Are the Medjugorje Apparitions Real? What Does the Church, the Vatican, Say about Medjugorje?

Are the Medjugorje Apparitions Real? What Does the Church, the Vatican, Say about Medjugorje?

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S STANCE ON MEDJUGORJE UP TO THE PRESENT DAY

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For many years, the official stance on Medjugorje by the Church came from statements made by the 1993 committee of Bishops in Zadar, Yugoslavia, organized by St. Pope John Paul II: “We bishops, after a three-year-long commission study, accept Medjugorje as a holy place, as a shrine. This means that we have nothing against it if someone venerates the Mother of God in a manner also in agreement with the teaching and belief of the Church. . . Therefore, we are leaving that to further study. The Church does not hurry.”[1] In 1991, the same conference had assigned one of these three official categories to the alleged apparitions: 1) constat de supernaturalitate (the apparition is established as supernatural), 2) constat de non supernaturalitate (the apparition is clearly not miraculous or lacks sufficient signs of the miraculous); or 3) non constat de supernaturalitate (It may not be evident whether or not the alleged apparition is authentic). The commission chose this third, in-between category, neither condemning Medjugorje, nor giving final approval, since the Church almost never pronounces an apparition as authentic while it is continuing to occur.

Ignoring the official stance of the Church, the Bishop of Mostar (the diocese to which the parish belonged), Bishop Zanic, made his personal and hostile opinions of Medjugorje known, as did his successor, Bishop Ratko Peric, causing much confusion. The negative stance adopted by both Ordinaries was rendered moot when the Holy See, during the pontificate of John Paul II, consequently removed evaluation of the phenomenon from their jurisdiction: an unprecedented action the Church.

During the pontificate of Benedict XVI, there was another unprecedented move when the Vatican adopted direct jurisdiction over Medjugorje. A commission was appointed to assess the apparitions under Cardinal Ruini. Remarkably, the Ruini Commission, which met from March 2010 to January 2014, concluded in 2017 that the first seven apparitions were authentic. This was an exceptional breakthrough in terms of official recognition of an apparition. It was also unprecedented because the phenomenon is still in progress. Although Pope Francis has yet to officially release the Ruini report, the Pontiff, himself, confirmed in an interview that the Commission had reached this conclusion. In point of fact, the Pope had actually stopped attempts by the then Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, to block this judgment. The pope also asked that the Ruini report be sent to him for a review and determination, as opposed to Müller, who was originally set to receive it.

On February 11, 2017, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Poland as his papal envoy to coordinate all matters relating to Medjugorje. In December of 2017, Archbishop Hoser shared the breaking news that the Vatican now permits official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. “Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem,” he said.[2] At a recorded Medjugorje press conference on April 5, 2017, the archbishop reconfirmed this fact.[3] Müller’s 2013 CDF statement that Catholics should not participate in any meetings in which the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions were taken for granted is now null and void. In Archbishop Hoser’s own words: “My mission was not to close Medjugorje, but to evaluate whether the pastoral ministry was proper, consistent with the doctrine and teaching of the Church, effective and well organized. I conclude that this is the case. On the pastoral side my assessment is very positive. Thus, the ongoing pastoral activities, liturgical order and conferences should continue.”[4]

At the conclusion of the press conference, in which he urged everyone to bring the light of Medjugorje “to the world that is sinking into darkness. . . ,” he stated, “You, my dear friends, should be the carriers of the joyful news. Say to the whole world that in Medjugorje we can find the light again!”[5]

The Church took another positive step toward Medjugorje when on May 31, 2018, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Hoser as Special Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje. The Vatican declared that Monsignor Hoser would take up residence in Medjugorje in his new role “for an indefinite period and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis,” which means “at the disposal of the Holy See.” In Medjugorje, where belief in the authenticity of the apparitions is long-held due to the daily conversions, long lines of confessions, and miracles constantly witnessed by the locals, the news of Archbishop Hoser’s new position was received with great joy.[6]

It can safely be said that Medjugorje now has received as much official recognition as it can receive, given that the phenomenon is still going on. It is well known that two of the most illustrious saints of recent times, St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Pope John Paul II, were ardent devotees of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje. Thanks to them and millions of the faithful, Medjugorje’s message of repentance, reconciliation, peace, and penance has spread across the globe.

St. Pope John Paul II, when addressing American bishops at the Philadelphia Eucharistic Congress five years before Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje began, stated:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. . . We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is therefore in God’s plan and a trial which the Church must take up!” 

Given that St. John Paul II understood that these days were those of the final confrontation, when he learned of Our Lady’s coming to Medjugorje and her words, “I have descended among you,” he knew her presence with us had now changed everything, victory was assured. To Monsignor Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger, Archbishop of Florianopolis in Brazil, he stated, “Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!” He told friends, including Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek, who made the words public, that if he weren’t Pope, he’d be living in Medjugorje as a priest, helping to hear confessions. In the Pope’s own hand, he wrote to friends in Poland:

I thank Sophia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I too go there every day as a pilgrim in my prayers. I unite in my prayers with all those who pray there or receive a call for prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better. I rejoice that our time is not lacking people of prayer and apostles.

St. Pope John Paul II fully believed and told us in his will that “Victory when it comes, will be a victory through Maria!”

“Dear children, my real living presence among you should make you happy because this is the great love of my Son. He is sending me among you so that, with a motherly love, I may grant you safety!”

            —Medjugorje message from Our Lady on July 2, 2016 

Denis Nolan
MaryTV.tv
Author of Medjugorje and the Church

 

[1]  (Glas Koncila, August 15, 1993).

[2]  Jesús Colina, “Official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are being authorized, confirms Pope Francis’ envoy,” Aletia, December 7, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018, https://aleteia.org/2017/12/07/official-pilgrimages-to-medjugorje-are-being-authorized-confirms-pope-francis-envoy/.

[3] Papal envoy, Archbishop Henryk Hoser Press Conference, April 5th, 2017, streamed live through MaryTV.tv and available for viewing at http://marytv.tv/daily-rosary-3-3/. MaryTV.tv. is a Medjugorje Internet TV channel that broadcasts 24/7 to help people stay connected to important ongoing events.  Free apps are available for smart phones and Apple TV.

Transcription of the press conference in Polish: “Konferencija za medije posebnog izaslanika mons. Henryka Hosera,” Medjugorje: Mjesto Molitve I Pomirenja, April 4, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018, http://medjugorje.hr/hr/novosti/obavijesti/konferencija-za-medije-posebnog-izaslanika-mons.-henryka-hosera,8795.html.

[4] “Breaking News—Historic Moment in Catholic Church History…Vatican Special Envoy to Medjugorje: ‘Everything indicates that the apparitions will be recognized, perhaps even this year.’” Published at Deon.pl (Catholic News Site in Poland—8.18.2017), August 18, 2017, accessed April 29, 2018, https://mysticpost.com/2017/08/breaking-news-historic-moment-catholic-church-history-making-vatican-special-envoy-medjugorje-everything-indicates-apparitions-will-recognized-perhaps-even-year/.

[5] Ibid., Papal envoy, Archbishop Henryk Hoser Press Conference

[6] “Breaking News: The Vatican places Special Apostolic Visitor in Medjugorje—Archbishop Henryk Hoser,” www.medjugorjemiracles, accessed May 31, 2018, http://www.medjugorjemiracles.com/2018/05/breaking-news-the-vatican-places-official-representative-in-medjugorje-archbishop-henryk-hoser/.