Is the Holy See taking action against Medjugorje?
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Catholic Christians who are familiar with the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, might be interested in the following developments. Although a definitive judgment has yet to be announced by the Church-a commission formed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been, or was, investigating Medjugorje over the last few years-there have been recent indications that the Holy See deems the alleged apparitions not worthy of belief.
CHICAGO, IL (Catholic Online) - Catholic Christians who are familiar with the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, might be interested in the following developments.
Although a definitive judgment has yet to be announced by the Church-a commission formed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been, or was, investigating Medjugorje over the last few years-there have been recent indications that the Holy See deems the alleged apparitions not worthy of belief.
According to Crown of Stars, a pro-Medjugorje blog:
News from Italy is that Ivan Dragicevic's scheduled witness at Saint Bartholomew Church in Mestrino (Padua) on May 22 has been cancelled by the local ordinary, Archbishop Antonio Mattiazzo.
The event organizer claims that permission was granted earlier but revoked by the archbishop to comply with a Vatican directive.
Last week Medjugorje seer Vicka Ivankovic cancelled her planned visit to Sao Paolo later this month.
Vicka had been invited to the jubilee ordination celebration for Father Guiseppe Sometti, an Italian priest who has pastored in Brazil for the past 40 years and takes care of abandoned children and addicts.
It was also planned for Vicka to testify in Sao Paolo to the Medjugorje phenomenon.
No reason has been given by the organizer ANSPAZ for Vicka's cancellation, other than to post a note on its website stating the seer is unable to attend Father Sometti's 50th anniversary celebration of his priesthood.
Another Medjugorje seer cancelled her visit to South America in January. Marija Pavlovic had been invited to witness in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela but organizers gave notice that the seer had cancelled 'due to personal reasons.'
And in March 2015 there was this news item out of St. Louis:
Earlier this month, Archbishop Robert Carlson addressed a memo to priests and deacons in the archdiocese:
'I have received a request from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to remind everyone that they are not to participate in events that promote the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje and in particular Mr. Ivan Dragicevic.'
Prior to the March 3 memo, Dragicevic had been scheduled to speak at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, about 25 miles from St. Louis."
In recent days, a source informed me that the aforementioned Vatican commission has concluded that the alleged apparitions are false, "but because of the publicity surrounding [them] and the potential chaos that could result from the announcement, the authorities in Rome are sitting on it for now."
I asked veteran Catholic journalist John L. Allen Jr., associate editor at The Boston Globe and Crux, if he could verify what I was told by my source.
Mr. Allen responded:
"What you describe has actually been the case for a while, reaching back at least to the time when [Cardinal Tarcisio] Bertone was in the [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith]. The dilemma is wanting to back up the local bishops versus not wanting to impugn the legitimate spiritual fruits."
EWTN theologian Colin B. Donovan writes:
"These 2013 letters [from Church officials regarding the alleged seers of Medjugorje] clearly represent a change of pastoral attitude on the part of the Holy See, one which began before the end of the pontificate of Pope Benedict and which has now been affirmed by Pope Francis.
An attitude of seeming tolerance has been replaced with a firm call for acceptance of the ecclesiastical judgments made to date, or at least publicly acting in accordance with them. Whether this is simply to dispose all parties (pro and con) to accept the final judgment of the Church when the pope issues it, whatever that judgment may be, or, in view of a decision of the same character as the previous ones, remains to be seen..
From the most recent statements of ecclesiastical authority it is clear that no Catholic may participate in events which presume the authenticity of Medjugorje. The older statements emphasized only the prohibition of those holding an office in the Church (bishop, pastor, rector, chaplain or other) who would, by virtue of that office, tend to lend official sanction to Medjugorje, and thus contradict the decisions of the competent local authorities.
Those earlier statements proscribed pilgrimages organized under official auspices; however, common sense suggests that a conference or other activity sponsored by a diocese, parish or other Catholic institution was also prohibited."
Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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