Church Authority – Who Decides Which Apparitions Are True? 

Editor writes…

The reported visions at Fátima gathered widespread attention, as numerous pilgrims began to visit the site. After a canonical inquiry, the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima officially declared the visions of Fátima as “worthy of belief” in October 1930, officially permitting the belief of Our Lady of Fátima.

From time to time, I find myself in conversation with well-meaning Catholics who are followers of Medjugorje and, typically, assure me that they won’t be “converted” – no point in discussing it, as they won’t change their mind.  I met one such Catholic again this past week and it renewed my interest in the matter of how to distinguish true from false apparitions, and why it is that those who follow false apparitions, especially the Medjugorje phenomenon, are so wholeheartedly convinced of its truth.

In almost every case where I’ve met a person convinced that Our Lady is appearing at Medjugorje, the person tells me that they had a profound spiritual experience, that their lives were completely transformed by Medjugorje.  Typically, though, and very tellingly, these same people are – in every case known to me – accepting also of the “reforms” of Vatican II and devoted to the “saint” popes who promoted it.  They have no problems with the new Mass and all the liturgical abuses that have flowed from it.

It seems clear, then, that without an authentic  grasp  of the centrality of Catholic Tradition across the board, in every area of our lives, no adherent of a false apparition will ever be convinced of the need to turn away from unapproved apparitions.  In the most recent conversation, the person expressed some surprise as she asked me if it were the case then, that I would only accept (and promote) approved apparitions.  This is the elementary Catholic position – we were always taught to be sceptical of alleged apparitions until the one person in the Church with authority to pronounce otherwise – the Bishop – told us that this or that alleged apparition had now been thoroughly investigated and was either worthy of belief or not worthy of belief.  Below, a very good article setting out the traditional position of the Church on apparitions, and it is worth noting that the author touches on a number of alleged apparitions in our times, including Medjugorje…

Evaluating Private Apparitions – from website Unam Sanctam Catholicam

One of the most appalling phenomenon in the modern Church is the rise in false visionaries who draw away large segments of the faithful into sectarian groups intent on promoting their own visionary. These range from the very large movements like Medjugorje to the very small, like Our Lady of Emmitsburg. In America and Europe, much credence has recently been given to an anonymous web-based locutionist known only as “Maria Divine Mercy.” That an unknown locutionist can get such a following posting anonymous messages on a website is astounding, but it is a symptom of the sad state of affairs in Catholic spirituality these days, where the position of many Catholics seems to be to give implicit credence to any alleged apparition without a thought. As with other issues, the answer is to look to Catholic Tradition to bring back some sanity to the problem of evaluating alleged apparitions. In this article, we will take a very broad look at the Catholic Tradition regarding how alleged private revelations are to be judged, looking at questions of the character of the visionaries, the content of the apparitions, the manner in which they are delivered, as well as guidelines of a more general nature that teach us how we should dispose our mind whenever looking at these questions.

It is difficult to point to a single place in Tradition where we can see all of the following principles crystallized, and this article will draw on the summary already provided in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, which itself draws on the teachings of several popes and theologians, especially of the 17th-19th centuries. Special mention should be made of the scholar-pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) who wrote extensively on this topic.

Preliminary Remarks

Two preliminary remarks to help frame this discussion:

(1) According to Tradition, it has always fallen to the local Ordinary to judge the legitimacy or illegitimacy of any private apparition. This is why, in the story of St. Juan Diego, it is not the pope but Bishop Juan Zumarraga whom Juan Diego must convince; when Zumarraga is skeptical of Juan Diego’s claims initially, we do not see Juan Diego saying, “I will wait for the Pope to weigh in on this” and appealing to Rome; it remains the bishop whom Juan Diego must convince, because final judgment rests with the local Ordinary. This is the Tradition of the Church, and this Tradition still maintains the force of law per the 1978 CDF document cumbersomely named “Norms for Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations”, which notes that “the foremost authority to inquire and to intervene belongs to the local Ordinary” [1]. An episcopal conference or even the Holy See may intervene, but only if specifically requested by the Ordinary; thus authority remains with the Ordinary in these cases, which means that those proponents of certain private revelations who protest their legitimacy based on the fact that “the Vatican has not condemned it” are thinking of the problem amiss, especially if the apparition in question has actually been condemned by the local Ordinary. It has never been the Vatican’s prerogative to either approve or condemn; this action is done by the local Ordinary.

(2) In American law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In Catholic Tradition, an apparition is judged false until proven true. This is the case because in any given situation the possibility of a true apparition is relatively small. Therefore, the Church must approach all apparitions from the standpoint that they are probably false until such a time when a miraculous occurrence gives reason to believe they are true. In fact, until October 14, 1966, Canons 1399 and 2388 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law forbid anyone to circulate publications about new revelations, appearances, miracles, etc. until they had been expressly approved by the local Ordinary. While the new discipline allows for such publications provided they contain nothing contrary to faith or morals, the fundamental disposition of the Church has not changed: an alleged apparition is presumed to be false until positive evidence can be brought forward demonstrating that it is not.

A Serious Business

The Catholic Encyclopedia warns that dealing with apparitions is a serious business:

“Illusions in the matter of revelations often have a serious consequence, as they usually instigate to exterior acts, such as teaching a doctrine, propagating a new devotion, prophesying, launching into an enterprise that entails expense. There would be no evil to fear if these impulses came from God, but it is entirely otherwise when they do not come from God, which is much more frequently the case and is difficult of discernment.”
In ancient Israel, false prophesy was considered so serious as to merit death on the part of the false prophet, who was guilty of not only misleading his people but of blaspheming God by saying in God’s name things which God had not commanded him to say. [2] Notice that it says that it is difficult to discern if a message comes from God or not, and that it is “much more frequently the case” that it is false. In the history of the Church, it is much more likely that any given person who believes they are receiving messages from heaven is mistaken than not, and because of the very serious consequences that can flow from propagation of alleged messages, those investigating these phenomenon must do so in a manner that is exacting and methodical. It should be noted that to be methodical is not to be judgmental; many supporters of Medjugorje, for example, criticize those who seek to look at the evidence in a straightforward and scientific manner as being judgmental. This intent is not to condemn something prematurely, but neither must we praise and approve something prematurely. This methodical, exacting scrutiny is a must because, as the Encyclopedia says, the truth is “difficult of discernment.”

In judging the apparitions and the messages themselves (not counting whatever is found about about the life of the seers), the Church uses a guilty until proven innocent method:

“To prove that a revelation is Divine (at least in its general outlines), the method of exclusion is sometimes employed. It consists in proving that neither the demon nor the ecstatic’s own ideas have interfered (at least on important points) with God’s action, and that no one has retouched the revelation after its occurrence.”

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

As mentioned above, since the vast majority of apparitions are false, and since positive evidence of supernatural activity is necessary for it to be declared otherwise, the Church takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach. In this, she first tries to see if the apparition can be attributed to anything else: demonic activity, hallucination, fraud, etc. The investigator ought to finely comb through every detail of the supposed apparition looking for possibilities of corrupted doctrine and non-supernatural origins. Only if all of these other possibilities are ruled out is it finally admitted that the apparition may be divine. Unlike an American jury trial where a verdict of Not Guilty implies innocence, there is a neutral verdict the Ordinary may render: Non constat de supernaturalitate. This judgment means it is not clear that the alleged apparition is false but neither is it manifestly true. Therefore, when judging private apparitions, “not condemned” does not equate to “approved”, because there is a third category – neither condemned as false nor approved as true.

Seven Questions

The Encyclopedia goes on to list seven questions to be examined when looking into the character of the alleged visionary, upon whose credibility much rests. Again, we see the process of the Church attempting to find any other explanation for the phenomenon before declaring them supernatural in origin:

(1) What are his natural qualities or defects, from a physical, intellectual, and especially moral standpoint? If the information is favourable (if the person is of sound judgment, calm imagination; if his acts are dictated by reason and not by enthusiasm, etc.), many causes of illusion are thereby excluded. However, a momentary aberration is still possible.

(2) How has the person been educated? Can the knowledge of the visionary have been derived from books or from conversations with theologians?

(3) What are the virtues exhibited before and after the revelation? Has he made progress in holiness and especially in humility? The tree can be judged by its fruits. [In looking at this criteria, we could perhaps call into question the speech of Medjugorje visionary Vicka, 20 October, 1981, she asks Mary to “paralyze someone; strike someone on the head” in regards to Fr. Jozo’s trial. She then says, “I know it is a sin to speak so, but what can we do?” Is this the words of someone making progress in grace and holiness?]

(4) What extraordinary graces of union with God have been received? The greater they are the greater the probability in favour of the revelation, at least in the main.

(5) Has the person had other revelations that have been judged Divine? Has he made any predictions that have been clearly realized?

(6) Has he been subjected to heavy trials? It is almost impossible for extraordinary favours to be conferred without heavy crosses; for both are marks of God’s friendship, and each is a preparation for the other. [Thus visionaries who are living comfortable lives of material prosperity which they acquired because of their apparitions are notably suspect]

(7) Does he practice the following rules: fear deception; be open with your director; do not desire to have revelations?

These questions pertain to the character of the visionary himself. Of course, we must also scrutinize the content of the messages: is there an authentic account of the alleged messages? Do they agree with recognized doctrine and the facts of history or science? Does it help one towards salvation, etc.?

Clear Signs of False Messages

It is interesting that the Encyclopedia goes on to list signs of false messages, not only with the content (which is obvious) but with the manner in which they are delivered. We will examine these questions and then look at how they can be brought to bear in examining contemporary apparitions.

The first sign of a false message noted is that “They [the apparitions] reply to idle questions, or descend to providing amusement for an assembly.” Also, “a revelation is suspect if it is commonplace, telling only what is to be found in every book. It is then probable that the visionary is unconsciously repeating what he has learnt by reading.” Do we find that the dignity and seriousness which become the Divine Majesty in an apparition, or do the spirits “speak in a trivial manner”?

Finally, the Encyclopedia asks: “If any work has been begun as a result of the revelation, has it produced great spiritual fruit? Have the sovereign pontiffs and the bishops believed this to be so, and have they assisted the progress of the work?” If not, this is a sign that the messages are false.

To compare these criteria with some well known apparitions: Let us look at Medjugorje, where the seers ask idle questions again and again: What happened to so and so? When is so and so going to get out of jail? We haven’t seen so and so for a few weeks; where are they? (see the messages of 9/17/81, 10/30/81 and 12/2/81 for this type of idle questioning about things unrelated to spiritual things) At one point, Mary supposedly even rebukes them for their curiosity (9/30/81), yet the seers continue their line of idle questioning!

The second sign of a false message had to do with messages that were commonplace or could have been found in any book. Again, going to Medjugorje, it would be difficult to argue that they are not commonplace. Their non-stop banal drones for peace sound like they could have come from a statement by the USCCB document. But one would imagine the messages could sound commonplace after being repeated about 35,000 times.

As far as warning about vocabulary that is excessively trivial, what could we say about Bayside, where Jesus tells Veronica Lueken that Americans will be “mowed down” by Communists with machine guns and that “many shall die at the hands of these ruffians” [3] Would Jesus use words like “ruffians” or phrases like “mowed down”? Or again, Bayside has Christ misspeaking, which Veronica tries to cover up: “There are many armors worn by My children that will protect them from these Satanists. I know that those who are satirists—I call them satirists, My child. [4]” Satirists? Clearly Veronica misspoke, attempting to say Satanists and then trying to correct her embarrassing blunder.

What about the final criteria about good works, and the assistance and support of the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops?

In the case of Medjugorje, Garabandal and Bayside, the answer os a resounding no. The Bishop of Mostar, the one is the greatest postion to know the facts of the story about Medjugorje and discern the truth, has frequently denied the visions any authenticity, and neither Pope John Paul II nor Benedict XVI accorded any merit of truthfulness to the visions. In fact, the Bishop of Mostar expressely forbid pilgrimage to Medjugorje:

“Therefore it is not permissible to organise pilgrimages and other manifestations motivated by the supernatural character attributed to the facts of Medjugorje” [5].

This ban was reconfirmed June 30th, 1996 by none other than Cardinal Bertone. This same document states the Vatican’s position on Medjugorje as of 1996. Note the reliance upon the judgment of the local Ordinary:

“The Vatican position, which also reflects that of local bishops in the former Yugoslav republic was outlined in a letter by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Bertone cited a 1991 report by the Yugoslavian bishops which said that, after much study, it could not be confirmed that supernatural events were occurring at Medjugorje. From what was said, it followed that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, understood as a place of authentic Marian apparitions, should not be organized, Archbishop Bertone said. Such pilgrimages would be in contradiction with what the local bishops had determined, he added.”

As for Pope Benedict XVI, in 2006, Bishop Peric of Mostar discussed Medjugorje with Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to the Vatican. In a summary of the discussion published in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Peric said he had reviewed the history of the apparitions with the pope, who already was aware of the main facts from his time as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

“The Holy Father told me: We at the congregation always asked ourselves how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years?”

Bishop Peric also noted that Yugoslavian bishops in 1991 issued a statement that “it cannot be confirmed that supernatural apparitions or revelations are occurring” at Medjugorje. Nevertheless, millions of pilgrims each year continue to disobey the Bishop and spurn his authority, producing chaos and terrible fruits, something that in itself is a witness against the apparitions. The same can be said about Garabandal and Bayside, both of which are vehemently opposed by the local Ordinaries, past and present.

Conclusion: A Call to Precision and Obedience

These are the types of criteria the Church must follow when examining alleged apparitions, not so-called fruits (which are always subjective), but hard evidence. Furthermore, no matter what the outcome of the Church’s decision is, one must always submit to the authority of the Bishop; in the case of Medjugorje, the Bishop (who by the way has led pilgrimages to Lourdes and loves the Blessed Mother dearly) has had his authority flounted at every turn. This in itself is enough to make the visions suspect. There is no cause for anyone to get bent out of shape just because somebody is trying to examine these things rationally. We have to make absolutely certain that a vision is true before we proclaim it so; otherwise, false apparitions and false prophets, like in Old Testament Israel, are able to cause much mayhem.   Source

NOTES

[1] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Norms for Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations”, 3:1
[2] Deut. 18:20
[3]October 1, 1988
[4] November 1, 1985
[5] Jan 29, 1987, “Communiqué of the Yugoslav Bishops Concerning the Facts of Medjugorje” (Jan 29, 1987)

Comments invited…

Scots Bishop, John Keenan of Paisley, Publicly Supports Medjugorje Hoax…

The Editor writes… 

The stated judgment of the local, investigating Bishop, the Church authority on alleged apparitions, is that the claimed “apparitions” at Medjugorje are not true     Note: the Vatican investigation was launched only because the defiant “seers” refused to accept the decision of their Bishop.

Still, we find “pilgrimages” being organised against the stated wishes of the local Bishop, with priests and bishops setting very bad example by going there and giving credence to what is, effectively, the Devil’s answer to Fatima.  Click here to read the local Bishop’s statement about NOT giving publicity and credibility to this hoax. 

It’s shocking, therefore, but not too surprising to us, to have to report that one of the Scottish Bishops – Bishop John Keenan of Paisley – has defied the wishes of the local Ordinary by accompanying a group called Mary’s Meals (which, from my own, personal – albeit limited – experience of them is up to its neck in Medjugorje) to that diabolical “shrine”. 

Bishop Keenan said: “I was very glad that my first experience of Medjugorje was at the invitation of Mary’s Meals, in order to bless the new centre. We gathered here as a family; Mary’s Meals supporters from Croatia, from the Czech Republic, from Spain, from Italy, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Austria, from Scotland and some from Ireland as well.
“As the Mary’s Meals movement grows bigger, there is this sense of the need to return to the source – the wellspring of Mary’s Meals. Therefore, the new Mary’s Meals centre locates itself in Medjugorje where everything began. It allows many people from different countries to be introduced to Mary’s Meals and hopefully take the movement back to their own countries.”

Read the whole report here – unashamedly posted on the website of the Diocese of Paisley. 

Comments invited especially from those who continue to insist that Bishop Keenan is “the orthodox Scottish Bishop,” to which I unfailingly reply:  Yeah, right!  About as “orthodox” as his mentor, Pope Francis.  Yip. THAT orthodox… 

Can’t resist adding that every time I remember Bishop Keenan saying, on his episcopal appointment, that he wanted to “bring Pope Francis’ vision of the Church to Paisley” I have a quiet smile to myself, as I look forward to the spiritual, religious and moral cartwheels he’ll have to turn  if when we get a really sound, traditional pope.  That WILL be fun and worry not, I’ll devote an entire thread to it, be assured…  

Medjugorje Fanatics Attack Bishop Perić – calling him “Satan Incarnate”…

Extracts below From the Athanasius of Mostar to Henryk of Medjugorje

Introduction

A news item was published recently in several media reports that the retired bishop of Warsawa-Praga and archbishop ad personam Henryk Hoser, embarked upon his assignment as the Apostolic Visitor for Medjugorje. The very information itself has caused a lot of reactions in the virtual world. Once again, the battlefield has been opened between those who hold the Medjugorje apparitions as absolute and those who consider them unbelievable. When along with this news, another item was published that the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Ratko Perić, [pictured left] as the bishop on whose territory the parish of Medjugorje is located, received archbishop Hoser and Luigi Pezzuto, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that on this occasion he expressed his respect for the Holy See’s decision, he offered archbishop Hoser his cooperation and wished him God’s abundant assistance in fulfilling his mission, he then reiterated clearly and unequivocally what has been the constant position of the Diocesan Chancery of Mostar – that he does not consider any “apparition”, any “message”, any “secret” and any “parchment” as authentic, including the first seven or ten days of the so-called apparitions, the reactions turned into open insults and hostility.

The Queen of Peace or the Queen of Unrest

Even just a quick look at the comments made on a few of the most popular portals, both secular and religious, leads one to conclude that there is very little decentness and objectivity in them, and instead a lot of sarcasm, bitterness and gross insults. On the secularist side, the tones generally range from ridicule to the denigration of all sides, which can be understood regarding the approach and credentials of those commenting. Yet it is very sad to observe how on the so-called religious portals, as well as on official and personal profiles on the social networks, the largest number of commentators-believers present scandalously rude insults. In this regard, what is particularly sad is the way the advocates of the Medjugorje apparitions, those who readily refer to the Medjugorje Gospa (ie. Our Lady) as Mother and Queen of Peace, are so full of unrest and such intolerance, that one’s blood freezes in one’s veins due to their attacks against bishop Perić, in wishing that he would croak, to accusations that he is a KGB agent, a hardened materialist and nonbeliever, even going as far to claim that he is Satan incarnate…

We ask ourselves the question: how can one properly understand the decision of the Holy See to appoint an apostolic visitor and thereby, probably, completely relieve bishop Perić of his jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje? Even though the mandate of archbishop Hoser has been provided by the Holy See, and although it is exclusively of a pastoral character, we do not believe that with this appointment, bishop Perić is left with any authority for administering that parish but that it has, de facto, become a parish under the jurisdiction of the Holy See. This might itself seem unfair to bishop Perić, even as a sign of his downgrading and a reflection of incompetence, but it really does not have to be so.
Before we discuss what we mean by this, we would like to say a few words about Bishop Ratko Perić himself, and how we see his role in the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon.

The role of Bishop Perić within the Medjugorje phenomenon

Bishop Perić and his closest associates, as well as his predecessor, bishop Žanić and his associates, have done a great deal to reveal the lies of Medjugorje, though very slowly. While there are still a far greater number of those who unquestionably accept the Medjugorje apparitions as credible, one should not ignore the fact that many are asking more and more questions and coming to one of two conclusions: that they are a simple manipulation or that it is not a question of the apparition of Our Lady, but of an apparition of the Devil, as “Fra” Bože would say. However, this time not in the person of bishop Perić, but of “the One who divides” from head to toe.
In this light, the role of bishop Perić, and his closest associates are praiseworthy, because they have shown incredible strength and faithfulness in the defense of orthodoxy, while the sacrifices and insults they have had to bear and keep on bearing, confirm their level of concern in defending the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church from the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje, who is spreading unrest all around her. For us then, as we have already mentioned in a previous text, bishop Perić, due to his clarity and strength, is similar to St. Athanasius, who in defense of true faith, had to flee into exile five times due to the attacks of the Arian heretics of his time. Or even more beautifully, the title of “Athanasius of Mostar” belongs to him, as was attributed to him for the same reasons by the President of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Želimir Puljić.
Read the entire article here…

Comment 

There is no shortage of evidence to prove that Medjugorje is a non-apparition, whether a deliberate hoax or a diabolical phenomenon, who knows, but the worry is that it is taking people away from Fatima.  It’s been argued that the Fatima Message – and pilgrimages/events at that shrine – is being diminished and even ignored, due to the drive to promote Medjugorje.  What do you think?  And how did you vote in the poll?

Orthodox Vs Traditional Faith…

 

Catholics will please God by holding to true beliefs and correct moral norms.   The Mass you attend is secondary…

Editor, Catholic Truth writes…

I keep finding myself in conversations with diocesan Catholics – defined simply as those who attend the new Mass  – who consider that being orthodox in doctrine and morals is the most important thing today, not which Mass we attend.  The point is always made that, for those brought up in the new Mass, with no alternative, it’s all they have, and therefore, surely the most important thing is to be wholly orthodox, stick to right beliefs and moral norms.  When I ask if they go along with ecumenical events, I get a variety of responses tolerant of through to positive about ecumenical activities. To date, I’ve never met with an outright denunciation of ecumenism. 

Ditto, these Catholics seldom denounce the false apparitions at Medjugorje, instead focusing on the adherents in their circles who have experienced “conversions” and vocations, including priestly ordinations.  All wonderful people. 

I’m told too, that “traditionalists” need to stop talking so much about the Mass and focus on God more.  Don’t go on the “attack” in conversation with diocesan Catholics right away, to ask if X attends the old or new Mass – speak about God first.

My answers to the above have not been successful in changing hearts and minds Help!

Is Medjugorje – The Devil’s Answer To Fatima – About To Be Approved?

Medjugorje: the devil’s answer to Fatima…

“I think it’s possible to recognize the authenticity of the first [seven] apparitions as proposed by the Ruini commission,” [Archbishop Henryk] Hoser said. “Besides, it is difficult to get another verdict, because it’s difficult to believe that six seers will lie for 36 years. What they say has been consistent. They are not mentally incompetent. A strong argument for the authenticity of the apparitions is their faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church.” Click here to read the entire report. 

Fidelity to the doctrine of the Church?  You kidding?  The “Lady of Medjugorje”, the “Gospa” incites to disobedience – that’s a first. Read more here and reflect: on every occasion when Our Lady has appeared in private apparitions, when the priest or bishop has been sceptical and initially refused to entertain the apparitions as true, as in Lourdes, for example, Our Lady has exhorted the seer to obedience – never disobedience. 

The alleged seers are also known to have a loose relationship with the truth:  Dr. Gagliardi: “We could not ascertain the sincerity of the seers, but on the synchronicity of the ecstasies they were lying”

Finally, click here to read the Facts and Documents about Medjugorje and then tell us your thoughts.  Remember, in normal times the Bishop’s decision on private revelations is all that is required by the Church in judging their authenticity. The Vatican Commission was established because the “seers” refuse to accept the Bishop’s authoritative decision that nothing supernatural is taking place in Medjugorje.

So, given the widespread diabolical disorientation in the Church today, which means that the Vatican as it should be operating is AWOL, and that Pope Francis is the worst ever pontiff in the history of the Church, IS the final slap in the face to Our Lady of Fatima, in this centenary year, to be the approval of this self-evident hoaxers’ paradise – Medjugorje?

Comments invited…  

Managing Medjugorje: Vatican Cop-Out

THE EPONYMOUS FLOWER reports : ‘Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and member of the Pontifical Commission of Inquiry, which is mandated to study the phenomenon of Medjugorje, said to have “recommended” to the pope to come to a decision on Medjugorje only on “administrative” aspects, but not on the “phenomena” and messages. [The messages are obviously heretical, if words can mean anything at all.]   medjugorje_map

The Virgin Mary is alleged to have regularly appeared at a parish of Medjugorje for the past 35 years to six “seers”, which is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Mostar. Bishop Ratko Peric, like his predecessor Pavao Zanic (to 1993), regarded the Medjugorje phenomenon with great skepticism. Bishop Zanic declared as competent ecclesiastical authority that the alleged apparitions were “not supernatural” in character ( non constat de supernaturalitate ). This decision was supported and confirmed in 1991 by the Yugoslav Bishops’ Conference and still applies today.

People have “the right to go to Medjugorje to pray and do penance,” explained Cardinal Puljic in December for the Turkish state news agency Anadolu Agency (AA). Medjugorje “is one of the largest confessional benches, not only the Balkans, but in all of Europe, and that has to be somehow taken into account when deciding which one will meet”.
Cardinal Puljic therefore recommended to the Pope a decision to “solely” address the “administrative aspects”, responding in “no way to the question of appearances.” “When it comes to visions and messages, which are still under consideration, the Church does not move quickly. The Church does not hurry, but always arrives at a conclusion. I’m not worried about the attitude of the Holy Father or those of the CDF. “
Concerning the pilgrims, the Cardinal, that which has already been said applies: “It is important that the people who go to Medjugorje, pray for the strengthening of their faith and are comforted in returning home.”

 “Solomonic” or “Educational” solution?

Behind the scenes there has been a tug of war for years in the Vatican around Medjugorje. The Vatican became increasingly cautious, while some Church officials, including the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Schönborn, are convinced of the authenticity of the phenomenon. [Not exactly a vote of confidence.] Since the 80s, however, there has been a negative decision on Medjugorje. Since then, it is argued by proponents that Rome had not yet decided. A decision of Rome, however, not canonically necessary to be provided. Among the supporters of Medjugorje, there is the claim that Pope John Paul II. and the then faith Prefect of the CDF, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger have commented positively about Medjugorje, which has been denied in writing by Cardinal Ratzinger 1998.

In 2009 the CDF confirmed the jurisdiction of the Bosnian bishops and thus the negative decision of 1991.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI. finally established a Vatican commission of inquiry to examine the phenomenon of Medjugorje and bring about the much-discussed decision in Rome. The signals emanating from the Commission were negative in the matter. At the turn of 2012, the final report was placed in front of the Pope.

Since then, a decision has been delayed by some church circles, helped along by the unexpected resignation of Benedict XVI. The Commission of Inquiry had completed its work, yet remained for another two years in office until 2014.
A postponement is argued for since it is concerned that a negative decision could unsettle many believers and shake in their faith. In fact, those in the know confirm that tension is very high among Medjugorje. The danger of divisions within the Bosnian Franciscans makes the regular rounds. An argument from experience- which is not taken lightly in Rome, confirms the reluctance of Pope Francis. Francis has expressed himself repeatedly against “an addiction to apparitions and messages.”

On 6 June 2015, the Pope had himself expressed the view of an early decision on the return flight from Sarajevo. But nothing has happened since then. At the end of June, Andrea Tornielli, the papal household vaticanist said that a decision would wait until “after the summer break”, perhaps would even be given “at the Synod of Bishops”.

An “administrative” solution has presented itself after months. A decree lays on the desk of the pope which has been formulated since the spring of 2015. Medjugorje is recognized as a place of prayer, entrusted to the pastoral care of the Franciscan Order, but is subordinated to the jurisdiction and supervision of Rome. There will be no light construction because it interferes with the rights of the Mostar diocese. Public appearances of the “seers” are also suppressed or completely prevented. As far as a non-decision on the “apparitions” and “messages” it is argued that the phenomenon is still ongoing and therefore, to make a final judgment prematurely was indeed impossible. There is talk in Rome of a “Solomonic” or “educational” solution. Source 

Comment:

This is just what we expected from the Vatican,  really.  Yet another dereliction of duty.  It’s patent nonsense to say that “the phenomenon is on-going” – that’s the blankety blank problem, for goodness sake. It WILL be on-going as long as the money keeps rolling in.  Whoever said: “Medjugorje is the Devil’s answer to Fatima” was on to something.  Or perhaps you disagree? Before you say so, watch one of the “visionaries” at work in the video below…