Our Lady - New messages

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I heard the Church has condemned Medjugorje. Is this true?

A big NO!!! This is one of the most frequent questions/accusations I receive. It is simply not true. The Holy See has affirmed its position a number of times over the years. I think it is best if I start from the beginning and briefly give you a rundown of the facts.

Let me first say that the Holy See, former Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI have kept, and are keeping, a close watch on the messages of Medjugorje over the last 25 years. They have not found anything that contradicts scripture or the Church. If they had, Medjugorje would have been condemned years ago. Our Lady's message in Medjugorje calls us to: Daily prayer of the rosary, monthly Confession, daily reading of Scripture, fasting on Wednedays and Fridays on bread and water, and attending Holy Mass as often as possible. This is a simple message meant to help us in the lifelong process of conversion.

Bishop Pavao Žanic originally visited Medjugorje five times in the first two months of the apparitions in 1981 and performed a thorough investigation. Afterwards he came only to confer the sacrament of Confirmations to the faithful. In front of over 3000 people at Holy Mass, he declared:

"I am deeply convinced that no child who says that they have seen Our Lady, has been talked into doing so. If we were speaking about one child only, one might say he could be stubborn and that not even the police could make the child renounce what he said. But six innocent, simple children in the space of half an hour, would, if they were pushed, admit all. None of the priests, I guarantee, had any idea of putting the children up to something.... I am also convinced that the children are not lying. The children are only speaking out what's in their hearts... It is certain: the children are not lying". (From a sermon given on the feast of St. James, the patron saint of Medjugorje, on the 25th of July 1981)

In "Glas Koncila", the Croatian national catholic newspaper, 16th of August 1981, he stated; "It is definite that the children were not incited by anyone, and especially not by the church, to lie."

It is unclear why in the months to follow that Bishop Zanic changed his mind. Some say it was due to threats and pressure by the Communist government of imprisonment of both Fr. Jozo and the Bishop if the apparitions did not cease. We all know that Fr. Jozo served 18 months of harsh inprisonment for refusing to denounce Medjugorje. Others say that a reported comment from Our Lady regarding a wrong judgement the Bishop had made with a Franciscan priest infuriated the Bishop. But regardless the ultimate outcome was that the Bishop turned against Medjugorje.

Then in 1984, a commission of 14 people was formed by Bishop Zanic that consisted mainly of members that had already declared themselves to be against the alleged events. They made two statements which basicly said that they agreed with the Holy See that a decision should not be rushed. Then in 1987 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger entrusted the investigation into the hands of the Yugoslavian bishops' conference. After three years of study the former Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia on April 10, 1991 published their declaration in which among other things it states:

"On the basis of investigations up till now it cannot be established that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations."

This statement does not mean that it has been proven that no supernatural basis exists, but only that it is not yet established or proven. This means the matter is open to further investigation. This finding was really a compromise between the position of Bishop Zanic and the good fruits, which the events of Medjugorje were producing. The commission for pastoral life in the parish of Medjugorje decided to meet again on June 27, 1991. However, one day before, Serbia attacked Slovenia and the war broke out that put the last nails in the corpse that was called Yugoslavia. With the dissolution of the state of Yugoslavia, the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia was also dissolved.

After the commission findings were made public in 1991, Pope John Paul II retired Bishop Zanic of his duties and handed over the responsibility to investigate and render a final decision on Medjugorje to a hand picked commission of Bishops. It is the current belief that this commission will not issue a final decision or continue its investigation until the apparitions have ceased. But of great importance is the last statement that they rendered in 1993 which states:

"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." (Glas Koncila, August 15, 1993).

The replacement for Bishop Zanic was Bishop Ratko Peric. Bishop Ratko worked closely with Bishop Zanic for years, and it was no surprise that he held, and still holds the same negative opinion of Medjugorje. Bishop Ratko is reported to have never investigated Medjugorje, never spoken with or interviewed the visionaries, and visits Medjugorje only rarely for Confirmations and official functions. The important issue is that Bishop Ratko Peric does not have authority over the final decision on Medjugorje. This responsibility still rests with the commission of Bishops. The local Bishop's negative comments about Medjugorje were addressed directly in 1998 by the Holy See in a letter to his Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion. The letter states that Bishop Peric's position on Medjugorje is his personal opinion, which he is entitled to as local Bishop, but remains his personal opinion.

Lastly is Pope John Paul II himself. Our beloved former Pope was very much a supporter of Medjugorje (although unofficially, which he had to be until Medjugorje was approved). Please take a look at our document Pope John Paul II's Comments, which list numerous quotes as reported by priests, bishops and cardinals over the years. Most recently, in August 2002, Pope John Paul II wrote a personal note to Fr. Jozo Zovko thanking him for his ministry, and giving him his blessing. Fr. Jozo Letter. Pope Benedict has not made any verified statements that we are aware of regarding Medjugorje.

The Holy See has also stated and confirmed on numerous occasions over the years that traveling to Medjugorje is permitted. The only restriction is a pilgrimage can not be organized by the Church (which would indicate authentication by the Church). It is perfectly ok for priests, bishops, and cardinals to travel to Medjugorje alone or with groups. And to date almost 500,000 priests, bishops, and cardinals have visited Medjugorje.


Source: www.medjugorje.org


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