Pope Benedict may have told Card. Schönborn to be careful about Medjugorje

Catholic Light has an interesting piece, translated from Italian on Petrus.

Pope Benedict to Schönborn: Be careful about Medjugorje

Rumors from the "Sacri Palazzi": the Pontiff calls Cardinal Schönborn into line: "More prudence about Medjugorje". The cardinal traveled there December 31.

VATICAN CITY – The Pope did not welcome the end-of-year visit to Medjugorje by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and his former student at university. According to word filtering out from the "Sacri Palazzi" (there has been no official statement on the subject), Benedict XVI has personally communicated with the Austrian cardinal, receiving him in audience a few days after the arguments sparked by the journey of the prominent prelate to the small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina in which six alleged seers have claimed to see the Madonna since the 1980s. The Bishop of Mostar (the diocese in which Medjugorje is located), Monsignor Ratko Peric — steadily convinced, like his predecessor, that the Virgin is absolutely not appearing in the village — lamented in an official note that he had not been warned by Schönborn in advance of his arrival. The Archbishop of Vienna, for his part, after having prayed and said Mass at Medjugorje on December 31, also expressed his favorable judgment on what is said to have happened there, and had one of the six alleged seers who claim to see and speak with the "Gospa" accompany him. Then, as the Holy See has not yet expressed itself on the apparitions and many Cardinals and Bishops have shown their skepticism on the authenticity of the apparitions, […rumor has it that…] Benedict XVI has therefore asked Schönborn for more prudence in statements relative to Medjugorje (the destination, this year, of millions of pilgrims), so that his presence there, as a member of the College of Cardinals, not be exploited by anyone to "authenticate" phenomena which the Holy See intends to monitor and analyze, besides the ordinary way, with an ad hoc Commission to whose guidance Cardinal Camillo Ruini will reportedly be called. The most recent Prince of the Church to express his own perplexity on the Medjugorje apparitions (in an interview in these pages) was the Cardinal José Saraiva Martins.


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  1. If this, in fact, true, thanks be to God!

  2. Incaelo says:

    I figured as much when I saw that the Holy Father received Cardinal Schönborn in audience today.

  3. Tominellay says:

    …a necessary (and therefore predictable?) response by the pope…

  4. ljc says:

    When I read in the VIS this morning that Card Schonborn had met with the Holy Father today, on the same day he met with the whole CDF, I was afraid the two may be related, as some rumors have circulated that Card. Schonborn could get Card. Levada’s spot when he retires. Thankfully it seems he was there for a different reason.

  5. irishgirl says:

    Oooo-to be a fly on the wall of the papal library when the Holy Father and the Cardinal met!

  6. B.C.M. says:

    If the bishop(s) of the place have both come to the conclusion “that the Virgin is absolutely not appearing in the village” then why isn’t that enough to stop the shenanegains? Why is it that people especially Dr. Miravale of Franciscan University are allowed to positively drool over this and indeed teach that She is absolutely appearing, and to condemn as anti-Marian anyone who disagrees, or disputes?

    Why isn’t the decision of the local ordinary heeded anymore?

  7. Theodorus says:

    Cardinal Schönborn made a very bad choice and set a very bad example.

  8. Amerikaner says:

    It will be interesting to see how many people spin this to show that it’s proof of the invalidity of the apparitions.

  9. Tominellay says:

    It will be interesting to see how many people believe the burden of proof of invalidity is on the Church.

  10. idatom says:

    Fr. Z.;

    I was there in 1991 & 92 during the war when the state department said dont’s even think about. Is it authentic I don’t know, is there much faith at Medjugorje you had better believe it?

    For almost thirty years now the 900 seat church has been packed every evening and many are locals. How would we do that in the US? We could try pizza daily after the Mass, two rosaries, and the blessing of sacramentals. That might work for a few weeks. After that we might need to kick it up to steakes with all the trimmings, may be good for another two weeks. Heck we can’t get our families to come on Sundays, forget daily Mass.

    While your there it’s great to see long lines for confession in many languages and servers who know what they are doing. I video taped a young alter boy reminding a well known priest who was concelebrating, to bring the Host form the tabernacle at communion time. The Children’s choir, directed by a real nun, is beautiful.

    Is our Blessed Mother telling the “Seers” in this remote spot anything? As said I don’t know, but it seems to me God is using that rocky place for the greater good. Time will tell.

    Tom Lanter


  11. Timbot2000 says:

    “Cardinal Schönborn made a very bad choice and set a very bad example.”

    He has a special talent, nay, genius for that.

  12. Compare this item with the headline that Austrian Catholics are leaving the Church in droves. Adults who strive everyday to run homes or businesses have no patience to have to deal with these dilettantes.

  13. Ogard says:

    The Cardinal lacks the sense of courtesy. Imagine Bishop of Mostar visiting Vienna and making public statement he knows will be offensive to the Cardinal; or even worse, getting involved in activity that will certainly undermine the Cardinal’s authority.

    It is also a scandal: one bishop intrudes into his fellow bishop’s diocese and publicly interferes in that diocese’s affairs, implicitly giving lessons to the bishop in charge.

    I do not know whether the Cardinal paid a visit to the Bishop of Mostar before going to Me?ugorje. If he did, they must have discussed the matter and he must have fully realized what kind of problems he was about to create in this troubled diocese. If he did not pay the visit, it was utterly impolite: Mostar is not Vienna, Rome or London, but relatively small town.

  14. boko fittleworth says:

    A lot of people have been wondering what the heck happened to Abp. Schoenborn. At first I thought his Med-head antics were another effect of whatever happened to him. Now I wonder if Medjugorje might be, not an effect, but the CAUSE. One of the fruits of Medjugorje is disobedience.

  15. boko fittleworth says:

    Maybe the Bishop of Mostar could visit Vienna and decry the homosexualist artwork in the Cathedral.

  16. Supertradmom says:

    A lack of courtesy and a lack of judgment-recommend E. Michael Jones book on Medjugorje to His Eminence.

  17. patergary says:

    I am suspecting there is a rift between Card. Schonborn & the Curia or Holy See. He’s been acting strangely or making waves that has been noticed by the laity & the Vatican. He may have ax to grind that we don’t know.

  18. I have to say that I have had great respect for Card. Schoenborn…he has written some very good books and was, to my knowledge, one of the editors of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”.
    Something has happened, though.
    I don’t know what.
    Good, holy people can be deceived, awful as it might sound.
    I hope the Pope set him straight. I don’t know who Card. Schoenborn has been listening to, but there is a very, very strong case against the authenticity of M.
    And listening to the local Bishop is a very important matter, as well.

  19. Norah says:

    As many have recognised the discourtesy the cardinal showed to the bishop of Mostar I won’t repeat what I have posted elsewhere.

    I watched a totally orthodox EWTN programme which featured the cardinal and I have also seen on Youtube a Mass/mess presided over by the cardinal in the cathedral with featured baloons, strobe lighting, streamers and giant screens.

    He permitted erotica in the art gallery, which adjoins St Steven’s cathedral, which was only removed when people complained.

    Some of his priests openly live scandalous lives.

    Something I hadn’t thought of but it is a possibility.Boko said “I wonder if Medjugorje might be, not an effect, but the CAUSE. One of the fruits of Medjugorje is disobedience.”

  20. GordonB says:

    I am confused about Medjugorje, I think there have been conversions connected with that place, and miracles as well… was perhaps this a situation of a legitimate apparition that ended up going awry from bad spiritual advice given to the “seers” – that is the only explanation I have for a situation gone wrong.

  21. Central Valley says:

    Pray, that soon Rome will make a definitive statement backing up the bishop as to the nonsense of Medjugorje. Here in the diocese of Fresno, there are many parishes where Medjugorje is pushed down your throat on a regular basis. The television station of the diocese of Fresno regularly airs programs filmed on location in Medjugorje. With a bishop supporting such programing and a bishop who supports priests hosting “pilgrimages”, who do you complain to in Fresno? The Medjugorje abuse and liturgical abuse is rampant here. I stopped going to Knights of Columbus meetings a few years ago after a priest was giving a talk on Medjugorje and passing out holy cards and other trinkets he purchased on his last trip.

  22. Yes, not to depart from the subject at hand, but there is a horrible image of St. Restituta (a Sister martyred by the Nazis) done by a Communist (formerly Catholic artist) dedicated in the Cathedral, who he, himself received Catholic burial with all the “trimmings” with the Cardinal’s permission.
    Pastoral? Without reunion with the Church?
    This is just another point9among those already listed) that does not make sense; or if it does, what does it mean?

  23. Nan says:

    GordonB, if it was merely a case of bad spiritual advice, once the spiritual advisor was removed that should’ve changed. The “Gospa” teaches dissidence. Our Lady teaches obedience and brings people closer to Christ. How can the “Gospa” be Our Lady?

  24. Sorry, it should be Blessed Restituta. The artist’s last name is Alfred Hrdlicka.

  25. Events like this remind me of the approved Akita apparitions, where Our Lady said “bishops against bishops” etc.

  26. bookworm says:

    “The Medjugorje abuse and liturgical abuse is rampant here (in the Diocese of Fresno)”.

    Interesting. I first became aware of Medjugorje back in the mid 1980s when the apparitions were “new” and they were especially popular in charismatic circles. Back then, as I’ve said before, the MOST orthodox, obedient, and prayerful Catholics I knew (including my mom) were charismatics. In my experience back then, “Medjugorje” and “dissident Catholic” didn’t go together. Now it seems they do.

    I wonder if perhaps the original apparition could have been genuine, but later on, some of the visionaries were led astray — perhaps by evil powers, or perhaps by pressure from others or by their own ambition or desire for attention, so that now the whole movement has become corrupted.

    Also, the argument that Medjugorje has to be genuine because it produced “good fruit” like conversions, vocations, etc. doesn’t hold water. Non-approved or even condemned apparitions like Necedah and Bayside have done the same simply because God can bring good out of bad situations. By the way, I wonder if the amount of “good fruit” being borne these days is anywhere near what it was, say, 20 years ago, before the bishops of Yugoslavia and other church officials started coming out against it?

    By now it’s abundantly clear that there are serious problems with Medjugorje and anyone who promotes the apparitions does so in defiance of the Church.

  27. Amerikaner says:

    I have always wondered how many naysayers on Medjugorje have ever made a visit there. It must be remembered that the Church does not say one cannot make private visits there. The case with Medjugorje reminds me of St. Joan of Arc.

  28. David2 says:

    I have always wondered how many naysayers on Medjugorje have ever made a visit there.


    Read Michael Davies’ book on the topic. The “Gospa” teaches heresy and disobedience – that all religions are the same, for example. One of the “seers” has visions of the “Gospa” in which “Our Lady” instructs the faithful to finance the “seers'” hotel projects.

    On one trip to England, the seer Ivan Dragicevic was said to have postponed a scheduled apparition so he could watch a soccer match instead, promising that Our Lady would appear after the final whistle. Ivan, who is married to former Miss Massachusetts beauty queen Loreen Murphy, was once touted by US tour operator Peter Miller as able to offer a personal introduction to the Madonna for just $500.

    In the 1980s two Franciscan friars, Father Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, were expelled from their order for disobedience by a Vatican tribunal, acting on the advice of Bishop Zanic and the Franciscan Father General in Rome, but they continued to celebrate the sacraments. Thirteen times the Gospa told the seer, Vicka Ivankovic, that the bishop was wrong and her “saints” were innocent, even threatening him with God’s “justice” unless he reversed their expulsion (Father Vego, for the record, soon showed just how saintly he was by impregnating a Franciscan nun).

  29. Amerikaner says:

    I have read Mr. Davies’ book and, honestly, I was not impressed with his “evidence.” I tend to side with Von Balthasar who believed it was authentic.

  30. Theodorus says:

    Is Von Balthasar the local bishop? If not, then what he said is utterly irrelevant. The local bishops have judged that nothing supernatural has ever happened. That’s enough. If you are a good Catholic, you obey. If you think you are wiser than those bishops, then I would have to say, that’s a sure bad fruit of that Medjugorje drama.

  31. Amerikaner asks: I have always wondered how many naysayers on Medjugorje have ever made a visit there

    Does it count if I lived there?

    I lived in the region from November of 1980 (before it all began) and came back stateside in February 1983. I lived 20 minutes away from Medjugorje by car. I was a novice with the province of Franciscan sisters responsible for St. James parish. I am of Croatian heritage on my mother’s side and wanted to combine my love for the Croatian culture with my love for the faith. I leaned in favor of authenticity in those days, while remaining cautious as the Church recommends with any apparition not yet declared worthy of belief.

    I no longer believe it is authentic. Our Lady is a model of obedience and humility and I cannot reconcile much of what has gone on with much of what is connected with the alleged apparitions with what Our Lady represents.

    Chief among those “fruits” is a lack of filial reverence and an outright disdain in some cases, for the local bishop. Even if he were wrong, the BVM would expect nothing less than respect for him. He is treated with great disrespect, calumniated, and there is documentd evidence of lies and games.

    January 6, 2009 (English version): Questionable Games Surrounding the ‘great sign’ (Diocese of Mostar Duvno)

    September 26, 2009 (English version): Statement of Bishop Peric – documents change in BVM’s birthday (differs from Church calendar) as it unfolded by Medjugorje promoting authors and “messages” of seers; documents a point of heresy, and shows links between key players: Tomislav Vlasic, Fr. Slavko Barbaric, and more.

  32. I love Fr. von Balthasar; he is very much in the “heart” of our new community.
    But he was, as you say, Theodorus, not the local bishop. He can be/and was wrong about some things. And he would be the first to admit it; knowing him in his writings, his humility, his absolute defense of “holy obedience”…he died in 1988…he could have been given incomplete or wrong evidence.
    He’s gone now…Cardinal Ratzinger gave his funeral homily…but even saintly people can make mistakes…just look at the time of the anti-Popes when St. Colette and St. Vincent Ferrer were getting opposite “messages”…that’s why we have a Magisterium.

  33. Von Balthasaar was duped by authors whose word he accepted based on their clout at the time. Fr. Laurentin was was a reputable Marioligist, but his credibility was harmed when he lost objectivity and revealed himself through his writings to be “in the tank” for Medjugorje. Fr. Laurentin’s writings are riddled with problems. They are well documented by the bishop and he was suppose to publish corrections. Only some of these were done, but not all.

    References: Denial by Fr. Laurentin (Diocese of Mostar Duvno – crude google translation)

    Disinformation by Fr. Rene Laurentin (Don Ante Luburic, Chancellor)

    Bishop Peric also shows modifications by Fr. Laurentin in the Questionable Games Surrouding the “Great Sign”

  34. Diane: Thank you for the documentation.
    Holy people can be mislead; even go beyond where they should go…this is just a confused, pathetic mess…listen to the local bishop, even if you don’t like him…God has given him authority.
    Otherwise, you are bound to be duped.
    Even if he is the worst sinner.

  35. Amerikaner says:

    The Church still allows one to make private pilgrimages there despite the position of the local ordinary. How does one explain this?

  36. Tominellay says:

    Amerikaner, St. James is a Catholic parish. Of course Catholics may go there. The point is that one should not act as though Mary is appearing there.
    BTW, I’m of Croatian descent – my four grandparents were Croatian-born. I was in Medjugorje in 1983.

  37. Amerikaner says:

    We shall see as time goes on. Let us remember that St. John Marie Vianney at first did not believe that the apparitions at La Salette were authentic either. I have been there many, many times and have seen nothing that is scandalous or irreverent. In fact, the atmosphere there is more Catholic than many parishes I have visited in the United States. If Medjugorje is a veiled tactic from the devil, I find it odd that his tactic is so different from many “Catholic” parishes that are in dissent. In any event, I have an entire lifetime not to worry.

  38. rachmaninov says:

    Father it is a pity im my view that you waited until some sort of negative “rumour” began to circulate about the Cardinal’s visit.In fact it is no more than gossip. Bishop Peric has released on the Mostar Diocese website part of a letter send by the Cardinal to the Bishop after the Cardinal’s meeting with the Pope. There is no backtracking on his view about Medjugorje-which is interesting considering he had spoken with the Holy Father hours earlier.
    I find it amazing that traditionalists cannot see the grace flowing from mass confessions, thousands upon thousands who attend Mass and the adoration of the Lord present in that place. In my view it is pride.Pride in the fact that Our Lady’s simple message of inner conversion does not sit well with those more interested in ritual.The priests,bishops and cardinals who have gone, return and profess their amazement at hearing confessions for hours upon hours,and as Cardinal Schonborn pointed out, many were those who had been away from the Church for decades. Local bishops get it wrong in these matters-you only have to read this from the Vatican website’s own short biography of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa-a mystic:” Human misunderstanding and incredulity were also a great cross for her, especially when those she most expected would “assist” her – members and leaders of the Church – were adding to her crucifixion.
    An investigation conducted by the Curia of Braga resulted in a circular letter written by the Archbishop which contained a series of “prohibitions” regarding Alexandrina’s case. It was the result of a negative verdict made by a commission of priests.”
    Father Z why dont you consider going there and maybe you can see for yourself what thousands of priests have seen over the years. And i would also appreciate you stating to all who visit your blog that those of us who have been there are not being disobedient at all.

  39. rachmaninov: The problem is not confessions, devotion to Mary, increased love of the Mass and Eucharistic adoration.
    The problem is that if this is, in fact, “bogus”, the faith of many could be harmed, if not destroyed. Padre Pio, with all that he had to endure from his own bishop and officials in Rome, was always obedient and never spoke a word against his persecutors.
    There is documented evidence (from numerous sources) that show this is not the case in M.

  40. FLASH: Cardinal Schonborn has faxed a letter from Rome to Bishop Peric following that private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

    I have links to the release of it in 3 languages on the diocesan website in my blogpost, with jpg of the fax.

    Consider emailing a link in one of the languages to news orgs in your countries.

  41. rachmaninov says:

    Nazareth Priest,
    with respect i know many many people whose lives were changed through Medjugorje and i can tell you that i have hardly ever heard anyone say that their faith would be harmed if Rome declares negatively. Actually most people after the initial “honeymoon period”are not bothered about the visions, secrets etc.They go home and involve themselves in parishes, prayer groups, reading Sacred Scripture-you know all those fruits of disobedience.If you are a priest, Father, i would like to ask you how often do you see people in the confessional who have been away for decades?

  42. rachmaninov: I think you are missing the point. And I say this with utmost respect. I do not doubt that people’s lives have been changed by visiting M. But my question is this: (and it has been said by others, far more knowledgeable than myself) “Is it the ‘appearance of Mary’ or the overwhelming Catholic culture that has been present in Croatia”?
    In the USA, we do not know a Catholic culture, unless you live in a cloistered monastery, only associate with other fervent Catholics, or live in the woods. I don’t mean to be facetious here, but when Americans are “immersed” in a Catholic culture, with fervent and devoted people, they can tend to be overwhelmed.
    Fr. Philip Pavic, OFM, continued to live in M. in order to minister to the pilgrims even after he had serious doubts, questions, problems with what was going on there. I don’t know his status of this particular time. But he was absolutely scandalized and outraged by the behavior of the seers and the outgrowth (i.e., promotion of Maria Valtorta) of all that was going on.
    As for me, I can’t tell you about what I’ve heard in confession; but I’ve seen the “fruits” of M. closeup. And it borders on, if not is altogether, fanaticism.
    I am not judging anyone here; I’m just stating the facts as I know them and have seen them.
    My opinion: promote Fatima, Lourdes, Kibeho…but stay away from Medjugorje.
    There’s a lot more here than meets the eye. The “ruckus” with the local bishop makes me very, very wary of such phenomenon.

  43. Amerikaner says:

    As to the discussion on “disobedience,” one needs to be careful. Mother Mary McKillop was excommunicated because “she had incited the sisters to disobedience and defiance.” One hundred and thirty years later the bishop where she lived publicly apologizes for the position of the Church. Now she is to be Australia’s first saint. I remember another case that occurred in the United States where another Mother Superior was excommunicated by her bishop at the time only to be lauded in today’s time. My point is that even bishops can be wrong and make official statements that are later proven incorrect.

  44. rachmaninov says:

    Nazareth priest,
    i am not from the USA, but i can tell you that in England there is nothing bordering on fanaticism with the Medjugorje followers. You know the anti Medj brigade always place far more importance on the idea of the actual apparitions than the pro Medj lot.Fr, ask yourself, what is the message of Medjugorje? It is the call of the Gospel nothing more nothing less.so why do you and so many others pour cold water on it when the fruits of conversion(and priestly vocations) are so noticeable in everty part of the world. The Vatican knows this, everyone knows it which is why the devil strives so hard to destroy it.
    I very much liked what Cardinal Schonborn said about how Medjugorje is the living out of what Vatican II asked for from the laity.I think people live their faith with real joy, and yet here on this site so often all i see is negative comments about so many things.Traditionalists just dont get it.I myself go to an extraordinary form Mass most months and i value beauty in the Liturgy very much, but in terms of the way many traditionalist are with their faith it seems little more than ritual and a quest to be negative about anything post Vatican II (including Popes Paul VI and John Paul II).I see the Holy Spirit at work in Medjugorje inspiring conversions and a joyful witness to the good news. I dont on the whole see that among traditionalists.

  45. rachmaninov: Thank you. I mean it, really. I am not anti-Post VII (I think other posters might even think I’m a “heretic”:<)!).
    Yes, we must be joyful about the “Good News”…Jesus is Lord! And yes, there might be a tendency to be very wary of things after VII by some.
    I’m not pouring cold water on that, at all. In fact; ecclesial obedience (whether it is just or unjust) is just the “Catholic thing”. If M. is authentic, time will tell and there will be a “rehabilitation” of whatever else has gone on that indicates otherwise.
    At this point, I’m unconvinced.
    Pray the Rosary? Adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? Conversion of life? Sacrament of Penance? Absolutely.
    I am a member of a new community in the Church that is trying to help priests, laity and our monastic community live this out.
    But according to what the Church has approved. That’s all.

  46. rachmaninov says:

    God Bless you Father!
    so you are part of the new drive the Holy Spirit has sent to the Church for the battles of the third millenium. Well i pray that the Lord blesses your community with many vocations.
    At the end of the day we are all in this together. whether its true or not doesnt matter as long as we love the pope and obey him in everything.

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