The move demonstrates a changing attitude towards Medjugorje.
Interestingly, the papal appointment of Msgr Henryk Hoser as the Vatican’s representative in Medjugorje has drawn little attention, even though it is the most significant move of the Catholic Church in the last 37 years the Medjugorje phenomenon. With the appointment of Hoser for an indefinite period, the Holy See has officially assumed the administration of Medjugorje, reports Večernji List on June 14, 2018.
However, the news has caused little interest, and the public is more concerned with trivial news, for example, that the Pope once called Our Lady of Medjugorje “a postman,” which caused an avalanche of ridicule against all those millions who come to the only site of active apparitions in the world.
The decision clearly shows that the Vatican believes that Medjugorje is not a scam, as it has been suggested by more than three and a half decades of denials of the Medjugorje phenomena.
The Hoser’s mission to Medjugorje shows the wisdom and carefulness of the Church leadership since he is coming to Medjugorje “from below.” In other words, he starts from the fruits of the phenomenon (confessions, Eucharist, adoration…), which is the best possible approach since the fruits indicate whether an idea, movement or phenomenon is of God’s nature or whether it is a human construction, perhaps even a scam.
Of course, the faithful are not required to believe in the phenomena like Medjugorje, and no one can order them to do so. However, despite this fact, in Medjugorje, the Church recognizes the signs of time. Medjugorje did not happen outside the context of time and space. Hoser himself noted this during his first visit, saying, for example, that confessions are becoming rarer in Europe, while in Medjugorje people are yearning for the sacrament, waiting sometimes for hours to receive it. And the official Church, through the Vatican apostolic visitor, will help them receive the “services” they need by strengthening the pastoral ministry in Medjugorje.
The Church does this to strengthen the foundations of faith, which have revealed themselves in many ways to the faithful in Medjugorje for the past 37 years. And the Church is patient, not only because it wants to examine such a phenomenon thoroughly, but because it allows faith and believers to grow in their own authenticity, becoming a sign to the world in which they live. And Medjugorje is just that – a sign to the world today.
The Church just has to confirm and strengthen that, which is precisely what it is doing. And that is crucial for the Medjugorje phenomenon. Not so much because of the inner truth about Medjugorje, but rather because of the criticism coming from the outside.
Translated from Večernji List (written by Darko Pavičić).