Medjugorje, Vatican approval is slow in coming. Even 40 years later

Our Lady really appeared a Medjugorje? Exactly 40 years have passed since the six alleged seers claimed to have seen the “Gospa”. It was, in fact, the June 24, 1981 and since that day millions of pilgrims have gone to the small town of Bosnia Herzegovina. In all this time, however, the Church has not matured an official judgment on the alleged apparitions. Events that would still occur today. In 2010 Benedict XVI entrusted the Medjugorje dossier to an international commission of inquiry chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

The investigative work lasted four years and in 2014 it was handed over to Francesco, in the meantime took over from Ratzinger to lead the Church. According to the Commission, the first seven apparitions, those which took place from 24 June to 3 July 1981, are true. From the report emerges “a very clear differentiation, although not perceived by the protagonists of the alleged appearances, between the beginnings of the phenomenon and its subsequent history “.

“The beginnings – the text continues – in fact involved some psychically healthy and normal boys and girls who, out of any expectation or preparation, and without the Franciscans or other people having been able to influence them, always and unanimously testified that the Madonna appeared to them, suddenly and repeatedly in a specific place and time, initially causing them surprise and fear, qualifying herself as the ‘Queen of Peace’ and entrusting them with a message of conversion and penance. This testimony was maintained by them even when the police arrested them and threatened them with death ”.

In 2015 Bergoglio announced upcoming decisions on Medjugorje. But then he waited another four years, that is, until 2019, to give the green light to pilgrimages in that locality. A decision very encouraged also by the Ruini Commission. The Pope’s choice was necessary to clear the customs of the numerous groups of faithful, led by their priests and in some cases also by their bishops, who already went to Bosnia and Herzegovina every year.

A decision, as explained by the Vatican, taken after having “considered the considerable flow of people who go to Medjugorje and the abundant fruits of grace that have flowed from it”. But specifying that everything must be organized “always taking care to avoid these pilgrimages being interpreted as one authentication known events, which still require examination by the Church. It should therefore be avoided that such pilgrimages create confusion or ambiguity under the doctrinal aspect. This also applies to pastors of all levels who intend to go to Medjugorje and celebrate or concelebrate there even in a solemn way ”.

Francis never made any secret of his fort skepticism on the alleged apparitions. “But where are the visionaries who are telling us today the letter that Our Lady will send at 4 in the afternoon – said Bergoglio -? IS they live on this. This is not a Christian identity. The last word of God is called Jesus and nothing more. It is another way to take steps backwards in the Christian identity ”. And in another homily, the Pope added: “They tell us: the Lord is here, he is there, he is there! But I know a seer, a seer who receives letters from the Madonna, messages from the Madonna. But, look, Our Lady is a mother! And he loves us all. But he is not a head of the post office, to send messages every day ”.

Yet after 40 years the Medjugorje phenomenon resist and provokes the Church by requiring it to finally pronounce itself on the presumed apparitions. Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna and former student of Joseph Ratzinger, Christoph Schönborn, explained that “it is not the task of the visionaries to demonstrate, but to communicate. I say simply and regardless of the final judgment of these phenomena, that one thing seems obvious to me: the messages are simply evangelicals, they are common sense “. But Vatican approval is slow in coming.

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