Medjugorje is one of those topics you just don’t discuss in polite Catholic company anymore. It’s highly controversial. I’ve heard arguments on all sides: that the bad stuff is manufactured by its enemies; that the bad stuff discredits it. Some of the priests originally involved have been touched by sex scandals–again, some say these are scurrilous rumors. One of Medjugorje’s biggest proponents, Bud Macfarlane, Jr., has fallen from public sight in a scandal of his own shallow faith. I had an internet friend years ago who said his in-laws’ home had become infested when a Medjugorje statue was brought in. Others have profound stories of both physical and spiritual healing there.
In the official EWTN FAQ on Medjugorje, Colin Donovan, STL, explains the concept of the preternatural, and how both angels and demons can be responsible for certain kinds of mystical phenomena. There is little doubt that mystical phenomena are occurring at Medjugorje, and that much of what happens can go beyond a merely human hoax. However, some of that phenomena could very well be God working good in spite of the evil there. And some of the signs and wonders may be works of the Enemy. In that sense, the questionable status of Medjugorje requires even more extreme caution.
Suzanne, a Catholic internet activist from Canada, whom I know from several listservs and forums, has talked about this recent article on her blog, Big Blue Wave. She focuses on the fact that the article says “Vatican,” yet it’s a comment by one bishop, identified as an “important” Church official, but Suzanne says she’s never heard of him before (me either). One critique of Suzanne’s comment, though, is that she says he’s a “former” exorcist–I don’t think episcopal ordination negates exorcism. I think that all bishops are automatically exorcists. However, this bishop is retired, so I guess that makes him a “former” exorcist. Regardless, it negates the article’s claim to his being an important official.
So he’s not “the Vatican,” but he *is* one of the Church’s leading experts on possession, and he says that Medjugorje is a Satanic deception (confirming my reading of Colin Donovan’s article), so that should be taken pretty seriously.