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    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Medjugorje... forget it


    Marian expert Donal Foley, in his new book, "Understanding Medjugorje," reviews the public evidence, particularly from the early days of the reported visions, and says that, "sadly, the only rational conclusion about Medjugorje is that it has turned out to be a vast, if captivating, religious illusion."

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    In a phone interview, Foley listed several factors that make him dubious: contradictions over how long the apparitions would continue, the excess number of messages, their questionable and sometimes "silly" content, excess focus on inexplicable "signs," and the credulous local culture in Medjugorje.

    Foley said it was obvious that some Medjugorje pilgrims have experienced spiritual awakening. But he said part of this could be attributed to a "charismatic element that grabs people's emotions."

    Another factor, he said, is that Medjugorje may appeal to Catholics confused by changes after the Second Vatican Council. "It's a sad reality that some people have had to go to Medjugorje to get priests who were enthusiastic about confession, and to get the things they used to be able to get in the church in the West," he said.

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