Medjugorje Revisted Book Review by Eric Hester

A review of Medjugorje Revisited by Eric Hester in the Catholic Times

When I wrote about this author’s previous book Understanding Medjugorje, I said that if you read only one book on this subject then that was the one. Now I say the same about this book which is, in fact, an update of the previous book. This outstanding new book has all the virtues of its predecessor: it is clear, authoritative, sticks rigidly to Catholic teaching and is full of devotion to Our Blessed Lady.

It is a book for all English Catholics to read. The author patiently and painstakingly goes through all the events of the so-called appearances at Medjugorje. Every reference that he gives is carefully cited and the full backing given. There are, in fact, no less than 693 endnotes. Because they are at the end, the reader can carry on reading the 436 pages but it is reassuring to know how thoroughly everything has been checked. The book also has a useful and comprehensive index and bibliography which includes web references.

As before, Donal Foley has to conclude that the Church, in the local diocese and at Rome, does not support the claims of the apparitions. He reminds us that these claims are now for some tens of thousands of appearances. His tone is that of a detached weighing up of the evidence and he is not unsympathetic to people who claim to have led better lives because of Medjugorje. But quite rightly he will not accept this as any kind of proof.

The key to his approach is his deep devotion to Our Blessed Lady and especially his wish that the authenticated message of Fatima should be more widely known and the devotion of the five first Saturdays practised. Any good Catholic would support him in this.

I hope that this book will be in the libraries of all Catholic schools. Children need to see how the Church approaches claims of vision: how cautious she is, just the opposite of credulous. The children’s real faith will be strengthened and they will benefit from reading the words of St John Bosco, St Catherine Labouré, St Louis de Montfort and others.

The author correctly considered this new book necessary to deal with recent developments over the last five years such as the formation of an International Commission under Cardinal Ruini to investigate Medjugorje and the laicization, and dismissal from the Franciscan Order of, Fr Tomislav Vlasic, a priest intimately associated with Medjugorje in the early days. This new book, though, has all the essential content of the first one and so replaces it. It will be seen as the authoritative account of Medjugorje.

As in my previous review, I finish by hoping that this excellent book will lead to greater devotion to Our Blessed Lady ask for the restoration in our parishes of the crowning of her statue that used to be a feature of the first Sunday of May everywhere? Our Blessed Lady in the country that used to be proud to be called her Dowry. Please can we have our May crowning again? And please can our bishops entrust England to Our Blessed Lady as did their wise predecessors?