OPINIONSrnWonderful Illusionsrnby Fr. Hugh Barbourrn’The remembrance of death, like all other blessings, is a gift of God: otherwise howrnis it that often when we are by the very tombs, we are left tearless and hard?”rn— St. John of the LadderrnThe Medjugorje Deceptionrnby E. Michael JonesrnSouth Bend, IN: VideUty Press;rn385 pp., $19.95rnMore than 20 vears ago, I was counseledrnby an orthodox RomanrnCathoHc professor at UNC-Chapel Hillrnto cool my teenage zeal for ferreting outrnheresies among the higher and lowerrnclerg-. “You will find quite enough troublernwithin the elastic bounds of orthodoxy,rnMr. Barbour,” he wisely told me.rnHe advised me not to worr}’ about the sadrnlegion of the heterodox: They would dornthemselves in —and evervone else a greatrnfavor—even before the magisterium ofrnthe Church got around to the happy task.rnThe real trouble in the Church wouldrnbegin with the bewildered orthodox reactionrnto an almost unbridled heterodoxyrnand heteropraxis. hi those days, Irncould not have imagined how propheticrnhis words were. (Note to those affectedrnby higher criticism: “Prophetic” meansrn”He knew they would come true.”)rnBack in the mid-70’s, there was no organized,rnrobust movement of reaction tornpost-conciliar modernism. To be sure,rnthere were the Wanderer and CUF, butrnthe orthodox household had not yet burgeonedrninto the great mass of colleges,rnnew religious institutes, publishers andrnpublications, movements, etc., which existsrntodav. “The elastic bounds of orthodoxy”rnare stretching wider and wider andrnare ready to snap. Today’s “orthodox”rnRoman Catholic can be an)’thing from arnFr. Hugh Barbour, O. Praem., is thernprior of St. Michael’s Ahhe}’, TrahucornCanyon, California.rn”traditionalist” (and this title includesrnboth the iiniate Lefebvrist and semi-Origenistrnaestheticist), to a neoconservative,rnex-60’s leftist turned Wall Street joumalpersonalist,rnto an intellectually irritable,rnbut resigned, ex-Anglican Thomist, to anrnex-five-point Cal inist biblical apologistrnwho still believes in limited atonement,rnto a slain-in-the-spirit charismatic with arnpending double annulment case. Whenrnone considers that this list is not exhaustive,rnand that its characterizations are notrnadequately disdnct, then the number ofrnpossible combinadons and variadons isrndaundng, e.g., a charismadc mother superiorrnin full-wimpled habit who enjoysrnan occasional Tridendne Mass and nowrnadmires Madeleine Albright since VaclavrnHavel does. (“Thev sav he likes thernHoly Father!” she gushes, which for herrnis an abbreviated syllogism. Mother Enthymenie,rnwe can call her, or “Men” forrnshort.)rnToday’s orthodox Catholics, of paleo-,rnneo-, charismatico-, or whatever stripernare surely as right as right can be aboutrnthe necessity of doctrinal fidelity. Wliatrnthey have not understood, and what hasrnled to the intellectually indigestible sillinessrnof much of what is served up andrnsold as right-believing Catholicism —rnworse, to the much less publicized moralrnfailings of its proponents —is amply, ifrnunevenly, demonstrated in E. MichaelrnJones’ ‘Fhe Medjugorje Deception. In thernMedjugorje movement, my old professor’srnprediction comes true with arnvengeance. Jones has done us all a favorrnin narrating, though not exacdy documenting,rnits fulfillment on a grand scale.rnThe Medjugorje Deception teaches thernreader that it is not enough to be orthodox.rnIt is not enough to be an enthusiastrnfor the papacy, Eucharistic and Marianrndevodon, and the pro-life cau.se to be arnguaranteed channel of grace and truth.rnSince orthodoxy seems so beleagueredrnand rare, and yet so necessary, it can,rnwhen foimd in a robust form, seem like arnmaximum of Catholicity, when it is inrnfact only a mere minimum. Thus the orthodoxrnbeliever begins to take on a certainrnrash confidence in his own judgmentrnduring a time of great confusionrnbecause, in comparison to the spiritualrndesert around him (usually identifiedrnwith the local chancery office or majorrnseminary), he has an abundance. He becomesrnamazingly self-assured in fieldsrnwhere previously all lay and most clericalrnangels feared to tread, e.g., the outerrnreaches of extraordinary mystical phenomena,rnthe theological significance ofrn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn