Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Father Rosica, drop this embarrassing threat of litigation...

Father Rosica, drop this embarrassing threat of litigation - it is really making you look bad…. really bad.   What kind of priest, much less an official in the Vatican, uses litigation against a Catholic blogger over his reputation?  Reputation?

I can just imagine if the Pope went around suing people every time he felt his reputation was harmed.  If there is a chapter in the Imitation of Christ which encourages suing people over reputation, I missed it.  Perhaps there is merit in offering up any suffering you believe you've had over the words of a Catholic blogger for the strength and courage of Christians being martyred in the Middle East.  There's not even a question that they are suffering serious, unjust injury.

I can't help but wonder: Does Pope Francis know you are so concerned with your reputation that you would hire lawyers to go after bloggers in this fashion? And, you would risk causing a family man to lose his home, among other things?

I was completely unaware of the blogger and blogposts in question until you sent lawyers after this man.   I rarely comment publicly on this kind of thing, and I've been an advocate for finding ways to express our concerns with greater virtue (sometimes it's not what we say but the lack of restraint in how we say it).  However, the thought of a priest suing bloggers comes across as so outrageous I felt compelled to express  my own thoughts on the matter.

Without judging whether any part of what the blogger said is right or wrong, and whether I agree with how he chose to express his concerns or not, bearing patiently with injury, or long-suffering, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  From a discernment stand point, I don't see the Holy Spirit's involvement in threats of litigation or lawsuits against bloggers.  While you are concerned with your own reputation, what harm are you bringing to the reputation of the priesthood with litigation?

Here in the U.S., we can't sue public figures for defamation.  Just because it is possible in Canada doesn't mean it's a prudent response for a priest, even if there is some kind of injury.

With regards to claims that Salt and Light TV has suffered damage, I'm not buying it.  If anything, you've done more harm to it yourself.  So much for trusting in God's providence in the face of real or perceived injustice.

Get thicker skin, Father Rosica.  Bearing with injuries - again, real or perceived - goes with the priesthood.  This is what it looks like, and we - you and I - did this to Him, Father:


"William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) -
The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880)
".
Licensed under Public Domain via 
Wikimedia Commons.


Further reading:

*Edited it in after others suggested these Scriptural texts, as well.  I had thought of 1 Cor 6, but had to head out to work before I could find it.

Other edits: Comma added in "Get thicker skin, Father Rosica"



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Monday, February 23, 2015

Some new posts…

Since beginning a second blog with a targeted focus within Catholicism, and to dabble in Wordpress, while working at reducing word-count through the tool WP has for that, I've since made two posts.




I explain in the About page there, why I embarked on this path.  As I said the other day, Te Deum Laudamus will continue, but the new blog allows me to be free of current events and focus on the spiritual realm.



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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

A new blog with a particular focus within Catholicism



I've been blogging since 2006 and have used this blog for just about any topic in Catholicism.  What I have found is that the temptation to discuss current events chronically pulls me away from deeper thoughts and prayer concerning the nuts and bolts of spiritual formation.

At the same time, it has been on my mind for some years now to look closer at moving to Wordpress, but I have been afraid of simply migrating my blog for fear of losing things.  This may happen yet as I plan to keep both blogs.

The new blog is called, Standing Before Mount Carmel.  It not only gives me a chance to learn Wordpress on the fly, but it allows me to escape the temptation to stay in the realm of current events.  That's not to say they are bad. Catholics need to be aware of what is going on in the world around them and we need to participate in the public square. This takes knowing what is happening and how we can make a difference by exercising our rights.  But, for me personally, with what little free time I have, current events are difficult to pull away from once I begin digesting them.  With Lent here, I wanted a break, but did not necessarily want to stop blogging or engaging in social media.  It will have a more targeted focus during this season.

In my first post there, I explain why the new blog  with some additional info. For that, see "Another day; another blog"

In my second post, just made a short time ago, I begin to look at a fruit of the Holy Spirit called, longanimity, or long-suffering.

Be sure to use the follow options there, but I will also post a link here to any new posts, as well as sharing in my social media.






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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Book: "Lent with St. Augustine" by Waldemur Turek



In one of my feeds, I saw this book, Lent with Saint Augustine (Paperback) by Waldemur Turek,  mentioned last week and ordered it without hesitation.  I went on the hunt for an e-book version, but could not find one.  Alas! Today, I see it is at Amazon: Lent with Saint Augustine (Kindle Edition).  I don't think I missed it, but perhaps I did; or it just became available. 

My iPhone camera is not working well (or the lens is just old and worn out).  But, you can look through the murky pics to get an idea of what is in this 114 page book.  Just click the images to enlarge. 

I like the format. It's just over one page per day throughout Lent.  As you can see, it came from series of short talks by a priest from Poland.  It is now available in three languages: Polish, Italian, and English. 

I have a few pages to catch up.  













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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thursday Evening Passio; Ember Days during Lent at Grotto



Fr. Perrone leads a post-Mass Rosary following Mass on the recent "pre-Lent,"  Septuagesima Sunday 


Passio Domini on Thursday Nights


With the departure of the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Holy Cross (ORC) to their new home in Carrollton, Ohio, I wondered if the Thursday evening Passio would continue.  This is something they began many years ago.  Following the Thursday night Mass (ordinary form/OF), Exposition would be held until 9:00 p.m. and the Passio Domini (Passion of Our Lord) would take place for the sanctification of the priesthood.  I got the answer tonight from Fr. John who said the intent is to continue with this.  Do support it if you can as it is a worthy cause, especially during Lent.

Ember Days at Assumption Grotto


I was also asked by someone about Ember Days in Lent at Assumption Grotto.  This is specific to the 1962 calendar and are typically celebrated at specified times, four times yearly on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They are penitential days, which is why you see violet vestments.  Being that Assumption Grotto offers Mass in the extraordinary form (EF) Monday through Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.; and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, the four sets of Ember Days are covered throughout the year.  The spring Embertide follows the first Sunday in Lent.

If you do not have a Missal, the propers for Ember Days can be found here.

Additional Notes about Daily Masses


With regards to weeknight Masses, there are two nights per week where the ordinary form is celebrated: Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I do not know if this might change or remain the same.  Some things may get adjusted over time with the absence of the ORC, so stay tuned to the bulletin and assumptiongrotto.com.

It is worth noting that there are occasions when a scheduled EF Mass is changed to an OF Mass.  This might happen, for example, if a visiting priest takes a Mass and does not regularly celebrate with the 1962 calendar.  There are other circumstances that can lead to this, but it is rare for the schedule to deviate.

When EF Masses are celebrated they can be high or low Masses.  Often times, it's dependent on availability of someone to chant.  High Masses during the week happen more often in the morning at 7:30, and rarely in the evening, unless there is something special happening.  You know it is a low Mass before it begins when only two candles are lit on either side of the Tabernacle.  Postures differ between the two, with more changes in the high Mass, such as standing at times.  Tonight's Ash Wednesday Mass was a little confusing because only two candles were lit, but there was chant, and it was a sung Mass. It happens sometimes. Even I wasn't sure whether to stay kneeling (as in low Masses)  or rise at times.

The Holy Rosary is prayed after all weekday and weekend Masses, and most of the time this is led by the celebrant of the Mass.  Sometimes, especially on weeknights, priests must leave immediately for a wake, or other obligation, and one of the altar servers or sacristan will lead it. No one is obligated to stay, but it is there for those who want it.  The time preceding Mass is for silent prayer.

Confessions


Also impacted with the loss of extra priests, is Sacramental Confession.  Recently, Fr. Perrone asked Grotto-goers to make use of the Saturday time slot, from 2:30-3:30 rather than wait for Sunday when there will be only one priest, and perhaps abbreviated times.  He knows some people commute great distances and for them it is not practical.  But for people who live closer, he is asking more to go on Saturdays.  There are often unscheduled Confessions being heard before most of the weekday Masses too.  There's a pretty good chance if you get to Grotto 20 minutes before the Friday evening Mass you can find an opportunity for Confession.



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Video and Pics from Assumption Grotto's Fat Tuesday Cotillion



Each year on "Fat Tuesday" - the day before Ash Wednesday, Assumption Grotto has a Cotillion involving a few hundred people.  It's a family affair with a band that plays music from the 17th and 18th centuries.  Some dress in old world garb; others come dressed in contemporary clothing.  There's lots of food in the hallway, and it's a fun event all the way around.

I have more photos, but did not have time to process them.  I'll get to those with my backlog soon. But I wanted to share this composite of three short video clips.








This looks like trouble!







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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Homily of Fr. Eduard Perrone for Quinquagesima Sunday; Notes on Ash Wednesday and Lent




This is audio of Fr. Perrone's homily from this past Sunday at the 9:30 AM Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I uploaded it to YouTube with a snapshot from a previous Sunday.  My regrets that I have not taken time to set up a site for podcasts.

Grotto's pastor explains the importance of the forthcoming 40 Days of Lent and why we need it.




Please forgive the low quality as this was taken using an iPhone from the nave where it picked up echo, and a baby or two, and a few other noises. 

If you listen to one part of this homily and not the entire thing, you might walk away with a different impression. 

ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENTEN NOTES


This is probably a good time to mention some things coming up for Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday.  There will only be two Masses, with ashes distributed at the beginning (so get there early!).  The Masses are at 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

During Lent, Grotto will have it's great Fish Fry (which usually includes an option for baked fish).  In the past few years we have had talks in the gym towards the end of the dinner.  This year, Brother Esteban will be doing these.  I'll share a flyer on that in a moment. 

The Fish Fry runs from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.  The talk is at 6:00.  Now, Mass is delayed on Fridays in Lent to allow people more time to honor the Eucharistic fast after dinner. So, the Stations of the Cross are done at 7:00 p.m., and Mass follows after. 

Someone asked me today which Stations we use. In all the years I've gone, it's always been the classic St. Alphonsus Liguori version. 

Someone also asked me about Ember Days during Lent.  The 7:00 p.m. Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, use the 1962 Missal (always subject to change and availability of a priest to celebrate that form).  One can always count on Ember Day Masses at the morning, 7:30 a.m. Mass at Grotto.  In any event, the spring Ember Days are the Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.  I believe this will be the case this Friday morning and evening, and at 7:30 on Saturday morning.  You can always call the rectory to confirm.

Stay tuned to AssumptionGrotto.com for more news about Lent and various events coming up.

Here is the flyer.





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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Saying farewell to the ORC at Grotto; and, words from Bishop Schneider on the "New Gnosticism"




This weekend, Grotto-goers will be bidding farewell to the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross (ORC, not OSC) who have been a part of our lives for more about 20 years.  Land donated to them in Carrollton, Ohio is the place where they will build their permanent residence here in the United States after receiving all approvals.  They have been hard at work (see updates here).  On this, Fr. Perrone wrote in a recent Grotto-News:



"…on Sunday February 15th we will bid farewell to the Order of the Holy Cross with a little reception in the gym following the 9:30 and noon Masses. Please come to express your gratitude to the priests and nuns for their presence and work in our parish over these twenty-some years."

If you want to bid farewell, come this Sunday as most or all of them based in the US will be here.

Bishop Schneider on Battling the New Gnosticism


Bishop Athanasius Schneider was ordained a priest of the ORC and there is something just published this morning I know many readers here will find of interest.

First, a note: Many of the photos you find on the web of Bishop Schneider, especially with the Little Flower in the background, were photographs I took during his 2009 visit to Detroit when spoke at the Call to Holiness Conference.  This morning I got an email from Steve Skojec at the One Peter Five site, alerting me to an article published today at that site by His Excellency.  I appreciate the attribution, the link, and the email notice he provided.

The Editor's Note that accompanies Bishop Schneider's article reads:

"Following his strongly-worded interview with Polonia Christiana in the wake of the first part of the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family, we reached out to Bishop Athanasius Schneider to seek his guidance on concrete actions Catholics can take during this time of turmoil within the Church. We specifically requested his advice on what the faithful could do to resist heterodoxy and address the errors (or at least obfuscations) that seem to be issuing forth from some of the highest prelates in the Church. Though his counsel is brief, it is deeply thoughtful, and offers us a great deal of work to do. With the next meeting of the Synod less than eight months away, there is no time to waste."

Bishop Schneider is a man who knows probably some 10 languages, giving him access to much content - both contemporary and historical.  His PhD is in Patristics.   I find it interesting today that no one questions the hard-hitting boldness with which the Church Fathers spoke, or even Saint Paul for that matter, yet if a bishop today dares to do so, he is vilified and blasted as "rigid." I look at what Bishop Schneider says and I see him cut from the cloth of his namesake, Saint Athanasius.

I've read the article and it is bold, firm, and clear in articulating his thoughts, as usual.  Bishop Schneider doesn't mince words. He says what he thinks, but does not use sarcasm or condescension to get his point across - a key point for anyone wanting others who aren't in the choir to hear the message (whether they can agree or not).

Go read the brief article by His Excellency at One Peter Five: Battling the New Gnosticism.  And, on this feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, let's ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.






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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Some notes on recent Medjugorje news...



There are some items on the web and in news circles that have those with an interest in Medjugorje - one way or another - in discussion. I talk about three of them here.

Pope Francis to visit Bosnia


Pope Francis boards a flight to Manila
(AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
First, it was recently announced that the Holy Father would make a trip to Bosnia this June.  Whenever the Holy Father is mentioned in the same sentence as Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH), people automatically think: Medjugorje.  Yet, this tiny nation still suffers from the wounds of war and ethnic tensions.  I wonder: Will journalists around the world make that the center of their stories when he goes there, or will it play second fiddle to the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje? I can tell you, we need to know about the deep suffering taking place there, and what challenges face the bishops and priests of that nation.

I doubt the Pope is going there to tip his hand one way or another on Medjugorje.  Might he make known his final discernment in the matter before then?  Perhaps. The bishops of BiH are due for their ad limina visit this spring and it's hard to fathom it won't be discussed, at least privately.  I would imagine the bishops would like resolution so they could move forward rather than have Medjugorje as a continuing question mark that draws attention from other, very serious matters we know little about.

Aside from the ethnic issues in that region, the Holy See wants resolution of a schism-like situation taking place in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno which began in the years prior to the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje.  In fact, there is a belief amongst critics and skeptics that the situation in Medjugorje has given very good cover to that problem.  It is hard for some to fathom how the Blessed Virgin Mary could be appearing to people in a diocese where sacrilege has taken place in the form of invalid Sacraments; where dozens of priests remain suspended; where a number of priests and brothers were removed from the Franciscan order, with some still presenting themselves as Franciscan pastors of parishes usurped - yet, astonishingly, the lady of Medjugorje says nothing about this in any of her daily messages.

Did Bishop Komarica say the Pope will recognize Medjugorje?


I've cautioned in the past, with examples, that news from Medjugorje websites needs to be validated very carefully.  This is especially true of the translations themselves. With a report showing up on Medjugorje Today suggesting a bishop tipped the Pope's hand toward's "recognition"and the mega-portal, Spirit Daily linking to it, I turned to Richard Chonak for translation of the German-language interview with Bishop Komarica (KOH-mar-eetza) of Banja Luka (BAH-nyah LOOH-kah).  That interview was in the German language Vatican Radio website and if you put that link into an auto-translator you will see many other things were discussed.  Richard isolated that part of the discussion focusing on Medjugorje and I use his rough translation here.


The interview with Vatican Radio was conducted in German (the audio is on the VR page). Q: "Was there never any discussion that the Pope might visit Medjugorje to form his own impression of it?"

Bp. Komarica: "Yes, actually, Medjugorje is a fact, since '91 [sic], and very many people went there from near and far. The Church has her preconditions, in regard to recognizing a place of pilgrimage. As for any visions there, we're leaving that to the Holy See, as is known. And it's necessary that the Church, the responsible Church officials continue to carefully accompany and evaluate the developments in Medjugorje. One should keep an eye on good fruits, and if there are also any negative fruits, one should isolate them so that one stops them. Thanks be to God, one doesn't hear so much about negative fruits. When Medjugorje is going to be recognized: we're leaving that to the Holy Father. It's his decision ... ["as far as I know"? difficult phone audio]."

Q: So there was never any discussion of a papal visit to Medjugorje?

Bp. Komarica: "As far as I know, no. If the decision might have been otherwise, certainly the Pope could have wanted to decide, and [pauses] the Pope decided as he decided, and he had corresponding reasons to do so, and I'm not able to comment much on that."

After reading that, notice the headline at Medjugorje Today. I would link to the article, but unless you pay the $19/month, you can't read any more than I am showing here (for comparison, a monthly subscription to the e-edition of the Miami Herald is just $6.95/month).  The websites this is taken from is shown at top.




While they quote things Bishop Komarica actually said, it's the way they are arranged, coupled with the headline, and omissions, that takes the reader beyond what was really said.  Aside from that, there are inconsistencies. First, he said it began in 1991 when it actually began in 1981.  Secondly, he acknowledges there are negative fruits, even if he himself is unaware of too many.  But, recognition of authenticity by the Church, or negation thereof, is not based on fruits, but on the events themselves using certain criteria provided by the Holy See years prior to Medjugorje.  Fruits of any kind are secondary to that.  The birth of a baby can never be a bad fruit, even if that baby is conceived in a sinful way.  The birth of the baby to a mother out of wedlock does not change the objectively grave matter involved with illicit sex outside of Sacramental marriage; or, in the case of rape, the assault against the mother.  In other words, illicit sex is discouraged on the basis that it is sinful, not on encouraged because of the goodness of a new life.  Likewise, the good taste and nutritional value of a mushroom does not tell us whether it has an objective poison that can have harmful, if not lethal, effects.  That is why events or facts surrounding the alleged apparitions are studied first, and fruits second.  Noting good fruits augments good facts, and bad fruits are not disregarded. In fact, it is not the good fruits in followers that are examined, but the fruits in the visionaries and their spiritual directors and others who might guide them that the Church examines.  Far down the list is when fruits in followers are considered.  The Holy See has the fullest list of good and bad fruits in the alleged visionaries of Medjugorje and to my knowledge, they have not shared their findings with anyone yet.

Nowhere does Bishop Komarica indicate the Holy Father will recognize the authenticity of the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje.  Even I have recognized in past writings that there have been real conversions among some who visit there.  But, where supporters would point to the appearance of the lady of Medjugorje, I point to the Sacraments and prayer - especially Adoration and the Rosary.  Many can be motivated to use Sacramental Confession when seeing big lines waiting for a multitude of priests.  I know because I was motivated to go frequently at Assumption Grotto where the sight of lines stirred my conscience and my will to be cleansed.  I also know that when I go to daily Mass, pray my Divine Office and Rosary, go to Adoration, and do regular spiritual reading, I get graces that help me to avoid sin and strength to practice virtue.

What often puzzles me is that if a diocesan bishop were to hold a public Rosary with Adoration on an ordinary Friday night, there would probably be sparse attendance.  But if the same bishop, in all the same circumstances, invited an alleged visionary like Ivan Dragicevic to come, there would be standing room only.  This is a serious, collective, spiritual impurity that would only come out for the sideshow of an apparition - real or not - and not to give of oneself in prayer with nothing in return.

Might the Holy Father recognize that people who visit Medjugorje for the Sacraments, and who take time to deepen their prayer life can see good fruits in their lives?  Sure.  Might he recognize the authenticity of alleged apparitions in Medjugorje? That's highly doubtful since some of the seers have ongoing visions.  The Holy See has not recognize alleged apparitions that are ongoing for the simple reason that if they say today, "nothing opposes it" and tomorrow a presumed visionary claims the Blessed Virgin declared herself the fourth person of the Trinity, that error would negate authenticity. It would hurt the credibility of the Church, as well.  On the other hand, if anything is signaling a lack of authenticity, then a negative decision can come down while the phenomena are ongoing.

Pope Francis did say in one of his daily homilettes:

Curiosity, the Pope continued, impels us to want to feel that the Lord is here or rather there, or leads us to say: “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady”. And the Pope commented: “But, look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.”

Ivan returns to the USA despite Apostolic Nuncio's admonition?

Word leaked out in 2013 that the CDF had twice admonished US bishops to cease giving alleged visionaries of Medjugorje a podium on Church property since this can lend credibility to the claims still being investigated by the Holy See.  Today, I see at Medjugorje Today, this news:



To be clear, the prohibition involves Church property - parishes, Cathedrals, shrines, etc.  Private groups can still host an alleged visionary of Medjugorje on private property, so the arranger is not "challenging" the Vatican on anything.  But, the group hosting it seem to be disrespectful of logic used by the Holy See.  EDIT: Something was brought to my attention last night. It had been a while since I carefully read that letter to to U.S. Bishops which came from the CDF through the Apostolic Nuncio.  After pointing out that the phenomena are being investigated yet by the Holy See, it reads:

It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such "apparitions" would be taken for granted.   
In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop M├╝ller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible.  
I have not seen any other letters made public at this level countering that.

So who is hosting this and where?  The Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich Foundation is hosting it at a center on the campus of a Presbyterian college in the greater St. Louis area.  I'm not sure why a foundation devoted to her writings would involve themselves in something which carries the risk of a negative decision.  But many are in denial of this possibility.  There is no risk in not hosting an alleged visionary if such a thing were later approved.  When the Holy See is investigating, people need to open themselves for all possibilities.  The fact that the CDF admonished US bishops for hosting visionaries should make any organization pause and follow the same logic. Why take a chance of involving their cause with potential scandal?  That is why the Church traditionally has never allowed alleged visionaries to do their thing or give their testimony on Church property.  It makes me wonder if the Archdiocese of St. Louis will discourage it's priests from attending.

While pilgrimages are prohibited on the basis of authenticity (1991 Zadar Declaration), people can make a private pilgrimage to St. James in Medjugorje for the sacraments, prayer, etc.  They may bring a priest with them.  But this which is happening at the BACE Foundation is not a group of people getting together for the sacraments and prayer, but taking part in a pilgrimage brought to them from Medjugorje, complete with the alleged apparition (also mentioned in that letter to U.S. Bishops). This thumbs it's nose at the 1991 Zadar Declaration, as well as the CDF, in light of the letter mentioned.

Just a side note: Notice how the Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich Foundation has already stepped ahead of the Holy See in declaring that it is Our Lady who will appear to Ivan. And, as noted, it is at the Standard Apparition Time™ of 6:40 PM.  Not even Bernadette, who was proven to have seen the Blessed Mother later, would refer to her as Our Lady.  She called her, "the lady" and left discernment of who this lady was to the Church.

Also, as just pointed out to me, there is admission being charged of $7.  While this may be for the rental of the center, it's just unbecoming to have whom people believe is the Blessed Virgin Mary show up "on demand" with any kind of fee involved.









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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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