A review of Medjugorje Revisited by Lauri Duffy in the Irish Catholic (1 September 2011)
Donal Foley's expertise in the field of private revelations has been recognised in his scholarly work Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, published in 2002. Five years ago, he tackled the controversial subject of Medjugorje in his book Understanding Medjugorje. His new book, Medjugorje Revisited is an update of his original investigative work.
Based on his investigations he raises serious questions about the credibility of the visionaries. He is particularly hard on Vicka Ivanovic, the eldest of them. She is one of three, of the original six, who maintain that they have an apparition every day no matter what part of the world they happen to be.
As an example of what he refers to as the ''mania'' which has developed around these daily ''apparitions'', he refers to Vicka's visit to Dublin earlier this year.
He quotes the Irish Examiner describing the scene in the Shelbourne Hall of RDS on February 18 last as a swing between that of ''a pious religious service and a pop concert''.
In the course of Vicka's address to the large audience, she paused, knelt down, and claimed to be having a 10-minute conversation with ''Our Lady''. This, Foley finds unreal.
He challenges the stand taken on the authenticity of the 'apparitions' by a number of well-known theologians who have published pro-Medjugorje books. These theologians include one of our own, the late Fr Michael O'Carroll CSSP, a world renowned Mariologist.
He feels that Fr O'Carroll and others like him have ignored the normal critical approach they should be applying in examining reported apparitions that have not yet received Church approval. He criticises their excessive enthusiasm in trying to prove that it is the Virgin Mary who is appearing.
In general, Foley backs the stand being taken by Msgr Peric, the present bishop of the diocese in which Medjugorje is located. Bishop Peric, like his predecessor, Bishop Zanic, who was bishop at the time the apparitions began in 1981, is highly critical of the visionaries, their messages, and the number of 'apparitions'.
Foley reminds his readers that the views of Bishop Peric were spelt out in a talk he gave in Maywood on February 17, 2004. On that occasion, he was clearly very cynical about the total number of apparitions which, by February 2004, had reached 33,000. This figure would now be over 40,000. In Maynooth, he rejected ''the messages ascribed to the Madonna'' as being ''complete inventions''.
Foley deals in detail with some of the messages and concludes that because of their content, they could not possibly be from Our Lady. He makes the point that the messages, given in the course of thousands of apparitions over 30 years, are still less comprehensive than the messages of Our Lady given in Fatima in the course of six apparitions in 1917.
This leads him on to one of his startling conclusions, that Medjugorje could be a devilish plot to turn attention away from the importance of the Fatima message.
While this may seem a bit strange to some (if not too extreme to others), it would not be unfair to say that in so far as Ireland is concerned, Medjugorje does appear to have turned attention away from Fatima.
On the RTÉ's Nationwide programme on June 24 last, marking the 30th anniversary of the first apparition in Medjugorje in 1981, it was stated that over one million Irish pilgrims have gone there over the past 30 years. In contrast, in the same period, only about 100,000 went to Fatima, a mere 10 per cent!
Donal Foley's overall conclusion is that Medjugorje has the hallmarks of a religious fraud.
If the high-powered commission of enquiry into Medjugorje authorised last year by Pope Benedict approves the apparitions as authentic, Donal Foley will be greatly embarrassed.
However, knowing him and his respect for the authority of the Church, I think he will have no difficulty in accepting their conclusions.
He will undoubtedly welcome a final authoritative answer to a situation that over the past 30 years has brought into conflict senior Church prelates, learned theologians, as well as priests and laity who are united in their love for our Blessed Mother, but are also seriously divided on this difficult issue.
This review can also be seen at:
To order the book, please click here
Medjugorje Revisited is Demy Octavo size (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.). It has 25 chapters, 371 pages, and a comprehensive index.
It costs £13.95 / $21.95 / €15.95 (= $24.95 including shipping if ordered via 2Checkout.com order page)
Extracts from the proposed book in PDF format, including the table of contents, introduction, sample chapters and the bibliography, can be seen here ...
To order the book please click here
Theotokos Catholic Books - Theotokos Books Section - www.theotokos.org.uk