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 131 à 136.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
Daria Klanac : The message of Medjugorje has been announced to the entire world. Can the local Bishop forbid the publication of the message?
Arnaud Dumouch : Hmm… he could do so. He has authority within his diocese. However, would that be a sensible act on his part? To do so would be counter-productive to an investigation of the Truth. The lives of the Saints reveal that such prohibitions did, in fact, exist. A pope from the XVI century sent a Papal Bull to his legate in Germany (to Saint Peter Canisius), wherein he forbade the reading of Luther’s texts. Saint Peter Canisius immediately realized that this was a grave pastoral error. He put the Papal Bull in his pocket and never published it. Thanks to his action, one portion of Germany remained Catholic. This serves as an example that informs us that “obedience” even though it is a sign of God’s presence, is not always the case in specific instances. It seems to me that if the Bishop should forbid the dissemination of the messages, the best solution would be to obey the prohibition and, at the same time, place a canonical petition before the Canonical Court in Rome.
D. Klanac : As regards the dissemination of the messages, I know that the Franciscans of the parish as well as the visionaries sought advice from those who are informed as to Canon Law as well as to those who are responsible for its observance. They did so whenever it was necessary. In what, then, would they be seen as being disobedient?
A. Dumouch : One must understand that obedience in situations such as this, can be a gift of the Holy Ghost; however, obedience is not always the only possible Christian behavior. In short, one need not make of obedience the final criterion of judgement as I will show below:
– An example of complete obedience: Saint Catherine Labouré (a religious) decided that she would never act contrary to the advice of her spiritual director, because she was led by the gift of advice. (Actually, the gift of the Holy Ghost stems from such a stance of complete submission to the will of one’s lawful superior, namely, to a person who clearly understands that in the end, God does as He pleases.
– An example of refraining to obey: if we contemplate the behavior of Saint Joan of Arc, (a layperson who was not bound by obedience), or of Saint Peter Canisius, (a religious who took a vow of obedience to the Pope), you see the same merciful love in action but in a different manner. In this instance, it is not done under obedience, but rather under another mode of action linked to the same love that motivated them. What is at play is the gift of strength (a gift of the Holy Ghost), that makes of an act an efficacious act of love.
In any event, in such a battle, it is clear that Saint Joan of Arc was disturbed. As Jesus says in the Gospel, she chose the “the less worthy choice” (Martha’s part) while Saint Catherine Labouré chose the position of Martha’s sister, Mary, namely the “better choice” It is advisable, then, that one listen to the advice of one’s superiors (that is the best course of action since it assures inner peace), since God knows how to find good in everything. However, this love does not seek absolute obedience as was shown by Saint Peter Canisius, who, even though he was bound by a vow of obedience to the Pope, did not cease to prevent the Pope’s pastoral ineptness.
Did the Franciscans receive a formal prohibition against speaking of Medjugorje from their Franciscan superior? If yes, they, then, were not obedient. In all events, this does not simply apply to the apparitions themselves. The entire polemic that is taking place, as in the case of Lourdes, is a portion of the earth, passion, or, in the case of Lourdes, the Unclean One.
D. Klanac : When the apparitions first began, there was much too much curiosity on the part of people who swayed the visionaries to ask questions of the Virgin. There are all sorts of traditions and explanations of the messages. They were not recorded on site, or captured on tape so as to confirm them. Does one need to take them into account?
A. Dumouch : I think not. If the responses were not accurately recorded, then they are not useable. But, that is not a problem. We have twenty-eight years of material!
D. Klanac : Pray! Pray! Pray! This is most often repeated by the Queen of Peace. It would seem that the call to prayer is an urgent one in Medjugorje. Can that persistent appeal to prayer produce a contrary effect and, in the end, make us weary?
A. Dumouch : If we are to remain Catholics and to live our Faith, we can do without all except efficacious love. Accordingly, one thing is absolutely necessary if we are to maintain an active friendly relationship with God: prayer of the heart, that is, a living relationship of friendship with God. Inasmuch as prayer is the essence of the relationship of efficacious love towards God, prayer imparts value to all else: to our sacraments and to our love of neighbor.
Below is a text from Martha Robin which shows the importance of that act:
“In Eucharistic communion, God gifts Himself in an external act that in itself is a gratification, a comfort, and a joy to the soul… Communion does not always presuppose virtue. We can receive communion and yet sin against the Body and Blood of Christ. Some one said: ‘There are Christians who receive communion everyday, but in the state of mortal sin… However, you will never find a person who prays every day and continues to persist in mortal sin.’ If you were to suggest that I encounter Christ in the Eucharist or in prayer, I would, without hesitation, choose prayer since prayer is what give complete meaning to communion. Adoration is the goal of communion and makes it worthy.”
D. Klanac : A new stage began for the Parish of Medjugorje on the 1st of March, 1984. The Virgin asks that the faithful come to mass every Thursday to be followed by adoration, so as to respond to her message: “Dear children, I selected this parish in particular and wish to guide it. I guard it in love and wish that all would be mine. Thank you for having responded tonight. It is my wish that you come in large numbers to be with me and my Son. Every Thursday, I will leave a particular message for you.” In this message, I see more than one important thing:
a) The Virgin wishes to strengthen the life of the parish at a time when Christian societies in the West are in deep crisis.
b) The Virgin is gathering the Faithful around her Son.
c) The Virgin wishes to guide, keep vigil, and to educate.
d) The Virgin does this of her own choice: “I chose,” “I wish,” “I will say.
What do you think of Mary’s motherly concern for our generation? Is that not a visible sign of Hope?
A. Dumouch : As I have said, such teaching throughout an entire life is unique and new. One has the feeling that it is adapted to our world wherein the youth, for whom it is ever harder to believe in their everyday lives, sense the need of a sensitive presence that comes from Heaven, powerful times, and from holy places. A serious study must be written concerning the effects of her teaching on the spiritual life of the visionaries. If they advance in their own inner peace, and if they remain centered on Love that will be a good sign.
D. Klanac : The Virgin allegedly said that this is her final appearance on Earth in this manner. That she will no longer appear three-dimensionally as she does now; rather that she will do so through the inner voice of the heart. Not all of the visionaries interpret this message in the same way. Some feel this is the end, while others feel that it will no longer be in the same manner. Their lack of agreement clearly expresses the difference in their view of it. Can these nuances in understanding and explaining the matter abrogate the value of the messages?
A. Dumouch : No. If the apparitions find approval from the Church one day, the theologians will say that those two varied interpretations reflect the will of Heaven. In Holy Writ, it often happens that a particular word is so ambiguous that more than one valid interpretation is offered.
Let us return to that which we spoke of as regards eschatology. The Church, then, must imitate Christ and accompany Him in his glorious entrance into Jerusalem, and directly after that, it must accompany Him through Holy Week. I am of the mind that it would seem that in His final test, Heaven was intentionally silent as regards Jesus: there were no great signs such as those evident at the Transfiguration of Jesus. At one point, Jesus actually said, (Lk 22:18), “… for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes again.” It would seem that this leads one to conclude that Jesus (in His humanity, in His human nature), will endure a great feeling of abandonment without the appearance of that which comes from Heaven (symbolized by the wine).
But, lo and behold, He subsequently receives the final sign of acknowledgement by Heaven (Lk 22:43), “… then an angel appeared from Heaven and gave him courage.”
Is Jesus, then, in contradiction to that which He said? Is not the angel from Heaven who gives him courage, the “wine from Heaven,” to some extent? No, it is not. The courage that was being imparted to Jesus does not in the least diminish His difficulties: however, it does prevent complete collapse of His human strength.
If the Church, one day, does approve the apparitions in Medjugorje, these words of the Virgin asked about above will be explained in the same fashion:
– That was the final direct apparition, known, and canonically recognized;
– This will not prevent Heaven from supporting her Church against the final Antichrist in her last moments in the apparitions that will be manifest to the last of the Faithful who will witness them.
18. Martha Robin has not been declared a saint as of yet. Her writings are quoted as witness. This text was written the 4th of April, 1931. [↩]