Fr. René Laurentin
Fr. René Laurentin is well known for his promotion of Medjugorje and for his investigations into the widespread apparitions of Our Lady throughout the world in recent years. He has written many definitive works on Church life, the Second Vatican Council and Marian theology. The following is taken from ‘When God gives a Sign’ a response to objections made against Vassula and published in 1993 by Trinitas in the United States (see sources of the books)
Vassula is one of the most balanced and transparent seers that I know. I would even be tempted to say that she is, in a most satisfying way, more normal, more balanced than most others. Nevertheless, she has excited more opposition than any other. Why? Is it because she is Orthodox? A woman? Remarried? Is it the extent of her influence such to make one fear that the fruits of her activity give rise to persecutions from Satan? It is difficult to measure the role of each of these factors as well as several others.
Vassula is Orthodox, thus it is presumed that she is certainly a heretic. The Orthodox are separated from the Catholics by a schism, not by a heresy. They acknowledge all the dogmas before the separation of 1054. That leaves the Pope and the Immaculate Conception. The latter comes to us from their oriental tradition, but it is now rejected by most due to the papal definition. In these two points, Vassula adheres fully to the Catholic doctrine, and that creates a problem for certain Orthodox people. An Orthodox theologian who had been invited to write a preface for her messages declined the invitation, saying: “It is too Catholic.” Vassula’s ecumenism is not minimal; it is whole.
Another prejudice: She is a woman who speaks of theology. That is still not accepted by all. She is of Greek origin. She comes from another culture. That causes misunderstanding for others.
She is divorced and remarried. That seems to be the biggest problem. In fact, her marital status today is perfectly in order. She was married in church to a Protestant (1966) at a time when she was not practicing any religion. After a civil divorce (1980) she was remarried on June 13, 1981. She thought, at the time, that it was a Protestant ceremony according to her husband’s religion, but, in fact, it was a civil marriage. Only a nominal Christian, without contact with her Orthodox Church, she did not even know that her remarriage could be the source of problems. When she presented herself to her church to regularize her marriage, the first priest to whom she spoke could not even seem to feel that there was a problem since it was a mixed marriage. But she insisted, in order to be truly in accord with Orthodox legislation. It was then that she was referred to the priest in charge of marriage problems, and it was he who took care of the matter following the “law of economy” that deals with broken marriages in her church. The marriage was celebrated on October 13, 1990, in the Greek Orthodox Church of Lausanne. Thus, according to church law her situation presents no problems.
One might ask, but why did Christ not begin by asking her to straighten out this matter? It is because he has led her progressively, like a teacher, as he has done since the Old Testament. He did not ask Abraham and the Patriarchs to give up their polygamy. It was a tolerance that gradually disappeared by the spiritual progress of revelation. It was thus that Vassula gradually re-entered her church and took on values of Catholic teaching, including the Sacred Heart, the Pope and purgatory.