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Marian Trinkets and Apparitions

Apparitions of the Blessed Mother, or BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) have been interpreted in many ways. Naturally depending on one’s world view and spiritual/religious beliefs, these appearances are taken to be literal religious events. Or, they are considered bunk, mental aberrations, mass hysteria, if you’re a Randi-bot. Some think of them as paranormal events. I’m in the latter camp. Some consider them to be within the religious category, but not as a benign, loving entity but the reverse side; of the devil. Satanic. Apparitions, yes, but ones sent to deceive.

The Catholic Church has both embraced and rejected Marian Apparitions. In the case of the ongoing appearances of "Mary" at Medjugorje , the Catholic Church has consistently dismissed them. They’ve done their best to discourage Catholics from accepting the apparitions as authentic. (Of course the question looms: authentic what?) They have not come out to bless these appearances, and have come down very hard on priests who insist these apparitions are divine. The most recent of these attacks on Medjugorje comes from "former Vatican exorcist" Bishop Andrea Gemma, who calls the apparitions "work of the devil . . . diabolical deceit".Gemma attacks the decades long appearances at Medjugorje for being vulgar:

"In Medjugorje everything happens in function of money: Pilgrimages, lodging houses, sale of trinkets. . This whole sham is the work of the Devil. It is a scandal."

And then he says something scary; that the Vatican will "crack down" on the whole thing. The Church has banned pilgrimages to the site, but of course the journeys continue.

While the Church picks and chooses which Marian apparitions are to be believed, they have no problem in coming out with the statement that ET is real. Cool, but kind of contradictory. (Monsignor Corrado Balducci, who is one of the governing bodies with the Vatican, has come forth to say that there is nothing demonic about ET.)

What to make of all this? The purpose of this piece isn’t to delve deeply into all the academic, historical religious and philosophical aspects of Marian Apparitions and Catholic mysticism. Hell, I’m not even Catholic. Yet I have a deep interest in Marian Apparitions, for many reasons; one being I’m a paranormal junkie. While not a Catholic, I was raised as one. Kind of, sort of. Actually, I’m Jewish, but grew up in a mixed family; many who were Mexican with a strong Catholic tradition. So off to Catholic school I went. I rejected Christianly when I was eleven, but many aspects of Roman Catholic culture have stayed with me.

So, why does the Catholic Church have such interesting, contradictory contrasts? Money. Power. Control. Simple really, and no different than other systems, be they religious, scientific, academic, or governmental. Keep factions at odds with each other, approve one thing even while denying another, make accusations of money while cheating, stealing and making your own. Control the masses any way you can. Confuse them with tales of extraterrestrials being real, while calling other esoteric encounters hysteria, or fantasy. The point is, the ones in power get to decide who says what is real, not the people.

Maybe some of this has to do with the folk getting too uppity. The "seers" of Medjugorje are said to all be doing well for themselves:

Today, the seers own smart houses with security gates and tennis courts and expensive cars. One is married to a former US beauty queen.

Apparently this is proof that Satan is involved.

I suspect there’s some within the powers that be in the Church that go beyond the old power and control set-up; they know that Marian Apparitions are not literal events within the context of religious doctrine.

So are glow in the dark virgin Marys less crass than the "trinkets" sold at Lourdes or Medjugorje? Or this:

The church struck a decidedly modern licensing deal with a jewelry company to manufacture gold- and silver-plated re-creations of the Vatican Library's jewelry collection, to be sold exclusively at Macy’s for between $12 and $75. (They did reject selling Pope on a rope however.)

I remember shilling for school funds by selling magazine subscriptions; when I was eight years old; the prize for most sold was a large blue and white plastic Mary. Plug her into the wall and she gave off a pinky yellowish aura. Approved of by the church, or at least by my parish, it was in good taste.


Medjugorje "work of the devil": Ex Vatican exorcist

Lysandra Ohrstrom : From Vatican Visors to the 'Popewich,' Merchants Roll Out Papal Kitsch

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