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Originally Posted by AndreaW
I've determined that if my friend ever asks what I think about it, I will say I'm waiting for the Church to make a determination before deciding. However I do have deep reservations about it.

The Church has already made its decision abundantly clear on the issue. The authority resides solely with the bishop of the location and two bishops in a row have denounced the claims. Pilgrimages are forbidden to the "apparitions". Yes, people can pilgrimage to Medjugorje, just as much as they can to Conyers, GA, but they can't pilgrimage there on account of the "apparitions." The Franciscans have been stripped of their faculties to hear confessions there and they along with the "visionaries" have been directly and publicly ordered to stop promoting it.

Some people refused to accept the authority of the first bishop, so a committee of bishops was formed. The committee denounced the supposed apparitions. The same people rejected that. A second committee rejected the "visions." The same people denounce that. They say they are waiting on the Vatican. What has the Vatican done? Well, first they put a guy in the bishop's throne who was a close friend, roommate, and ardent supporter of the previous bishop's decisions concerning the "apparitions," then they supported him and reaffirmed his authority as bishop to make a decision regarding authenticity. Not a single bishop in that area supports the "seers'" claims. The same people refuse still to acknowledge it and apparently are waiting on a letter directly from the Pope himself saying nothing less than, "It is affirmed that nothing supernatural is happening and all clergy and faithful are forbidden from believing in, supporting, or promoting the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje." The fact that the Pope is not given such authority and is therefore highly unlikely to ever issue such a statement does not seem to deter them.

Given that, I tread lightly with those who are strongly supportive of the visions. I acknowledge the good the return to faith has brought to them and praise their openness to the will of God for their lives. I do not hide my respect for the competent authorities to make decisions concerning it and I do not accept Medjugorje related propaganda or sacramentals, but I do not reject the people of faith themselves. As is obvious, I am bluntly clear with any who are just stumbling into this phenomenon as I believe the basic facts must be known up front. The competent authority has made an authoritative decision, and he has included a command to all to not promote or support these "visions."

As for Our Lady of Guadalupe, has anyone mentioned that the feast is also commemorated on the Byzantine Church's calendar?

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Dear Father Deacon Paul,

I found the following interesting:

Quote
French Bishops Commission Statement

Just as we need to be careful with how closely we attach ourselves to any one priest, we must constantly evaluate what we are basing our faith on. Is it the sacraments? Or, is it a favored priest? Is it an apparition, or set of miracles or messages? Can our faith stand if a favored priest moves on, or without a phenomena such as that offered at Medjugorje?


I know so many frequent churchgoers, that do so only because of their attachment to a favored priest. Aside though from that, I think one of the differences between Fatima and Medjugorji, is that the children at Fatima have been declared saints. The same can be said at the time of Saint Bernadette. When her apparition came about at Lourdes, children in the area were seeing as well as doing extraordinary and phenominal things. One even leaped from the second floor, out of a window too small for his body. Bernadette was a saint, the others were not.

The children receiving all these messages at Medjogorjki, are not saints. They are growing up, getting married, having children, etc. After reading how each one is being told that they will see the apparitions on certain days, etc., I realize it is a merry-go-round...and I know of only 'one', that keeps people spinning. shocked It would not be the Holy Spirit.

The fruits 'might' be good, and normally I tend to judge by the fruits. If these people were total unbelievers, and they happened across something of this type, and therefore became believers, then I could understand it being of a Godly purpose. But these people making these pilgrimages are supposedly believers, so why are they making pilgrimages to a place, that has not been declared a shrine? confused Was it therefore a true pilgrimage on their part, or are they searching for a phenomenal 'happening'?

That some priests are taking advantage of something occurring from forces not from God at Medjogorji, and helping the people become closer to God through the sacraments, shows that there is some sort of spiritual warfare going on...or so I think.

God Bless,

Zenovia

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Originally Posted by Wondering
As is obvious, I am bluntly clear with any who are just stumbling into this phenomenon as I believe the basic facts must be known up front. The competent authority has made an authoritative decision, and he has included a command to all to not promote or support these "visions."




Wondering-
Thank you for that information on the history of the bishops! That will help to make my opinion clear on the matter should I ever be asked. In our area there is a large group of supporters, and they even announce pilgrimiges at our parish. I knew the current bishop's stance, but was unaware of the history. As I said, some dear friends of ours are very involved in it, so I do tread lightly. I however do not believe that it is the Virgin Mary appearing there.

Last edited by AndreaW; 08/08/07 06:34 PM.
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Hello,

Let me say first that I do not believe the events at Medjugorje are of a supernatural nature as claimed by these youngsters and their very numerous and ardent followers.

That being said, I think it is undeniably that a lot of apparent good is coming out of this whole situation and therefore, the hand of God seems to be at work in all of this.

Now, regarding this particular comment:

Quote

The children receiving all these messages at Medjogorjki, are not saints. They are growing up, getting married, having children, etc.


These three activities can be done in a saintly way and have been done by saints before.

I find the implication to the contrary rather offensive, since I am "guilty" of all three.

I have no claims of sainthood myself, but I do not consider any of these three activities, whatsoever, as reasons having no such claims.

As to the personal holiness of the mentioned youngsters, I cannot comment one way or another.

Shalom,
Memo

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Dear Friends,

This does not mean that Medjugorje is not a valid apparition. It would not be the first time that the Church has pronounced negatively on something for any number of reasons.

There is a shrine I know where a priest took an actual colour photo of an apparition of the Virgin Mary. I've seen the photo and it is quite remarkable.

But the Church will not pronounce on it. The photo resembled Our Lady of Fatima (she was holding a rosary etc.). The only mute commemoration of this event is that this shrine holds outdoor devotions to Our Lady of Fatima (a devotion it was not previously known for).

I've no doubt Our Lady appears frequently in many places. The Orthodox Shrine at Pochaiv in Ukraine was based on an apparition of the Virgin Mary that lasted for a few minutes - after the shepherd and the monk saw it and it disappeared, they discovered the Footprint on the rock over which the Theotokos stood. And the rest is history.

At Medjugorje, the children reported that the Mother of God told them to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays (not Saturdays as in the Latin Church), that they were to say the full Rosary daily, five decades morning, noon and evening, attend Mass and Communion frequently etc. The apparition is also reported as indicating that the Mother of God will be glorified the most in . . . Russia.

No wonder the RC authorities don't like it! smile

Alex

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If it is really one of so many, then why would anyone half-way around the world place his or her faith in this supposed apparition, condemned by the competent authorities as well as all who are near it, when all he or she needs to do is wait a little while for one closer to home?

What the "seers" attribute to Mary is full of contradictions, banal repetitions, and flat out falsehoods. Why would Mary continue to follow them around every day year after year while they go on tour and reschedule her appearances to coincide with approaching buses when she could move on to some other place without the disobedience and controversy involved?

Yes, it is no wonder the RC authorities don't care for it.

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I think the reason the
Quote
RC authorities don't like it
is because there's nothing supernatural going on. I read the findings of the original bishop some years ago when he declared the same, and I don't believe anything will change. Saying the rosary does not turn falsehood into truth. I suspect the devil himself could say the rosary if it accomplished his purposes.

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For the record, there is no tradition in the Latin Church for fasting on Saturdays.

Strictly speaking, all Fridays are days of abstinence, although in most places, this abstinence is only observed during Lent.

Other than that, fasting is only prescribed for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, although it is suggested to continue Good Friday's fast through Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.

And it shouldn't surprise anybody that Our Lady would be glorified the most in Russia. The Byzantine devotion to the Mother of God is second to none, including the Latin tradition.

Shalom,
Memo

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Andrea asked,
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Are "visionaries" generally an unknown phenomenon in Eastern Christianity?


I have read articles similar to the one below from http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/synexarion/nicholas.html and they vary somewhat but all say that St Nicholas experience an apparition from the Mother of God.

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On icons of St. Nicholas, our Lord and Saviour will often be seen on one side with the Gospels in His hand, and the most holy Mother of God on the other with an episcopal stole in hers. This has a twofold historical significance: it denotes, firstly, Nicholas's calling to episcopal office, and secondly his vindication and re-instatement following the punishment for his clash with Arius. St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople, writes: `One night, St. Nicholas saw our Saviour in glory, standing by him and holding out to him the Gospels adorned with gold and pearls, and the Mother of God standing on his other side and placing a pallium on his shoulders. Shortly after this vision, John, the then Archbishop of Myra, died, and Nicholas was installed as Archbishop of that city.' That was the first occasion. The second occurred at the time of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea. Unable to put a stop by argument to the senseless blasphemy of Arius against the Son of God and His most pure Mother, St. Nicholas struck Arius in the face. The holy fathers at the Council strongly disapproved of such behavior, and they banned Nicholas from the Council and stripped him of all marks of his episcopal rank. That very night, several of the fathers had the selfsame vision: how the Lord stood on one side of Nicholas with the Gospels and the Mother of God on the other with a pallium, offering to the saint those marks of rank that had been stripped from him. Seeing this, the fathers were amazed, and quickly returned to Nicholas that which they had taken from him


So, not only was St Nicholas a "visionary", but also the other Bishops. Were these apparitions approved?? I don't think the Church even bothered to expend the energy to investigate. I believe that is where the Eastern Churches make better decisions than the Western Church. In the East an "apparition" or any supernatural event is not sliced and diced and investigated and reinvestigated. If it is beneficial to your soul, then so be it. If not, then one's confessor should counsel.

It seems so easy for everyone to accept the above accounts, but there are many who reject every contemporary (the last 100 years or so) report. Isn't our faith a living faith? It's not a historical faith, but is vibrant and alive. When we fail to accept that then our church will die, because it no longer has life. Perhaps that is why the sacraments or not taken seriously by many people. Our young people don't believe in miracles; they think that science can "debunk" any miracle.

This is not to say that discernment or spiritual counsel is not needed; quite the contrary.

By the way, the apparitions of Our Lady of Soufanieh were approved by the local Bishop.

Remember what Nicodemus said, Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" Jn 7:51

Father Deacon Paul

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Do the Orthodox accept the sighting of the Theotokos in Zeitoun, Egypt over a Coptic Church in the 1960's?

I read Randall Sullivan's The Miracle Detective a few years ago and it was a fascinating read about the Rolling Stone's journalist's investigation of Marian apparitions. He interviewed Fr. Groeschel and spent time at the Vatican talking with priests who specialized in supernatural discernment. The process for approval is extremely arduous and thorough. I have no doubt that if an apparition receives Vatican approval, then it is authentic.

Sullivan went to Medjugorje twice and ultimately concluded that at the beginning the apparitions may have been authentic but at some point that stopped.

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Originally Posted by indigo
Do the Orthodox accept the sighting of the Theotokos in Zeitoun, Egypt over a Coptic Church in the 1960's?

Yes, it is one of the few places with approval from both Churches. Muslims also accept the apparition in Zeitoun and pilgrimage there.

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Wondering , that's awesome!
Here's a link for apparitions and it rates them as approved, disapproved. Note the approved apparition that took place in Litmonova, Slovakia by Byzantine Catholic girls.
http://www.apparitions.org/#apparitions

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Oh, I was wrong they're Roman Catholic.
The Zeitoun apparition is worthy of meditation. Perhaps the Theotokos is the key to peace between the Churches, and Christianity and Islam.

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I asked earlier if visionaries are generally an unknown phenomenon in Eastern Christianity. (Forgive me for any terminology that is wrong, as I am still learning how to refer to differences). I was trying to ask if visionaries are common in Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism. Today I read this:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=10086

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In recent memo sent to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the world, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the participation of Catholics in prayer groups organized by alleged Orthodox visionary Vassula Ryden was “not opportune.”


I don't know anything about her...just thought it was interesting.

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I asked earlier if visionaries are generally an unknown phenomenon in Eastern Christianity.


Dear AndreaW,

Seeing visions is very common in the Orthodox church. I know of people making pilgrimages to the miraculous icon of the Theotokos on the island of Tinos on Aug. 15, having seen en masse, visions of the Theotokos. I am sure many others have seen her privately.

I know of one person in my family that saw the Theotokos through the eyes of her 'nous' when praying, and later found out that it was a sign that she will undergo very hard times. I also know someone in my family that saw a saint, and have also read of someone seeing a saint, and in both cases, they died after a few years. So to be honest, I would not want to see either the Theotokos, nor a saint...at least not until I'm ready to die. shocked

My concern with Medjogorje is that the visionaries are not saints, and I believe that this is what is hindering the Vatican from accepting them. Of course, what purpose would the evil one have in producing visions of that nature? I do not know confused ...so I guess in that sense, one can just wait and see. I can't help but question it because it doesn't seem to fit into any known category either Orthodox or Catholic. At least to my knowledge.

I do know though, that I once came across something occurring in Bayside, N.Y., and after reading it, I felt very cold and depressed. I threw it away immediately. My reaction to the occurences in Croatia has always been curiosity. I can understand that at the beginning, it might have been a sign of the horrors of the war that was to occur a few years later. Maybe something will occur, I don't know. If I could read some of what is being told the girls, maybe I would get a better 'feeling' of them. I go by my feelings you know! wink

Also, I want to apologize if I offended anyone here. I guess I was being a bit of a fundamentalist in my other post...and that's not like me. I always believed that God will present things in a way that would be the best for those He is trying to reach. In that sense, I guess the visions could be very spiritually productive for many of the people in Croatia, and elsewhere.

God Bless,

Zenovia

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