Vienna Cardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn arrived to Medjugorje on his private visit on Monday, December 28, and he will stay here for couple of days. Cardinal, amongst other things, wants to visit Cenacolo, the community of former drug addicts and their house in Medjugorje, since one of their houses exists in Austria as well. He emphasised that he, above other things wants to be person who prays in this famous place of prayer.
Cardinal Schonborn (1945) from 1975 to 1991 is professor of Dogmatic Theology and Theology of Christian East in Freiburg, Switzerland, and from 1987 to 1992 he was selected to serve as the Editing Secretary for the pontifical commission charged with drafting the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. In 1991 Schönborn was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna, and from 1995 he is the Archbishop of Vienna. In 1998 he was appointed as Cardinal and elected as president of Austrian Bishop’s Conference. Today, Cardinal Schonborn is one of the most eminent experts for theology of Christian East, and member of Vatican Congregation on the Doctrine of Faith.
As it was already announced, Cardinal Dr. Christopher Schonborn came to Medjugorje on Monday, December 28, 2009 in his private visit and stayed until January 2, 2010. During his stay in Medjugorje, he gave couple of statements to the press members. In his conversation with Max Domej, representative of Austrian media, when asked what has made him come to Medjugorje, amongst other things said: “I know about Medjugorje for many years, not personally because I have never been here before, but in our Diocese and even farer, I do experience fruits of Medjugorje. I always use to say what Jesus has said in the Gospel: “You will recognise the tree by its fruits.” When I see the fruits of Medjugorje back at home I can only say that the tree is surely good.
Speaking, furthermore, about Medjugorje in the Church, Cardinal added: “Supreme authority in the Church is Holy See, Holy Father and his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and that is the highest authority in all of the issues of faith and morality. Supreme authority of the Church gave us clear guidelines, not directly from Holy Father himself, but from Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith that had clearly confirmed what once bishops from Yugoslavia said, and that doubtlessly is applicable in Medjugorje. I have always repeated that, those texts are very much known, there are three elements that are valid still today, and I can place my visit to Medjugorje within those guidelines. In that sense, my visit is not something that is unusual at all. Holy See, in accordance with the Statement of Bishops from 1991, says the following:
First: Non constat de supernaturalitatae. That is the expression that is rarely used, and means that supernaturality of the events has not been confirmed, and that is classical formulation of the church doctrine. It is not said that supernaturality was excluded, but has not, or still is not finally confirmed, and all because of one simple reason that I fully support. I am the member of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, and it is understandable that I support that, if we were to discuss it. Namely, as long as the phenomenon is still ongoing, it is normal that final decision of the Church is not going to take place yet, because something like that was never done in the past before. Both in Lourdes and Fatima the events first ceased and than Church had its decision about that. Its final decision. Sooner or later that will take place here as well, but in this case we let Mother of God with freedom of choice.
Second, no official pilgrimages are to be organised, which means that I can not organise pilgrimage of my diocese to Medjugorje. That is logically related to what was mentioned in the previous point. So, there is no official recognition yet, but in that formulation it is also said that supernaturality is not excluded. Church has clearly said it is not excluded. It is not confirmed, but it is not excluded.
Third thing that church doctrine clearly states is, also in accordance to statement of Yugoslavian Bishops, that the faithful journeying to Medjugorje require attention and pastoral care. That means that indeed pastoral care of pilgrims needs to exist, and that is the matter that many are trying to serve, Gebesaktion Wien, amongst others, who take care of pilgrims, follow them and help them even after pilgrimages. I think that in that way, Medjugorje can continue well on their journey, with full trust that Church, Mother and Teacher, in this case, is going to continue to monitor their journey. I would advise for patience. Mother of God is so patient with us that for nearly 29 years here, in a very direct way, She is showing Her vicinity and care for parish of Medjugorje and numerous pilgrims. We can peacefully wait and have patience! Twenty nine years is a long period of time for us, but not such a long period to our God!”
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