The Medjugorje Deception: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives Paperback – 1 Jan 1998
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About the Author
E. Michael Jones is a magazine editor, lecturer, and writer, and has been a leading social critic for over two decades. He has written over a dozen books, including "Degenerate Moderns, Monsters From the Id," and "The Slaughter of Cities. "Igor R. Shafarevich is a Russian mathematician and is the author of "The Socialist Phenomenon" and "The Three Thousand Year Old Mystery."
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The book is very thorough, almost panoramic. It begins by rooting the Medjugorje phenomenon in Bosnian history, Church history and the conditions in the town of Medjugorje during the 1970's. It then discusses the events of June 1981, the earliest apparitions and how the Franciscans became involved. It goes on to cover the worldwide Medjugorje movement and many of the questionable characters involved in or tangentally related to it. The stories of couples and families torn apart by false seers and manipulative members of the movement are positively heartbreaking, even terrifying.
The writing style is uneven; Jones has some interesting little "catch phrases" which he repeats over and over again throughout the book. For instance, regarding how the war in Bosnia effected pilgrimages to Medjugorje, he is fond of saying that the pilgrims were left "all dressed up with no place to go". So fond, in fact, that he repeats that phrase about three or four times throughout the book! It was cute the first time, but pretty soon gets tiresome.
He does the same with a few other phrases, giving the impression that this book may have been compiled from disparate works written over time. That could account for the repetition. IMHO, a writer should be careful not to repeat himself like that, since his readers will find it tiresome.
My copy of the book contains numerous typos; of course, I purchased the first edition, so he may have corrected it since (I think he has changed the title as well). The typos give the further impression that the book was released quickly, without sufficient proofreading.
I also wish Jones would have presented all the events of June 1981 a bit more systematically - day by day, hour by hour - so I could see how the Medjugorje phenomenon developed in the very beginning. I found that chapter a bit scatter-shot, though it did contain much information I had never heard before.
A reveiwer below cited the "guilt by association". Yes, Jones is guilty of that in this book. He goes to great lengths toward the end showing the problems with aspects of the Medjugorje movement: false seers, shady characters, cultlike manipulation, broken families, mishandling of donations, etc. etc. While this is all horrific and disturbing, it does not *in itself* prove that Medjugorje is false. Questionable characters have attached themselves to valid Marian apparitions (Fr. Gruner and Fatima, for instance), and false religious movements have grown from them as well (the Apostles of Infinite Love in Canada claim to be following the instructions of Our Lady of LaSalette). But that does not invalidate these apparitions.
I do not believe that Medjugorje is a valid apparition, but IMHO the corruption in elements of the Medjugorje movement could well be quite separate from the falsehood of the apparition itself. I say that *after* reading this book; I don't think Jones quite succeeded in proving a connection between the two. Guilt by association is not always convincing.
Even though the connection is not clear, this book still presents enough damaging evidence against the apparition itself to convince an orthodox Catholic that Medjugorje is false, provided they are not already partial to the apparition. I have read books both pro and con, and this one is by far the most thorough and convincing, even despite the rambling, repetition and "guilt by association".
One last thing; I did not appreciate how Jones characterized Pope John Paul II as an "apparitions nut". I believe he was quoting someone else who said that, but he could have printed a disclaimer had he disagreed, and he did not print one. A little respect for the Holy Father, please!
Anyway, I recommend the book to anyone who is really interested in the aspects of the Medjugorje phenomenon which supporters will not present. But try to pace yourself when reading it; there's a lot of meat in this book, so give yourself time to chew on and digest it all! And be prepared for some heartbreaking stories of broken marriages and cultic manipulation. This book may well change the way you think about Marian apparitions. If its cautionary tales keep people from credulous acceptance of every self-proclaimed "seer" who comes along, it will have accomplished much.
As someone who is acquainted with many people who have suffered deeply from the cult-like nature of Medjugorje (broken families, suicides, and lost faith), I found it refreshing to find confirmation for what I already know: Medjugorje is a creation of evil, designed to divide and conquer the pious. As Fr. Philip Pavich says on p. 351, "If I were Satan, this is how I would get at the pious. Take something that is not only not on the level of divine revelation, but a lie as well, and then get all these pious people to promote it to the status of a divine oracle, and then get them to clobber the fellow who disagrees, even the bishop, get these seemingly pious people to offend against charity by attacking anyone who wants to preserve the integrity of divine revelation. The devil gets the pious to tell anyone who disagrees with them, 'You're doing Satan's work by opposing me.' This is the essence of schism." How true! This is the heart of the Medjugorje phenomenon, with all the characteristics of a true cult. There is very simply no other explanation for how people who fast and pray can accept the lies being propagated by the so-called visionaries. Medjugorje people are an entity unto themselves, and their very insistence that one must believe in these messages to be saved is a contradiction of Jesus' good news of salvation.
E. Michael Jones, far from being an "irresponsible journalist," is the most responsible kind there is. He is someone who has the courage to oppose the status quo by presenting a true, although unpopular, exposition of the corruption behind one of the most far-reaching and destructive religious events in history. It is not surprising that he has suffered as a consequence, and that there are so few on his side. It is not possible to oppose the forces of evil without suffering the consequences, evidenced by the continued loyalty of the visionaries to an apparition that they by now know is evil. I applaud E. Michael Jones for his incredible courage. Those who care about eternal life rather than the fleeting pleasures of this world would do well to listen to the truth.
In 1997 one of the "visionaries" claimed in 2000 there would be a public vision for "all the world to see". 2000 came and went.
These men and women are no longer children. And I find myself curious as to where all the money that these "visions" has generated has gone.
These men and women say good things and inspire people to turn to the Lord. It's possible the Blessed Mother appeared to them as children. But unfortunately over 25 years it becomes very difficult to keep the story straight.
I thank Mr. Jones for staying on top of this all these years and working to make sure that the unanswered questions and contradictions see the light of day.
Regrettably, when the new bishop took over the diocese in 2013, another ad appeared in the paper for a "conference" in South Bend (a/k/a "Notre Dame") again. I don't know to what extent the new bishop was informed about the Medjugorge fraud, then or now, nor how this surfaced yet again, in spite of the authoritative rejection of the apparition by the bishop of Mostar. However, I trust that in all due episcopal mutual respect it won't be happening again.
Catholics who are still taken in by this fraud need to read this book. Catholics that were turned off to the faith by the phony apparition and its assorted sideshows need to read this book. It's a shame that so many people have been mislead by this transparent fake. It's also a shame the misery it has caused many families. As person of partly Greek ancestry, who is Roman Catholic, it pains me greatly that this fraud has harmed both relations between Serbs and Croatians, and also between Orthodox and Catholics.
Thanks to Mike Jones for travelling to Croatia, finding out the truth, and bravely telling it back here in the place where it was needed as much as anywhere. Thanks for educating people about how local matters are handled by local bishops, and showing how in the age of global telecom and travel, the voice of a local bishop can be lost in the din of electronic promotions. Thanks for demonstrating the eventual reasonableness of the Catholic Church and how over the long haul it can triumph over irrationality even when it bubbles up from the inside.
Now, for the liars and fools who would come on here and still pretend this thing was not a fake, simply google the "bishop of mostar website" and the pronouncement may be easily found. End of story.
Because Medjugorje is so scandalous, I decided to read this book. My friend, a Catholic who visited the place twice, loaned me her copy.
First, the copious typos make it hard to focus on the text. A proofreader is needed ASAP.
Second, there is a lot of uncalled for attacks on various people. Labelling the seers' families as "somewhat dysfunctional" is unfair. (And even if their families are "somewhat dysfunctional", would such dysfunctions exclude them from having visions.) Calling Pope John Paul II an "apparitions nut" is just so juvenile and random. Yes, the Pope credited Fatima with saving his life after the assassination attempt. But does that make him some sort of fanatic? I don't think so! The author comes down hard on EWTN's Mother Angelica, simply because she promoted Medjugorje in the late 80's and early 90's! EWTN no longer promotes the "apparition", and in fact, its library has a document about the problems with Medjugorje.
The seers are made out to be back-asswards types living in an equally back-assward part of Yugoslavia. Weren't Fatima's Lucia and her two cousins considered "simple"? Lourdes' Bernadette was "simple-minded?" Why pick on the Yugoslavian seers?
Don't think that religious people are the only ones who get insulted. Ronald Reagan is wrapped up in the author's conspiracy theories. Reagan and the Pope worked together to bring down Communism. (Is that such a bad thing? Reagan is hailed as one of the greatest presidents in history precisely because he was able to bring down the Iron Curtain!)
YES, there have been lots of frauds associated with Medjugorje. They are the ones who are doing the deceiving. Is this any fault of the seers? No! It's the fault of the authorities who might be manipulating the seers. And it's the fault of the frauds themselves. I'm glad the author mentioned the problems with Theresa Lopez and Vassula Ryden, esp. Vassula because her "ministry" is still very popular, despite it being unapproved.
The history of Yugoslavia is included, and that was an interesting read.
The author comes down pretty hard on the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and I can't blame him. There's lots of odd stuff in that movement.
Still, I'm glad I didn't purchase this book. It would have been a waste of money. I'm sorry my friend wasted her money on it. You can get the pros and cons of Medjugorje online. I'd recommend doing that, and then waiting for the Vatican's final decision.
BTW, Medjugorje was disapproved by their local bishop sometime in the 80's. That should speak for itself!