Bosnian Card. Puljic denies claims of Vatican commission about Medjugorje

From CNA with my emphases and comments:

Bosnian Cardinal denies claims of Vatican commission for Medjugorje

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nov 20, 2009 / 11:45 am (CNA).- Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina denied press reports yesterday which claim that the Vatican is creating a commission to investigate the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje

The cardinal, who is visiting Rome to attend the plenary session of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, of which he is a member, said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is neither preparing a document nor establishing a special commission to study the Medjugorje apparitions.

Cardinal Puljic said that the official position of the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the one expressed by the then Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia in April 1991.

That statement not only expressed the episcopate’s support to then-Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar – where the town of Medjugorje is located – but explicitly said that,[pay attention…] “based on previous research, it cannot be affirmed that these events concerning apparitions and revelations are of supernatural nature.”  [That doesn’t say "it cannot be denied"….]

The doctrinal issue of the Medjugorje phenomenon is resolved, but its pastoral significance must still be taken into account,” the cardinal continued.  [NB: "pastoral significance".  Many people report experiences of conversion because of this… phenomenon.]

“The Medjugorje phenomenon is not only gathering faithful from Bosnia, but from all over the world, and in places where people gather to pray, God gives his blessing. Therefore, we should carefully examine all sides of this phenomenon,” he added.

Nevertheless, he reiterated, “for the moment, everything is under the jurisdiction of the local bishops.”

“Still, at any given moment, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could establish an International Commission in order to study the case of Medjugorje,” the cardinal remarked.

Speaking at the 2004 assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Puljic complained that the reported apparitions of Medjugorje were “becoming a source of division in the Church.” In 2006, the cardinal was involved in setting up a commission concluding that the alleged Marian apparitions were not supernatural.

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  1. paladin says:

    (*groan*) Oh, please, Holy Father… make a formal declaration about this circus, once and for all (since people don’t seem to be able to accept the judgment of the local Bishop or the local Bishops’ conference)! This has gone on for far too long, as it is…

  2. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there about “good fruits” resulting from Medjugorje, but there have also been a lot of bad fruits and unsavory characters associated with the phenomenon. That some good should come of it should not be surprising: God can bring good out of anything or even nothing at all. But neither God nor the Blessed Mother need the assistance of frauds.

  3. Vincenzo says:

    Asked if Medjugorje should not be judged by its fruits of many conversions and vocations to the Church, the (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) official responded: “It is not the duty of this Dicastery to make a pastoral assessment, but a doctrinal one. But regarding the argument, it can equally be argued that God can write straight with crooked lines, just as it has been proven in several previous occasions with patently false apparitions.”

  4. ssoldie says:

    ‘it cannot be affirmed’, but then again ‘it cannot be denied’ Just what has two (2) Medjugorje Bishops said, “nothing supernatural”

  5. Melania says:

    I remember reading an alternate view by Fr. Benedict Groeschel in “The Miracle Detective” by Randall Sullivan. I don’t have the book in front of me so I have to go on memory.

    Mr. Sullivan had an extended interview with Fr. Benedict about the Medjugorje visionaries and reported that Fr. Benedict suggested that the original visions may have been genuine but that later experiences may have been created, even unconsciously, by the visionaries themselves. Fr. Benedict became particularly suspicious when the messages purporting to be from Our Lady started sounding “whiney” and banal. Also, the behavior of some of the visionaries seemed questionable at that time. It was his opinion that it would be wisest for the Church not to try to sort all that out. The situation is just too muddled. There have been other reports of visions, e.g. La Salette, that never received the Church’s approval. The Medjugorje visions may be in the La Salette category.

  6. Will this never end? I mean, really?
    One prelate against another; so-called approvals from John Paul II, even Benedict XVI, but who can we believe?
    The local bishop, as far as I’m concerned, and I may be wrong about this, has the authority here.
    There is so much ‘muck’ to get through; why, why cannot people just be obedient, pray the Rosary, go to Mass, adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, fast, do penance, and just get on with it without all this other psychodrama?
    The Devil is plenty busy with either the New Age weirdos or the apparatchiks that accept everything that some ‘visionary’ may say…just check out the chaos going on in the Cleveland Diocese…yikes!

  7. Dave N. says:

    So, what’s this about Cdl. Schönborn’s upcoming visit?

    I’m disappointed that it seems there will be no inquiry anytime soon.

  8. Maltese says:

    My view of Medjugorje is nuanced. As a former firm believer, I now believe it to be a hoax (Gospa calls them “children,” but they were teenagers when it started at their favorite smoking haunt, nevertheless, the then teenagers, I believe, were experiencing ‘something’ based on extensive scientific testing, wherein the seers all simultaneously moved their eyes to phenomena). Here is what I’ve recently written on the subject:

    Essentially, why would God create a scenario where all the seers become millionaires with grand houses, with pools, and some seers driving very expensive European cars? Christ was born in a manger of a poor family and died on a Cross. St. Bernadette, Sister Lucicia, seers of recent Church-approved apparitions, provide a stark contrast.

    If you don’t buy that argument, how about this: why would our “lady,” the “Gospa,” tell the Children a Muslim lady in the village is the one doing her work?

    Or, why would the Gospa say that God, Christ “reigns” over each religion like a King of his kingdom?

    And these are the filtered messages which the Franciscans there allow out.

    Michael Davies, whose wife was Croatian, received some of the unfiltered messages in the early years, which flabbergasted him and prompted him to write an entire book against the phenomena.

  9. Maltese: I’m with you all the way.
    Michael Davies and E. Michael Jones really did a fantastic job of carefully inspecting and discerning what exactly was going on. I was a believer, also. Until I read these two authors’ critiques.
    May the Holy Spirit and the real Blessed Virgin Mary assist the Church in this time. We are in such need of assistance from heaven. And not from some “bogus Virgin”…Jesus, help us!

  10. bookworm says:

    “Fr. Benedict (Groeschel) suggested that the original visions may have been genuine but that later experiences may have been created, even unconsciously, by the visionaries themselves. Fr. Benedict became particularly suspicious when the messages purporting to be from Our Lady started sounding “whiney” and banal.”

    That’s exactly what I’ve suspected for some time — that perhaps the original or earliest visions were genuine, but then the visionaries got “hooked” on the visionary experiences or on the attention those visions brought them. Whether they are demonic, fraudulent, or just plain imaginary I can’t say, but I’ve come to the conclusion they are certainly no longer genuine and have not been for many years if ever.

    Also — and I intend absolutely NO disrespect to Our Lady in saying this because I don’t believe it’s really coming from her — if the “Gospa” keeps saying the same things over and over and over again every day for 28 years and counting, that would hardly make her an example of perfect humility… it would make her more like an annoying relative or neighbor who doesn’t know when to shut up!

  11. DOCTRINAL v. PASTORAL This dichotomy is the source of misinformation and chaos. Proof: The Second Vatican Council was Pastoral! Cdl Ratzinger was asked some years ago if “the Blessed Mother was appearing at Medjugorje”. He replied: Look at the number of pilgrims, the stories of conversions, people returning to the Faith, marriages repaired, the intensity and duration of the conversions, etc. He never mentioned the Blessed Mother. From the pastoral point of view, whether she appeared there or not was irrelevant. So it is with this report today. No apparitions have occurred there, but we have allowed this to go so long that shutting it down now would cause pastoral problems among the devotees.

  12. Melania says:

    Continuing with what I remember of the Sullivan interview with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, I remember Fr. Benedict felt that St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes was his idea of the perfect visionary. Despite enormous pressure, she steadfastly refused to report anything other than exactly what she had seen and heard. She never identified the lady in her vision as the Blessed Mother because the lady identified herself only as “the Immaculate Conception.” When the visions were over, they were over. St. Bernadette never reported a sequel. She was accepted to live out her life in quiet and obscure holiness in her convent. This helped authenticate her visions.

    Fr. Benedict definitely felt the Fatima visions were authentic, but he was highly sceptical of Sister Lucia’s later visions of the three secrets. However, JPII overruled him, which, as Fr. Benedict said, was his prerogative.

    Fr. Benedict felt that many visions may initially be authentic but, because of the weakness of the visionary, the message of these visions are often muddied and discredited.

    In Sullivan’s book, he reports that the five visionaries once asked their vision what path in life she wanted them to take. She recommended for all of them the consecrated life, but that it was their decision. None of them took her advice. Perhaps they should have.

  13. Maltese says:


    “Fr. Benedict definitely felt the Fatima visions were authentic, but he was highly sceptical of Sister Lucia’s later visions of the three secrets.”

    That’s interesting, and shouldn’t be discounted, but it is also interesting that her later visions also proved to be true before their time: she accurately predicted Communism, and the horror it would wrought on the world, and is still wielding.

    So, we have this or that priest believing one thing, but here is another perspective:

  14. Folks: This is less about (read: not about) Fatima than it is about Medjugorje.

  15. There’s actually an updated piece at Zenit with more info. It’s only in Italian right now.

    I don’t see it in English yet. Hopefully, Zenit will provide it so those of us who can’t read Italian can do better than the google translator.

    What he does say is pretty significant:

    “What is happening in Medjugorje – said Cardinal Pulji? – is the responsibility of the Bishop of Mostar, Monsignor Ratko Peric, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We look forward to suggestions and proposals on how to accompany this phenomenon as Bishops and the Episcopal Conference, and I think that the Holy See wants to work in this area.

    Consider the “grave theological error” just pointed out by Bishop Peric on September 26, 2009 in a lengthy three-part statement (among other very problematic things he discussed).

    There are often conversions and vocations with false apparitions. The question is, does their attachment to the apparition itself become so great, so as to cause them to leave the Church should it be condemned as not supernatural (see three possible decisions here). This is precisely what the Angel of Darkness is waiting for. When the Reuters piece came out a few weeks back, I found several cases online of people saying they would choose “gospa” over Church should a condemnation come.

    The case of Holy Love Ministries just condemned by Bishop Lennon on November 11, 2009 is worth studying. The “apparition” went spastic in the wake of that condemnation, attacking the bishop and the Church (then into a grand mal seizure). Those sharing news of the decree, including myself, have received very little “love” in emails and comments rejected in moderation.

    With Medjugorje, if the “doctrinal issue is resolved”, and in light of “grave theological errors” attributed to the apparition, there is a fine line with handling pastoral aspects of so many pilgrims continuing to flow in and crossing over into consequentialism (i.e. if the Holy See has evidence which proves it is not authentic, but allows it to continue on the basis that there are conversions).

    This would only enable the movement to persist in it’s belief that the apparitions are authentic no matter what the bishop or anyone else says. Which brings me to my final point:

    The movement as a whole has a visible contempt for the local bishop. He has suffered considerable persecution. He has been calumniated, and the movement continues to propogate venemous distortions of the truth (i.e., he was removed from the case; he has been silenced by the Vatican; he was a coward and afraid of the communists; he does not believe in any apparitions including Fatima and Lourdes etc.). There is blatant disregard for anything he says, and disobedience to many of his directives.

    The Bishop of Mostar has no credibility in the eyes of the Medjugorje movement. He has legitimate doctrinal reasons for his position and at some point, the Holy See needs to back him in a clear, unambiguous manner.

  16. lacrossecath says:

    From the pastoral point of view, whether she appeared there or not was irrelevant. So it is with this report today. No apparitions have occurred there, but we have allowed this to go so long that shutting it down now would cause pastoral problems among the devotees.

    My sentiments exactly.

  17. There was something else I was able to pick out of that Zenit piece only in Italian (see my previous post for link):

    “I expect that the Holy See will give indications on confessions and the Eucharistic celebrations….”

  18. chonak says:

    It’s hard to make sense of the conflicting statements attributed to Cardinal Puljic. In July 2006, he supposedly said that a commission was being formed, but afterward there was no news of a commission, and it seemed that he had been talking through his hat. In October this year he supposedly said there would probably be a CDF document this year. And now he supposedly has said (in the article above) that CDF is not preparing a document or establishing a commission.

    Does he just have a bad habit of speculating? Is he making some sort of nuanced denial that really isn’t a contradiction? I’m left shrugging.

    For all we know there is no commission active, under either CDF or bishops-conference auspices, but there clearly have been investigations underway. After all, the case of the seers’ “spiritual director” Fr. Vlasic was examined at CDF, leading to his interdict in 2008 and laicization in 2009.

    The statements about those penalties said that his case was examined “in the context of the Medjugorje phenomena”. His laicization decree included a personal precept, an order not to make statements on religious matters, “especially regarding the ‘phenomenon of Medjugorje’.” So it seems that the big picture has been under consideration in Rome.

  19. Maltese says:

    With posts such as this, you almost feel irreligious in questioning Medjugorje, esp. since it holds the purse-strings, but, just for this reason we should question it!

  20. irishgirl says:

    “The Medjugorje visions may be in the LaSalette category’.

    I am rather ambivalent about the former, but I do know that the latter vision was approved…by the Bishop of Grenoble in 1855 [I think that’s the year]. There was only one vision at LaSalette.

  21. irishgirl says:

    Maltese-I read your blog post-well done!

  22. JPG says:

    Although these stories are always appealing, one must remember that all that is needed for salvation is revealed in the Corpus of Revelation and Sacred Tradition. A vision deemed worthy of belief is helpful in building up one’s faith. I remain sceptical about basing my faith on these events. It is like basing one’s diet on cookies and ice cream. This could make you ill. I remain wary of those who will travel to these places and not attend Mass on Sunday. It is analogous to those who show up only for Ashes and palms. I fear that a preoccupation with what is said by a vision real or imagined runs the risk of taking one’s eye off the ball. I would rather that someone read scripture, say the rosary, or attend Mass than read one word of a vision. Some of the comments here are issues I have not read before. I ahve always been wary of this phenomenon( it seems like these visions go on forever) but now I am more so.

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