Why Did You Quote Medjugorje? Posted on October 31, 2017 by Mark Mallett Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana Soldo, Photo courtesy LaPresse “WHY did you quote that unapproved private revelation?” It’s a question I get asked on occasion. Moreover, rarely do I see an adequate answer to it, even among the Church’s best apologists. The question itself betrays a serious deficit in catechesis among average Catholics when it comes to mysticism and private revelation. Why are we so afraid to even listen? WRONG ASSUMPTIONS There is a strange assumption that is far too common in the Catholic world today, and it is this: if a so-called “private revelation” has not yet been approved by a bishop, it is tantamount to being disapproved. But this premise is flat out incorrect for two reasons: it contradicts Scripture and the constant teachings of the Church. The word St. Paul uses to refer to private revelation is “prophecy.” And no where in Scripture does St. Paul ever instruct that the Body of Christ should only heed “approved” prophecy. Rather, he says, Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. (1 Thess 5:19-21) Clearly, if we are to test everything, then Paul means we should discern all prophetic claims within the Body. If we do, we will no doubt discover some utterances to not be authentic prophecy, to not be “good”; or to be fabrications of the imagination, perceptions of the mind, or worse, deceptions from an evil spirit. But this does not seem to trouble St. Paul in the least. Why? Because he has already laid out for the Church the foundations for discerning truth: …hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you… hold fast to the word I preached to you… stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours… let us hold fast to our confession. (1 Cor 11:2; 1 Cor 15:2; 2 Thess 2:15; Heb 4:14) As Catholics, we have the incredible gift of Sacred Tradition—the unchanged teachings of the Faith as handed on to us from Christ and the Apostles 2000 years ago. Tradition is the ultimate tool to filter out what is, and isn’t of God. TRUTH IS TRUTH This is why I am not afraid to read “unapproved” private revelation or to even quote it when there is nothing objectionable regarding matters of the faith, and when the Church has not “condemned” the visionary. The Public Revelation of Jesus Christ is my foundation, the Catechism is my filter, the Magisterium is my guide. Thus, I am not afraid to listen. (Note: while the Bishop of Mostar has been unfavourable to the apparitions at Medjugorje, the Vatican made the extraordinary intervention of relegating his decision to being only “his personal opinion,”  and transferring the authoritative decision over the apparitions to the Holy See.) Nor am I afraid to welcome any truth, whether it is from the mouth of an atheist or that of a saint—if it is indeed true. For truth is always a refraction of light from He who is Truth itself. St. Paul openly quoted the Greek philosophers; and Jesus commended a Roman official and a pagan woman for their faith and wisdom!  One of the most beautiful and eloquent litanies to the Blessed Mother that I have ever heard was transcribed from the mouth of a demon during an exorcism. The fallible source did not change the infallible truth that was uttered. This is to say that truth has a beauty and power all on its own that transcends every limitation and fault. Which is why the Church has never expected perfection in its visionaries and seers, or even a pre-disposition to holiness. …union with God by charity is not requisite in order to have the gift of prophecy, and thus it was at times bestowed even upon sinners… —POPE BENEDICT XIV, Heroic Virtue, Vol. III, p. 160 LISTENING TO ANOTHER A couple of years ago, I went for an afternoon walk with my bishop. He was as confused as I as to why two Canadian bishops would not allow me to conduct my ministry in their dioceses simply because I have quoted “private revelation” on my website from time to time.  He affirmed that I had done nothing wrong and that what I quoted was not unorthodox. “In fact,” he continued, “I would have no problem, for example, quoting Vassula Ryden if what she said was consistent with Catholic teaching, and second, that she was not condemned by the Magisterium.”  In fact, I would have no problem quoting Confucius or Ghandi in the proper context, if what they said was truth. The root of our inability to listen and discern is ultimately fear—fear of being deceived, a fear of the unknown, a fear of those who are different, etc. However, beyond our differences, beyond our ideologies and how they influence our thinking and behaviours… what you have in the raw is simply another human being made in God’s image with all the capacity and potential of being a saint. We fear others because we have lost the capacity to perceive this intrinsic dignity, to see Christ in the other.