Not so much.
I don't disbelieve them, Medjugorje, stigmatics, [is that the word?] intermittently liquefying blood, the Virgin Mary visiting Long Island.... but I am agnostic.
But an agnostic, or at least a thinking agnostic, by very definition is open to being convinced, and perhaps even, sometimes, eager to be convinced - at least one way or the other.
Has the Blessed Mother been appearing to two men in Illinois?
One might ask why would she? but might just as well ask why not?
In any case, Bishop Paprocki is just the man to depend on in determining the truth of the matter.
"I could hear a voice coming from outside me. It was a pleading voice from a very young girl. There was authority in her voice, even though it was very mild.”One might find the fact that the apparitions began after a pilgrimage to the location of another reputed Marian apparition makes them suspect, inspired by the power of suggestion, but what if we look at it another way?
...[Two] former Ashland residents who now live in Springfield, said they have been receiving visions of and messages from Mary — communications they recently turned over to Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese for a commission to review.
Parsons-Heather and Roth said they have experienced visions, miraculous phenomenon, apparitions, prophetic knowledge and daily conversations with the Virgin Mary since February 1991.
“After the initial shock, she began teaching us about moral truth and what kind of people Jesus wishes us to become,” Roth said. “I don’t see mystical phenomena or miracles, per se, as something extraordinary or rare anymore. They accompany our faith. Many beautiful spiritual gifts become part of anyone’s life when we are consecrated in obedience to Jesus through his mother’s guidance.”
...“The purpose of the commission is to study the body of literature concerning what is referred to as the ‘Morning Star Over America’ in accord with the ‘Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations,’ in order to express a judgment regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merits,” Paprocki said. “I would advise people to do nothing with the published ‘Morning Star Over America’ works until the commission yields a response.
“This is the only such request for the establishment of a commission to examine private revelations that I have had during my tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, which began in June 2010."
... In 1989, [one of the men] received a book about Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, and that inspired him to visit the holy site.
“It was probably the most profound experience of my life up to that time,” Roth said. “I had grown up being taught about our Holy Mother’s appearances at Fatima and Lourdes, and it struck me that it was happening right now, and I thought that we were very, very blessed to have an event like that happening.
“What I saw was the truth through the faith of the visionaries at Medjugorje. I became convinced that the power to change the world was through the Virgin Mary’s miraculous intercession. I knew it was the gift that the world had been waiting for.”
What if we acknowledge the possibility that such things have happened over, and over again, are happening even now, are occurring constantly, to each and every human creature, if only he opens the eyes of his soul, the ears of his heart to recognize it?
It occurs to me that I may have been the potential recipient of mystical communication but having given it no thought, failed to so much as notice it.
Birders know that it takes practice and knowledge and awareness to take in all the sightings one could make.
I remember when I was involved in a wedding being planned, being shocked at how many gracious homes with charming gazebos in beautiful gardens there suddenly seemed to be.
Had they not been there before?
Had they sprung up overnight?
Do I think they weren't really there and I only thought I saw them through the power of suggestion?