VatRadio: Crd. Schönborn apologizes for Medjugorje controversy

At Catholic Light we find a translation from German of the Vatican Radio coverage about Vienna’s Cardinal Schönborn who causes a dust up by his visit to the highly controversial Medjugorje.

The German-language service of Vatican Radio has an article on Cardinal Schönborn’s private audience with the Holy Father last Friday, and the letter he faxed to Bishop Peri? the same day.

My translation:

Schönborn: Apology for Uproar about Medjugorje Visit

PismoKardSchonbornM.jpg

After his controversial pilgrimage to Medjugorje Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has apologized to the local bishop of the place, Ratko Peri?. In a letter published in excerpts on the official home page of the Mostar diocese, the Vienna cardinal emphasizes that he had no intention of "harming peace." Schönborn had visited the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the end of the old year and argued for "an integration of the Medjugorje phenomenon into normal pastoral practice". He had declared his visit to the ecclesiastically unrecognized site of Marian pilgrimages a private trip. However, he provided for considerable visibility to it in media publicity. The letter of apology is dated January 15, the day on which Schönborn was in Rome for a private audience with Pope Benedict. With his letter, Schönborn answered a letter from Peri?, who had sharply criticized the visit of the cardinal to Medjugorje and emphasized that the visit implied no recognition of the "apparitions". Furthermore he recalled that the so-called seers of Medjugorje had repeatedly manipulated the alleged Marian apparitions. With Schönborn’s letter the discussions are now considered closed, said a spokesman for the Mostar-Duvno diocese this Tuesday. — Since 1981, Marian apparitions are said to be taking place in Medjugorje. They are not recognized either by the local diocese or by the Vatican.

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17 Responses to VatRadio: Crd. Schönborn apologizes for Medjugorje controversy

  1. Mark Shea is right when he says that Vatican Radio has joined the anti-Medjugorje conspiracy

    I’ve already seen supporters saying that Vatican Radio just took their info from Catholic News Agency.

    *sigh*

  2. Central Valley says:

    Taken to the wood shed by the Holy Father – it’s about time. I hope the diocese of Fresno CA. sees this note from the Cardinal and stops the Medjugorje push in parishes and on the diocese television station.

  3. asperges says:

    There is something deeply divisive about the whole phenomenon of Medjugorje. The local Bishop(s) have ruled on it and the Church has stated that “non constat de supernaturalitate” (it is not a supernatural phenomenon) although this is not a definitive and final pronouncement. There is also a prohibition on official Church prilgrimages I believe.

    Given this rather “anti” official stance, that Card Schönborn (no junior cleric) should have taken this step was not only discourteous to the local hierarchy who have suffered years of in-fighting and division locally because of the circus that surrounds it, but it was, I suggest, deliberately provocative. The official reason he gives is that it was a “private visit” but that is no excuse. He could have travelled incognito if this were his real intention. He should not have gone at all.

    This whole business needs a clear and final pronouncement at the highest level. Personally I have the gravest doubts about it, but if the Church wishes to tell me otherwise, that is fine. However sitting on the fence knowing the huge controversy and divisions involved seems equally unsatisfactory. The original days of softly-softly in an emerging atheist Czechoslovakia are long gone.

    French readers can read an article of this (from Le Figaro) at http://blog.lefigaro.fr/religioblog/2010/01/un-cardinal-ose-se-rendre-a-me.html

  4. Tominellay says:

    Last week’s PETRUS “rumor” was a news scoop…

  5. TNCath says:

    Asperges has good points, and I do think that Cardinal Schonborn’s “visit” was not the wisest move on his part. He should certainly have known better. Cardinal Schonborn used to be an extremely reliable ally of the Holy Father’s. Lately, he seems to be “going his own way.”

  6. robtbrown says:

    This whole business needs a clear and final pronouncement at the highest level. Personally I have the gravest doubts about it, but if the Church wishes to tell me otherwise, that is fine. However sitting on the fence knowing the huge controversy and divisions involved seems equally unsatisfactory. The original days of softly-softly in an emerging atheist Czechoslovakia are long gone.
    Comment by asperges

    I think the Vatican wanted to ignore it, hoping the enthusiasm would evaporate. In these matters there is always the danger of offending pious people.

  7. Eilis says:

    The problem it seems to me is that because of the dissident bishops in various Sees the good bishops like the bishop of Mostar can be dismissed as if they were in the same league as the Weaklands of this world. Unless and until the Holy See reins in the dissidents the Medjugoriacs can point to the support of the Shoenborns and carry on regardless.

  8. robtbrown says: I think the Vatican wanted to ignore it, hoping the enthusiasm would evaporate. In these matters there is always the danger of offending pious people.

    I think that is exactly what has been going on. However, at what price?

    With all this talk about good fruits, some truly bad fruits are being disregarded.

    All the while the pious acts are taking place, the Medjugorje Movement has a collective disdain for the local bishop. That too is fruit, one I speak of in great detail – filial reverence, or lack thereof.

    I think it stems all the way back to 1982, and even further, with particular kinds of messages, one of which to me, is one of the most offensive. It’s too bad Cardinal Schonborn wasn’t aware of the message when he spoke of them as being so … fruitful.

    There comes a point when you cross the line into consequentialism in allowing something to continue if it is known to be false. In other words, you can’t buy “good fruits” with disobedience, disunity, division, and a lack of filial reverence for local authority.

  9. Norah says:

    It is pretty certain that the Holy Father instructed the cardinal to write a letter. That sentence was no apology ; how could someone of Cardinal Schonborn’s experience not know what would be the result of his visit? The cardinal is being disingenuious.

  10. Ogard says:

    asperges, “non constat de supernaturalitate” doesn’t mean “constat de non supernaturalitate”. The former was stated by the episcopal commission of former Yogoslavia, and it means that it can’t be asserted that the events are supernatural; the latter is a position of the local Bishop, and it means what you say, i.e. that, plainly, the events are not supernatural.

    As far as I know the Holy See, while respecting the view of the Ordinary – he, after all, is the boss in his place – is not willing to overrule the judgement of the episcopal commission. And I don’t think we can expect more, because it is impossible to prove the negative.

    If I insist that I have seen a Devil last night, you can believe me or not, but there is no way of proving that I haven’t seen him. So, the “apparitions” and “messages” can go on and on.

    I have read a set of “messages” published by a pro-Medjugorje organization in England. One is a reply to the question whether, before Assumption, “she” died or not; and “Our Lady” replied that she did not die.

    So, “she” has resolved the question which Pius XII did not want to embark on in his Bull Munificentissimus Deus !!!

    The visionary was evidently a sophisticated theologian….

  11. Maltese says:

    Cardinal Schonborn himself refused to admit an a Bishop into his diocese for a peaceful anti-abortion protest, and yet barreled into Medjugorje. He allowed a self-professed atheistic artist license to display homo-erotic art in the halls next to his Cathedral, and even so, the Medjugorje sect wants to promote him as a spokesperson for their misbegotten, and possibly, demonic enterprise!

    Whereas St. Bernadette and St. Lucia were examples of poverty, mimicking the poverty of the Holy Family itself, the “seers” at Medjugorje have opened hotels and the such, and live on the “millionaires-row” of Medjugorje.

    But the most troubling aspect about Medjugorje is its relativism and syncretism. You can read more about my opinion on those things here:

    http://hospitallers.blogspot.com/2009/09/medjugorje-divine-intervention-or.html

    But the gist of it is this: Would Mary, the Mother of our Divine Savior, really say that God looks over each religion “as a Prince over his kingdom.” Or, that the most holy woman in the village is a Muslim?

    I’ve noticed that the Franciscans in Medjugorje have cleaned these messages up quite a bit since Michael Davies first commented on them (he was flabbergasted, as his Croatian wife was able to translate some of the early messages out of Medjugorje.)

    Truthfully, because so many high-ranking prelates are so in favor of Medjugorje, and yet the messages (and shear numbers of messages; as if Our Lady is a chatty kathy, and can be transported from place-to-place to give messages, as the seers bring “her” where they travel) hold the power to drive a huge wedge in the Church itself. Scary stuff….

  12. I read the Cardinal’s statement and it appears to me to be a self-justification and a non-apology. It reminds me of the non-apologies typically made by politicians or celebrities: “If my actions offended anyone . . . .” I think it adds insult to injury.

    It frightens me to consider what may have influenced the Cardinal to do what he did. It frightens me very much, especially after viewing the notorious “balloon mass” video on YouTube.

  13. Dave N. says:

    If the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” do not appear, then it’s not an apology.

  14. chonak says:

    Well, he did say, “I’m sorry” (es tut mir leid) but it was followed by “…if you had that impression.” So it’s not a clear apology. OTOH, we don’t have the entire letter, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

  15. robtbrown says:

    There comes a point when you cross the line into consequentialism in allowing something to continue if it is known to be false. In other words, you can’t buy “good fruits” with disobedience, disunity, division, and a lack of filial reverence for local authority.
    Comment by Diane at Te Deum Laudamus

    As I implied earlier, the Church has to be very careful in these matters. There are lots of people who visited Medjugorje who did it in good faith. And when people told me they were going, I always asked them why don’t they go to Fatima.

  16. rachmaninov says:

    I thought everyone would love to know about this interview from Cardinal Schonborn, given to an italian newspaper.The whole article is in the Tablet this week:
    “The Pope does not need my advice. He knows very well how important the Virgin Mary is for the Catholic Church and he is a fervent devotee. He has visited many Marian shrines and I think one day he might even come here.” He added that Medjugorje could “become something very important and profound”.
    Puts a rather different slant on the meeting between the Pope and His Eminence.Anyhow to dispel the useless gossip, an austrian prelate told Kathnet that the meeting had nothing to do with the so called criticism of the Cardinal’s visit and that the Pope had no problem with the visit.