Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Witch Hunts Are Back

Actually this is probably not a laughing matter.

Telegraph.co.uk 13/1/2009

The Pope has ordered thorough investigations to be carried out into people who claim they have seen visions of the Virgin Mary. (What happens if they don't want to cooperate with the investigation? Say like people who live in secular democracies and haven't committed any crime?)
He is hoping to cut down on an explosion in the number of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help his bishops to root out frauds. (He'd be better off helping his laity root out bishops who are frauds.)

Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them to distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata, weeping and bleeding statues and Eucharistic miracles.

In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is of divine origin or whether it is demonic.

The guidelines will come in a "vademecum", or handbook, which is in its final stages and will be published soon by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It sets out step-by-step instructions on how Church authorities should deal with claims of such supernatural phenomena. (Can't wait to read this.)

The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into disobedient cults. (This is the operative motive for this modern inquisition. Right after the issue of money.)

When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically.

The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false. (Where have we seen this before?)

The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and to verify whether they are suffering from conditions of a hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.

The third step will be to investigate the person's level of education and to determine if they have had access to material that could be used to falsely support their claims.

The new document will also instruct the bishops to see if the visionaries and their associates stand to gain financially from making their claims. (Ideally, this should be the Vatican's only concern, but recent past history tends to show that those making money on behalf of the Vatican can do or say whatever they want. see Opus Dei, Neochatechumenal Way, Legionnaires of Christ.)

The content of any heavenly messages will also be scrutinised to see if it is harmony with the teachings of the Church. (This clause pretty much precludes any new winds blowing through the Church from the Church Triumphant.)

If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful. (If you're going to accept the fact that Satan could be behind credible mystics, you also have to accept the fact Satan could be behind credible demonologists and exorcists, hiding behind them in order to deceive the Pope and his poor blind bishops.)

The Pope decided to act because instances of private revelations continue to multiply, with new cases reported around the world every year. (And some of these revelations, such as Medjurgorge, are diverting vast sums of money from the Church. The Pilgrimage industry is a significant part of the tourist economy and a lot of priests are lining their bank accounts leading pilgrimages.)
The vast majority of this modern inquisition appears to be aimed at the visionary, when in fact the abuses are propagated by the ever ubiquitous 'spiritual advisor' or clerical hanger on who makes good money involving himself in the process. Spend any time researching Marian visionaries and you can't help but notice the "Father" figure behind the visionary.
The visionaries of Medjugorge will be in for a rough time of it, especially as they are surrounded by a group of Franciscans who have a long history of ignoring the Vatican in favor of their own agenda. That and the fact, Medjugorge is it's own economic force in Croatia assures Medjugurge will be the first in the line of attack. There are others, some of whom I have reported on in the past, that have also devolved into lucrative schemes to bilk the pious. And these too, have had clerics organizing the bilking.
This latest witch hunt will have far less to do with orthodoxy and far more to do with money. If the Church was really serious about this, it would start with the visionaries behind Opus Dei, the Legionnaires, and Kiko Arguello and his crew at Neocatechumenal Way. That won't happen because these groups are instrumental in bringing vast sums of wealth into Vatican coffers, and were started by Spanish fascists who traded personal access to the Vatican for the money they generated.
That's why I found it most interesting that at the same time Benedict is authoring the new witch hunt, Kiko and crew are being lauded at the Vatican.
The money is one reason I viewed Archbishop Burke's fascination with Our Lady of America with a great deal of suspicion. Marian sites bring in big bucks from people who might not necessarily be predisposed to put it in parish or diocesan coffers. Mary is very often perceived to be untainted ground. (Too bad that's not always true in the long term.) By advocating for Our Lady of America, Archbishop Burke has put himself in direct line for some serious cash, no matter what his motives.
On the technical front, it appears the Vatican is essentially taking the ritual and protocol for exorcisms and applying it to mystics. This is precisely the format used in the original inquisition. One is guilty until proven innocent. In other words, this is a system which places the accused totally at the mercy of their accusers, incapable of defending themselves in any meaningful way. Exactly like what the CDF does to theologians. Nice system, but as the Pope is fond of saying, the church is not a democracy.
If the issue really is about stamping out fraud, that's much better left in the realm of secular authority.
I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this latest salvo from Benedict, but here's my last one for today. Any psychiatrist or psychologist who gets involved in this witch hunt should turn in their accreditation. Period.


  1. "The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and to verify whether they are suffering from conditions of a hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.". . .

    Is this one a hoot?. . ."psychiatrists atheists" i would say this one is a oxymoron. . .

    and "delusions of leadership"????. . . .i would say this one is a stellar example of projection. . .

    the old dinosaurs are really in a buckle these days from so many areas. . .maybe this is where we are going to replenish the oil reserves. . .mercy!

    this does look like the strategy of the tragic past, but the Vatican Catholic Church no longer has the authority and power to stamp out the unique and divine varieties of religious experiences heralding in the world through the direct and personal relationship with the Sacred. . .

    i both laugh and cry with the injunction; "The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false."

    In modern day this is a bit like the group of wealthy men that gathered the financial resources together to bring law suits against therapist and formed the "False Memory Syndrome"?. . . ( the False Memory Syndrome funded fifty lawsuits for a period of five years in order to put fear into therapist so they would banish working with the feminine psyche and its indepth exploration of suppression by the spirit of domination. . . I wonder if a new psychiatric diagnosis will come out of this one?. . ."False Mary Syndrome"?. . .

    Always goes back to the fear of and the power maneuvers to subjugate the expression of the feminine. . .

    Also this don't tell. . .How many examples do we have of Jesus telling those he healed and experienced a direct experience with the Divine;"DO NOT TELL ANYONE"?. . .and what did those people do?. . .They ran and told everyone about Him and the Divine touch. . .

    Why would the Pope believe that if they did not listen to Jesus, why would they listen to him?. . .mercy!

  2. correction. . ."psychiatrists atheists validating Marian vision" i would say this one is a oxymoron. . .

  3. River that's what I thought too. How in the world does an atheist psychiatrist validate a vision of Mary, specifically Mary.

    I do have to state that I have heard of psychiatrists and psychologists who will do or say pretty much anything for the right hourly fee.

    My prediction is this: All the valid visionaries will come from....ta dah......SPAIN!

    I am waiting with breathless anticipation for DSMV so I can learn about 'delusions of leadership'. Maybe we will finally have the definitive diagnosis for GW Bush.

  4. I had just gotten through reading about this crackdown on Marian visionaries on Huffington Post, and thought of emailing to tell you about it.

    Then I logged onto your blog, and you're, as always, a step ahead.

    The money's definitely a big issue here. I imagine Medjugore has brought in huge sums in the past few decades, perhaps even to rival Fatima and Lourdes.

    Isn't it a little bit of delicious irony, though, that the church itself has promoted these same visionaries on whom it's now cracking down? It's the old slap me, hug me attitude of churches. Woo them with hugs. Then slap them when they get uppity.

  5. Bill, that is so interesting what you say here "Isn't it a little bit of delicious irony, though, that the church itself has promoted these same visionaries on whom it's now cracking down? It's the old slap me, hug me attitude of churches. Woo them with hugs. Then slap them when they get uppity."

    This reminds me of something I read about Jackie Gleason. In the fat man post I mention highlights of Gleason's life, but he was also said to be like that and this was written about him "He was a paradox-excessively generous one moment and excessively cruel the next."

  6. Butterfly--fascinating. I don't want to stretch, but wasn't Gleason raised Catholic?

    This seems to me to be a personality profile especially prominent among folks raised in rigid conservative religious groups: hug, slap. Maybe it's because that's the model of relationship the churches themselves (in their right-wing manifestations) hand on to folks.

  7. Bill, I'm not really sure if he was raised Catholic or not. The behavior from some Catholics that I know in my own family is not dissimilar to Jackie's however. And our friends and foes who have no compulsion to even begin to contemplate their own behavior, but do carry on about the behavior of others, is noteworthy.

    The affects of such psychological thrashing about of embracing one to disgracing one are an example I believe of self-hatred. It is certainly not how Christ behaved, nor is it a sign of Christ.

  8. It's also about the dynamics of anger/guilt.

    We raise our children to be generous, "let other's play with your ball", be polite and respectful, honor your elders, etc etc etc.

    Then as adults we are expected to be competitive, driven to selfish consumerism, and authoritative in order to be considered successful.

    No wonder people vacillate between anger and guilt, hugs and slaps. Their brains are essentially cross wired, having been entrained in one method of survival and then being expected to dump that cooperative model for the competitive adult model.

    Except if your a woman. Then your expected to be competitive in the sexual market until you get married. Then you have to become cooperative again. Hence, many issues in marriage between hugging and slapping. It's traditional.

  9. On a slightly different note, I've been thinking about what you wrote in one of the paragraphs ...

    Do you suppose ...

    that Opus Dei, Neochatechumenal Way, Legionnaires of Christ are modern versions of the SS, Ghestapo and Brown shirts?

    that gays are the modern version of the jews?

  10. Carl, there are historians who think Himmler based the SS on the Jesuits. There's nothing new going on with the preferred status of Opus Dei, The Neocats, or the Legionares, or for that matter all the secrecy.

    This is all old old energy, so yea I guess you could draw parallels, but you could draw the same parallels for Free Masonry in democracies. It's all the same stuff and it's effective usefullness is waning. Thank God.

  11. Yes, it is all the old energy, the low vibration. After reading your response I sat with the question of why I keep going back to the nazi and pharisee analogies. This morning I woke up realizing that when we use the term "old energy", light bulbs go on for some, and turn off for others. The nazi and pharisee analogies are a way to communicate the concept to those who turn off on "energy".