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 140 à 144.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
Daria Klanac : I stand in awe of the wisdom displayed by the Roman Church which carefully follows all that takes place in Medjugorje—that which is good, as well as that which is less than good. Why, then, is there such an insufficiency of love and so much animosity against the apparitions—often on the part of members of the Magisterium?
Arnaud Dumouch : All of this (the conflicts) is inter-related, in fact, even when it comes from God. Namely, here on Earth, which is our first step in Purgatory, the battle is necessary since it is meant to forges the heart in humility that is aimed toward our goal of eternal life (John 15:20): “Remember the word that I have spoken to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also.’”
D. Klanac : Saint John of the Cross views apparitions as being dangerous temptations. Some theologians are of the mind that there is no room for them in theology.
A. Dumouch : Saint John of the Cross does not criticize apparitions; rather, he criticizes the psychological trepidation and excessive link between those who run after apparitions. That is harmful to one’s internal life since the soul tends more to the emotional than to a true internal link with God.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, on his part, demonstrates how apparitions prove to be beneficial for a specific level of spiritual life, especially for a beginner—when the soul requires more sensory signs. It is essential that one not remain at that level, but that he make use of that to enter into a deeper prayer life.
If this is what is happening in the spiritual life of the visionaries of Medjugorje, then that will be a good sign. Still, caution! In the event of true apparitions, such internalization happens in quite an ordinary manner and in no way conflicts with to the apparitions. If this were the case as in Heaven, the fact that we constantly see the Heavenly bodies of others would prove to be harmful, but, this is not the case.
D. Klanac : In the meantime, Cardinal Ratzinger, our present Pope, is of the mind that nothing prevents God from speaking to us in our time: “Revelation which is singular, complete, and unchangeable, is not dead; rather it is truly alive and life-giving,” (A report on the Faith). How are we to link all these various opinions?
A. Dumouch : Apparitions and their messages cannot impart anything new to the content of Revelation as was given to us in Sacred Scriptures as well as by Tradition passed on to us by the Apostles. Nonetheless, apparitions are very important for many reasons:
1. As concerns Faith: Faith, at any given time, makes possible the explanation and expression of some thus far undetected content found in Revelation. This was the case as regards the Sacred Heart at the time of Margarette-Marie, or as in the concept of ”mercy” in the visions of Saint Faustina.
2. As concerns Hope: Through apparitions, God can warn man of actions that He intends to take for sake of the salvation of men. An, in that sense, apparitions truly offer us something new. It would be very incautious to disregard them. To do so would be to disregard one form of Divine authority that leads the Church and the world to the day of Christ’s glorious return, as, for example: from the gifting to us of the Miraculous Medal (1830), we came to know that we were about to enter into a new epoch—one of easy preparation for the coming of the moment of the Church.
Let us summarize: this is the true behavior we should have towards apparitions:
1. Not to bind ourselves to their miraculous and emotional nature (Saint John of the Cross).
2. To the contrary, to be quite attuned to that which God has to concretely say through such apparitions, or what He intends to teach us in connection to some specific content in Revelation or about His authority over us. (Saint Thomas Aquinas).
D. Klanac : On his own part, the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, fiercely reacted to the accusatory words of the late Bishop of Mostar, Msgr. Pavao Žanić, following the publication of the document titled: “The Present Unofficial Stand of the Bishop’s Chancery in Mostar as Regards the Events in Medjugorje,” dated the 30th of October, 1984.” Both, one and the other are deceased. Is this not in some way telling?
A. Dumouch : Cardinal and theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, had ties with the mystic, Adriana von Speyr. This association was fruitful; however, at times, it was the occasion for opposite points of view and even teachings that stood in conflict with certain dogmas of our Faith. In other words, that which this noted theologian has to say—be it positive or negative—as regards a given apparition, continues to be no more than his own personal opinion, and only concerns his own personal convictions. Sooner or later, the assessment of the Church will be rendered. That decision will be canonically based on three essential standards: 1) consonance with the content of Faith; 2) the spiritual fruits; and 3) miracles. This, of course, does not include the dozens of secondary criteria that will be used.
D. Klanac : Some Bishops and priest as well as persons close to Pope John Paul II, transmitted some very nice words in connection to Medjugorje. Meanwhile, Msgr. Ratko Perić, often makes use of the response Cardinal Ratzinger made in 1998, to a German journalist who asked him: What value should be attached to the alleged words of John Paul II, namely, I can only say that the reports attributed to the Holy Father and to me are pure figments of the imagination.”
A. Dumouch : It would be good if the priests close to John Paul II, agree to confirm what they heard him say, provided that the attribution appears under their name. However, beyond that, it is important to note that they heard the private thinking of the man, Karol Woytyla, and not the public or canonical thinking of Pope John Paul II. It seems to me that the words of Cardinal Ratzinger refer to the distinction between “private opinions” vs. “the thinking of the Magisterium.” Therefore, it is also clear to me that John Paul II, as a private person, was also convinced in the truth of Medjugorje.
D. Klanac : It is true that certain bishops expressed, in writing, hearing the words of John Paul II, about Medjugorje spoken in their presence. I am acquainted with serious and responsible church authorities who are not afraid to publicly express their mind in favor of Medjugorje. Even though the views about Medjugorje are not of the same mind, still, certain negative attitudes continue to be a mystery for me, especially the attitude of the Mostar Chancery. How do you view those tensions which were created by announcements that oftentimes show a lack of love and mercy?
A. Dumouch : So as to avoid having those pronouncements disturb us, it is sufficient to remember that they only reflect the private thinking of the Bishop of Mostar—which only binds him inasmuch as the matter no longer is within his canonical jurisdiction. His private thoughts on matters are identical to the private thoughts of all Bishops and priests who come to Medjugorje. They do not have any greater value as relates the final decision than do the private thoughts of Karol Woytyla.
Publishing the truth about the value of authority, and also taking into account the value of the imprimatur given to the book by Joachim Bouflet, for example, we thereby place the discussion in its proper context: we are all in the process of questioning, and we must respect the approach of others.
To the contrary, I find with Joachim Bouflet (a French historian, and opponent of Medjugorje) the very real practice of disinformation, or, at the very least, uncertainty. Without out a doubt, this must be attributed to an insufficiency of logic in his methodology. I would sooner say that he contemplates the matter through subjective concepts and intermixes them so as to arrive at a subjective explanation of facts.
D. Klanac : What is your opinion as to the pronouncements by the Bishops’ Conference of the Former Yugoslavia, issued in 1991, and that is still in force?
A. Dumouch : According to the Roman Rota, that text places the matter of Medjugorje “on hold,” that is, it allows itself time before it issues its pronouncement. The supernatural nature has not been confirmed. This will or will not be done at some point in time. In reality, church authorities want more time to contemplate the matter.
While awaiting such a pronouncement, pilgrimages have been approved under the condition that one does not say to the faithful that Medjugorje has been recognized (or forbidden) on the part of the Church.
In short, Medjugorje is neither condemned nor recognized. This is a very cautious approach. It is best that we wait for Heaven to clearly show its Will, not only through some miracles, but in some magnificent manner as—it would seem—was announced by the visionaries.
23. Medjugorje ou la fabrication du surnaturel (Editions Salvatore, Paris, 1999), wherein he expresses highly negative thoughts about Medjugorje. [↩]