Comprehending Medjugorje : Original Documents And Conversations with Arnaud Dumouch
Reference (French Edition) :
Daria Klanac, Comprendre Medjugorje : Regard historique et théologique, avec la collaboration du théologien Arnaud Dumouch, Informativni centar Mir, Medjugorje, en coédition avec les Éditions Sakramento, Paris, 2012, 2e éd. (1re éd. 2008, ISBN 978-2-915380-19-4 & 978-9958-36017-6), entretien avec le théologien Arnaud Dumouch, pages 155 à 161.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
Daria Klanac : The Parish of Medjugorje has significant documentation as to cures (475 reported cases). Testimonials are numerous, and some of them have been published in the Glasnik Mira [The Messenger of Peace]. In the meanwhile, it is said that the greatest miracles of Medjugorje are the conversions of heart. Which of these would be seen to be more important or have greater weight as regards the final evaluation?
Arnaud Dumouch : Conversions fall under another category of measure (spiritual fruits). They are, therefore, essential standards of measure. However, in and of themselves, they are not sufficient: the wind of the Spirit blows where it will.
For that reason, the third standard of measure (miracles) is, without a doubt, the key to passing judgement: if in Medjugorje you find one or two irrefutable miracles (organs that regenerate; a tumor that disappears instantaneously; a paraplegic whose spinal column is severed, suddenly walks, etc), that would mean that the finger of God is present.
Remember Jesus: He is in battle. People say, as they do about Medjugorje, that He comes from the Devil and that He heals with his help inasmuch as he precipitates division and speaks in obscure sentences and then proceeds to raise Lazarus. From that day forward there can no longer be any doubt since the miracle was witnessed by members of the High Priesthood.
D. Klanac : You say that the standard of measure for miracles is the determining factor in evaluating the apparitions. Jesus worked miracles, yet, all did not believe. He was condemned.
A. Dumouch : That is accurate. However, in this instance, those who judged Him do not have justification since they did so consciously. This points to the evangelical text: after the resurrection of Lazarus that was seen by many from the Temple, the High Priests meet in counsel, and decided to put Jesus to death. However, the following also served as a deciding factor: (John 12:10), “But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also whom He had raised from the dead, for because of him, many Jews began to leave them and to believe in Jesus.” It is clear that they wish to put Jesus to death as well as Lazarus, but, according to their own theology, they know that Jesus comes from God. This is why Jesus, according to their thinking, says: “sins against the Holy Spirit,” that is, concretely, in this instance, we are dealing with the rejection of faith despite its being obvious.
The Church, therefore, through its laws, seeks miracles that would reveal the presence of the finger of God. If miracles exist, if they are not ordinary cases of the paranormal, the Church then recognizes the Divine origin of that manifestation.
D. Klanac : Here are a few examples of miracles in Medjugorje—all of them documented: Danijel Šetka, a two and one-half year old child, was paralyzed on his left side. He does not walk or speak, and appears to be half-dead. His parents brought him and presented him on the occasssion of an apparition in June, 1981. They implored the Gospa to heal him. Through the visionaries, the Virgin told the parents to pray and to have hope. The child got well. Today, Danijel is almost thirty years old and lives in Germany, but regularly comes to Medjugorje to thank the Gospa for his healing. He does admit that he still has some small difficulties with his right hand.
A. Dumouch : That can be a miracle. One must first seek confirmation from his prior medical diagnosis. If that child suffered from a real physiological and incurable condition, and if he was healed completely, and to the great surprise of the doctors who hold that to be impossible in a natural manner, then it is a real miracle. Documentation from his physicians is necessary so as to verify whether or not Danijel suffered from an ordinary set of difficulties that managed to abate as he grew older.
D. Klanac : The former Croatian Minister of Education, Mrs. Vokić, gave birth to triplets in 1982. One of the children died. A little girl and a boy were spared. Little Berislav is unable to so much as turn in his bed, lost his immunity, and suffers from chronic bronchitis. His mother made a vow to the Virgin of Medjugorje. In June of 1983, she took Berislav to Medjugorje and prayed to the Virgin in the Church. Her child is a student in Zagreb today and is firmly convinced that the Gospa healed him.
A. Dumouch : The very same thing: one must first verify the medical documentation and physician’s diagnosis. The disease must be recognized by medicine and seen to be serious. Its cure must be unexpected and associated with prayer to the Gospa of Medjugorje.
D. Klanac : Since 1972, Diana Basile suffered from multiple sclerosis. On the 23rd of May, 1984, while in her wheelchair, she was present at an apparition in Medjugorje. She was healed in an instant. The very next day, she walked twelve miles from her hotel to the mount of apparition so as to thank the Virgin.
A. Dumouch : This is a typical and clear case of a miracle:
1. We have a clear diagnosis (multiple sclerosis) of an incurable degenerative disease.
2. Diana is in Medjugorje.
3. She was instantaneously healed.
If the necessary medical documentation of her doctors exists, we then have a most certain case of a miracle, and it is sufficient to demonstrate the power of God in Medjugorje.
D. Klanac : Colleen Willards suffers from a tumor on the brain. She endures terrible pain. She wishes to go to Medjugorje to experience Mary’s presence in that place, and not for the purpose of being healed. Following an encounter with one of the visionaries, she went to the Church. During the Eucharistic liturgy, she heard a voice: “My daughter, give yourself over entirely to God the Father!” She responded: “Yes! I yield myself to Him.” At that moment, she felt a tingling in her legs and rose from her seat. She returned to the United States completely healed.
A. Dumouch : The same conclusion applies: here is a case of a typical and clear miracle. However, the following must be verified:
1. Do x-rays or magnetic resonance images exist of her tumor prior to her healing?
2. It would seem that the tumor disappeared in an instance inasmuch as Colleen immediately rose from her seat.
3. If this is indeed the case, then one cannot be dealing with some sort of psychological or satanic manifestation.
D. Klanac : As you see it, which of the above are to be seen as being real miracles?
A. Dumouch : The last two miracles, it would seem would be the easiest to verify. According to the criteria used in Lourdes, they would certainly not be recognized since the person should not have received any sort of medical treatment. Meanwhile, the diocesan criteria in Lourdes are exaggerated, in fact, even in the thinking of the present Bishop in Lourdes. They will soon be altered and made to be more rational.
According to the canonical criteria used for beatification (canonization) of saints, these last two miracles would be acceptable upon verification. A miracle of that sort (the healing of a religious sister who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease) was accepted in the cause for beatification of John Paul II.
D. Klanac : You say: “According to the criteria of Lourdes, they would not be recognized inasmuch as a person is not supposed to receive any sort of treatment by a physician.” What miracles, then, are recognized in Lourdes inasmuch as all those who are sick are treated before being healed? Does the miracle not take place when the physician is no longer able to do anything more for the patient, and yet, the patient miraculously is healed?
A. Dumouch : That in fact is the problem and the reason why so few miracles are recognized in Lourdes (less than 50) over the past 150 years. Generally speaking, only those in the terminal stages of their illness (when treatment is stopped and palliative care only is offered, as, for example, in the case of Yvonne Fretel and her cancer in its final stages). Or, as in the case of an incurable disease for which medicine has no cure (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, AIDS, etc.).
These criteria are too strict. As an example: let us imagine a person who is sick from metastasized cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. The person goes to Lourdes and is suddenly cured. The cancer disappears as though struck by lightning. That miracle would not be recognized by Lourdes since the patient was under the care of a physician. This criterion, then, is exaggerated since chemotherapy does not remove tumors as though “struck by lightning.”
D. Klanac : Of the miracles that I read about or heard witness to in Medjugorje, the finger of God can be recognized as being present. The Parish carefully guards all documentations of such cases and knows it must wait. Father Pervan from Medjugorje informs me that they never stressed miracles in Fatima as they seem to do in Lourdes.
A. Dumouch : Miracles are only necessary in order for apparitions to gain canonical approval. If there were no miracles, then there also would be no Church approval. Namely, the two remaining criteria (consistency with Dogma, and spiritual fruits) can, with God’s aid, on the part of a devout person and one who is theologically informed be perfectly achieved even without an apparition.
It sometimes happens that a given apparition, even though credible, is not accompanied by miracles. In such a case, such a miracle would not be canonically recognized. God uses this sort of thing as a sort of parable of that which will be experienced by the Church during the time of the Antichrist when it will seem God has abandoned her.
D. Klanac : People in Medjugorje claim to have seen something similar to that which occurred in Fatima, namely, the Dance of the Sun. Still others say that they saw the silhouette of the Virgin beneath the Cross on Mount Križevac. During the first days of the apparitions, people who were healthy of mind said they saw the word “Mir” [Peace] written in the sky. What do you think of all these manifestations?
A. Dumouch : If such visible signs were seen only by a small group of faithful, or, perhaps, only by individual persons, the Church cannot accept those signs as being credible or as a standard of measure for recognition of the apparitions in Medjugorje. The Church will hold them to be a case of auto-suggestion inasmuch as they concern the faithful or individual persons.
In fact, such signs do not represent a magnificent, unquestionable, or mystifying sign meant for mankind. In this instance, the difference in the sign of the Sun in Fatima lies in the fact that at Fatima, some fifty thousand people saw the saw—some of whom came so as to be entertained. Yet, a good number of non-believers came to convert their lives at that moment.
To the contrary, if, one day, Medjugorje is recognized on the basis of the miracles you cited, or some great sign as was announced by the Virgin, then theologians will come to study those small signs from the past and will find in them a rich source of meaning.
In particular, the word “Peace” which appeared in a land that will come to experience a war and which gave impetus for people to think of peace—not according to the spirit of the world but according to the Spirit of God. They will compare that with the apparitions in Kibeh in Rwanda that also preceded a war—in fact, a genocide.