We've seen the problems with his inordinate fascination with Adrienne von Speyr, not to mention his overweening aestheticism, and quasi-universalism. And now here comes a post by Daniel Klimek on the mysticism of von Balthasar and his fascination with Medjugorje. Read the whole thing and be edified. Here's an excerpt:
Theologically von Balthasar had much in common with Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, being a champion of Christian orthodoxy. As MinistryValues has observed in a previous article, John Paul II, like von Balthasar, was also infatuated with Medjugorje. Von Balthasar, however, did not only comment on the subject in his expertise as a Catholic theologian but also in his role as archbishop. Noticing the fruits of faith in Medjugorje, he strongly defended the visionaries and the apparitions against unsubstantiated attacks.Objective facts, anyone? Ex opere operato? The real world out side of Lewis Carroll's rabbit hole?
When Bishop Paveo Zanic, who had a notorious reputation for hostility toward the visionaries and devotions of Medjugorje, issued a letter condemning the site and attacking the visionaries, Archbishop von Balthasar responded with his own letter to Zanic. He wrote:
“What a simply sad document you have dispatched throughout the world! I was deeply hurt to see the office of Bishop degraded in this fashion. Instead of having patience as You were advised by Your superiors, You thunder and hurl jupiter’s arrows, blackening renowned and innocent people, worthy of Your respect and protection. You repeatedly come up with accusations which have been proven untrue a hundred times over.”
A couple of such accusations included Bishop Zanic’s claim that the Medjugorje visionaries are guilty of fraud and hysteria. Even Archbishop Frane Franic of Split noted that such erroneous accusations ignored the findings of separate teams of Yugoslav, French, and Italian doctors who thoroughly examined the visionaries, in ecstasy, and found no evidence of fraud or hysteria whatsoever.
Balthasar’s love for the mysticism of Medjugorje, and his confidence in the truth of Our Lady’s messages reported there, were abundant. He always had a spiritual inclination toward the mystical. Among the things he was most known for, in addition to his esteemed role as theologian and Archbishop, was directing the conversion of the Swiss mystic Adrienne von Speyr into the Catholic Church. Speyr, a medical doctor, wife, and the author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology, grew up in a Reformed Protestant family before her spiritual life led her to Roman Catholicism. In the tradition of Teresa of Avila and Simone Weil, she experienced profound spiritual phenomena throughout her life, including mystical experiences of the Trinity and the saints. In 1940 she was introduced to Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, then a young Jesuit priest. Von Balthasar became her friend and spiritual director, to whom von Speyr dictated a total of 69 of her books while in a state of mystical prayer. Von Balthasar would pay homage to his friend and spiritual student, by publishing, among his numerous books, the biography First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr, a detailed introduction of her life, theology, and work. Interestingly, even as a young priest, von Balthasar’s sense of the mystical was important in discerning the fruits and messages of God’s supernatural graces.
[Hat tip to G.M.]