The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


The vocations shortage…in Medjugorje

posted by jmcgee

While many may debate the “fruits” of Medjugorje, it seems the place has not been especially productive when it comes to vocations among the seers.

Catholic Light has a lengthy posting on the subject that is well worth reading for those who take Medjugorje seriously — and even those who don’t. 



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LSW

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm


“Perhaps this too [none of the visionaries entering religious life but all getting married] is one of the ‘fruits of Medjugorje’”
I would think that those folks who take this phenomenon seriously would find in the visionaries’ subsequent lives an affirmation of the sanctity of the lay life (especially since the visions seem to be continuing)rather than questions about the reality of those visions and their message.
And Dcn Greg, you write “it seems the place has not been especially productive when it comes to vocations among the seers.” Isn’t married life and career just as much a God-given vocation as religious life or priesthood????



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pilgrim

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm


What vocation shortage? Are those opposed to Medjugorje completely blind to the religious vocations stemming from Medjugorje?
Currently there is a list circulating of signed testimonies by priests and religious stating their vocation came through Medjugorje. At the last count it was 500 plus. When completed the total is expected to be around 1,000. This may not be of importance to those who oppose or attempt to discredit the Medjugorje phenomena but it is of great importance to the current Commission as it will form part of its enquiry documentation.
So will all the list of all the names of the thousands of priests, bishops and cardinals who have visited Medjugorje over the years.



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Klaire

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm


I agree it seems a “likely” course that the recepient(s) of authentic Marian apparitions would seek the relgious life, but then, none is required for authenticity.
Perhaps considering the times we live in, it would have been easier to “silence” the Medjugorje seers if they were consecrated and God wanted them in the world, especially with all of the doubt.
Personally the one seer I have been around twice is anything but convincing, but yet, I still haven’t written it off as not being real. I don’t know, but I do see and know some awesome fruit, including religous vocations.
I still get the email messages each month, never having been too impressed (meaning not anything “new” outside of what the church has always taught). However, this month’s message hit me deeply, the first time ever, “Be ready.” For anyone following the messages, if they really are from Mother Mary, this was a particular “strong” message relative to how gentile they have been for years. I guess “Be ready” could mean many things, but it just struck me as “meaningful” in some way.
I also find it more than interesting that the Vatican has taken over the whole process; also a first.
I still say, regardless if Medjugorje is real or not, the message certainly is: believe, repent, and now “Be ready.”



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Mark

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:35 am


If this is an example of the content which the Bishop of Mostar has posted on the Diocesean website, then it is no wonder the CDF has scrapped his investigations and excluded him from the present commission. Meanspirited garbage … and shame on Richard Chonak for reposting …



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Dante

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm


I an NO fan or devotee of Medjuogje BUT I will say that vocations mean more than “religious” ones and seers from approved apparitions of the 20th century did not enter religious life or the priesthood. All 5 seers of Beauraing (1932-33) married and had families; the seer of Banneux (1933) married as well.



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Mark

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm


Nice points Dante. I would submit, too, that the level of hostility displayed by the Bishop towards the seers would not bode well for one’s chances in the Seminary run by the same Bishop …



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TNP

posted April 16, 2010 at 5:58 am


Don’t most religious vocations require a vow of poverty? These people couldn’t own their gated homes or BMWs otherwise, now could they? And let’s not forget the vow of obedience. It’s much easier to hop on a plane and flit around the world earning big bucks telling questionable jokes than to stay back in seclusion if your superior says so. St. Paul said it was better not to marry. I would think having regular conversations with the mother of God would have induced at least one to dedicate themselves to a life of celibacy and prayer.
Yes, let’s blame the bishop. Let’s redirect the focus of the issue. Easy out. Frankly, I’m sick to death of the questionable spirituality and theology promoted by those who have visited that place. Read Romano Guardini’s chapter on Mystery and Revelation in his book “The Lord.” Bingo.



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RYAN

posted April 16, 2010 at 6:39 am


Married is a wonderful vocation. In addition all six “visionaries” live beuatiful christian / catholic lives.(please spare me the business of beauty queens and gated houses it is nonsense)
They find joy in their lives and their families. They live a life I can identify with. They laugh, they sing, pray, fast, love, they seek peace in all they do. The point is constantly missed by critics of Medjugorje that the vocation entered into by the seers and the way they have conducted themselves has been a blessing and an example to the world.
also on Fatima two of the three seers died at an early age Deacon knows that but that just complicates his point.
Deacon has his views on Medjugorje but if you would like to read up on Pope John Paul II’s views on the Medjugorje mystery click the link below.
Better yet it would been nice if Deacon could post our article about John Paul II and Medjugorje on his blog so we can get a balanced view.
“Pope John Paul II “Medjugorje – The Spiritual Heart of the World”



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Diane Korzeniewski

posted April 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm


The document on vocations of the seers for me has more to do with the inconsistencies in their own testmionies over the years, as well as with the apparent manipulation as is visible with Jakov who was just a young teen at the time that Barbaric was pressuring him. I find the behavior of Barbaric saddening. Jakov seems to change with the disposition of Barbaric, who at one point even questioned whether the boy was actually seeing anything at all.
If this is an example of the content which the Bishop of Mostar has posted on the Diocesean website, then it is no wonder the CDF has scrapped his investigations and excluded him from the present commission. Meanspirited garbage … and shame on Richard Chonak for reposting …
Firstly, Richard is merely providing in English a document found in diocesan records.
1) The CDF did not scrap the investigations by the bishop and diocesan commission, but is picking up where the former Yugoslav bishop’s conference left off in 1991. They were intending to reconvene, but war broke out in 1992. In fact, the official language in use at the commission is likely Italian. There have been many documents released by the diocese only in Croatian and Italian in the months leading up to the commission. How did Bishop Peric know to do this?
2) The commission was not formed to “take it from the hands” of the BiH Bishops Conference or the local bishop. Unless we are prepared to make the assumption that Fr. Lombardi was lying to the world on March 17, 2010, then we should take the Vatican spokesman at his word, that it was elevated at the reuest of the BiH Bishop’s Conference. From CNA:
The Vatican spokesman reviewed the history of investigations into the possible Marian apparitions of Medjugorje, noting that they began on a diocesan level. When it was seen that the “phenomenon was broader than the diocese,” it was passed on to the episcopal conference of the former Yugoslavia, which, he noted, no longer exists.
The commissions at those levels never came to a conclusion on the question of whether or not the alleged apparitions are supernatural, so the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina have asked the CDF to take over investigations, the Vatican spokesman explained.

The Bishop of Mostar has been practically begging the Holy See to take on the case.
Let’s use facts as presented by competent authorities when discussing how the case was transitioned.
What Fr. Lombardi said was consistent with the 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions which says:
1. a) The intervention of the Sacred Congregation can be agreed to be necessary either by the Ordinary, after he has fulfilled the obligations falling to him, or by a qualified group of the faithful. In this second case, vigilance is necessary so that the recourse to the Sacred Congregation is not motivated by suspect reasons (for example to force, in one way one or another, the Ordinary to modify his legitimate decisions, or to confirm the sectarian drift of a group, etc.)
b) It belongs to the Sacred Congregation to intervene of its own accord in serious cases, in particular when the event affects a broad portion of the Church; but the Ordinary will always be consulted, as well as the episcopal Conference, if the situation requires it.
2. It belongs to the Sacred Congregation to discern and approve the way of acting of the Ordinary, or, if it proves to be necessary, to carry out a new examination of the facts distinct from that which the Ordinary carried out; this new examination of the facts will be done either by the Sacred Congregation itself, or by a commission especially established for this purpose.

We don’t have to “guess” at which one of the provisions was enacted here because Fr. Lombardi tells us two things:
1) It was requested by the BiH Bishops
2) It affects a broad portion of the Church.
If there are some secret motives not mentioned by Fr. Lombardi which are not in harmony with what he said publicly, then he spoke an untruth. I’m not going there and I hope others won’t either.



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Diane Korzeniewski

posted April 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm


I should mention that those interested in this topic might want to hear the audio of the interview by Al Kresta. He had on as guests on the 15th, Patrick Madrid (skeptic) and Fr. Neil Buchlein (visited Medjugorje 17 times since 2003).



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Diane Korzeniewski

posted April 17, 2010 at 12:54 pm

MarkC

posted April 20, 2010 at 9:53 am


Nice spin Diane. However, there is no evidence the Bishop ever “begged” the CDF to take away the investigation. In fact, he (and his predecessor) have been trying to railroad the investigation to a negative verdict for 30 years.
In fact, in 2006, when Cardinal Puljic of Sarajevo announced that the Bosnian Bishop’s Conference would form a new Commission he was asked directly if the new Commission was the idea of the CDF or the Bishop’s Conference, he responded, “I would rather not answer that question.”
The Cardinal’s reluctance to respond demonstrated pretty clearly that
If the Bosnian Bishop’s (including the Bishop of Mostar) had requested the commission, the Cardinal could have openly indicated this, without any loss of face. His reluctance to respond, on the other hand, pretty clearly indicated the Commission was initated by Rome and not Mostar. Of course, I don’t expect you to agree or be blogging about that exchange anytime soon…



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MarkC

posted April 20, 2010 at 10:00 am


Sorry I mangled that last post. Here’s a cleaner version:
Nice spin Diane. However, there is no evidence the Bishop ever “begged” the CDF to take away the investigation. In fact, he (and his predecessor) have been trying to railroad the investigation to a negative verdict for 30 years.
In 2006, when Cardinal Puljic of Sarajevo announced that the Bosnian Bishop’s Conference would form a new Commission he was asked directly if the new Commission was the idea of the CDF or the Bishop’s Conference, he responded, “I would rather not answer that question.”
http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0604177.htm
If the Bosnian Bishop’s (including the Bishop of Mostar) had requested the commission, the Cardinal could have openly indicated this, without any loss of face. His reluctance to respond, on the other hand, pretty clearly indicated the Commission was initated by Rome and not Mostar. Of course, I don’t expect you to agree or be blogging about that exchange anytime soon…



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Diane Korzeniewski

posted April 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm


@Marc C
1) You cite a 2006 document in which Cardinal Puljic said he would rather not divulge the answer to the question of whether it was initiated by the Holy See or the Bishops’s Conference. Yet, you completely disregard the words of Fr. Federico Lombardi on March 17, 2010 as reported by many news agencies, including the link I provided by CNA. Please allow me to quote it a third time in this thread.
The commissions at those levels never came to a conclusion on the question of whether or not the alleged apparitions are supernatural, so the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina have asked the CDF to take over investigations, the Vatican spokesman explained
If you don’t like CNA, then here is a quote picked up by Associated Press (@Fox News):
The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican decided to launch the investigation based on a request from Bosnian bishops.
I would say it is pretty safe now to cease using the 2006 statement by Cardinal Puljic now that the Holy See has told us how the new commission has come about. The 2006 statement has been superceded, so to speak, by the March 17, 2010 statement by Fr. Lombardi.
Did Bishop Peric want the Holy See to take on the case?
2) Bishop Peric stated the following on October 2, 1997 (Prot. 1267/97):
5) Nevertheless I am open to a study that the Holy See would undertake, as the supreme court of the Catholic Church, to speak the supreme and definitive judgment on the case, and that as soon as possible, for the good of souls and for the honor of the Church and of Our Lady.
Unfortunately, it took 13 years for that to happen.
See more about this communicated cited in my post: What did Archbishop Bertone really say about Bishop Peric?



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MarkC

posted April 21, 2010 at 9:36 am


@Diane
Fr. Lombardi was not asked WHO initiated the removal of the investigation from the local bishop to the Regional Conference. He was simply speaking in Vatican diploma-speak and generalizing about the historical fact. If he had been asked that precise question, I doubt if he would have known – or been willing to say. The CDF has ALWAYS allowed Bishop Peric is save face.
Cardinal Puljic WAS asked that specific question – and it is clear he knew the answer – but he declined to say. For him to state publicly that the CDF directed the investigation away from Bishop Peric would have been a huge loss to Bishop Peric. So, Fr. Lombardi’s statement does not SUPERCEDE Cardinal Puljic’s statement as you claim (I think SPIN is a better word). It is simply a different statement from a diffent man with a different job and in possession of a smaller set of facts.



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Diane at Te Deum

posted April 21, 2010 at 11:14 am


MarkC says: Fr. Lombardi was not asked WHO initiated the removal of the investigation from the local bishop to the Regional Conference. He was simply speaking in Vatican diploma-speak and generalizing about the historical fact.
“Vatican diploma-speak”???
“…generalizing about the historical fact”?
No. It’s an objective fact. The Vatican spokesman told the press, “the Vatican decided to launch the investigation based on a request from Bosnian bishops” (ref the AP source above).
While you may not want to accept this, please consider the implications of what you are suggesting about Fr. Lombardi and his truthfulness.
I think the issue here is, as it is true of anything that pertains to Medjugorje. Take an objective fact, convince yourself that there is a “wink” that goes along with the statement, which is somehow in support of Medjugorje, or against the bishop.
Since you are having difficulty accepting such a fundamentally objective statement out of the Vatican spokesman, I’ll leave it to others to debate you further in this thread, if they choose.



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Richard Chonak

posted April 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm


Thanks for linking to the article, Deacon Greg.
While the lack of religious vocations among the visionaries isn’t an earth-shaking issue, I presented the article as background material, for the sake of the incidental details it contains.
Some of the facts reported – about the quarrelsome relationships of the principal personages, about inconsistent statements, about oddities such as the apparitions of Ivan – are puzzling and sometimes challenging to the apparition claims. Moreover, the information comes documented from written sources, so it’s not mere hearsay.
About the question Diane and MarkC are having above: if Medjugorje devotees want to believe that the Vatican’s intervention or the bishops conference intervention were some sort of knock against Bishop Peric, let them. In any case, the bishop’s been calling for Vatican intervention for years, so I expect he’s happy to see the new commission.
I think that leaving him out of the membership is only sensible: Bp. Peric has stated his “firm conviction” on the matter, so it would create an appearance of prejudice if he were on an investigative panel.
The outcome of the process cannot be a definitive approval for the ongoing phenomenon, so it seems that supporters have nothing to gain from the investigation. I hope they will start to consider the possible negative outcomes.
What I’d like to see, personally, is some negative judgment on the authenticity question (either “non constat” or “constat de non”), with clear directives to stop promotional activities. In particular, the foreign clergy should be made to butt out totally. If the diocese of Mostar judges that priests are needed to provide pastoral care for visitors, let the diocese arrange that and choose the priests providing it. The existing directives from the Bishops’ Conference state that Bp. Peric has the authority to supervise such pastoral care. Overseas, the visionaries’ speaking events should not be held in churches or attended by clergy.
Ideally, I think to resolve the situation more fully, the Franciscan friars should surrender the care of the parish to the diocese, and in compensation for that, they should be entrusted with some other parish to administer.



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MarkC

posted April 22, 2010 at 9:53 am


While they are at it – I’d like to see them ban all those tacky plastic statues and syrupy holy cards you see at major shrines and bookstores. Also, any humor involving biblical personages should definitely be out. Also – what about all these websites and blogs which appropriate for themselves the name “Catholic” but have no official backing or qualifications to do so. What’s up with that?!



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