Ruling on Medjugorje to “Take a Long Time”

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Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith speaks on Medjugorje.

The prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, has warned it could “take a long time” for the Vatican to rule on Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, whose sanctuary has recently hosted a Papal visitation, report and on April 12, 2017.

“A pastoral phenomenon can’t be built on false foundations, and we can’t separate pastoral concerns from questions around the authenticity of these visions,” said Mueller for Catholic Information Agency (KAI) in Poland. “But the great mass of faithful is too fascinated by Medjugorje for the future good of its church to be made, dependent on the truth of these alleged apparitions and appeals. The position is needed to be nuanced even if the Mother of God’s appearances are recognised, as with Lourdes and Fatima.”

The cardinal was speaking as the Polish archbishop Henryk Hoser concluded a part of his visitation to provide guidelines for future pastoral work at Medjugorje. He said the CDF was studying the 42,000 claimed appearances of the Virgin Mary since 1981, with a view to a Papal ruling. However, he cautioned that Catholics could still “face a long wait” for an official Church pronouncement. “In the case of Medjugorje, there’s no specified deadline for completing research on the supernatural character of events here – and our Congregation won’t submit to pressure.”

Six Medjugorje teenagers claim to have seen the Virgin Mary on 24 June 1981 while herding sheep near Medjugorje, and have since reported constant apparitions at the site, which attracts up to 2.5 million pilgrims annually.

In a separate interview, Archbishop Hoser said it was a problem that some of the visionaries were still claiming to see the Virgin Mary, when the apparitions had not been recognised by the Church. He added that his visitation would supplement rather than replace investigations carried out up to 2014 by a doctrinal commission under Cardinal Camillo Ruini of Rome, and would be confined to assessing the pastoral needs of visitors and pilgrims.

The Pope’s envoy said that the authenticity of the apparitions played a role for the pastoral dimension of Medjugorje and that it would therefore be good if the decision would come “sooner, rather than later.” At the same time, he said he was aware that that decision was complicated by the fact that the alleged apparitions were still continuing.

He said that, even if the Holy See were to decide that there were no apparition in Medjugorje, people would still continue to worship Mary there. “This worship now exists and has developed very quickly,” he said. “And if it turns out that at least some of these apparitions were authentic, that would make the site even more sacred,” he said, adding that the decision of the Vatican would not have a decisive influence on the pastoral aspects.


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