- Matthew 7:15-20
In the verses above, Jesus explains how to identify false prophets. According to this, the fruit of the prophet should be looked at more closely than the prophet themselves to determine if a they are a true or false prophet. But the application of this principle has been expanded and applied to just about every area of the faith.
It's not uncommon to hear people quote verse 16 ("By their fruits you will know them.") when they are discerning a situation where they find the "tree" troubling. They say something like, "Look at all the good fruit that's coming from of it, it must be OK."
But things begin to get complicated when the tree bears both good and bad fruit. I would say that Medjugorje is this type of tree. No doubt good fruit is present, but there also is bad. And with this type of tree, I think you find two common methods of discernment.
The first method is to argue that a tree cannot be considered a good tree if it bears any bad fruit. I guess you could say the logic here is that a tree like this may not be safe to eat from. And being that there are other trees growing nearby with fruit that has been guaranteed to be good (Fatima, Lourdes, Guadeloupe, etc.), it makes little sense to risk eating from it.
The second method is to basically weigh the good and bad fruit and make a judgement based on the outcome. Here the thinking is that the fruit can be easily separated into good (long confession lines, conversions, reported healings, etc.) and bad (disobedience to the Bishop, rebellious Franciscans, $$$, etc.) piles. And the larger and heavier the good pile is, the more assured they are of the tree being overall, good.
The Church has not made a decision on Medjugorje, so Catholics are free to make their own minds up on the topic.
But I'm curious - How do you see it?
Is it a mistake to reject the good with the bad and possibly throw the baby out with the bath water? Or is it a bigger mistake to overlook the bad for the sake of the good and run the risk of letting the ends justify the means?