Follow by Email

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Miracle or Hoax?

David Murray, a journalist at the Telegraph in Sydney went to Medjugorje in Bosnia in October, and witnessed dozens of tour buses arriving filled with pilgrims from the USA, Ireland and the Philippines, eager to visit one of the world’s most famous shrines. More than one million Catholics, including Australians, are estimated to visit the site every year.

Six children claimed on the 24th June 1981 they saw a vision of Mary holding a baby in her arms. She appeared again the following day and has since visited 40,000 times and delivered numerous messages.

The church was packed by the time the main 11am mass was underway and thousands more of the faithful sat on benches outside and listened to the service broadcast over loudspeakers. An English language mass followed immediately after with 10 priests officiating at the altar.

Marian Breheny said with tears in her eyes said “Our son committed suicide, that’s why we’re here”, she says. Marian and her husband had just been to Sunday mass. They’ve been coming to Medjugorje from Ireland for three years now, ever since their son Stephen 22 hung himself in his bedroom. They say they find peace here.

But the Pope has suspended the priest Father Tomislay Vlasic, the former spiritual advisor to the children, after accusations of scandalous sexual immorality were brought against him. One of the allegations suggested he had fathered a child with a nun.

He has also been accused of ‘the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders’, and is suspected of heresy and schism.

Even though the Vatican has banned pilgrimages to the site, it makes no difference, the pilgrims keep coming.

Cynics are calling the transformation of the little town the “Madonna gold rush’. Some local supporters have grown very wealthy, now owning executive houses, immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates. They also own expensive cars and have married – one of them, Ivan Dragicevic, to an American former beauty queen.”