with Australia - among the richest handful of nations on earth. While Argentina never sustainably liberalised it economy and tumbled down the global economic league table, Australia fought a  feared economic deterioration in the 1980s and 90s by liberalising financial, product and labour markets and continues to reap the dividends."

"The Pope endorses the bleakest predictions about climate change, ignoring the inexactness of the science and the extended pause in rising temperatures".

" To cut emissions, the Pope wants " Enforceable international agreements" and " globally regulatory norms" He also would extend this new form of bureaucratic tyranny to his main moral imperative, re-slicing the economic pie , not enlarging it : "The time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resources for other places to experience healthy growth." To that end, he favours " stronger and more efficiently organised international institutions" with functionaries appointed by agreement among nations and " empowered to impose sanctions" 

Now comes the crunch :

" In advocating radical change in economic structures and world governance, Francis has stepped over important demarcations between Church and State, blurring the lines between God and Caesar."      

" Francis framed this document around admirable concerns for life and the natural environment. But its flaws which are not about faith could weaken the standing of future encyclicals."


In sum , the Editorial reaches the conclusion that the Encyclical is too greatly involved in matters in which the Pope lacks authority , responsibility and expertise, and damages the attention which encyclicals - in recent times of moral uncertainty - have been accorded.

It is a sad to see this judgement being reached by such a distinguished Newspaper.   

 The summary of authentic teaching gets obscured by all the economic. political and green rhetoric - a great opportunity wasted.   

Saturday, June 27, 2015



"I am naive " said Pope Francis in one of his early garrulous interviews with his favoured Argentinian daily newspaper La Nacion. Well, for someone who is naive, His Holiness has innocently pulled the wool over the eyes of the global media who are lapping up his Encyclical "Laudato Si' ". Under cover of presenting an Encyclical on the Environment, the Holy Father has rolled into the midst of the Media public square a comprehensive presentation of Catholic theology, philosophy, morality and pastoral concerns. This has not been achieved without cost, but we will deal with that later.

"Laudato Si' " is long and wordy, at 183 Pages it is not going to be read by most people, and, even among those wanting to read it, many will not persevere with the effort because of things they encounter in it. So it will live largely in the identity the Mainstream Media give it.And that will come from skimmed reading and selection of sensational bits. But within this "apparent" Encyclical , there lies an authentically Catholic presentation  of Christ's teaching integrated into a way of life. 

What are the key elements of that Catholic presentation - the secrets the Media will  not care to get to, let alone present?

A hat tip to The Acton Institute's " The Stream " for their research on this and to Damian Rhodes of drawing this to my attention.

1. There is firmly asserted that there is a Creator of all things and beings. And that He loves all of His Creation including each one of us. These great realities make us responsible to the Creator God for each other and the Creation put at our disposal 

2.The Holy Father teaches that in this Creation we see a human ecology which obliges us to respect the bodies the Creator God has given us and the particular sex that He has accorded each of our bodies. And this obliges us to care for our bodies and respect them as they are, and to do likewise to others with whom we have contact, be they male or female.

3. The Holy Father points out that Jesus Christ, God Made Man, worked with His hands just as we do , and this fact works to sanctify all human work. In this way, our daily toil tends to allow us to work with Christ  and collaborate with Him for the redemption of humanity.

4. The Holy father urges modern man to engage in real person to person contact with our fellow beings, escaping from the electronic distancing we experience through the inordinate use of mobile phones and digital networks.

5.The Holy Father urges us to protect human life especially the innocent and defenceless life of the unborn.  Loss of sensitivity to the sacredness of the lives of babes in the  womb will lead the sensitivity to all stages of human life to wither away in time.                                                                                                                                                                                    6.His Holiness notes the essential place of work in establishing human dignity and urges that aid to those in need should always be a prelude to assisting them toward gainful employment. Equally technological development should not solely be aimed at displacing human labour.

7.Pope Francis directly criticises those aid agencies which make their programmes integrate population control.He puts the blame for problems not on "excessive population" but rather on the extreme and selective consumerism of some.

8. He teaches that the immense dignity of each person - every one of us created " in the image and likeness" of God  must be recognised.There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature until this is recognised and acted upon. Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world, unless at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.

9.Politics and the force of law the Pope teaches , are unable to curb bad conduct toward the environment . What is necessary is for the majority of the population to be morally disposed to accept them and to respond accordingly.

10. His Holiness makes it clear that the Church does not pretend to settle scientific questions , but encourages open and honest debate.He recognises the radically different views of the existing situation that are held and the consequent differences in regard to necessary solutions.

11.The Holy Father attacks superficiality which is evident in immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. These have resulted in battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality and obstacles to a genuine culture of care for the environment.

These are the contents of Pope Francis' Trojan Horse Encyclical which he has trundled into the public square to vast mainstream media attention and favour NOT because of these matters , but because it is about the Environment. 

The price for getting this traditional Catholic teaching into the public square has been this  :

In order to begin to get traction in the "Environment " arena , the Holy Father has assumed that "The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth "

From this His Holiness  proceeds to assume that anthropocentric Climate Change is a fact and that anthropocentric Global Warming is a fact :

25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades.

And there is much more along those lines which is straight out of the Al Gore brigade's copy book. But the truth is simple : yes, there is climate change , there always has been climate change and there always will be climate change and man is incapable of having any significant effect on it . We cannot even regularly make rain when we try seeding clouds, let alone affect the climate. Forces far beyond our control or even complete understanding are at work there : e.g. the influence of the Sun and Sun "spots" , the influence of the oceans and their currents, the influence of volcanic eruptions both on the surface of the planet and underwater.

  For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation.

No gesture is made toward justifying this assertion. Whereas we can plainly see that the majority of refugees are in fact economic migrants seeking to escape from corrupt states or genuine refugees from wars, political persecution and religious persecution. 

24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.

This is the most outrageous bit of misinformation. Firstly, there has been no "Global Warming" for 18 years as NASA and the IPCC have shown. Secondly the planet has been very significantly warmer centuries ago on two occasions at least , and when there was no industrialisation of modern proportions at all. Changing sea levels have been a constant for millenia as the evidence of history shows.Even in Roman times cities that were once ports are now miles from the sea. A visit to Classe outside Ravenna will provide a reality check.

The failure to look critically at these " environmentalist" claims which are so easily disproved is extremely disappointing in this document.

32. The earth’s resources are also being plundered because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production. The loss of forests and woodlands entails the loss of species which may constitute extremely important resources in the future, not only for food but also for curing disease and other uses. Different species contain genes which could be key resources in years ahead for meeting human needs and regulating environmental problems.
33. It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.
34. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent. As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

60. Finally, we need to acknowledge that different approaches and lines of thought have emerged regarding this situation and its possible solutions. At one extreme, we find those who doggedly uphold the myth of progress and tell us that ecological problems will solve themselves simply with the application of new technology and without any need for ethical considerations or deep change. At the other extreme are those who view men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem, and consequently the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited. Viable future scenarios will have to be generated between these extremes, since there is no one path to a solution. This makes a variety of proposals possible, all capable of entering into dialogue with a view to developing comprehensive solutions.
61. On many concrete questions, the Church has no reason to offer a definitive opinion; she knows that honest debate must be encouraged among experts, while respecting divergent views. But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair. Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems. Still, we can see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation; these are evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises, for the world’s problems cannot be analyzed or explained in isolation. There are regions now at high risk and, aside from all doomsday predictions, the present world system is certainly unsustainable from a number of points of view, for we have stopped thinking about the goals of human activity. “If we scan the regions of our planet, we immediately see that humanity has disappointed God’s expectations”.[35]

I have quoted the above at length, to give the full flavour of much of the Encyclical which so many will never read. " But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair" A frank look at the facts tells us no such thing as I have shown.

"Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know," This statement in itself shows its own absurdity - even if these "thousands" disappeared, if we can "never know"them how can it be said that they "disappear"?

To be very frank, the nature  of the faults in this Encyclical is such  that its good points listed above are buried as it were in a pile of alien propaganda which has nothing to do with the Catholic Faith or the responsibilities of the Pope and I have no interest in continuing to examine it. 

If one were truly interested in the welfare of the poor of this world why would one not write an Encyclical condemning corruption in all its forms which impoverishes most of Africa and Asia and the Middle East? Rulers and their lackeys who do not blush at stealing  BILLIONS of dollars - yes BILLIONS even individuals have done it , not just the aggregate of them all. And countries like Switzerland have grown fat banking all these ill gotten goods. Here is a subject where man is truly responsible and truly capable of effecting change. And the poor of these countries live in continuing abject poverty . I have seen for myself people living on and from vast rubbish tips in Djakarta Indonesia, while the fat wives of politicians swan around in jewel bedecked vulgarity, and bribery is the norm in Government operations.  And in Nigeria again the poor lack clean running water, lack regular electricity, lack adequate sewerage,lack medicines and lack jobs and yet dozens of political leaders have been shown to have most blatantly stolen BILLIONS of dollars in recent times and over the decades. All of this is stolen from the people. It is not stolen by " capitalism" it is crudely stolen by their fellow countrymen in office. And Nigeria is an immensely wealthy country , presently reduced to heavy indebtedness by the depredations of these monsters. These are only two countries, but the story is repeated in many countries around the world including the Holy Father's native South America.  

But we hear nothing about this.


Let us praise the Encyclical " Laudato Si'" for what is good in it as listed above. Let us with the same integrity ignore those things in it that are false and , or, irrelevant to the Papal office.

Let us cry out for Encyclicals that directly address the immorality of corruption that impoverishes the poor of the global community - the crudest theft in the history of the world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015



We wrote this in 2010 for "FOUNDATION" - how horribly true it has become. 

Today’s media pour out words in an unremitting stream. Even when there is nothing to be said, commentators feel obliged to maintain a stream of mindless blather to justify their presence, even when a televised image is absolutely self-explanatory.

The repetition of certain words and phrases is an acknowledged form of indoctrination. If it is not subtle, it can sometimes prove counter-productive. In recent times the repetitive solemn intonation of “working families” was so overdone in Australia that it became a source of national mirth. When the same stable more recently brought forth “moving forward” the community was well-primed and the universal ridicule in response made the effort explode in the face of the perpetrator.

But where subtlety is employed, the effect can be devastating. Take the recent use or, we should say, abuse, of the word “gender”. Its true meaning is a “grammatical classification” of a word – whether it is, masculine, feminine or neuter in form: e.g. father, mother, statue respectively.So "Gender" is a characteristic of words.

 But in recent years it has come to be used in place of “sex”. So now it is common to see on forms that one is asked to indicate one’s “gender” instead of one’s sex. Why? You may very well

The promoters of this abuse of the word “gender” are homosexuals, lesbians and radical feminists who began their efforts in the universities and public service, in order to mould the way the community thinks about relationships of interest to these people. If you use “Sex” you are clearly recognizing the reality of male and female difference. You will then come to use “husband” and “wife”, “father” and “mother”- all reinforcing the natural order and traditional Marriage.. But these promoters of the unnatural in relationships and the physical, have other plans for you. “Gender”
in place of “sex” is neutral and facilitates substituting “partner” for “husband” or “wife” and “parent” for “father” or “mother”.

 Then one is primed to step onto the slippery slope of same sex marriage and adoptions by same sex “couples”This subtle manipulation goes quickly beyond language use to affect and accommodate patterns of thinking about the most unnatural things. The objective is to subvert the natural order to facilitate the triumph of the unnatural and the perverted.The same people had earlier perverted the use of the word “gay “- which properly means “” light hearted/mirthful/sportive” to describe themselves. This is a classic example of the Nazi concept that in propaganda the bigger the lie is, the better. For this abuse of the word “gay” is a deliberate effort to mask a desperate, perverted, sad and often ugly group, with a description entirely the opposite of their reality, which is wracked by suicide, psychological and physical illness and grotesque affectation in many cases.

 By using the word to describe them, one becomes complicit in the lie they seek to spread, as they demand ever more stridently, acceptance of their behaviour as “normal”.

Words express what we think. They can also come to change what we think, as these radical activists know. We need to be careful about the words we use; otherwise, we shall find that we are ourselves being used.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Mariologist Hauke on Medjugorje: PART III

“Don’t let the devotees fall into the void”

By Richard Chonak

Particularly in the early period of the phenomenon there were several very unusual messages.According to a tape-recording transcript from June 30,1981, the seers reported, according to the assertion of the “Gospa”, the end of the appearances would be in three days (on July 3), but they then went on. At the sixth apparition ( June 29, 1981), the “Gospa” announced the healing of a four-year-old boy, but it never happened. Furthermore, the “Gospa” informed them (May 25,1984) that her two-thousandth birthday would fall on August 5, 1984.Would the real Mother of God propagate a birthday celebration for herself, that sets itself apart from the date of the liturgical feast (September 8)? If the given date were to be correct historically, then Mary would have been born in the year 16 B.C. Since, because of the historical data known to us (census,astronomical conjunction), the birth of Christ is to be set at 7 B.C., then Mary would be about 9 years old at the birth of Christ. Besides untruths and ridiculous things, some erroneous teachings are also presented alongside them: Fr. Vlasic wrote on May 8, 1982, in the Chronicle he authored, that according to the utterance of the “Gospa” the Saints in Heaven are present there not only with the soul, but also with the body.Here on display is the erroneous teaching, widely spread today, but condemned by the Church, of “resurrection in death”, in which awaiting the future resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ is rendered nugatory. In other words: alongside plenty of catechetical platitudes that are found with notably more substance in the Bible and the Catechism, the messages contain elements that speak clearly against a supernatural origin of the phenomenon.

Devotees and critics of Medjugorje both claim the duration of the phenomenon as an argument for their position. With reason?

The duration of the phenomenon, considered by itself,speaks neither for nor against the authenticity of the apparitions. In 2008 the bishop of Gap and Embrun recognized the supernatural character of the Marian
apparitions of Notre-Dame du Laus (southeastern France), which took place from 1664 to 1718, and thus comprised a time-span of 54 years. The seer, 17 years old at the beginning of the events, saw the apparitions daily for four months. Later she had mystical encounters with Christ or with the Mother of God only from time to time. In any case, apart from the four months in 1664, there was no regularity of the visionary phenomenon as at Medjugorje. Where the extraordinary event of visions becomes regular, even a daily normal case, and “monthly messages” of the Mother of God are announced in advance on radio programs, that brings on skepticism. A plethora of messages is typical of spiritistic phenomena, as, for example, the thirteen volumes of the Canadian seer Marie-Paule Giguere, which the French theologian Rene Laurentin, a great promoter of Medjugorje, wellmeaningly found worthy (in them the seer, who drew her insights from a crystal ball, presents herself as the reincarnation of the Mother of God, who crushes the Serpent’s head and would be canonized in her own lifetime; one of her sons would become Pope, and another “Teacher of the Nations”; the movement founded by Marie-Paule,in the meantime, was condemned by the Church; cf. J.Boufflet, Faussaires de Dieu, 2000, pp. 562-570). In this earthly pilgrimage, the believer does not live by seeing,but by hearing the Word of God. Only in the joy of Heaven will faith be replaced by sight. 

In evaluating a phenomenon so multifaceted as Medjugorje,does the Church balance pastoral aspects and issues of Church law against one another? Or is there in the end a dogmatic resolution above all else?

As long as it is not unambiguously determined from the aspect of Church law, that the “Marian apparitions” connected with Medjugorje are not of a supernatural character (constat de non supernaturalitate),pilgrimage activity is tolerated on the private level. Only public pilgrimages conducted by Church institutions are forbidden. At present the verdict of the Yugoslav bishops’ conference from 1991 is still valid, according to which a supernatural origin is not established (non constat de supernaturalitate). This means that the “proofs” advanced by many devotees of Medjugorje for its credibility (light phenomena, healings, conversions) were not considered convincing. Besides that, Bishop Ratko Peric stated on September 1, 2007:“The Church, from the local level to the highest, from the beginnings to the present day, has repeated clearly and consistently: Non constat de supernaturalitate!

This means in practice: no pilgrimages are allowed, because they would presume the supernatural origin of the apparitions; there is no shrine of the Madonna and there are no authentic messages, revelations, or true
visions! This is the state of things today. What will be tomorrow? We will leave that in the hands of God and under the protection of our dear Lady.” Thus the bishop.Purely theoretically judgment is open for a future recognition (constat de supernaturalitate) or a final rejection (constat de non supernaturalitate).

But until then, what the bishop said in a sermon in Medjugorje on June 6, 2009, and which he has documented on his internet site, remains valid: “The Church has not recognized the “apparitions of Medjugorje” (; Il fenomeno di Medjugorje, 3a parte, Slu┼żbeni vjesnik,2/2009, pp. 190-194).

For pastoral care it is important, to lead the renewal of faith created by the stream of pilgrims to Medjugorje into the roads of the Church, and not let the devotees of the phenomenon fall into the void. Marian devotees would be well advised to concentrate on trustworthy prophetic revelations, approved and well accepted by the whole Church, so that they would deal with, say, Guadalupe, Lourdes, or Fatima. 

Questionable and unequivocally false phenomena should be presented as such. Therefore it is not sufficient, in my estimation, to pragmatically recognize Medjugorje as a “place of prayer”, without reaching a judgment on the events that lie at its basis. German bishops also reacted against this approach: non-recognition of alleged “apparitions” along with simultaneous recognition of the place as an official “shrine” (for example, with respect to Heroldsbach and Marienfried).If a new investigative commission reaches a recognition that certain characteristics indissolubly connected with the phenomenon of the apparitions speak against their authenticity, then the love of truth demands that this be made known with all clarity and that Catholic Christians be warned expressly against “pilgrimages”. The principle is valid here: “bonum ex integra causa; malum ex quovis defectu” (“Good comes from an undamaged cause; bad from some kind of defect”).

If a drink is mixed with rat poison, it’s not sufficient to point out that it contains only two percent strychnine with 98 percent water: the whole drink has to be poured out. If the Church does not, herself, finally lance the boil that is connected with Medjugorje, then anti-Catholic groups will do the job and with pleasure.And then the patience extended to the enthusiasm of Medjugorje could become a boomerang that attacks the
Church from inside, if the groups previously connected with the Bosnian “place of pilgrimage”, finally disillusioned,should turn against the Faith and the Church.

And that could also explain that the devil takes “good fruits” as part of doing his business in Medjugorje: if he can bring forth a vastly greater harm to the Church in the end. Pastoral love must not be separated from the love of truth.

[A hat tip to, whose story based on this interview led me to look up the original.]

Saturday, June 13, 2015



Mariologist Hauke on Medjugorje: PART II

“Don’t let the devotees fall into the void”

By Richard Chonak

Closely connected with the beginning of the Medjugorje phenomenon, were disciplined by the Church: Jozo Zovko (the pastor during the first months of the apparition, June-August 1981) was forbidden by his superiors to have any contact with Medjugorje; Tomislav Vlasic, who worked in Medjugorje from 1981-1988, was released from his priestly duties by the Holy See in 2008. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave the reason, among other things, of offenses against the sixth
commandment, exacerbated by alleged “mystical motivations”. The friar had in fact, at the direction of the “Gospa”and the seer Marija Pavlovic, conducted a “mystical marriage” with a lady from Germany in the framework of a mixed religious community. This unusual connection between personal tendencies and mysticism has a longer back-story: in 1976, and therefore before his involvement in Medjugorje, the friar impregnated a religious sister in a mixed “Franciscan community”, sent her with pious exhortations to Germany and denied his paternity. This case became known to Bishop Zanic and Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984. Vlasic himself brought the “word of wisdom” spoken to him at a charismatic conference in Rome (May 6, 1981) with him to Medjugorje: “Fear not, I will send you my Mother.” An Irish Charismatic woman [Sr. Briege McKenna, O.S.C. --RC] asserted that from Vlasic streams of living water would flow. The influence of such a figure on the beginning period of the Medjugorje phenomenon poses a great number of critical questions. Grave moral accusations are also placed against Zovko, the pastor in the early months, and long-time spiritual confidant of the group of seers (E.M. Jones, The Medjugorje Deception,2001).

Medjugorje is often cited as an “oasis of peace” during the civil war at the beginning of the ‘90s. Yet there are also uncomfortable facts that disturb the harmonious view.When revenue from the pilgrimage industry went down in 1992, there were press reports in the wake of a violent conflict among three family clans that served pilgrimage businesses. In a “cleansing action” about 140 inhabitants of Medjugorje were killed, while 600 others had to flee. “This was all kept secret from the the outside world, since it naturally could not be brought into accord with belief in the Queen of Peace” (R. Franken, “A Journey to Medjugorje”, 2000, p, 45). Thus there are not only good fruits to the Medjugorje phenomenon. Do you see the grace of God at work in Medjugorje? When people convert, pray rightly, receive the sacraments, and renew their Christian life, without a doubt the grace of God is at work. This is valid for every place in the world and certainly also for Medjugorje.

Which criteria play a decisive role from the Church’s point of view for the recognition of the supernatural character of apparitions?

An apparition can only be evaluated as supernatural, when it is ruled out securely that natural influences or the interference of the devil are responsible for it. These things must be investigated: 

(1) The seers: are they mentally healthy? Are illusion, suggestion, and hallucination ruled out? Are the seers upright and morally straightforward?Do they show a greater zeal in their life of faith than before the visionary event? Are they obedient and humble with respect to the competent representatives of the Church?
Mental illness, lying, immoral acts in connection with the
visions and lack of humility are extremely negative criteria.

Other questions pose themselves:

(2) about the content of the phenomena: do they correspond to the Catholic faith? Are any of the utterances ridiculous or unworthy of God?
Prophecies must, in order to be proven supernatural,refer to future events that depend on human freedom, or respectively, on the mysterious workings of God. Another positive criterion is the disclosure of secrets of the human heart. 

Also important are  :

(3) the fruits of the events, in which the goodness of their origin unfolds (cf. Mt. 7: 15- 20). Genuine apparitions strengthen the seer in virtue, above all in humility and patience, while false revelations produce pride and disobedience.

The decisive criterion :

(4) is the miracle, which must have an unequivocal connection with the apparition.

Can the devil also work miracles?

A miracle, understood as the unmediated intervention of God in the empirical world, is provable as such, when it surpasses the powers of creatures. Among the clearest examples of these is the resurrection of the dead. It is not simple to distinguish them from the “miracles” of evil spirits, whose power surpasses human ability. As created beings, it is simply impossible for them to bring about a creation out of nothing (which pertains to an infinite power). They also cannot make predictions that depend on the inner freedom of man, because the devil has no power over the innermost part of man. This is made clear in cases of possession: the demons can overpower the body of the possessed person, but when they speak out of him during the crisis invoked by exorcism, the consciousness of the human being is normally “turned off ”. God, in contrast, knows how to draw the human will toward Himself from the inside, without forcing it.For the devil there is no problem, for example, in making statues cry, calling forth ecstasies and stigmata, to manipulate cameras, to make people speak in tongues, or produce marvelous scents. Because of his surpassing knowledge of the natural world he can also, to a limited degree, make assertions about the future, in cases when the influences of the already recognizable factors is extrapolated. He can also reveal hidden things that are unknown to a person (with the exception of secrets of the innermost part of man).

 A known example for the working of the devil in pseudo-mystical phenomena is, say, in Spain in the 16th century, the life of the religious sister Magdalena of the Cross (1487-1560). From the age of five she had plenty of ecstasies and visions. She tells the story that Saints Dominic and Francis had prepared her for receiving her first Communion. Three months before being granted permission to receive the Eucharist, she is receiving Communion daily “in a mystical manner”, in which every time she emits a scream. At the age of 17 she enters a convent of the Poor Clares in Cordoba. She receives stigmata and clairvoyantly knows how to find hidden objects. At her perpetual profession the nuns are surprised at the lengthy presence of a dove, which is taken to be a sign of the Holy Spirit. Karl I, the king of Spain, has Magdalena bless, among other things, the royal standard and the clothing of his son Philip. Cardinal Cisneros and numerous other princes of the Church are also impressed. Even the Holy Father personally asked the Spanish Poor Clare for her intercession. Only a few reflective contemporaries such as St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. John of Avila remain skeptical. Their doubts are confirmed when the Poor Clares start to wonder about the lax leadership of their superior and elect a successor. 

The “miracle nun”was then visited with convulsions. When the exorcism undertaken thereafter exposes a demonic presence, the Inquisition undertakes a trial against Magdalena. In it she testifies that in the year 1504 she made a forty-year pact with the devil, which had reached its end in 1544. Her paranormal abilities ceased. After she abjured her errors, she does penance for several years, she can no longer be elected to any offices in the Order, and lives an exemplary life until her death. In other words: the devil can succeed to make fools of the highest princes of the Church for decades long. Such an example warns us to caution in the face of present-day happenings.

How do you evaluate the “messages” of the “Gospa”?

According to the study of a Croatian psychologist and theologian the published “messages” are “mostly...simple texts, exhortations to peace, prayer, penance, and conversion, in which the mind and the environment of the seers are clearly reflected” (I. Zeljko, Marian apparitions...,2004, p. 315). Among the so-called ten secrets, of which the seers only give hints, they specify as confirmation for the Marian apparitions a permanent and visible sign on the hill of the first apparition. The fulfillment of this sign, announced in 1981, is still outstanding after nearly thirty years, quite in contrast to Guadalupe and Fatima, where an obvious sign appeared in the year of the apparitions itself (the image of the Mother of God on the“tilma”, or respectively, the miracle of the sun). From that penetrating research, the filtering of the “messages” by the seers or by the priests connected with them was named as a problem. The problematic assertions are often only known to critical source research through obscure publications(in part only in Croatian, English, and French),and are withheld from the broader public.
... to be completed.