"PRIVATE" REVELATION AND MEDJUGORJE
The term "private" revelations has already for a long time become customary in theology. In contrast to it is public revelation. However, public revelation would be the one given in the Bible, and private the one given apart from the Bible. Accordingly, it would be more justifiable to speak of biblical and extra-
Otherwise, there would be no reason for him to speak at all. If there may be some justifiable difference between them, it can never be in the sense that one is obligatory and the other is not. They are both obligatory. For every one that has been reached by them and for the one who has attained sufficient reasons and moral security regarding their authenticity, both of them oblige equally.
Revelation contained in the Bible is called "the canon," that is, the rule of faith. The authenticity of every other revelation is in some way measured according to it. First of all, everything that might be contrary to that revelation would be unauthentic or false. Accordingly, the biblical revelation provides the guarantee of certainty, and that in a negative way, the contrary revelation is false. Moreover, the authenticity of biblical revelation is guaranteed by the church's magisterium to which the Holy Spirit is given by Christ in order to preserve that revelation faithfully and to interpret it infallibly. For the extra-
The history of the Church witnesses that it has always had extra-
Locutions [auditiones] are also connected to visions. The most recent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje confirm that. The visionaries, in addition to seeing Our Lady, also hear her messages, which usually call to conversion, prayer, especially the rosary, and penance. Thereby they all the more direct toward the renewal and flourishing of Church life rather than giving some new truth of the faith.
No one can close God's mouth. He has not finished his conversation nor his revelation to people. It goes on continuously in the Church and the world in different ways. God's speech, in a broader sense, takes the form of vision or at least no one can dispute that. Therefore, extra-
Vision and revelation belong to the prophetic charism of which the Church cannot be lacking and that, not because some new doctrine or truth would be necessary after biblical revelation, but because a new light is necessary, a better understanding of that same doctrine or truth and, especially, because a new direction and impetus for human activity is necessary.
A critical posture toward extra-
Too great an emphasis on extra-
THE MEDJUGORJE APPARITIONS AND VISIONS
Already since June 24, 1981 until today, six visionaries in Medjugorje, Ivanka Ivankovic-
After that, numerous other unofficial and official commissions followed in succession. The tried to arrive at the truth of the apparition with a greater fairness. An exception to this were the two commissions established by the local Bishop Pavao Zanic. He did not request these commissions to study the Medjugorje phenomena, but to confirm his negative opinion which, taking into consideration the apparitions themselves, did not have any grounds whatsoever. In order to assure "the outcome" of the investigation, he appointed himself president of the commission, and charged them to think and speak what he, without any basis in the truth, thought and spoke. The others, differently from Bishop Zanic and his commissions, expertly examined the visionaries and the facts in Medjugorje. Since the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, rejected the "results" of the commissions of Bishop Zanic as incompetent and unfounded, it ordered the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference to establish its own commission to care more seriously for the apparitions of Medjugorje. Although even that commission did not investigate these apparitions more seriously, nevertheless, it behaved more responsibly toward them. At least, it did not assert that the apparitions are unauthentic, but it found a Solomonic solution and declared that it had not yet arrived at real proofs of the supernaturalness of the apparitions. That position was also accepted by the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference. Because of the ever more general conviction that the apparitions are authentic, and especially because of the exceptional spiritual gifts to the whole world in regard to the apparitions, it was, nevertheless, compelled to accept Medjugorje as a shrine and to take on itself greater care for a correct development of devotion and adequate provision for the spiritual needs of pilgrims in Medjugorje.
However, the apparitions of Medjugorje were examined the most competently and the most expertly by the international French-
1. On the basis of the psychological tests, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible with certainty to exclude fraud and deception.
2. On the basis of the medical examinations, tests and clinical observations etc, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude pathological hallucinations.
3. On the basis of the results of previous researches for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude a purely natural interpretation of these manifestations.
4. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude that these manifestations are of the preternatural order i.e. under demonic influence.
5. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, there is a correspondence between these manifestations and those that are usually described in mystical theology.
6. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of spiritual advances and advances in the theological and moral virtues of the visionaries, from the beginning of these manifestations until today.
7. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to exclude teaching or behaviour of the visionaries that would be in clear contradiction to Christian faith and morals.
8. On the basis of information or observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of good spiritual fruits in people drawn into the supernatural activity of these manifestations and in people favourable to them.
9. After more than four years, the tendencies and different movements that have been generated through Medjugorje, in consequence of these manifestations, influence the people of God in the Church in complete harmony with Christian doctrine and morals.
10. After more than four years, it is possible to speak of permanent and objective spiritual fruits of movements generated through Medjugorje.
11. It is possible to affirm that all good and spiritual undertakings of the Church, which are in complete harmony with the authentic magisterium of the Church, find support in the events in Medjugorje.
12. Accordingly, one can conclude that after a deeper examination of the protagonists, facts, and their effects, not only in the local framework, but also in regard to the responsive chords of the Church in general, it is well for the Church to recognize the supernatural origin and, thereby, the purpose of the events in Medjugorje.
So far it is the most conscientious and the most complete research of the Medjugorje phenomena, and, for that very reason, it is the most positive that has yet been said about it on a scientific-
Besides that, a very serious work of examination of the visionaries was also undertaken by a French team of experts headed by Mr. Henri Joyeux. Employing the most modern equipment and expertise, it examined the internal reactions of the visionaries before, during, and after the apparitions. Likewise, the synchronization of their ocular, auditory, cardiac, and cerebral reactions. The results of that commission were very significant. They showed that the object of observation is external to the visionaries, and that any external manipulation or mutual agreement between the visionaries is excluded. The results with individual electro-
The results of the last mentioned commission confirmed the conclusions of the international commission and, for their part, they proved that the apparitions, to which the visionaries testify, are a phenomenon that surpasses modern science and that all points toward some other level of happening.
In regard to the scientific examination of the Medjugorje apparitions, it is important to bear in mind that in the entire history of apparitions not a single one has ever been so broadly and strictly examined scientifically as those in Medjugorje. When the examinations in Lourdes and Fatima are compared with those in Medjugorje, then there is almost no similarity whatsoever between them. Neither have other visionaries been that strictly examined nor was it possible to examine them with such certainty and success, due to the inferior level of science and the insufficiency of technical tools at that time. Besides, it is also very significant to mention that there was only one visionary in Lourdes, Bernadette Soubirous; there were three visionaries in Fatima, and six in Medjugorje. Manipulation is easier with one visionary than with several. Likewise, a group confirmation is more valuable than an individual. The said about Bernadette herself that she was psychically of delicate health. For the visionaries in Medjugorje adequate health has been established. When to that are added the positive moral qualities, the uniformity of testimonies, there remains no significant doubt whatsoever that the apparitions, to which the visionaries in Medjugorje testify, are indeed supernatural and worthy of belief.
The content of the Medjugorje messages also confirms that. Beside the five main messages on which the visionaries agree, every month, primarily through Marija Pavlovic, Our Lady has been giving special messages intended for the whole world. Even though in volume they have grown into a library, still, in spite of that, nothing can be found in them that would in the least manner be contrary to Christian doctrine and faith. On the contrary, together with the principal messages, they compose a veritable treasury of handy and practical theology on a level, which not even 80% of today's priests would attain. It is, thereby, more significant since the visionary Marija, as well as the other visionaries, is a completely average believer who could not even attend regular instruction in catechism, much less acquire a practical-
From the beginning, the Medjugorje apparitions were accompanied by many unusual phenomena, both in the sky and on the ground, especially by miraculous healings. I myself, with about a thousand pilgrims, experienced one unusual dance of the sun. That manifestation was so unusual and obvious, that everyone without exception classified it as a miracle. None of those present remained indifferent, which I myself was convinced of by questioning the others who were present. The joy, the tears, and the statements of those present strongly confirmed it. From their words, it could be seen that they understood that manifestation as a confirmation of the authenticity of the apparitions, and as an incentive to respond to the Medjugorje messages by accepting them. And that is the real purpose of miracles: to help people believe and live by faith because they stand in the service of the faith and of the salvation of people.
Regarding the luminous phenomena in Medjugorje, a professor employed in Vienna, an expert in that field, admitted to me that he studied them in Medjugorje for a week. At the end, he told me: "Science has no answer to these manifestations." Although judgment about miracles does not belong to any natural science nor to science in general, but to theology and faith, nevertheless, the judgment of science is very important because where it leaves off, faith takes over. It is very significant that many events were understood by the faithful as a real miracle. They understood their significance and, whether they experienced them for themselves or through others, they felt themselves obliged to accept the Medjugorje messages as an obligation. It is difficult to say precisely how many of these miraculous events have taken place in regards to the Medjugorje apparitions. However, it is well known that several hundred of them have been reported and attested to. Several of them have been thoroughly examined and scientifically-
Mrs. Diana Basile, born October 5, 1940 in Platizza, Cosenza, Italy, suffered from multiple sclerosis, an otherwise incurable disease, from 1972 till May 23, 1984. In spite of the expert help of the professors and doctors at the clinic in Milan, she grew more and more sick. By her own desire she came to Medjugorje and was present during the apparition of Our Lady in a room connected to the Church and was suddenly healed. All of that happened in such a quick and thorough way that on the following day the same woman walked barefoot 12 kilometres from the hotel in Ljubuski, where she spent the night, to the apparition hill in order to thank Our Lady for the healing. Ever since then until today, she has remained well. Upon her return to Milan, the doctors were astonished by her healing and immediately established a medical commission, which was again thoroughly to examine both the previous and present condition of the healed woman. They collected 143 documents and, in the end, 25 professors, head doctors, and other doctors wrote a special book about the disease and the healing in which they stated that Diana Basile indeed did suffer from multiple sclerosis, that for many years she was unsuccessfully treated, but that now she is completely well and that this did not happen by any kind of therapy, nor by any kind of medicine. They, thereby, indicated that the cause of the healing was from a different than scientific source.
Another more significant miracle happened to Rita Klaus of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA, a teacher and mother of three children, born January 25, 1940, who for 26 years suffered from multiple sclerosis. She was also one that neither doctors nor medicine were able to help. Reading the book about Medjugorje, Is the Blessed Virgin Appearing in Medjugorje? by Laurentin-
There are still other healings pertaining to Medjugorje, which took place suddenly and thoroughly. They are more or less expertly examined. But some of them have not at all yet been analysed. It is not ruled out that among them there are some cases just as great as those already analysed. With miracles it is critical that they originate from God and that they serve the faith, but it is not important for them to be "big". It is rather people of good will and open to the truth that will recognize them rather than biased scientists and versatile critics because they often shut themselves within boundaries where a miracle "must not" and "cannot" happen.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE CHURCH ON THE MEDJUGORJE APPARITIONS
Since the Medjugorje apparitions, visions, and messages belong to extra-
In this entire matter, in addition to the evangelical criterion that a good tree is known by its good fruits, the position of the Pope is decisive. And it is completely clear. He has expressed it on several occasions when, asked by many bishops whether they may go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, he not only encouraged them, but also recommended himself to their prayers in Medjugorje. On the occasion of his ad limina visit, the President of the Bishop's Conference of South Korea, Archbishop Kim, greeted Pope John Paul II with the words, "Holy Father, thanks to you, Poland was able to be freed from communism." The Pope corrected him and said, "No, not thanks to me, it is the work of the Virgin as she claims in Fatima and Medjugorje" (Catholic News, the Korean Catholic Weekly of November 11, 1990). Everything is contained in this that the Pope and the Church can at all say about the Medjugorje apparitions. From that comes forth that Our lady is in Medjugorje, and that there she announced the destruction of communism. Many more times lacking in seriousness are all the other stories, which, only for non-
fr. Ljudevit Rupcic, OFM, 1995
Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupcic was born in 1920 in Hardomilije, Ljubuski. In 1939 he entered the Franciscan Order in the province of Herzegovina, and in 1946, he was ordained a priest. He finished his studies in Theology in the University seminary in Zagreb. He completed a doctorate in 1958 and received the habit there. From 1958 until 1988 he lectured in New Testament exegesis on Franciscan theology in Sarajevo, and also in the University seminary in Zagreb. Under the former Yugoslavian Communist regime, he served two prison sentences from 1945 to 1947 and again from 1952 to 1956. For a longer period, (1968 until 1981) he was a member of the theological commission aiding the Episcopal Conferences of former Yugoslavia. He has accomplished a translation of the New Testament from it's origins into the Croatian language, and his translation has had continuous re-