Response to Daniel Klimek review of Medjugorje Revisited

 

In a further attack on my position on Medjugorje, Daniel Klimek has posted a review of my updated book, Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? This can be seen at: http://ministryvalues.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1479&Itemid=214

 

He begins by highlighting a quote from Mary Craig which I included in the book, accusing me of ignoring further evidence. This is the quote: “They were very different in temperament, social background and mental capacity-their intelligence ranging from slightly above to way below average.”

 

What Klimek fails to mention is that this quote came at the end of the following information (p. 26):

 

If we look at the visionaries as individuals, and likewise at their general backgrounds, we can better understand the milieu in which the visions arose. It certainly seems fair to describe their family life as less than ideal: for example, Vicka Ivankovic’s father was an overseas worker, while her mother may have suffered from depression; in addition, Ivanka Ivankovic’s mother had just died, and according to Fr Sivric, another, Mirjana Dragicevic, may well have had emotional problems.

 

This general point is backed up in an interview, which took place on 27 February 1983, between Marinko Ivankovic, a “father figure” to the visionaries, and Fr Svetozar Kraljevic, the author of The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje. Marinko, the next-door neighbor of both Marija and Vicka in Bijakovici, was asked by the priest why he had involved himself with them, given that he was nearly forty, and a grown man with a family of his own. He responded to this by saying:

 

the children have sometimes found themselves in difficult circumstances, especially Ivanka. She was the first in the group who saw the light and the Madonna. Her mother was dead and her father was in Germany. Practically, too, Jakov does not have a father; he lives in Bosnia but rarely visits here. Then Mirjana’s family lives in Sarajevo. In one way or another, the children did not have parental advice or

the protection of parents.”

 

So that is the context of the Craig quote, which was just included to indicate the intelligence levels of the visionaries. So, as before, it is Klimek who is doing the distorting and not me.

 

This is the next quote from Klimek: “Foley has become a writer infamous for distorting and misrepresenting other authors who have written about Medjugorje in order to paint a deliberately negative picture of the visionaries and events of Medjugorje - a picture that can fit in with Foley's own predetermined conclusions about the site while ignoring and withholding the overall evidence that challenges those conclusions, showing them to be without merit.

 

I don’t know what to say about this except that this statement is both defamatory and nonsensical. Klimek is just making assertions without any evidence to back them up. I have answered all the points he has made in his previous attacks – one or two things had to be changed, and some other points clarified, but his other allegations about the book are a total misrepresentation of the facts.

 

Klimek’s criticism also shows that he has not properly read or understood the arguments in the book, because if he had done so he would have realized that I have not placed undue emphasis on the idea of the visionaries entering self-induced ecstasies, since even the flawed medical experiments they underwent show that their “ecstasies” were, for the most part, indistinguishable from normal states of consciousness.

 

It is also clear in his discussion of the Dr Margnelli evidence that he has just not understood the relevant section in the updated version, which was clarified to take account of Klimek’s earlier criticism – not that anyone else raised any objections about it, but that for the sake of completeness, and so that I could not be accused of trying to distort things, it seemed worthwhile to clarify what I was saying. I actually put all the relevant clarified information on the internet before the updated version was published, and notified Klimek’s associate at Ministry Values, Steve Ryan, but neither of them had anything to say about it. This can be seen at:

 

http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/unapprov/medjugor/further-response-to-Klimek-Nolan.htm

 

Klimek has totally ignored the new evidence which shows that Margnelli’s views on Medjugorje are of little weight, especially in the light of some his rather strange ideas, which are highlighted here:

 

http://www.marcocorvaglia.com/medjugorje-en/medjugorje-scientists.html

 

In addition, Klimek ignores the evidence from Dr Francesco D’Alpa which shows up the severe deficiencies in the EEG tests done on the visionaries.

 

Klimek then says: “Plus, the visionaries have passed all polygraph tests they have been subjected to throughout the years, further indicating that they are not lying about their experiences and that deception-or "religious fraud," as Foley phrases it-cannot explain the phenomenon.”

 

Klimek is obviously unaware that it is now widely recognized that lie-detector (polygraph) tests are totally unreliable as regards determining whether or not people are telling the truth. So again, it’s not me who is twisting things, but Klimek.

 

Klimek then advances the simplistic argument that everyone was opposed to the visions continuing, i.e. the communist authorities, their parents, Fr Zovko etc, and that thus they were not under any pressure to continue claiming that they were experiencing visions.

 

In saying this he is ignoring all the evidence presented in the book concerning the “three more days” dialogue, in which it was revealed that the visions were supposed to end on Friday 3 July 1981, and yet they still continued after this date.

 

It is true that the visionaries were under some pressure from some quarters that the visions should end, but equally there is evidence that Fr Zovko, according to his own testimony (Medjugorje Revisited, pp. 78-79), had become a supporter of the visions as early as 1 July 1981.

 

The situation was very fluid and with thousands of people thronging Podbrdo in the early days, there was quite a counter-current of support for the visionaries, so Klimek’s argument doesn’t hold water.

 

So what does Klimek’s review amount to? He has picked out one or two points which are hardly central to the arguments of the book, while totally ignoring the mountain of evidence, including newly added evidence, which clearly shows the severe difficulties in accepting Medjugorje as genuine. He completely fails to mention the Medjugorje tapes, but I notice that he has dropped his insistence that I have used “discredited” authors, presumably because he now realizes that his argument is groundless.

 

I note too that despite being posted several days ago, Klimek’s critique has, at the time of writing, failed to gain a single relevant comment – perhaps a sign that even Medjugorje supporters are growing tired of his opinions. I’m afraid I don’t understand the motivation of people like Klimek, but the offensive tone adopted by both him and Ryan is disgraceful, and sadly, another of the bad fruits associated with Medjugorje.