If I knew I was part a grand cover-up and a conspiracy, I would have dressed nicer. Black. Black would have been a good color for a conspiracy, don't you think?
Stephen K. Ryan of MinistryValues.com has accused me and a number of others of being in cahoots to keep the world from knowing about Medjugorje. In a recent article at the site, Ryan makes the following startling claims.
But across the “Pond” in the United States there is a different view of Medjugorje and the gate keepers of Catholic opinion seem to work almost in a conspiratorial manner to quell any interest or trust in Mejdugorje. The who’s who of Catholic opinion makers, journalist and bloggers are eerily similar in their skepticism and condemnation. Two things the opinion makers have in common – 1. They have never been to Medjugorje and 2. They are all men.Now Ryan makes a number of outrageous, silly, and just plain stupid accusations in his ridiculous piece. Let me address a few of them.
Patrick Madrid, Patrick Coffin, Mark Shea, Greg Kandra, Pat & Matthew Archbold, Jim Akin, Kevin Knight at New Advent, and the editors of Catholic Culture and the National Catholic Register.
I speak with some authority on this issue. Perhaps no other reporter of Catholic news in the United States has personally reached out individually via e-mail or phone calls to prominent opinion makers who write about Medjugorje than Ministryvalues.com . What I have found is that they all talk to each other and they all have basically the same reasons for being “against” Medjugorje . They are against Medjugorje because - 1. To them the issue is one of disobedience against the local Bishop who has jurisdiction over Medjugorje and 2. One of the “Seer’s (Ivan) has a nice house and worst of all he married a Massachusetts beauty pageant contestant.
First, he colors me as a skeptic and as one who has condemned Medjugorje. I challenge Mr. Ryan to find one negative thing that I have said about Medjugorje, just one. He will not be able to do it. To the best of my recollection I have mentioned Medjugorje three times. One was a joke during the 2008 election in which I titled a piece "Palin Visits Medjugorje" which of course was not the Alaska Governor but Michael Palin of Monty Python fame. More on that in a moment. The second time I criticized bad reporting about Medjugorje by Reuters. And the third was in a serious context in which I explained the peril for the Church in ruling on Medjugorje one way or the other.
Now 3 times over five years is not a lot, I grant you. But I have written about it. Further, in none of my articles have I said anything critical or supportive of Medjugorje. I generally refrain from writing about it because there is little to be gained by doing so. I have found that most of the Catholics who read me on a regular basis have made up their minds, either pro or con, and anything I say on the matter is likely to be misconstrued and generate much more heat than light. I could not change anyone's mind on the matter even if I had the inclination to do so, which I don't.
What could I possibly add to what has been written and debated about Medjugorje for the last 30 years? Absolutely nothing. So I choose not to write about it. This decision was in part formed from the reaction I got just from posting the joke about Palin and Medjugorje in 2008. I think I got 100 emails just for that. Half accused me of mocking Our Lady by making a joke and the other half accused me of being a Medjugorje promoter for even posting the video. 100 emails just for that and I think I only had about 50 readers then. Like I said, nothing to be gained by giving my opinion on matters I am highly unqualified to judge.
So in all the particulars of that, Mr. Ryan got it wrong. He states that he has personally reached out individually to me and the others. Nope, never happened. He says that we all talk to each other about it. Nope. Never happened. I did speak to Jimmy Akin about the show Fringe once, but that was it. The other reasons he states, the Bishop thing and the beauty queen thing, are equally absurd as I have never said them in my articles or even in a private conversation with anyone. Not once. Never. And then he calls us sexist. Really. Mr. Ryan is either delusional or a liar.
Last but not least, Mr. Ryan emphatically states, since he speaks with some self-proclaimed authority on the matter, that I have never, that none of us have ever been to Medjugorje. How could he possibly know that? Has he filed a freedom of information act request to procure my international travel records? I have been all over the world. How could Mr. Ryan possibly know whether I have ever stopped in Medjugorje to see for myself? Whether or not I have have hiked and prayed on Podbrdo and Križevac. He couldn't.
I ask Mr. Ryan to consider an apology to all those he has accused with absolutely no basis. I also ask Mr. Ryan to consider whether or not bandying about such obvious falsehoods with no regard to facts or evidence helps or hurts his 'authority' in promoting the supposed apparition site to which he is so dedicated?