I often love “The Vortex” videos. I also often think they’re inadequately thought or prayed through first. But in this case it is neither; Michael Voris is simply dead wrong and misleading the faithful.
Let me begin by saying that I regard Michael highly. Having spoken to him personally, I know him to be far more than the simple merciless ranter that some regard him as. I wish he chose the path of trusting the Church to denounce the apparition herself, if it is truly a danger to the Faith, and if that is what the Holy Spirit desires.
I have been urged to watch the 48 minute “mic’d up” episode in which Michael Voris discusses Medjugorje. I refuse to do so. Not due to laziness, but on principle: within the first 30 seconds he sarcastically refers to the apparitions as having been going on for “600 years,” and then he next (despite the existence of a plethora of real theologian-experts and an official Vatican commission dedicated to analyzing and discerning Medjugorje) introduces E Michael Jones – a man with a stated vendetta against Medjugorje and whose PhD is in American Literature – as perhaps the world’s “leading expert” on it. But the bigger reason I will not watch it is the nature of his 5 minute summary of it.
This summary is the aforementioned 5 minute Vortex , which amounts to the following:
Seriously erroneous theology. at 2:43, Michael implies that rulings on apparitions are matters of faith and morals. This is false. The very reason that a Catholic never owes the submission of Faith to any private revelation is because they, by their very nature, are never matters of Catholic Faith. They are only matters of simple human belief. Church rulings on apparitions (as differentiated from rulings on particular theological statements contained in an alleged apparition) pertain to her judicial, temporal duty, and are never infallible or even irreformable because they never comprise rulings on faith and morals. (Remember that the Divine Mercy devotion was once condemned). We must obey, yes! Always. But it is a dangerous lie and a serious error to assert that such rulings are matters of faith and morals.
Deceitful accusations. At 2:10 Michael brings up the two negative statements issued by Bishops against Medjugorje in order to accuse those who now make personal pilgrimages to Medjugorje or believe in it as disobedient to the Church. He completely ignores the fact that this does not bind the faithful, as the matter has been explicitly taken out of the local ordinary’s hands and placed in the care of the Vatican alone, as the CDF has made abundantly clear. “[The local Bishop’s opposition to Medjugorje] should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion…Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentication of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church” – Cardinal Bertone, speaking as secretary to the CDF, in 1998, after the statements Michael refers to. I pray Michael did not know of this, and therefore did not intentionally withhold such glaringly necessary information, which would be a serious injustice and lie of omission.
Slander. At Medjugorje, Our Lady is relayed as saying “Members of all faiths are equal before God. In the world, all religions are not the same…” Michael summarizes that as her having said “all religions are the same.” If I were the one who had said that, and not Our Lady, I would sue Michael Voris for slander, and I’d win.
I have no idea where Michael found the alleged quotes from Our Lady on hell. If you’d like to see what she actually did say about hell, click here.
(Michael does validly point out that she said she does not dispose of all grace, but he says this is in contradiction to her title as Mediatrix of all grace. First of all, the Church has not yet extraordinarily defined that latter as doctrine. That being said, I do strongly believe and promote it, and I hope it is soon proclaimed dogma; but I also do not see a contradiction. I think it highly probable that she does not dispense of all graces but does mediate all graces.)
Straw men. Michael implies that the visions must be fake, because in one case, during a vision, a visionary flinches (barely even noticeably) when someone nearly punches her in the face. The Church does not teach that a valid ecstasy must be utterly complete and absolutely free from any possibility of being affected by external events. Partial ecstasy is a perfectly valid form of ecstasy. St. Teresa of Avila makes it clear that the suspension of the senses “may be incomplete, thereby allowing the ecstatic to dictate the revelations received.” Further, the miniscule amount which she flinched and the aggressive nature of the hand’s movement indicate to me validity far moreso than invalidity.
This particular Vortex links to ChurchMilitant.TV’s faq page on Medjugorje. A brief look through that reveals similar errors as the ones contained in the Vortex episode, in addition to another glaring one: it bluntly states that fruits are categorically NOT valid arguments for the validity of an apparition. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Magisterium in the 1978 document from the CDF entitled “Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” paragraph 2)c. Not only are fruits valid, it teaches, but they are due “special regard” in judging the authenticity of an apparition. The majority of this faq page on ChurchMilitantTV is actually dedicated to opposing this particular Magisterial teaching.
Do I know that Medjugorje is true? Of course not! I don’t know of any Medjugorje supporter who claims to “know” that it is (although I have stumbled upon some venomous Medjugorje detractors who claim to “know” it is false), neither do I know of any Medjugorje supporter who plans to disobey the Church when she rules on it. But I do know that when Our Lady does choose to appear for her last time on Earth, to prepare all of her children for her Son’s final coming (which I believe is the case now at Medjugorje), that there will be plenty of problems pertaining to the human element of the phenomena at that time; problems that will give the Voris of that day more than enough to rant about. Let us not be like that, my friends.
At this post’s publication, the Vortex episode I here mention has received over 16,000 views. Please forward this to anyone you think may have seen it or may in the future see it.
In Christ, through Mary,
Note: There has indeed been a recent letter from the CDF telling the faithful not to attend events that take the validity of the apparitions of Medjugorje for granted. This I will – and admonish you all to – fully adhere to. But it is absolutely not a ruling on the validity of the apparitions. See the theologian and Mariologist Dr. Mark Miravalle’s article on that here. If, by the way, you are looking for a real expert on these matters- a theologian, and one who has served on official Vatican commissions to study apparitions, look no further than him.