Led by charismatic preachers and self-proclaimed prophets, African churches are swelling with promises of miracle healings, signs, and wonders. But in recent months, governments across the continent are trying to rein in these churches.
To Roman Catholic officialdom, it’s unclear whether the Virgin Mary appeared to Ivan Dragicevic and five others 34 years ago in a Bosnian village.
What is clear is that Dragicevic won’t be appearing Wednesday to speak in St. Charles, as some had hoped.
Earlier this month, Archbishop Robert Carlson addressed a memo to priests and deacons in the archdiocese:
“I have received a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to remind everyone that they are not to participate in events that promote the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje and in particular Mr. Ivan Dragicevic.”
Prior to the March 3 memo, Dragicevic had been scheduled to speak in St. Charles’ Lindenwood University, about 25 miles from St. Louis.
Dragicevic is one of six who claim the Virgin Mary appeared and spoke to him in 1981 in Medjugorje, a town situated in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia.
In 2010, the book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, was released. At the time, I believe I gave this news about 0.3 percent of my attention, and 0.1 percent was spent lamenting terrible theology prevalent in the popular Christian book market.
I don’t believe we die and are snatched up to heaven, but that is subject for another post — or better yet, go read N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope. Another 0.1 percent of my energies went toward flinching and cringing at the way this boy was IMO being exploited for book sales. In hindsight, I should have spent more time praying for him and his mother, whose cries for truth has been silenced by the powerful machine of the publishing industry. The last 0.1 percent was energy exerted to shaking my head at the allure of sensationalism — enough to shift millions of books and a movie deal.
It came as no surprise when last week The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven retracted his story.
New Jersey is often dismissed as a cultural wasteland of traffic jams and suburban sprawl, mobster graveyards and lost dreams — source material for native son rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
But soon the state may also be known as home of the latest American saint, a Bayonne-born nun who is to be beatified in Newark next month.
The beatification of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who died in 1927 at the age of 26, puts her one step away from formal canonization.
If Demjanovich does make the final hurdle, she would become just the second person born in the U.S. ever to be named a saint, and it would give New Jersey something to brag about — albeit humbly, no doubt.
It’s almost a year since Pope Francis was chosen as Benedict XVI’s successor. The Argentinian-born pontiff has quickly achieved global fame for his numerous statements indicating that significant changes may be coming to the Roman Catholic Church.
One possible change emerged last month when London’s Sunday Times reported that Francis wants to make public the Vatican’s archives of Pius XII’s pontificate. Eugenio Pacelli became pope in 1939 and served as pontiff during the period of World War II and the Holocaust until his death in 1958.
According to the British newspaper, Francis wants to release the Pius XII papers for study before determining whether to consider his controversial predecessor for sainthood. Francis has already “fast-tracked” the path to sainthood for John XXIII and John Paul II, but not Pius XII.
Vatican theologians have given their approval to a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Paul VI, moving him a step closer to sainthood.
The team of medical professionals and doctors that advise the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints already had approved the same miracle in December. Now that a panel of theologians has signed off, the miracle only requires a review by Pope Francis to be considered official.
When that happens, Paul will be beatified — the final step before sainthood. A second miracle is typically required for canonization.