The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

considerations of medjugorje


The terminology used to describe supposedly mystical experiences is not consistent.
Sometimes distinctions are made between terms like apparition, ecstasy, vision, or trance.
There are those who insist each term is precisely defined and describes a distinctly posited reality.
For most of us the terms are used interchangeably and are not precisely defined.
Let us imagine I am having an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
It's an apparition because she appears to me to be there.
It may also be a vision if I think I see her with my eyes regardless of whether I may be seeing her in the room or in my mind.
If I really get into the mood, it may be a trance.
If I get extremely happy about the whole thing, we might call it an ecstasy.
If I get even happier, it could be deemed rapture.
The terminology is notional rather than definitional.
The truth is we don't have an Ur Visionary, a benchmark against whom to measure our understanding.
We don't have someone that we can ontologically say that without doubt, that person has experienced a supernatural vision.
For this reason the Catholic Church has never instructed the faithful that they must believe in any visionary.
At times the local Church will express a measured approval.
More impressively over hundreds of years, sometimes the broader Church worldwide will take a positive attitude towards a claim of visions.
But no vision is an article of faith.
With regard to claims of Marian apparitions, I have said that the ones I have most hope might be true are Lourdes and Fatima.
Medjugorje is a study because it is happening now and embodies certain factors and dynamics that may show up in any claim of apparitions.
I still do not suggest that Bernadette of Lourdes, or the three scamps from Fatima, are Ur Visionaries and that we can assess all other purported visionaries by comparison to these.
In the absence of a benchmark visionary, there is a constant necessity for each of us in these matters to aspire to truth without posing as possessors of scientific rigour.
Goodwill and integrity between investigators of mystical as well as physical reality is a sound keynote.
I unreservedly emphasise the importance of goodwill and integrity gentle travellers of the internet while adding that it is not always people of faith who dissimulate.
Indeed there are scientists and rationalists who tell pork pies on a scale that would embarrass the most fraudulent visionary.

Friday, October 19, 2018

considerations of medjugorje

The Critics

Three of the most prominent critics of the Medjugorje phenomena to emerge in the first ten years of the events were Bishop Pavao Zanic. Franciscan Father Ivo Sivric and the Canadian academic Louis Belanger.
The bona fides of the three are not known to me in any depth but each of them produced important source material which I consider vital to any assessment of the supposed visions.

Bishop Zanic declared his rejection of the visions decisively in 1984 in a public letter under the title La Posizione Atuale.
He asserted that the visions had been orchestrated by the Charismatic Movement.
He accused Father Tomislav Vlasic of being a Charismatic Wizard.
He insisted various of the supposed visionaries had lied to him and that their visions often consisted of mere play acting.
There are some gaps in his reasoning and some of his assertions of fact vary over time and may not be rigorously correct.
He is also not always entirely fair in  my view viz purported visionaries whom he accuses of outright lying.
Nor do I think he was entirely fair with regard to his role in dismissing two Franciscan friars from Ministry.
The Bishop for a long time seemed to maintain that any notion emanating from the visionaries which implied or stated that the Bishop was wrong about something, amounted to a proof that the Blessed Virgin couldn't say such a thing. His assessment that a true apparition of the Virgin could not criticise him as a legitimate Church authority, is by no means a game winner as analysis.
His statement that the visionary Mirjana's watch had been deliberately altered to facilitate a claim that the watch spun crazily during an apparition would later be expressed as an assertion that Mirjana might have dropped her watch. Well, which was it?
No critic is perfect.
All of the ones I've mentioned may have flaws.
Some of their conclusions are not exhaustive, ie not as conclusive as they assert.
If it were not so, Medjugorje would have been an open and shut case.
I recommend the Bishop's 1984 letter and a similar pamphlet style letter which he published in 1990 as being essential studies for the student of these events.

Father Ivo Sivric wrote the book The Hidden Side Of Medjugorje which contains a marvellous overview of the events.
The book also includes English language transcripts of interviews with the visionaries during the first seven days of the appparitions.
These are gold dust.
Father Sivric gives excellent historical and cultural commentary along with his analysis of the nature of the visions.
He postulates that the apparitions are a pious fraud, initiated possibly with good intentions. which then took on a life and momentum which has proved unstoppable.
Father Sivric asserts some things that may not pass muster as assertions.
He says that the visionaries if they were really visionaries would live an exemplary life.
He notes that that he has been told there are people in the town whom some of the visionaries refuse to greet.
I would opine that there is no consistent evidence anywhere that God only chooses exemplary people for his purpose. In any case the notion that the visionaries aren't exemplary because unidentified persons say they don't greet them civilly, is tenuous in the extreme.
The Hidden Side Of Medjugorje was published in English in 1989. It is a refreshing bracingly sceptical read. There may be errors and omissions in it but I would say it is still in its way the best writing we have about Medjugorje. My main regret is that our third major source Louis Belanger edited the book. I would have preferred if himself and Fr Sivric had arrived at their conclusions without a collaboration.

Louis Belanger is the third major critical source regarding the first decade of apparitions at Medjugorje on the strength of video footage which he shot on 14 January 1985.
The footage has since featured in an Arthur C Clarke television documentary and is still much viewed on the internet.
The footage shows an onlooker jabbing his  finger being towards the visionary Vicka's eye.
Me Belanger asserts that if a visonary reacts to external stimuli then the vision is not genuine.
Vicka appears to react slightly. According to Mr Belanger he only saw her reaction when he replayed the tape.
He then filmed a man telling Vicka that people no longer believed in her visions because her movement showed she was not unaware of her surroundings.
Vicka is said to have replied (in Croatian) that she moved because she thought the Blessed Virgin was about to drop the baby Jesus.
Mr Belanger contends that this sequence of events demonstrates Vicka was not having a genuine vision.
I would demur.
There is no agreed scientific standard that asserts visions are not taking place if a supposed visionary reacts to surroundings.
In many cases of purported visions, those supposedly experiencing the vision appear to retain an awareness of their surroundings, sometimes during the vision, sometimes during parts of it.
The finger jab test cited by Mr Belanger and instigated by an (independent?) onlooker, proves nothing.
There is also a moral quibble with what was done and the circumstances in which it was done.
Saint Bernadette at Lourdes was apparently on occasion aware of her surroundings during her supposed visions and at other times not. The present day fineger jabbing investigators at Medjugorje might have blinded Vicka and proved nothing. Here I would add that at Lourdes in 1858 on a particular occasion substantial witness reports claim Bernadette's hand slipped into a candle flame for fifteen minutes and yet at the end of the vision was unburnt.
Such a testimony from Lourdes in 1858 does not for most of us justify risking blinding purported visionaries or even setting them on fire while claiming to have only by chance filmed such unethical experiments and further claiming the procedure and its follow up was all instigated by an unidentified onlooker.
Mr Belanger says he did not know the onlooker at Medjugorje (still never properly identified) was going to jab his finger into Vicka's eye. Mr Belanger also states that he did not realise he was filming Vicka when the proposition was put to her that people no longer believed she was having visions because she had flinched.
I don't believe him.
Vicka's answer does not disprove the visions either though it's not impressive. It might demonstrate that on this occasion she was a bit of a slob when put on the spot. For me, the whole exercise reflects rather more negatively on the methodology of Mr Belanger rather than on Vicka.
Mr Belanger's footage remains unique and important and unsurpassed.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

considerations of medjugorje

The Presence Of The Charismatic Movement

Some critics have suggested the Medjugorje was faked by elements of a movement within Christianity, involving significant numbers of Protestants and Catholics, styled the Charismatic Movement.
Certainly the Charismatics themselves have claimed that Sister Briege McKenna in the Summer of 1981 prophesied at a Charismatic Conference in Italy to a priest Fr Tomsislav Vlasic who would shortly be associated with the Medjugorje apparitions, that she could see him sitting on a seat with water flowing from it and people from all over the world sitting around him.
The apparitions are said to have begun weeks later on 24 June 1981.
Father Vlasic is said to have become the visionaries spiritual director in August 1981 within a month of the onset of the claimed visions, a position he held in some measure for three years.
He was eventually laicised from the priesthood in 2011 and there have been many attacks on his reputation which I have not chosen to regard as reasons to decide for or against Medjugorje.
He is currently said to be involved with a UFO cult.
At the same Charismatic conference in Italy in 1981 a Domincian priest called Emil Tardif is said to have prophesied to Fr Vlasic : "Do not worry. I am sending you my mother."
Father Tardif would have been purporting to be speaking a message from Jesus and would not, as has been occasionally claimed, have been presuming to order the Blessed Virgin Mary to go to Medjugorje himself.
Briege McKenna has a reputation and substantial international profile as a healing nun which has lasted forty years.
One of her more controversial claims is to have seen a child with Downs Syndrome cease to have Downs Syndrome after a mass (Catholic celebration of praise and Eucharist) in Mexico.
This claim exists in various of her testimonies but she doesn't always specify the element of her claim that the child had Downs Syndrome.
Some of her Irish contacts would not be people I hold in regard.
Natives of my town of Kilcullen, the surgeon Joe McKenna who has lived and worked most of his adult life in Canada, and his sister Breda, have over the years adopted a public posture portraying themselves as charismatics.
Joe McKenna occasionally offered to put acquaintances of mine in touch with the healing nun. (NB: Sister Briege not his sister Breda.)
The father of the Kilcullen McKennas is described on his tombstone as "Northern Division Commander of the IRA.
For reasons entirely unrelated to their paternity, I would not countenance contact with these McKennas.
If Briege McKenna is related to them or in any way complicit with them in her ministry, I would not consider this a point in her favour.
Her supposed role as prophesying the beginning of the Medjugorje apparitions, would in that case seem without merit and should not be seen as an indicator of genuineness in the subsequent phenomena.

irish presidential election funnies

Today They Said

Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein): "The IRA hasn't existed for twenty years."

James Healy: "Too bad nobody sent a memo to all those IRA skang gangs currently running Irish towns, cities and villages as personal fiefdoms, to wit the Hutch gang, the Kinahan gang, the Continuity IRA, the Real IRA, the INLA, along with associated IRA Tinker Clan Gangs, and all those other alphabet soup cell groupings which comprise the IRA mafia, not fogetting the IRA's allied mafias Al Qaeda, Cosa Nostra, the Chinese Triads, the Zetas and the Russian Mafia et al, who are at present inflicting mayhem on Ireland under a franchise agreement with the IRA which has itself become Europe's leading drug dealing, people trafficking, child abusing cartel. All these IRA gang bangers don't seem to have got the news from Liadh O'Riada that they no longer exist. And it's a pity no one told IRA trade union rackateer Brendan Ogle. Or IRA Capo Sean Quinn. Or IRA bank hoodlum Sean Fitzpatrick. Incidentally I would note that Sinn Fein, the party of which Liadh Ni Riada is a member, is itself a parliamentary front organisation for the IRA, explicitly funded with proceeds from drug dealing, people trafficking and the IRA's organised child abuse activities. We should forget the child abuse network of Rah franchise holder Eoin Eric Marques whose Freedom Hosting website became according to the FBI the world's premiere internet site for the violation of children and needless to say the Irish still haven't quite managed to hand Eoin Eric Marques over to the Americans with his court appeals shenanigans against extradition to the USA having being dragged out since 2015 and still wandering in leisurely fashion through the limbic labyrinth of our dilletante IRA infiltrated courts system with a further excursion due in the European courts even as we speak, and no newspaper coverage of same. I kid you not."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

a modest proposal

United States Democratic Party Senator Elizabeth Warren is according to a recent test genetically one thousandth and twenty fourth Native American.
Senator Warren's risible claims to be Native American have previously led to her being given the nickname Fauxcahontas.
I respectfully suggest that Mrs Warren's Native American name (or Indian name as real Native Americans would say) should now be Sitting Bullshit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

considerations of medjugorje

The O'Domhnaill Testimony

A supposed Irish priest (the formal church authorities recognise his priesthood, I do not) calling himself Ruairi O'Domhnaill spoke to me several times during the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 about the topic of apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje.
Whenever I met him, I chose to ask him: "Do you really believe those people in Medjugorje have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary?"
In conversation  with me he consistently purported to believe in the genuineness of these apparitions although on a single occasion he remarked that it might be possible that one or more of the six visionaries were not genuine, that is to say they might not all have been telling the truth.
His testimony about his own claimed experiences of the supernatural at Medjugorje has been published by the Columba Press in 2012 with eleven other testimonies in a book edited by Louise Hall called 'Medjugorje, What It Means To Me.'
The salient piece of conversation between myself and Ruairi O'Domhnaill which does not feature in any book, occurred in 1014 and went as follows.

Ruairi O'Domhnaill: "After Confession, I reached into my pocket and took out the rosary beads. The Rosary had turned gold."

(A pause)

James Healy: "Can I see the rosary Ruairi?"

Ruairi O'Domhnaill: "I gave it to the blind man."

(A pause)

James Healy: "So you don't have it."

Ruairi O'Domhnaill: "Look.  I'm not saying the rosary was turned into pure gold."

James Healy: "Ah."

This exchange took place in 2014. My assessment of Ruairi O'Domhnaill's testimony about Medjugorje, and indeed of anything else he may talk about, is that it is worthless.

Monday, October 15, 2018

considerations of medjugorje

The Necessity Of Discernment

When addressing the possibility that actual messages from the Virgin Mary have been passed on to the purported visionaries at Medjugorje, I am often struck by a curious feature of the available analytics.
At times a reasonless vituperation may prevail either for or against the possibility that the visions are really happening or have really happened.
This vituperation is curious to me because it seems so purposeless.
It leads me to postulate a further consideration.
In any debate or in regard to any issue, we will often find decent people on both sides of the debate.
We may also unfortunately occasionally encounter on any or both sides of an issue, people who willfully serve evil.
They exist too.
And may adopt any position on any side in any discussion or any debate or advocacy or societal activism or religion or campaign.
Their purpose in serving evil in each instance may be chaos for its own sake.
It is a sobering consideration.
We should not be paranoid about such a notion.
The devil likes to appear more powerful than he is.
But we should be aware of the possibility whenever we encounter discussions that have mired in virulent vituperation.
The Medjugorje discussion has often wandered into the realms of quite rabid recrimination.
I wonder how much of it was provoked by those whom the psychologist M Scott Peck deemed the people of the lie.
Let us aspire to a fair minded, honorable, detached, clinical, humble attitude in seeking to discern the truth about Medjugorje.
This need not preclude our ability to speak plainly or to make a measured judgement when warranted.
We shall see what we shall see.