QUAERITUR: a revert and Medjugorje

I got this by e-mail:

I need your help! I am a re-vert to the faith, and my catholic upbringing had little structure as far as family prayer or teaching. Sunday mass and meal prayers and bed time prayers was about it. I didn’t learn how to pray the rosary until I returned to the faith in my …Hold on now…my 40’s!
So I am back with a burning desire to Love our Lord, obey his commandments and spend time with him in quiet every day of my life. I still feel less than adequate when it comes to comparing my self with the learned and well read people of the church, but I do know that the Magisterium of the church is what I need to follow and the teaching of the gospels.
My issue is that a very educated friend  that I know is in disagreement with the teachings of the church as far as the Medjugorje acceptance. This person says that there are many priests and even Bishops that go there and that private revelation is what is good for the catholic faith. I say, that if it is not OK with Rome, we should "Leave it alone"!  And that  this is a good reason why the church has so many issues when our own priests and Bishops don’t follow Rome!!
Father, can you send me just a short note on your facts about the teaching you know on the Medjugorje stuff?
I need to be able to answer this. All I can do is see it from the eyes of a child, as what I was taught …Do as your Father says! So that’s what I do!
I can understand if you are too busy, and may god Bless you for reading this. I always have a place for you in my prayers Father.

Folks, I just don’t have it in me at the moment to tackle this.

Perhaps a couple of you who are knowledgeable about Medjugorje issues could write to me by e-mail and I could forward things.

UPDATE 28 July 21:16 GMT


Fr. Jay Finelli has come to our aid.  

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

The Holy See has asked that there be no official pilgrimages from Dioceses or parishes, but people can go to pray and confess.  I have been several times and although I believe, I await the final decision of Holy Mother Church.  There are a few statements of the CDF that I though might be helpful.

God bless,
Fr. Jay Finelli

The Bishop of Langres in France, Msgr. Leon Taverdet, took recourse to the Apostolic See February 14, 1996 to ask what the position of the Church is regarding the apparitions in Medjugorje and whether it is permitted for one to go there for pilgrimage. The Holy See’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith answered March 23, 1996 through its Secretary Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone. We present his response in its entirety.


Vatican City, March 23, 1996

Prot. No. 154/81-01985

Your Excellency,

In your letter of February 14, 1996 you inquired what is the present position of the Church regarding the alleged "apparitions in Medjugorje’ and whether it is permitted to the Catholic faith to go there for pilgrimage.

In reference to that, it is my honor to make known to you that, regarding the authenticity of the apparitions in question, the Bishops of the former Yugoslavia confirmed in their Declaration of April 10,
1991 published in Zadar:

". . .On the basis of investigation up till now it cannot be established that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.

However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who are coming to Medjugorje prompted both by motives of belief and certain other motives, require the attention and pastoral care in the first place of the bishop of the diocese and of the other bishops with him so that in Medjugorje, and everything related to it, a healthy devotion toward the Blessed Virgin Mary would be promoted in conformity with the teaching of the Church.

For that purpose the bishops shall issue separate appropriate liturgical-pastoral directives. Likewise by means of their Commission they shall further follow and investigate the total event in Medjugorje."

The result from this, in what is precisely said, is that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, understood as a place of authentic Marian apparitions, are not permitted to be organized either on the parish or on the diocesan level, because that would be in contradiction to what the Bishops of former Yugoslavia affirmed in their fore mentioned Declaration.

Kindly accept, your Excellency, an expression of my profoundly devoted affection!

+ Tarcisio Bertone


Pr. No 154/81-06419 Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. UffizioMay 26,
1998 To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion


In your letter of January 1, 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery several questions about the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar in regard to the so called apparitions of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages and the pastoral care of the faithful who go there. In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency. The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance. As for the credibility of the "apparitions" 
in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: 
"On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." 
Since the division of Yugoslavia into different independent nations, it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina to eventually reopen the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be called for.

What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only ‘non constat de supernaturalitate,’ but likewise, ‘constat de non supernaturalitate’ of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion.

Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place, and which still call for an examination by the Church.

I hope that I have replied satisfactorily at least to the principal questions that you have presented to this Dicastery, and I beg Your Excellency to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments.

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone(Secretary to the "Congregatio", presided over by Cardinal Ratzinger)

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