The image shows pilgrims on a trek up to “Apparition Hill” outside Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. What brings them, and why are they worshipping a statue of Mary?
From a front page article in today’s secularist Washington Post, the basics:
People have been coming to this rocky slope since June 24, 1981, when six children said the Virgin Mary appeared to them here. The crowds have grown so rapidly that an estimated 1 million people will visit this year, part of a global surge in spiritual travel.
The WaPo article deals not just with these Catholic pilgrims, but with those of other faiths to other holy sites. Well, color me skeptical.
As Christians, we are to look to Mary as the best example of motherhood, and one of the best examples of taking God at His word, when the societal consequences could have meant her very life. But to make a pilgrimage because some children thought they saw an apparition of Mary? I don’t think so.
This is in the same category as worshiping a bone from some saint. To kneel before a statue of Mary, who was a wonderful woman, but not a deity, well, there’s a proper name for this: idolatry.
I’m not Catholic-bashing; used to be one, and I still love the Church. But I never, ever, accepted this cheap piety of bowing before a plaster statue. Catholics, including myself, bow before the Real Presence of our Lord in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. That’s a manifestation of God’s only Son, equally God, before whom every knee shall bow.
But a statue of Mary? No.