Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Medjugorje: Negative Judgment from the Church Forthcoming? Or a Positive Endorsement?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_FOIrYyQawGI/SwQreFNNplI/AAAAAAAACY8/bASrTQng-vg/s1600/Medjugorje.jpg

Patrick Madrid has posted a substantive treatment of the alleged Marian apparitions on his site, and it has generated meaty discussion pro and con, including excellent, tightly-argued comments from one Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS (see a further related blog post from her).

Pat gives his general opinion: "I am skeptical about this alleged apparition." My own view for many years now has been altogether neutral, but I lean towards a relatively greater skepticism, the more I hear about it (I haven't studied it all that closely). I wrote in a past paper about Marian apparitions and private revelation:

I have a great devotion to Fatima and Lourdes and not the slightest opposition to apparitions per se. But, like the Church, I am very cautious and careful regarding any alleged miracle. The Church is my guide in this matter. And we all must respect the Church's judgment. The final word on anything doesn't rest on "Joe/Jane Catholic".

In any event, if the Church comes down against it, then all Catholics have to be obedient and accept that decision. If that happens, and there is a schism of followers who refuse to give it up, then this would reveal their spirit of disobedience and desire to place (alleged) private revelations above that of the magisterium of the Church (which itself would be a bit of a confirmation of the Church's decision, in that case), and that is not Catholic: any way one looks at it. It's a Protestant "private judgment" mindset.

See also: "Vatican ruling on disputed Medjugorje shrine expected soon" (Adam Tanner)


26 comments:

pilgrim said...

Negative judgement? Dream on!

pilgrim said...

The only negativity is from opponents of Medjugorje with there ifs and buts, most having never been to the place to find out.

The statement “I haven’t studied it all that closely” speaks volumes.

Dave Armstrong said...

Why does it speak volumes? As I said, my position is pretty much neutral, so how is it hypocritical to have not studied it much? If I claimed to know all this stuff about it, but said I hadn't studied it much, then you would have a point.

I follow the judgment of Holy Mother Church. That's why she is there: to guide the faithful. We don't have to figure everything out on our own. Who has the time to do that, anyway?!

If the Church comes down against it, what do you do, with your 450 blogs about Medjugorje?

Dave Armstrong said...

I did change my wording above, though, to "lean towards a relatively greater skepticism" rather than the phrase "negative judgment," because that is a more accurate description of my opinion.

Any "negative judgment" would come from the Church, should she deem that to be the case, and is not up to me in the final analysis.

How devotees will act if this happens should be quite revealing as to their allegiances to the Church or (in cases of intransigence) to private revelation and experience over against the magisterial, apostolic authority of the Church.

If the Church rules positively, on the other hand, those who have opposed Medjugorje will also have to tone down their statements and opinions if they wish to be in line with the Mind of Holy Mother Church.

But I think it is time for the Church to clarify it once and for all, so there is not further confusion and division over it.

Some think the signs show that it will do so fairly soon.

pilgrim said...

“...But I think it is time for the Church to clarify it once and for all, so there is not further confusion and division over it.”

Dave, there is no confusion for those who do follow, study and experience the events of Medjugorje. There may be confusion and misinformation spouted by opponents clamouring for the Church to decide against it.

I’ll mark your card for you.

Step One: The Church will grant international Shrine status to Medjugorje without recognising the validity or truth of the apparitions. It will hold its current position as far as the apparitions are concerned.

Step Two: The Church will decide on the truth of the apparitions only when they have ended, or possibly when any of the secrets unfold to confirm Our Lady’s presence in Medjugojre.

In the meantime, by taking steps to give Medjugorje International Shrine status it will eliminate any confusion or talk about Medjugorje being “off-limits”. Why even Cardinal Schonborn is due to make a private visit in the next couple of weeks, clearly illustrating to opponents that Medjugorje is not closed to pilgrims.

Regretably, the loudest voices on Medjugorje seem to be those listening and becoming confused by the information put out by the local bishop’s office.

Unfortunately, the bishop’s correspondence does not always reveal the full story. Why should it, he doesn’t personally believe that Our Lady is appearing at Medjugorje. Neither does he believe in Fatima or Lourdes. This fact is on record. But we both know that he is not obliged to believe in any Marian apparition. And there lies the problem.

By all means, follow the judgment of the Mother Church. She has already declared her position regarding the events of Medjugorje in April 1991.

This is the statement made by Cardinal Kuharic.

“On the basis of the investigation so far it cannot be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.”

The cardinal then went on to say:

“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.”

This is still the status of ecclesiastical evaluation. Responding to anyone on the question of Medjugorje the Holy See simply repeats the aforementioned decision made in 1991. There has been no change to this in the past 18 years.

Patrick Madrid said...

(See what I'm up against, Dave?)

Having been to Medjugorje is not a precondition for having an informed opinion.

I think it's safe to surmise that those who promote Medjugorje would not dismiss the opinion of someone who was *favorable* toward Medjugorje but who had never visited Medjugorje. Of course they wouldn't. They would regard a favorable opinion from someone who had never been there as perfectly acceptable.

See the double standard at work?

Also, while I have never visited Lourdes or Fatima, I wholeheartedly accept them as authentic.

As I said, having visited an apparition site (or an alleged apparition site, as in the case of Medjugorje) is not a necessary precondition for having an informed opinion.

Randy said...

In any event, if the Church comes down against it, then all Catholics have to be obedient and accept that decision. If that happens, and there is a schism of followers who refuse to give it up, then this would reveal their spirit of disobedience and desire to place (alleged) private revelations above that of the magisterium of the Church

I am not sure that a negative judgment would bind the consciences of Catholics to reject it. It would be more along the lines of declaring that the evidence does not support the belief. That does not mean you may not believe. Just that the church does not find enough evidence to encourage belief.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Pat,

The advocates are very zealous, indeed. But I was happy to see that our friend "pilgrim" did say, "By all means, follow the judgment of the Mother Church." Okay; we'll see if he and others like him do if the judgment made is not entirely supportive. He is convinced the Church is on his side on this. Only time will tell for sure!

Hi Randy,

Well, it depends if a more or less agnostic position is taken, or a more negative one, such as was the case with Bayside. There are degrees to these proclamations, as I understand it, and which is the case generally speaking, whenever the Church treats anything.

pilgrim said...

“...Having been to Medjugorje is not a precondition for having an informed opinion...”

Doesn’t that depend on how informed you consider yourself to be?

Fr Zovko, the former parish priest of Medjugorje, once spoke about the certainty of our opinions. He had this to say.

“Man can never be sure or objective, because his thinking, his opinion, never leaves him. If one doesn’t allow oneself to be convinced, if one clings to one’s naturally limited judgement, events will continue to occur without us. This is what happened at Medjugorje. Whether one is convinced or skeptical, for or against, the years pass by at Medjugorje; the signs remain, the fruits remain. And Our Lady’s invitation to peace is still valid. I do everything I can for people to hear this message, so that they may begin to renew their spiritual lives, their family lives.”

Timothy said...

I'm interested in what Dave, Diane and Patrick will say if and when Medjugorje is granted official Shrine status. You have so convinced yourselves of the negative judgement that you have not left any room for the alternative. I really don't understand all the negative energy surrounding your viewpoints on Medjugorje - a place that has transformed the lives of thousands into devoted practicing Catholics. You should be grateful! How many souls have you saved? I suppose that such strong negativity always erupts when heavenly events are made manifest on earth.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'm interested in what Dave, Diane and Patrick will say if and when Medjugorje is granted official Shrine status.

Patrick already said on his radio show that he would be happily wrong if that were to happen, and abide by the decision. That would be my response as well (and you can note my words if you are so concerned about it). I follow the judgment of Holy Mother Church.

You have so convinced yourselves of the negative judgement that you have not left any room for the alternative.

That's sheer nonsense. Nothing Patrick has said or written in the recent post / radio show or what I have written gives you warrant to conclude this. It is a lack of charity to try to read minds and be cynical.

What I actually wrote was:

"My own view for many years now has been altogether neutral,"

I also wrote following that: "I lean towards a relatively greater skepticism". But note that "lean toward" is not yet espousing a view. In the past I was inclined to lean towards belief of the genuineness of the alleged apparitions (since I have a great belief in Lourdes and Fatima). But when all is said and done I have been essentially neutral.

And I wrote above in the combox:

"If the Church rules positively, on the other hand, those who have opposed Medjugorje will also have to tone down their statements and opinions if they wish to be in line with the Mind of Holy Mother Church."

All this, yet you feel compelled to rashly speculate as you do, about my alleged states of mind and opinions.

I really don't understand all the negative energy surrounding your viewpoints on Medjugorje

That's obvious, because you have little understanding at all about what my view even is.

- a place that has transformed the lives of thousands into devoted practicing Catholics.

Patrick acknowledged that, and I happily do as well. But that is a different question from authenticity and actual apparitions and/or messages taking place.

You should be grateful!

I'm always delighted when lives are changed toward the better, yes.

How many souls have you saved?

In one primary sense, none, since God saves souls. In a second (Pauline) sense I have helped contribute to a movement of souls towards God, the Catholic Church, and salvation as a result of my apologetics and evangelism, with several hundred thus far (I don't keep track) reporting that it has helped them in that regard (and those are only the ones who take the time to write about it).

I suppose that such strong negativity always erupts when heavenly events are made manifest on earth.

Both Patrick and I have said we will accept the Church's judgment, should she rule in favor of authentic apparitions, worthy of Catholic belief, with the Church's approval. Will you accept her judgment if it goes the other way?

pilgrim said...

“I follow the judgment of Holy Mother Church.”

And so do those who travel to Medjugorje and those who believe in the apparitions. That is why I posted the notice as to where the Holy See stands on Medjugorje. Any call to the Vatican Press Office will always solicit the same response as the Zadar declaration.

So, as much as you are free to reserve judgment, I am free to go there in full belief. The Holy See has not spoken for or against Medjugorje. The Zadar declartion still stands. Why else would cardinal Schonborn be travelling there next month if not as a pilgrim on a private visit?

Dave, even if you feel you have been misunderstood, I feel your response to Patrick was heavy-handed. Yes, we all like to be understood and it is painful when our words are taken out of context and used against us. Imagine how the Medjugorje visionaries feel when this happens so often to them?

Thankfully, they are blessed with the grace not to retort with guns blazing. It must be a special grace that they are given to be able to turn the other cheek in this way. I find it very difficult sometimes.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'm very curious what the Church will say. The stakes are high here. People have a lot invested in this, both pro and con.

I haven't gotten involved in it much because my main responsibility as an apologist is to defend public revelation, not private revelations.

pilgrim said...

“I'm very curious what the Church will say. The stakes are high here. People have a lot invested in this, both pro and con.”

In my view, the greatest investment in Medjugorje has been the faith deposited by people by returning to the Sacraments, most notably those of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

It is good to invest in the kingdom of God in this way. It is what Holy Mother Church seeks for her children, to be reconciled with Christ and each other.

The Church cannot negate this process of Sacramental life. In fact it encourages and strives to protect it.

This is why the Holy See will, in my opinion, grant Shrine status to Medjugorje, to protect the tree that bears so much good fruit.

Medjugorje is Sacramental.

When the Baptist send his disciples to enquire if Jesus was the expected messiah, Jesus sent the messengers back with this answer: “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, those suffering from leprosy are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

This is Medjugorje.

It is not by coincidence that Our Lady chose to first appear at Medjugorje on June 24 (1981) the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, echoing the call of John with her words: Peace, peace, peace. Only peace. Reconcile with God and with each other.

Simply the Gospel message; a call that reverberates in all our hearts until we become finally and truly at peace with God and each other. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

pilgrim said...

We are reminded by Jesus in today’s Gospel (ordinary time, Luke 19:41-44) of God’s call for peace in our lives...

As he approaches Jerusalem, Jesus sheds tears and says: “If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes.”

After this admonishment about our lack of faith, Jesus then goes on to warn us of the consequences of our refusal to accept the message of peace, and not recognising the God-given gift.

“...and all because you did not recognise the opportunity when God offered it.”

In my opinion. Medjugorje is pure gift from God. Restored faith and resurrected lives give witness to this grace. And through this grace the message of peace is brought to others.

Medjugorje is a perpetual Pentecost where those who are renewed by the Holy Spirit “cannot refrain from speaking of what they have seen and heard.” (Acts)

While some may remark that we have taken too much wine, it is said because they are unable to recognise the New Wine that comes through Mary’s intercession.

They see the change in people but are challenged in understanding or accepting the process of how God’s love infuse hearts in such a dramatic way.

They have forgotten the dramatic healings carried out by Jesus when he walked the earth, that miracles do happen, that God’s love overpowers all obstacles, that our God reigns for ever and ever.

To love, requires a listening and humble heart. A heart that listens is a heart that responds. This why Our Lady always ends her messages with the words, “Thank you for responding to my call.”

But Our Lady is a patient Mother, and so is Mother Church. The Church does not hurry, but Our Lady constantly calls her children, even when they turn a deaf ear or struggle with a proud and stubborn heart. And which child doesn’t at various times? Me included!

Dave Armstrong said...

Of course good fruit and transformed lives can come about from a variety of reasons, whether apparitions actually occurred or not. The phenomenon of thousands of devout Catholics gathered together is bound to have a good effect, because the faith and zeal for the faith and for God are contagious.

Whether something is happening or not, if people believe it is: that some location is very special and spiritual, then the effect can be the same. This is not in and of itself a proof of it (though in legitimate, sanctioned apparitions these things occur also).

We see the power of community in, for example, retreats. My sons go to those a lot with their youth groups, and they always come back invigorated and renewed in the faith.

I've experienced this many times in Steubenville, at the Franciscan University (Defending the Faith conferences), and also at the Coming Home Network conferences, and in the abortion rescues I used to be a part of, even when I was a Protestant.

So my point is that the fruit doesn't necessarily prove the actuality of apparitions. It's two separate questions.

I have nothing whatever against spiritual experience (I defend the charismatic movement on my site), nor against miracles or apparitions. I believe in all these things and defend them. I have papers on this blog about what I believe to be documented miracles.

That's not my issue. It's simply due caution and a warning not to go overboard and raise an alleged private revelation (even if authentic) to a higher place than it should be in the scheme of things.

If your life has been changed, then go share the faith with others and evangelize. Share the gospel and the message of the fullness of faith that resides in Catholicism, rather than one alleged apparition.

That should be the priority.

Dave Armstrong said...

They have forgotten the dramatic healings carried out by Jesus when he walked the earth, that miracles do happen, that God’s love overpowers all obstacles, that our God reigns for ever and ever.

That's true of some; perhaps many: they disbelieve in present-day miracles; but it is not at all the case with me. You can't explain away my position based on a supposed antipathy to the miraculous or experience or a lack of Marian devotion. I'm very devoted to Mary and love writing about her more than almost anything. Have you seen all the things I've written about the Blessed Virgin? I love Lourdes and Fatima. I'm very excited about a new movie on Fatima that is coming out next month (The 13th Day).

Nor can you say that I have a lack of zeal for the things of God (as Timothy tried to imply in this combox). I've devoted my life to sharing and defending the faith (including the sacraments), and I've been doing this now for 28 years, as a Protestant and as a Catholic, by God's grace and His call, often with personal cost in various ways.

This very day I will be defending the Holy Eucharist against John Calvin's heresies.

You simply can't put me in those boxes. That doesn't account for my position on this. It may explain others, but not me (or, Patrick Madrid, either).

pilgrim said...

“...You can't explain away my position based on a supposed antipathy to the miraculous or experience or a lack of Marian devotion.”
“...Nor can you say that I have a lack of zeal for the things of God (as Timothy tried to imply in this combox).”
“...You simply can't put me in those boxes. That doesn't account for my position on this. It may explain others, but not me (or, Patrick Madrid, either).”


Dave, there is no need to be so defensive. I was generalising in my statements and not directing them at you. :)

So my point is that the fruit doesn't necessarily prove the actuality of apparitions.

From 1974 to 1978 the CDF spent sessions in drafting new criteria for discerning apparitions and revelations. It states in its document:

So that the ecclesiastical authority is able to discern with certainty the authenticity of claimed apparitions or revelations, it will proceed as follows:

a) Initially, to judge the facts according to positive and negative criteria.
b). Then if this examination appears favourable, to allow certain public demonstrations of cult and devotion, while continuing to investigate the facts with extreme prudence (which is equivalent to the formula: “for the moment, nothing is opposed to it”.)
c) Finally, in due course, and in the light of experience (starting from a particular study of the spiritual fruits generated by the new devotion), to give judgment on the authenticity of the supernatural character, if the ace requires it.


So the Church uses the criteria given by Jesus: Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? …I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.”

So Jesus makes it very clear, and does not attempt to split the workings of his Holy Spirit into two questions. A rotten tree does not produce good fruit. If the claim of apparitions is a false one, then it cannot consistently produce good fruit for 28 years.

If your life has been changed, then go share the faith with others and evangelize. Share the gospel and the message of the fullness of faith that resides in Catholicism, rather than one alleged apparition.

Let me also take you back to you remark about your own devotion to Our Lady to clarify the above quote and also to the point I made earlier about a listening heart…

When I or anyone else accept, read, listen and respond to the messages of Our Lady, I become a witness for God in my life. I evangelise by my own example through the power of the Holy Spirit, be I a Catholic or of another faith. But if I choose to respond in way independent of the Holy Spirit, without love in my heart, I am as Paul states just a gong booming.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Dave: Thanks for your kind words.

Pilgrim (or bluecross, or whatever name you are using today...):

With regards to "shrine status", there is no case where the Church ever granted shrine status to the site of an apparition which has not even been authorized to form a cultus. In fact, the cultus was prohibited - repeatedly since 1985.

Shrine status would come a long while after a bishop or commission allows you to start striking medals, having statues, and venerating "Our Lady of Medjugorje".

What has been done to date is to disallow this kind of thing which does speak volumes. In other words, the Church has not gotten to the point of saying that nothing should stand in the way of allowing public veneration of "Our Lady of Medjugorje". Queen of Peace is a title that has long been with the Church (and hi-jacked by the movement, imho).

There are dangers associated with not exercising caution with unapproved apparitions. People can get so attached that if they are condemned, they can't let go. A perfect example is "Holy Love Ministries" which was condemned on November 11, 2009 by Bishop Lennon of Cleveland. Just two days later, the "apparition" went spastic with it's messages. Some followers are refusing to accept the decision of the bishop. In other words, they are saying, "non serviam"

pilgrim said...

Dave, this will probably be my last post, so thank you for your patience and time. I am posting this as it touches on the last point you made about evangelising and also ties in with today’s gospel reading.

Dear Children! Today I invite all of you who have heard my message of peace to realise it with seriousness and with love in your life. There are many who think that they are doing a lot by talking about the messages, but do not live them. Dear children, I invite you to life and to change all the negative in you, so that it all turns into the positive and life. Dear children, I am with you and I desire to help each of you to live and by living, to witness the Good News. I am here, dear children, to help you and to lead you to heaven, and in heaven is the joy through which you can already live heaven now. Thank you for having responded to my call! Message of Our Lady, May 25, 1991

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, “If you in your turn, had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in from every side; they will dash you and your children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave no stone standing on another within you – and all because you did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!” Luke 19:41-44

Dave Armstrong said...

Dave, there is no need to be so defensive. I was generalising in my statements and not directing them at you. :)

No kidding. That's not the point. The focus is not me, but your argument. Since I am one of the class of neutrally-positioned (and/or mildly, cautiously skeptical) observers of Medjugorje, and you were making statements speculating as to why folks who don't agree with you think as they do, I used myself as one of that class, as an example, since I am quite familiar with my own opinions.

This sort of argumentation is often poorly understood. Hence the counter-charge of defensiveness which is a non sequitur and not the case at all.

Dave Armstrong said...

I repeat again: a legitimate apparition will indeed produce good fruits, but good fruits in any particular environment do not therefore prove the existence of an apparition. It is two different things. The logic is not exactly parallel.

As I alluded to earlier, folks can believe in their heart that the apparitions are real, based on a deep Marian devotion and Catholic piety, and this can produce change in their lives and good fruits, partially based on being with many other like-minded Catholics.

All of that can take place without the apparitions being real and actual. The determination of authenticity must primarily include other avenues of proof and evidence.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

pilgrim:

In the same 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions you cite, did you notice the order in which the discernment was to occurs. Examination of fruits of the followers comes after other tests? Here they are again:

So that the ecclesiastical authority is able to acquire more certainty on such or such an apparition or revelation, it will proceed in the following way:


A) Initially, to judge the facts according to positive and negative criteria (cf. below, n.1).


B) Then, if this examination appears favorable, to allow certain public demonstrations of cult and devotion, while continuing to investigate the facts with extreme prudence (which is equivalent to the formula: “for the moment, nothing is opposed to it”).


C) Finally, after a certain time, and in the light of experience, (starting from a particular study of the spiritual fruits generated by the new devotion), to give a judgement on the authenticity of the supernatural character, if the case requires this.


Note: See the positive and negative criteria in the link.

Pilgrim, the Church has not even gotten through "B" yet. They are still at "A" - investigating positive and negative criteria. In fact, the cultus, which is what it is called, was explicitly prohibited many times. Not even the 1991 Zadar Declaration, nor subsequent communications by Cardinal Bertone authorized the cultus. It merely permitted private pilgrimages as long as they did not presuppose the supernaturality of the phenomena. That hardly sounds like "B".

Msgr. Henri Brincard, speaking on behalf of the French Bishops on Medjugorje put it very eloquently when he asked:

Let us recognise that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organise a private pilgrimage without it being motivated by the conviction that the events of Medjugorje are of a supernatural origin? Since this conviction is at the origin of the pilgrimage, does not this latter not become de facto "an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church"?

Like with Scripture, we cannot take one set of information from the 1978 Criteria out of context of the larger document. Positive cannot be weighed to the exlusion of the negative. And, judgment of events precedes judgment of fruits.

With regards to "shrine status", that would not come until after "C". Shrine status does not come until after full approval. In fact, it is a level of approval. The highest level of approval is for a sitting Pope to visit the site of an approved apparition. In 2000, Pope John Paul II visited Fatima. In May of 2009, Pope Benedict will visit Fatima.

Look how long AFTER ecclesial approval Fatima got shrine status.

RC said...

"Responding to anyone on the question of Medjugorje the Holy See simply repeats the aforementioned decision made in 1991. There has been no change to this in the past 18 years."

There actually has been a change about that, pilgrim.

In 2006, Bishop Peric gave a position statement as part of his homily during confirmations at St. James Church in Medjugorje. Since then, CDF has been referring bishops to that statement. For example, CDF urged the bishops of Tuscany to republish his position in their newsletter.

You can read his statement on-line at http://www.cbismo.com/index.php?mod=vijest&vijest=71 .

It forbids pilgrimages based on the apparition claims; it forbids local and visiting priests from expressing opinions contrary to the diocesan position; it forbids the use of the term "shrine" for the place; it calls for a stop to propaganda for the messages and apparition claims.

Would you please spread the word about these directives, so that Medjugorje supporters will not violate them unknowingly?

Thanks.

pilgrim said...

RSThere actually has been a change about that, pilgrim.
No there hasn’t. Whatever view the bishop expresses about the apparitions is simply his personal view and not that of Holy Mother Church. Bishop Peric may condemn the apparitions but the Church has not. The jury is still out and the matter is still in the hands of the CDF, confirmed by cardinal Puljic this week.

The bishop has a duty to ensure that liturgical practises in the parish conform with the norms of the Church. No-one has a problem with this, not even the Franciscans.

His recent instructions should be seen as an indication that the Holy See is on the case to ensure that liturgical life in the parish meets Rome’s requirements for granting International shrine status, hence the separation of the visionaries, apparitions and messages from any liturgical norms. Not a problem.

By the way, I was in Medjugorje the day the bishop gave his sermon in 2006. On the day he also stated “Medjugorje is not a shrine.” At the time, people thought this was rather an odd statement to make during the Confirmation Mass.

But two weeks later we discovered why he made the statement when the announcement came that the Holy See had instructed the Bosnia & Herzegovina bishops conference to give study to the the events at Medjugorje, and particularly shrine status.

There was a good reason for this. The Zadar declaration made it very clear that Medjugorje was a shrine, a holy place (shrine at national level). However, with the breakup of Yugolsavia and its bishops conference the question of whether Medjugorje still had shrine status was a legitimate one. Hence the reason for the Holy See to give the opportunity to the B&H BC to consider shrine status for Medjugorje at national level.

But it came as no surprise to anyone that the three-man bishops conference, which included bishop Peric, was unable to come to a consensus. So the matter was referred back to the Holy See.

Now the Holy See has taken on the study since the opportunity was missed by the B&H BC, and is actively pursuing this. Hence some of the instructions that bishop Peric has been issuing.

Only this week cardinal Pulijic has hinted that the Holy See “will give indications on Confession and Eucharistic celebrations”.

In normal circumstances it would be the bishop issuing instructions if anything was untoward on this front. But no, the Holy See is stepping in to do this. Why? Simply to conform with the dictate found in the Code of Canon Law relating to Shrines:

Can. 1234 §1. At shrines the means of salvation are to be supplied more abundantly to the faithful by the diligent proclamation of the word of God, the suitable promotion of liturgical life especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and of penance, and the cultivation of approved forms of popular piety.

If and when the Holy See do decide to give shrine status to Medjugorje it will be at international level.

This will also help overcome the confusion by many that Medjugorje is off-limits for pilgrims. It’s not, but there are conditions, particularly that pilgrimages cannot be promoted at diocesan level. International shrine status would probably remove this restriction. It may even leave room for a visit from Benedict our Pope whose pontifical mission is one of reconciliation.

Nick said...

Let us pray for a speedy judgment, but not be impatient children :)

http://medjugorje.webs.com