Pope Francis Appoints Special Envoy for Međugorje

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A Polish bishop will be the Pope’s envoy for Međugorje.

Pope Francis has appointed a special envoy for Međugorje, Polish Bishop Henryk Hoser, who is expected to study the pastoral aspect, announced the Press Office of the Holy See, reports Večernji List on February 11, 2017.

Hoser will visit Međugorje, but his task will not be to initiate a new investigation about the alleged apparitions of Our Lady which began in 1981 and are allegedly continuing to this day. He should analyze the pastoral situation and the needs of the faithful who come to Međugorje from around the world. This means that Pope Francis has overturned an earlier decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which had forbidden priests to go to Međugorje.

Based on the collected information about the pastoral situation in this area, particularly with regard to the needs of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage, he should propose possible pastoral initiatives for the future, reads the statement regarding tasks of the papal envoy for Međugorje. Therefore, Hoser’s task will be strictly pastoral. Pope Francis does not want a new investigation after the one which took five years and was concluded in 2015 by a commission of experts headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, which was founded by Benedict XVI.

Head of the Vatican press office Greg Burke said that the special envoy would not go into the issue of Marian apparitions, because that is a doctrinal issue that is within the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Asked when the Vatican could state its position regarding the apparitions, Burke said that the Commission’s dossier was still being analyzed. He stressed that the appointment of the envoy was “for Međugorje, and not against Međugorje”.

According to unconfirmed unofficial sources, the commission led by Ruini proposed to accept the supernatural origins of the apparitions, but only the first ones. The Commission, after having examined numerous documents and having questioned the witnesses, handed over the dossier to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In 2015, Pope Francis said that the Ruini Commission had done a very good job and that he would state his position about Međugorje soon.

The envoy is expected to conclude his mission by this summer.


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