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), chapitre i, pages 13 à 17.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
David took his staff in hand,
and in the stream he chose
five smooth stones
and placed them in his shepherd’s bag,
that served as his bag for his sling,
and, with sling in hand
walked towards the Philistine.
(First book of Samuel, 17:40)
I first heard people speak of the events in Medjugorje in June of 1981. In the meantime, my first visit was in August of 1984. Through the years, I was interested in the phenomenon of Medjugorje and, as a result, I undertook to carry out several investigations in connection with the events that occurred there. By birth, I am from Croatia and, as a result, I have the advantage of speaking Croatian. I also think that I have the advantage of not having been born in the region where the apparitions took place; hence, I am freed of emotional ties that might influence me in offering an explanation of the events. The fact that I live in a distant country, in Montréal, Canada, and am distanced from the site, I am able to better preserve a critical posture.
From 1981 forward, Medjugorje was the subject of much study— scientific as well as religious, and in equal measure. Many works for and against have seen the light of day. Is God acting there through Mary, or is it the Devil dressed as the Gospa? Observations are piling up. It is difficult to remain indifferent. In the meantime, the spirit of the message that comes from Medjugorje resists criticism. It is spreding and encompasses the entire world. Through Mary, hearts turn towards God in prayer, the sacraments, renewed interest in the Bible—all fruits that the Church would wish to see in every Christian community.
What is at work is a genuine and authentic Eucharistic renewal under the guidance of Mary.
Through the past twenty-four years, I have organized more than ninety pilgrimages with thousands of pilgrims, and carried out my investigations in the place itself, thanks to my mother-tongue, Croatian. Thereby, I came to experience faith, not at its edges, but in the very heart of the Church.
The list of books about Medjugorje is impressive indeed, and they were written by both its supporters as well as its opponents.
One of the first authors to come to know Medjugorje and who acquainted France, the francophone lands, and the world was Rev. René Laurentin. As a journalist, a theologian, and a Mariologist, he came to Medjugorje on a regular basis so as to be informed and to make notations. Despite the criticism he was exposed to, the fruit of his work is comprehensive, detailed, and of immense value as regards the chronology of Medjugorje.
Systematic on-site medical examinations of the visionaries were done, along with others, by the team of Professor Henri Joyeux of the University of Montpellier in France. The results were published and are accessible to all.
Following these exams, opponents appeared—many of whom never bothered to come to the site itself. Nonetheless, inasmuch as they were against Medjugorje, they succeeded in imposing their authority, even though their methods were deficient.
My investigations, in the main, relate to the very first days of the apparitions. I first engaged in casually reading the works of Ivo Sivrić, and then proceeded to read the more detatailed works of the historian Joakim Boufflet. Their studies as written are filled with animosity and also contain many false interpretations, as I have pointed out in my previous works.
I hesitated to publish my analysis of the highly politicized work of the anthropologist Elisabeth Claverie because I did not want to lose myself in the muddy waters of her confused writing which seems to be inherent in this instance. Her account of the history of the societal, political, and religious life in Bosnia and Herzegovina reveals great deficiencies that I cannot address in this work. I will place my observations about her investigation in the Medjugorje archive. Camus remarked that to “give voice to second-rate things is to increase misfortune in the world.” In Elisabeth Claverie’s book: Les Guerres de la Vierge [Wars of the Gospa], there is an insufficiency of “conscience towards words” that pains one and does not inspire a culture of Peace.
Fortified with the desire for Truth—which in our day is too often made relative, I made available in my book Aux Sources de Medjugorje (French Edition) [At the sources of Medjugorje], available, both in Croatian and French, my transcription of the first set of inquiries put to the visionaries along with the original audio cassettes that I managed to obtain and preserve.
The insistent and widespread negative thinking about Medjugorje moved me to re-invesitgate the content of those archives since they are a valuable source of documentation. This made it possible for me to publish my second book: Medjugorje : réponses aux objections (French Edition) [Medjugorje, a response to objections].
Books that are both favorable and unfavorable towards Medjugorje moved me to preserver in my investigations. Some of the authors who are favorably disposed towards Medjugorje could have sharpened their critical view and could have shown more discipline as to its history. Still others, who, a priori considered the apparitions to be a false manifestation, persisted in their deficient objectivity and engaged in discussions that do not contribute to rational judgments. Meanwhile, errors crept into the chronology of the events on both sides of the debate.
Inasmuch as I was authorized to investigate the matter on site, my priority was not to write so as to defend Medjugorje at all costs; rather, my intent was to reveal the Truth. I devoted several years of work on the synoptic document that makes it possible to simultaneously read the Croatian re-transcription of the original inquiries, that is, the Croatian version, and the translation by Ivo Sivirić, and my own translation.
Medjugorje still has spiritual treasures that are yet to be discovered, and this can take many years to do so. As far as I am personally concerned, I do not wish to instigate any sort of polemics. In the meantime, every open and honest study is able to be of service to the matter of Medjugorje. Sad to say, there are authors who are not aware of how far their passion for something can lead. In the instance of Medjugorje, they, without any sort of hesitation, spread calumnies and fail to take into account the great deal of harm that such gossip provokes!
The rule that governs passing judgement on the matter as issued by the Congregation for the Faith was clearly expressed in the article published in the March 18, 1991, edition of the Glas Koncila, [Voice of the Council], a weekly for the Church in Croatia: “Therefore, who ever delves into the private lives of the visionaries and other supporters of the shrine, who ever investigates and spreads far and wide their real or imagined weaknesses so as to demonstrate the falsity of the apparitions, obviously does not know the method or practice of the Church, and, most certainly, does not fear God who forbids not only calumny, but gossip as well. To publish someone’s sins, real or simply imagined, is a sin of calumny that can be a mortal sin.”
4. Laurentin, René et Joyeux, Henri, Études médicales et scientifiques sur les apparitions de Medjugorje, Éditions O.E.I.L., Paris, 1985. [↩]
5. La face cachée de Medjugorje, Éditions Psilog, Saint-François-du-Lac, 1988. [↩]
6. Medjugorje ou la fabrication du surnaturel, Éditions Salvator, Paris, 1999 — Ces dix jours qui ont fait Medj’, Éditions CLD, Tours, 2007. [↩]
7. Les guerres de la Vierge, NRF Essais, Éditions Gallimard, Paris, 2003. [↩]
8. Editions Sciences et Culture, Montréal, 2014, 3e éd. (1re éd. 1998, ISBN 2-89092-240-5). [↩]
9. Editions Le Sarment, Paris, 2012, 2e éd. (1re éd. 2001, ISBN 2-866-79322-6). [↩]