By the Bishops of Tuscany
During the "ad limina Apostolorum” visit of Bishops of the Region of Tuscany, from April 16-20, 2007 we had a meeting at the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the Secretary Monsignor Angelo Amato, who, while talking with us about the apparitions of Medjugorje, invited us to make public the homily of the Bishop of Mostar of June 15, 2006 given at St. James Parish in Medjugorje (see below), to make clear the religious phenomenon connected to this place.
By Edward Pentin
The Vatican is denying reports that a Vatican commission studying the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje will release its findings by the end of this year.
In comments to the Register today, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the speculation was “not true” and that the commission’s findings will take longer.
By: Glenn Dallaire
(Before I begin this article I would like to emphatically state that I remain neutral in what concerns the alleged apparitions of Medjugorge. In seeking to obey the Church, while at the same time awaiting the definitive judgment by the Vatican, I do recognise and give assent to the local Bishops opposition to the apparitions, and I also give assent to the 1991 "Zadar" decision from the Commission formed by the Yugoslavian Bishops conference which concluded "non constat de supernaturalitate" [the supernaturality is not proven].
Max Domej from Gebetsktion Wien spoke to Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, during his visit to Međugorje.
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...I think that 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.
by Gianluca Barile for Petrus, www.papanews.it
VATICAN CITY - The alleged apparitions of Medjugorje continue to inspire debate and sustain polemics, within and without the Church. Thus the presence at New Year's of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, in the little Bosnia-Herzegovina locality, was only the most recent occasion to confirm the tension existing in the place where, since the 1980s, the Madonna is said to have appeared to six "seers".
Dear brothers and sisters here in the church and on the squares in front of the church, and in the yellow hall... We are all conscious of the fact that it is a big privilege to not have to celebrate the New Year with champagne. (laughter) Maybe later. (laughter and applause)
But now we are allowed to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with Mary and Joseph and with the child that is lying in the manger and with the shepherds.
From Vecernji List daily newspaper for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Medjugorje is again in the center of attention, church and public as well. Though the visit of Cardinal Shonborn is private, it did not leave anybody indifferent because he is the member of Congregation for Doctrine of Faith. We talked to Cardinal while he was visiting Medjugorje.
ROME, NOV. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Bosnian episcopal conference has been in Rome, but not to discuss the controversy surrounding Medjugorje, as some reports have contended.
Instead, Cardinal Vinko Puljic participated last week in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which focused on St. Paul and the "new areopagi."
The cardinal did talk to ZENIT about Medjugorje, affirming that the reports of apparitions there and the consequent popularity of the site for pilgrimages is a matter dealt with by the bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric, and the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"As an episcopal conference, we await suggestions and proposals on how to proceed, and I believe the Holy See wants to carry on in this way," he added.
Bruno Volpe spoke with Mons. Giovanni Battista Pichierri, Bishop of Trani, in Puglia, who declared, “I think that the prudent position of the Church on the topic is just and legitimate. The visionaries continue to speak, therefore, it is necessary to wait. But if the faithful are coming in such a great numbers, there must be a positive reason for it”.
During the year 2008, Fr. Juan-Carlos LISA spent ten months in Medjugorje. Shortly before going back to Argentina, he gave his testimony for Radio MIR Medjugorje and for Glasnik mira.
The reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bosnia-Herzegovina (former Yugoslavia) have attracted the attention of the world and approximately 30 million pilgrims. Since June 24, 1981, six children began to report daily visits from the "Queen of Peace" and several of the "visionaries" continue to report receiving a daily apparition from the Mother of Jesus over 25 years later.
Is Medjugorje real? Are these authentic apparitions of the Virgin Mary? What is the official position of the Catholic Church about their authenticity? Could these simply be the fraudulent deception of hysteric children (now adults) for reasons of attention and personal gain?
In the Vecernji list of March 21, 2008, Ivan Tolj published an interview with Cardinal Vinko Puljić, Archbishop of Sarajevo.
Question: the recently published interview with the Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of the Holy See, that the case Medjugorje should be re-examined, inspired various speculations. Has the Bishop’s Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina discussed this matter, and is it true that Medjugorje shall be officially examined once again?
Cardinal Puljic’s answer: „Our BC has not discussed this matter, because the phenomenon of Medjugorje does not come within our competence. At the moment when the Holy See takes the decision and gives a task, we shall think about what to do. This is why it is not necessary to speculate, unless concrete instructions come. After the work of the Commission, the BC has already decided to accompany the phenomenon pastorally. This is nothing new, but the implementation of the first decision of the BC about the phenomenon Medjugorje.”
Mons. Bernardo Cazzaro, Servant of Mary, Archbishop Emeritus of Puerto Montt (Chile) spent the major part of his life as a missionary in Chile. At the end of its active episcopal service, he returned to Italy in order to help as a spiritual councillor and confessor in the Marian shrine Monte Berico.
In May 2007, during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with a group from Vittorio Veneto, in an interview with Lidija Paris he expressed his impressions on Medjugorje.
I think what has struck my people is the piety and devotion of the people here, the faith, the testimonies we have received. We have seen people at prayer, people that believe, people that live their Christian experience of faith and love. They are on fire. It's beautiful. I couldn't ask for anything more. I've tried all kinds of things in my diocese to transform the people- because we live in a dysfunctional society and I've spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars with sessions and workshops, and I haven't accomplished, spending all that kind of money, 10% of what has been accomplished here with one pilgrimage! So you've got someone here who will really push, not officially, but push!
Soon after the apparitions of the Queen of Peace began at Medjugorje, it came to the attention of the public that the Diocesan and Franciscan priests of the Mostar diocese did not agree on all issues. This quarrel had in fact broken out over one hundred years beforehand, and sadly, still continues today. At a local level, this discrepancy would not have been intensified had Mostar not been an area of intersecting cultures, faiths and civilizations. At a world-wide level, it wouldn't have been so controversial had Our Lady not appeared in one of it's parishes! Undoubtedly this argument affects the stance of the local Church and the Church in the whole of Croatia as regards Our Lady's apparitions. It is important to mention here that in the initial months of the apparitions the local Bishop, Pavao Zanic believed in the authenticity of Our Lady's apparitions and due to reasons, known only to himself, he altered his stance. Wishing to protect Episcopal comradeship, the bishops of the Church of Croatia have refrained from making public statements. Many other Church dignitaries have followed their example. However there have also been some significant exceptions.
On 25 August, Ivan visited Beauraing in Belgium where Mary appeared to 5 children for 33 times in 1932. Mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Namur, Msgr. Léonard. The following is from his eloquent homily.
"(...)Which are the churches that please the Lord? Crowded churches. He loves them, because a crowded church for the Lord is a prophecy of what will be at the end of time, when God’s Kingdom will be everything in everyone!
Some years ago when I was first a bishop in Louisiana, it must have been 1988, I was making my first "ad limina" visit to the Holy Father in Rome.
The other bishops of Louisiana were with me and, as what the custom of John Paul II, we were invited in to enjoy a lunch with him. There were eight of us at the table with him.
Soup was being served. Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge, La., who has since gone to God, asked the Holy Father: "Holy Father, what do you think of Medjugorje?"
Quite to the contrary, Mons. Paul Hnilica was a courageous witness in the Church of the extraordinary grace of that blessed land. In 1997 he addressed a letter to Medjugorje-inspired prayer groups, a part of which we publish here to synthesize the immense value of the event known as Medjugorje.
Bishop Hnilica – In all three places, Our Lady is inviting us to repentance, forgiveness and prayer. In this aspect of the message, these three apparitions are similar. However, the difference in Medjugorje is that the apparitions are lasting for 23 years now. The intensity of the continuation of the supernatural is neither declining nor diminishing during all these years, and the result is an even greater number of intellectuals that are converted here.
When, on the 24th-25th of June 1981, Our Lady's apparitions began in the parish of Medjugorje, in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje- Markanj, the bishop was Pavao Zanic (1971-1993). He was succeeded by dr. Ratko Peric.
For the past twenty-five years, Medjugorje has been an actuality on the world scene. Today, it has its zealous advocates; however, it also has its fierce opponents. Opposing front lines in the battle are not likely to sue for peace any time soon. Advocates are tireless in their visits to Medjugorje all the while believing the authentic voice of Heaven is the starting point, namely, the appearance of the Gospa - Our Lady. Meanwhile, the opponents are fierce in their opposition and seek out elements of contention surrounding the entire set of events.
Mons. José Domingo Ulloa: The specificity of Medjugorje is the gift of peace received here. This is what humanity is longing for today, and this gift is received in Medjugorje through our Mother Mary. It is not only about inner peace, but also about discovering that we are all brothers, and that conflicts and violence are not a solution. This peace should be shared with others.
On June 24, 1981, six children in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (today, Bosnia-Herzegovina), began to experience phenomena which they alleged to be apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This apparition had a message of peace for the world, as well as a call to conversion, prayer and fasting. It also entrusted to the children secret messages about events to be fulfilled in the future. These "secrets," confided individually to different visionaries, have not been revealed to the public. The apparitions themselves have continued almost daily since 1981, with some of the now young adults continuing to experience them regularly (those who have not yet received all the secrets intended for them) and others not. Originally they occurred on a hilltop near the town where a large Cross commemorating the Redemption exists. They have since occurred in many other places, including the parish church, St. James, and wherever the visionaries happen to be located at the time of the apparition.
During the last assembly of the Bishops of France, a question put by a member of the Conference was the subject of a written response by Msgr. H. Brincard, Bishop of Puy-en-Velay, responsible for overseeing the Association of Marian organizations. This response was made at the request of the Permanent Council. Regarding some facts having a certain repercussion, Bishop Brincard wanted solely to bring an ecclesial light, which we can hope will contribute to strengthening the unity of the People of God. Is not the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, in a very particular way, the servant of this unity?
The text is taken from the official bulletin of the French Episcopal Conference (SNOP), No. 1064, printed in La Documentation Catholique of 7 January 2000.
The latest declaration on Medjugorje from the Catholic Bishops of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is a classic example of the centuries old practice of authentic ecclesiastical prudence. It demonstrates that the Church respects facts above all, that it carefully measures its competence and that in all matters it is mostly concerned for the spiritual welfare of the faithful.
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