Saturday, December 29, 2012

A word of caution about "news" from pro-Medjugorje sites

I've posted on this before, but I've cleaned it up some so it is easier to follow. 

One thing I have learned about "news" on Medjugorje from pro-Medjugorje sites is that there is selective reporting and some sources take liberties with the words of Church officials.  Below is one of the most offensive examples. It is found on the site of, which is considered the official site of the phenomenon and copied into many english language websites and blogs. A March 2010 interview with the then Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, broadcast by Radio Mir at the end of the 48th session of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was twisted beyond belief.

To show you what lengths propagandists will go to, I give you two points from that interview which I have broken into separate paragraphs for easier comparison.  First, I give the official Croatian by the BiH Bishops Conference, followed by a nearly literal translation of that version by Fr. Philip Pavic, OFM (who was a translator in Medjugorje for the better part of a decade). The third thing offered will be what passed along to english language readers. Emphasis is mine in bold.

Croatian from BiH Bishops Conference:
Iz osobnoga iskustva, svakoga puta kada sam susreo Svetoga Oca imao je veliko zanimanje za pitanje Međugorja, pitanje u koje je upućen od samoga početka kada je bio prefekt Kongregacije za nauk vjere. Radi se o pitanju za koje on osjeća odgovornost kao vrhovni poglavar Crkve da izrekne jasnu poruku.  
Fr. Philip Pavich, OFM translation: 
From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message. 

Note, that among other things, the word "question" (pitanje/pitanju in the Croatian) is missing in three places (emboldened above) in this first paragraph.

“Whenever I would meet Holy Father, he was always very much interested in Medjugorje. He was involved in everything, starting with the time when he was Head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is aware that this is the issue of special importance, and he, as supreme authority of the Church, needs to give his precise statement about that matter. 

How the second point is dealt with is just as curious. Here is the Croatian from the BiH Bishops' Conference site. Note the grammatical period dividing the last two sentences.
Sveti Otac osobno dobro poznaje i to mi je više puta rekao – dobro poznaje cijeli fenomen. Zna za velika dobra koje se čine na ovome području od strane svećenika, redovnika, franjevaca, laika. A druge strane pita se kako dolaze tako suprotstavljene informacije o tome fenomenu. 
Here is the translation by Fr. Pavich:
The Holy Father personally knows it very well and he has told me that several times - he is well acquainted with the whole phenomenon. He knows about the great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon.

Here is the distortion by  At the end of the second paragraph, they insert a conjunctive adverb "therefore" that does not exist in the original. This helps to change the meaning at the end of the paragraph.  The translation ultimately misleads people into thinking the Holy Father can't understand how so many people could be against Medjugorje.
Holy Father is very much familiar with Medjugorje phenomenon; he even mentioned that to me personally. He is aware of huge amount of positive and good influence of local priests, religious, Franciscans, lay people, and therefore, it is very difficult for him to perceive that there can be so many opposing information about the same matter

I am perplexed as to why a website, which is supposedly lending support to visionaries who claim to be seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary - a woman pure and inviolate - would resort to offering such untruths regarding the words of the Pope's representative to that country. I wrote to them in 2010 requesting they get their text in harmony with the official version released on the site of the BiH Bishops Conference, but my email was never acknowledged.  I did, however, receive some emails which threatened to release slander about me. To my knowledge that never came to pass, but nothing would surprise me at this point.  I doubt the Blessed Virgin Mary would be pleased with such tactics, but for some, the ends justifies the means and Medjugorje should be protected at all costs.

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