Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some sense on the Pope, Medjugorje, and "legalism"

The buzz regarding Bishop Ratko Peric's Corpus Christi homily regarding the so-called Marian apparitions in his diocese has been fierce, interesting, and, to me, a bit frightening. Why? Because I'm scared that the thousands — and I mean thousands — of people utterly and implacably devoted to "Our Lady of Medjugorje" will find their faith shaken, if not destroyed, should the Church declare that the apparitions are not valid.

But wait a sec...didn't the Bishop's words do just that?

Do read the whole post, as Diane justifably asks. Here's one part of the Bishop's statement, though.

"I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church. Our faith is a serious and responsible matter. The Church is also a serious and responsible institution!"

But what about an "official statement" from the Holy See?

I find what Rich, "The Catholic Dentist" says about this oozing with common, or maybe uncommon sense:

I find it interesting that many people who flock to these sites will say, "The Pope has not given the final word on this subject, so it is still open to discernment by the Church as a whole." This type of legalism is what is getting the Church into hot water with multiple issues.

You see, the role of the Pope is not to be a referee. He is not the one to make all the decisions of the Church. He is not there to invoke the charism of Infallibility for every issue that comes down the pike. There is a place for the local Ordinary and the Ordinary Magisterium if the Church.

In the case of Medjugorje, the local Ordinary (bishop) has said there is nothing supernatural going on. Rome's silence is not a silence of doubt, but a silence of consent. "Qui tacet consentire" is the maxim that governs the law. Silence gives consent. There is no need for a higher authority to intervene because it consents to the evaluation and conclusion of the lower authority.

I urge you to read what's written via both links given when you get a few minutes.

Thousands of God's children truly believe His Mother has been appearing in Medjugorje for at least a quarter of a century. You may be one of them. Or you may know someone who is.

In any case, it seems clear to me that the Church has spoken about this phenomenon.

May Her Most Blessed Mother pray for us all.