Last week I received a mailing from Caritas of Birmingham, in Sterret, Alabama. It was an invitation to come to the four-storey Tabernacle of our Lady’s Messages at Caritas, where a visionary, Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, is slated to receive five messages and apparitions during the 2012 gathering from July 1 to July 5. Caritas is a group devoted to the Medjugorje Marian apparitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is a continuation of international devotional interest in a phenomenon beginning on June 24, 1981, when six young people said they had received apparitions from the “Gospa” (Madonna). I’m not sure how we got on to their mailing list. Possibly a relative submitted our name and address. The Caritas group, however, is considered schismatic by the visionaries and priests at the pilgrimage center, in a part of what used to be Yugoslavia. On the “official” Medjugorje website we are warned that Caritas of Birmingham is a cult, something like a religious business, not approved. But one of the visionaries, Marija, still comes regularly to Caritas in Birmingham, contributing to a local, in-house schism of an international cult that bespeaks a larger and ongoing schism with orthodox Catholicism. Numerous books have been written on Medjugorje, most of them favorable. But most of the pro-Medjugorje books ignore the early tapes made by Fr. Cuvalo and Fr. Zovko, on the days immediately following the apparitions, which began on June 24, 1981; they are based on interviews recorded over a year after the original visions, and incorporated in the 1985 book, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. And none of them take into account the first tape made by Fr. Cuvalo before Fr. Zovko took over the taping of interviews with the visionaries. But Donal Foley’s book, Medjugorje Revisited: 30 years of Visions or Religious Fraud? does take into account early tapes as well as later sources, brings out some crucial differences in the early and later transcripts, and leads the reflective reader to serious doubts about what is really happening at this pilgrimage center. Compared to approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, for example, at Lourdes and at Fatima, the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje contain numerous anomalous aspects: In the initial appearances, the Gospa appears out of a cloud of light which gradually takes on the image of a young woman in her late teens. She has blue eyes and is wearing a gray dress. She looks like she is holding “something like a baby” in her arms, but none of the features of the baby can be seen. Her hands are shaking. She laughs. The visionaries are able to touch and kiss her, but her vestments are “steel to the touch.” When a lady doctor asked if she could touch her also, the Gospa agreed, but complained about “unbelieving Judases.” Fr. René Laurentin, a supporter of Medjugorje, in his Chronological Corpus of the Messages, changed this obvious blooper to “doubting Thomases.” In the first few years following the apparitions, around thirty different apparition places were chosen, with the Gospa appearing often as if “on cue.” Some of the messages, even in our open-minded era, would be categorized as not just heterodox, but heretical. Full Story:What is happening at Medjugorje?Source:Crisis Magazine
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