Bishop Pichierri on Medjugorje

(Source: www.pontifex.roma.it)

Bishop Pichierri

Bishop Pichierri

“Medjugorje is a place of grace, and the fruits – the many conversions – are a proof for it” (Mons. Giovanni Battista Pichierri)

Bishop PichierriBruno Volpe spoke with Mons. Giovanni Battista Pichierri, Bishop of Trani, in Puglia, who declared, “I think that the prudent position of the Church on the topic is just and legitimate. The visionaries continue to speak, therefore, it is necessary to wait. But if the faithful are coming in such a great numbers, there must be a positive reason for it”.

The position of the Church is however very cautious. “This is true. There is a directive that prohibits the pilgrimages led by the Bishops and diocesan priests, but lately – in front of the extent and the evidence of the phenomenon – this rigidity is being a little attenuated”.

Excellence, do you have personal knowledge of people and faithful from your Diocese who have been converted and have changed their life or their lifestyle thanks to Medjugorje? “Off course, and I have no reason to deny it. I know good people who, before the visit to Medjugorje, were not true and authentic Christians, and they returned from there literally transformed. From this point of view, it seems to me appropriate to speak of a place of grace”.

What do you mean when you speak of a place of grace? “Conversion, accepting the sacraments that were rejected or abandoned for a long time, is a grace. I can affirm that this happens in Medjugorje, and with certain permanence. Conversions may also happen in other places, but if they are recorded in such abundance, I think that the hand of God is at work, his mighty will”.

Why is the Church so prudent? “It must be said that – concerning Marian apparitions – the Church leaves us free to believe or not to believe, for they are not a dogma of faith. The Church has given approval to many apparitions. Concerning Medjugorje, precisely because the visionaries – that I think healthy of mind continue to speak, which means that the visions are not closed – the Church has decided to defer the judgment. But postponement in itself does not mean denial”.

Some malicious tongues have even spread the suspicions of presumed religious business. “This seems to me exaggerated and unfair. I do not exclude the presence of some cunning ones, but this phenomenon is very diverse and often present around Shrines and Basilicas. I do not understand why some underline this when they speak about Medjugorje, and pretend that it does not happen in others places. All together, if there are those who draw economic benefit in a dubious way, they will answer in front of their conscience, but my opinion is that if this is happening, it is happening not only in Medjugorje”.

A famous retired Archbishop, an exorcist, wrote that it could be a matter of a satanic deceit. “With all the respect for my brother bishop and friend, whom I esteem, I do not agree with him. I think that this is an exaggeration. Many conversions happen in Medjugorje, which means that people come closer to God. Satan is doing exactly the opposite, he is dividing. In this case, Satan would toil against himself, which seems to me little credible indeed”.

Let us speak about Mary, who is this sweet creature? “The daughter of Zion, free from original sin, designed from God for the plan of salvation. She is the woman who said YES, she is contributing to the plan of salvation, restoring and repairing the negative act committed by Adam and Eve. Mary is indeed the Holy One, and a sure way that makes us reach the grace of God”.

Bruno Volpe

Cardinal Tonini on Medjugorje

Friday, 20 March 2009

Cardinal Ersilio Tonini Cardinal Ersilio Tonini: Medjugorje? A blessed place, a source of spirituality that transforms the mind.

Cardinal Ersilio Tonini What do you think about the Medjugorje phenomenon?

“I think that it is a blessed place and a grace of God; who goes to Medjugorje returns transformed, changed, he reflects himself in that source of grace that is Christ. Christ is at the same time the tap and the source. If in Medjugorje, as it is obvious by now, many conversions happen, it surely means that there is the hand of God. I believe that we should look at Medjugorje with serenity and trust, appreciating all the good and holy things that happen in that place.”

What is happening to those who go to Medjugorje?

“They simply discover the source of faith and they are quenched by Christ through Mary, therefore they go with confidence to Medjugorje.”

A Bishop Emeritus has spoken of Medjugorje as of a satanic deceit.

“I cannot believe this. In any case, if he has really said this, I think that it is an exaggerated phrase, absolutely outside the topic. Only unbelievers do not believe in Our Lady and in Medjugorje. For the rest, nobody is forcing us to believe, but let us at least respect it.”

Bruno Volpe, Sunday 08 March, www.pontifex.roma.it

教廷對默主哥耶事件調查的最新動態

2010 年4月16日

成立新教區的可能
梵蒂岡聖母在默主哥耶顯現已近29年,每年有數以百萬計的朝聖者到默主哥耶朝聖,基於這個原因,梵蒂岡現在考慮為這朝聖地建立一個獨立教區;據消息來源可靠的梵蒂岡記者安德烈托爾利 (Andrea Tornielli),於3月22日的報導說,默主哥耶可能在馬卡爾斯卡(Makarska) 成立新的教區;新教區將涵蓋默主哥耶地區附近的3個教區 ─ 包括杜布羅夫尼克 (Dubrovnik)、莫斯塔 (Mostar )、斯帕拉托(Spalato),希望能有更好的照顧管理,來接待大量的朝聖人潮。記者安德烈托爾利 (Andrea Tornielli) 寫道,成立新教區的概念早在去年9月就提出,但因莫斯塔 (Mostar) 教區主教Bishop Ratko Peric 的反對而擱置,因此默主哥耶將與 Bishop Pe ric 所管理的教區分離、獨立出來,Bishop Peric 一直表達懷疑默主哥耶聖母顯現的真實性。

調查委員會的最新動態
另一方面,教廷信理部於今年3月17日成立了一個國際委員會,調查默主哥耶聲稱聖母顯現的事件;7天後,由魯伊尼樞機主教 Cardinal Camillo Ruini 帶領的調查委員會,便於3月25日召開第一次會議;這調查委員會進展之快,可看出教廷希望盡早對默主哥耶現象有某種程度的表態。

Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico
3月18日,宗座波斯尼亞Bosnia和黑塞哥維那 Herzegovina 總主教Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico,在第48屆波斯尼亞 Bosnia 和黑塞哥維那 Herzegovina 主教會議結束時發表說:「每次我會見教宗,教宗總是非常關心默主哥耶,自從他擔任宗座信理部部長起,他就曾參與關於默主哥耶事件的調查,他深知此事件的重要性,也熟悉默主哥耶的現象,身為目前天主公教會的最高權威,他知道需要對此事件最終有一明確說明;教宗甚至曾私下對我說,他了解默主哥耶對許多神父、修道人、方濟會士、平信徒…有極正面和巨大的良好影響,因此,對同時接收到許多關於默主哥耶的負面訊息,他感到十分困難。

這是為什麼教宗要在教會高層設立這樣一個調查委員會,並邀請樞機、主教、各方專家擔任委員,希望藉著他們的高度專業技能和見解,能對默主哥耶提供較寬廣及深入的解讀。

更特別的是,教宗指示委員會正式成立的聲明,必須在梵蒂岡和默主哥耶所在的莫斯塔 (Mostar) 教區同時宣佈,這又再一次顯示教宗對默主哥耶的重視與關注。」

Cardinal Camillo Ruini調查委員會的成員 – 共20位

• 主席- 魯伊尼樞機主教Cardinal Camillo Ruini

教宗揀選了一位最忠誠的助手魯伊尼樞機主教 Cardinal Camillo Ruini,擔任委員會主席,負責調查默主哥耶事件。魯伊尼樞機主教Cardinal Ruini是位聲望極高的樞機,與教宗是多年的朋友,和教宗有緊密的聯繫。

在過去的17年,Cardinal Ruini 是梵蒂岡教廷的代表及義大利主教團的主席。在此期間,他致力於推動天主教徒在公眾生活中的臨在和參與;他是一位哲學家和神學家,一直是信理神學的教授。

Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Camillo RuiniCardinal Ruini 很熟悉波斯尼亞 Bosnia 和黑塞哥維那 Herzegovina的情況,在戰爭的那段時期,他是義大利主教團的主席,當時他決定要義大利教會和義大利主教團積極地協助在波斯尼亞Bosnia和黑塞哥維那 Herzegovina 所有因戰亂而受難的國民。

教宗若望保祿二世曾讚賞 Cardinal Ruini 很聰慧、有真摯的心、並有勇氣去堅持教會的訓導。教宗本篤十六世強調,Cardinal Ruini在教宗遇到困難的時候,常能樂觀地協助。

至於其他委員會成員有:

薩拉熱窩(Sarajevo)的總主教Archbishop Vinko Pulijc
薩格勒布(Zagreb) 的總主教Archbishop Josip Bozanic
樞機主教Cardinal Julián Herranz ─ 他過去曾任宗座法典條文解釋委員會的主席

另外16人,包括有樞機、主教、神父、修女、心理學家和研究聖母學的專家。

結論
Fr Federico Lombardi據媒體報導,梵蒂岡已找到解決方案,來承認默主哥耶對天主公教會的重要性,這株結大量好果子的樹應該被善加保護,但是這樣的進展並不保證承認顯現的事實,倒有可能因此促使教宗頒佈默主哥耶成為國際朝聖地。教廷發言人隆巴迪神父 (Fr. Lombardi) 說:「委員會將以非公開形式處理調查工作,信理部會根據調查結果做出定論。」

但有一點可以肯定的是,這個委員會的調查工作將會十分吃力和繁重,誠摯邀請您們每一位同心合意地祈禱,懇求天主聖神帶領、光照所有委員們,並將此調查委員會的工作交託給教會主保大聖若瑟,和莫斯塔 (Mostar) 教區的主保 ─ 至聖童貞瑪利亞 ─ 我們的教會之母。

John Paul II’s Prayer to Our Lady of Peace

(Source: © Informativni centar “Mir” Međugorje www.medjugorje.hr.)

In the Conclusion of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation ECCLESIA IN OCEANIA, given in Rome at Saint Peter’s, on November 22, 2001,His Holiness Pope John Paul II invites the faithful to join him in turning to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church:

“In times of difficulty and pain, Mary has been an unfailing refuge for those seeking peace and healing. In churches, chapels and homes, the image of Mary reminds people of her loving presence and her maternal protection. In parts of the Pacific region, she is especially venerated under the title of Help of Christians; and the Bishops have proclaimed her as Patroness of Oceania under the title of Our Lady of Peace.

In Jesus Christ, whom she nurtured in her womb, there is born a new world where justice and mercy meet, a world of freedom and peace. Through Christ’s Cross and Resurrection, God has reconciled the world to himself, and he has made the Lord Jesus the Prince of Peace for every time and place. May Mary, Regina Pacis, help the peoples of Oceania to know this peace, and to share it with others! At the dawn of the Third Christian Millennium, may true justice and harmony be God’s gift to Oceania and to all the nations of the world!”
Prayer to Our Lady of Peace

O Mary, Help of Christians,
in our need we turn to you
with eyes of love, with empty hands
and longing hearts.
We look to you that we may see your Son,
our Lord.
We lift our hands that
we may have the Bread of Life.
We open wide our hearts
to receive the Prince of Peace.

Mother of the Church,
your sons and daughters thank you
for your trusting word that echoes
through the ages,
rising from an empty soul made full of grace,
prepared by God to welcome
the Word to the world
that the world itself might be reborn.
In you, the reign of God has dawned,
a reign of grace and peace, love and justice,
born from the depths of the Word made flesh.
The Church throughout the world joins you
in praising him
whose mercy is from age to age.

O Stella Maris, light of every ocean
and mistress of the deep,
guide the peoples of Oceania
across all dark and stormy seas,
that they may reach the haven of peace and light
prepared in him who calmed the sea.
Keep all your children safe from harm
for the waves are high and we are far from home.
As we set forth upon the oceans of the world,
and cross the deserts of our time,
show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb,
for without your Son we are lost.
Pray that we will never fail on life’s journey,
that in heart and mind, in word and deed,
in days of turmoil and in days of calm,
we will always look to Christ and say,
“Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?”

Our Lady of Peace, in whom all storms grow still,
pray at the dawn of the new millennium
that the Church in Oceania
will not cease to show forth
the glorious face of your Son,
full of grace and truth,
so that God will reign in the hearts
of the Pacific peoples
and they will find peace
in the world’s true Saviour.
Plead for the Church in Oceania
that she may have strength
to follow faithfully the way of Jesus Christ,
to tell courageously the truth of Jesus Christ,
to live joyfully the life of Jesus Christ.

O Help of Christians, protect us!
Bright Star of the Sea, guide us!
Our Lady of Peace, pray for us!

Given in Rome at Saint Peter’s, 22 November 2001, the twenty-fourth of my Pontificate.

JOANNES PAULUS PP. II

Vatican Criteria for Judging Medjugorje

By Fr. Tomislav Pervan, OFM
Former Pastor of Medjugorje (1982-1988), former Provincial of the Franciscans (OFM) in Hercegovina (1994-2001).

For the past twenty-five years, Medjugorje has been an actuality on the world scene. Today, it has its zealous advocates; however, it also has its fierce opponents. Opposing front lines in the battle are not likely to sue for peace any time soon. Advocates are tireless in their visits to Medjugorje all the while believing the authentic voice of Heaven is the starting point, namely, the appearance of the Gospa – Our Lady. Meanwhile, the opponents are fierce in their opposition and seek out elements of contention surrounding the entire set of events.

In the meantime, the ever-increasing daily flow of pilgrims to this place does not allow us to be indifferent. Facts and numbers speak for themselves. The number of pilgrims is ever increasing. They come from all corners of the earth, are of all colours of skin, and from all nations and nationalities. While other places of pilgrimage mark a decrease in pilgrims and pilgrimages despite being advertised widely, the number of pilgrims and faithful of all languages and locales constantly increases. As a phenomenon, Medjugorje does not have an active propaganda machine: individuals spread its fame by word-of-mouth, witness, and personal experience.

On the one hand, the priests who work in Medjugorje feel they are over-burdened in their daily work and that they are stretched to their physical limits. They are faced with innumerable calls for personal counseling, endless confessions, and constant evangelization. On the other hand, they are also faced with the suspicion that they are teetering at the edge of heterodoxy. The constant criticism is hurled at them that they are fostering something that is contrary to the Church, namely, the non-existent apparitions and the like. We, on the other hand, cannot fail to speak, fail to give witness about that which we have heard or seen, or that which we experience daily by way of our senses. (Cf. Acts 4:20) Hence, we invite all to come and see. So many bishops and priests had their doubts; however, after many hours of hearing confessions, they changed their minds and the doubts vanished.

The voice of conscience forces upon us the obligation to be of assistance to those who are in misery and who come here. We wish to be in harmony with the Church to the very end, and not to sin against the Church’s teachings or practice. Meanwhile, the accusations and reproaches hurt. Quite frequently, questions are raised that ask: What need did we have of all of this? Were we not able to be as every other parish, that is, carry out the well-entrenched pastoral patterns within the usual norms of the Church and Gospels? Who was it that cooked this stew, such that, to this very day, the river of pilgrims has not dried up, but, to the contrary, continues to grow greater and more dynamic?

For this reason, and as a friend and participant of these events from their beginnings in 1981, I give consideration to what must be done to change the present situations to escape the entrenched position of persistent denial, constant disputation, or, in fact, indifference and silence on the part of the Church’s media all of this while the flow of thousands of pilgrims to this place continues. It is obvious that all the denials, disputations, and silence find no acceptance on the part of the faithful. Meanwhile, Church circles continue to be deaf, and the prohibition against this activity on the part the faithful persists on the part of the media.

It is the inner voice of conscience and the experience of faith that motivate the faithful. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit Himself is the initiator of all these events. I am further convinced that, after twenty-five years have passed, the principle of the locus theologicus (the theological position), according to the notion of the sensus fidelium (understanding on the part of the faithful) and the consensus fidelium (unanimity of the faithful), applies as offered for acceptance by the documents of Vatican II and post-Vatican II, and by statements of Popes following the Council. Things we read about in the Acts of the Apostles are happening here. I am convinced that the Church is being gathered in this place from the four winds and every corner of the earth into the one Kingdom as what took place in Jerusalem at Pentecost. In this place, we find mirrored the universal – “Catholic” Church in miniature.

It is in this sense that I believe the instruction of the Congregation for the Faith entitled, The Criteria for Judging and Differentiating Revelations and Apparitions, dated the 27th of February, 1978, and signed by the then Prefect, Francis Cardinal Seper, should serve as the vade mecum (that is, the constant companion, the manual) when considering, passing judgment upon, and making decisions about Medjugorje and the Medjugorje phenomenon. The text has lost nothing of its immediacy and value to this very day. It can be fully applied to the events of Medjugorje with all its implications. It can examine the events of Medjugorje from the positive or negative side with all the arguments presented pro and con.

The Congregation for the Faith in its instructions reduces to three levels, or degrees, the norms that relate to reactions to alleged apparitions.

The seers must be examined to determine if, perhaps, it is a question of self-styled visions. Then, all the messages must be gathered and examined and viewed from the point of view of the degree of education of the seers. The mental and physical state of the seers must be examined thoroughly, as well as their moral integrity. All that is explainable from the purely human point of view must be taken into consideration; however, by the same token, all that cannot be explained in purely human terms and with the aid of the most contemporary psychological or physical sciences, and which, in the end, has no cause within human power, must also be taken into consideration.

Following the first phase, if the matter has not died on its own, has not come to a halt or fallen into oblivion, the principle ad experimentum (for the purpose of experiment) comes into play. At the same time, of course, it must be emphasized that the employment of this principle in no way suggests or recognizes the authenticity of the alleged apparitions. It simply channels events to proper and healthy Church routine: practices regarding prayer, devotions, the sacraments, constant spiritual growth and holiness.

When an appropriate period of the ad experimentum phase has elapsed, and in the light of experiences, especially after a close examination of the spiritual fruits occasioned by the alleged apparitions, and of the devotional practices surrounding them, a competent judgment of the events must be given if circumstances demand it.

As regards the first point, everything can be reduced to a simple conclusion: To the present day, in the entire history of the Church, no Marian apparitions were so intensively and extensively investigated (from 1984 – 2005) on the part of numerous and independent qualified, international experts in the fields of medicine and psychology, or whose investigations and their results were found to correspond to and compliment each other. All of the experts concluded that the subjects investigated were found to be spiritually, psychologically, and physically healthy individuals. They were found not to be hallucinating, subject to confabulation, (auto) suggestion, hysteria, hypnotic or other loss of consciousness, deceit, suggestion or exterior inducement of any sort. Hence, it is irresponsible to publicly proclaim them to be liars or inventors of false visions and messages.

Many experts from the fields of medicine, psychology, and parapsychology have occupied themselves with the Medjugorje seers. They failed to uncover any sort of pathological deviation from the norm in their lives. The scientific experts are capable of reaching the full limit of their tests. However, once they have arrived at that limit, their ability to explain ceases. They are able to discern what does or does not pertain to medicine and pathology and what must be excluded from a medico-psychological perspective. The experts have done so and have left behind a record of their findings. Because of that, and because of intellectual honesty, we, who have regard for the truth, must take their investigations and judgments as to the phenomena of Medjugorje into serious account.

The convergent proofs in favour of the authenticity of the Medjugorje phenomenon are perceptible when one takes into consideration the theological, sociological and scientific experiments carried out upon the seers by French, Italian, and Austrian teams of experts from 1984 through 2005. According to the theologian and Mariologist, R. Laurentin, who has published works of capital value (17 books) on Lourdes, and has thoroughly investigated the apparitions in Medjugorje, the latter give evidence of being more powerful as regards the proof of their authenticity than those in Lourdes, to which the Church gave its formal approval.

According to the teaching of St. Ignatius on discernment of spirits, the causes of those or similar manifestations can be determined to be purely human, divine, or demonic. Effects must always be judged by their cause. In all that took place in Medjugorje, one must ask what the cause was, or where the causal beginnings had their roots. If we take into consideration the first days of the events that took place in Bijakovici in June and July of 1981, the experts who thoroughly examined the seers concluded that the seers had some sort of fundamental and key experience, some initial encounter that put them into the center of something that they could not begin to imagine or foresee, something against their will or inclinations, something they were scarcely able to predict.

Science as such can neither confirm nor deny whether the Gospa is, or is not, appearing, (just as it would not have been able to utilize scientific instruments to register the resurrection of Christ were they to have been present alongside the Roman guards at the tomb of Jesus). All that science can say after twenty-five years is that the seers are physically and psychologically healthy, and that the seers had a deep-seated and far-reaching experience which continues to affect them to this very day, one that it is impossible to deduce from their biographies. All of that is, for the visionaries, a holy treasure. For that reason one must exclude a purely human cause, and, by the same token, one that is demonic, inasmuch as the Devil is unable to yield good fruit that is constant and so long lasting.

Since twenty-five years have elapsed, a review sine ira et studio (without rancor and diligent attention) would be expedient, both in the local Church and the Church at large, as to the fruits which have been given and continue to be given through Mary’s apparitions beyond all ideological suppositions and prejudices. When observed from the purely statistical point of view as a whole, close to some fifty thousand priest have passed through Medjugorje, hundreds of bishops, cardinals, and millions upon millions of the faithful. The Una Sancta et Catholica (the One Holy and Catholic [Church]) in miniature comes to pass here every day. Were there something to be found heretical, schismatic, or contrary to Church teaching, the Church would be obliged to undertake measures against such abuse. That has not resulted up to the present. Therefore, a fifteen-year ad experimentum period since the Zadar Pronouncement in 1991 is a sufficient amount of time so as to allow to conclude that no straying from official Church teaching and practice is taking place in Medjugorje. The Liturgy and devotions celebrated there are fully Christological, Marian, Eucharistic, sacramental, and in full harmony with Church regulations.

It cannot be asserted that the particular fruits of Medjugorje are those of intensive prayer and administration of the sacraments. To do so would be to create a circulus vitiosus (vicious circle): there are other places in the world where prayer and the sacraments are a fixed practice; however, what is lacking there are the efficacious effects that we note as attributable to Medjugorje. It is clear that prayer and the sacraments bear copious fruits for the entire Church throughout the world; however, from where and why do so many people come precisely to Medjugorje? Why do they come to this remote place where they have a concrete experience of God and grace, are converted, learn to pray, and subsequently carry the fruits of Medjugorje to their homes, give witness to what they have experienced, and become missionaries? It simply is not possible to separate the assertions of the seers regarding the apparitions from the fruits of the apparitions which we see in the Church.

The consensus fidei et fidelium can be seen by the fact that all levels of God’s people, all classes in society and the Church, all peoples, and all races are represented in Medjugorje, and by the fact that Church life is sustained by all of this in the form of witness, divine worship, sincere service, charity, (martyria, liturgia, et diakonia), and, by the fact that all grow in holiness. Medjugorje is a world-wide phenomenon. Its fruits can be seen in all parts of the world. In essence, Medjugorje is a laymen’s movement, a movement of faithful laymen, laden with spirituality, devotion, and sincerity toward the Lord and our Lady. The seers themselves are ordinary lay people and, as such, are able more readily to touch the hearts of plain folks who easily identify with them.

Medjugorje is a peace and pilgrimage movement inasmuch as people come here for the sake of inner peace. It is also a renewal movement within the Church – Ecclesia semper reformanda (the Church ever to be renewed), as well as a humanitarian movement, inasmuch as it has accomplished tremendous charitable and Samaritan works throughout the world (a point made by the present Pope in his encyclical on the God of Love). Lumen Gentium (The Vatican II Document: Light of the Nations) clearly states: “Be they most illustrious, be they simple and more widespread, Charisms are useful and are especially suited to the needs of the Church and must be received with gratitude and consolidation.” (LG 12:2) Meanwhile, Apostolicam Actuositatem (Apostolic Activity) states even more explicitly: “The receipt of Charisms, even those that are humble, give rise to the right and duty for each of the faithful to make use of them in the Church and in the world and for the good of mankind and the growth of the Church in the freedom of the Holy Ghost.” (AA 3:3).

After the past quarter of a century, it can be asserted that Medjugorje is about a prophetic Charism – a prophetic revelation that calls for repentance. These Charisms are able to be found in all similar phenomena within the Church. Prophetic revelations and apparitions are about an imperative under the impetus of the Holy Spirit as to how one is to behave here and now, and what it is that the People of God must do in a specific situation. Accordingly, the Church must not relate to such phenomena indifferently. She is duty-bound to investigate such an imperative with openness and, congruently, to act if she recognizes the Will of God in the said phenomenon. It is obvious that the Ecclesia orans (the praying Church) has recognized God’s Will and Mary’s presence in this instance, of which our dearly departed Pope John Paul II spoke in his homily in Zadar (!) three years prior, on the feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church (Pentecost Monday, 2003). On that occasion, the Pope specifically mentioned the above cited sensus fidei fidelium (the understanding of faith of the faithful).

If, as is the case with ordinary beatifications and canonizations, the process begins with the local Church, and, after an appropriate interval of time, investigation, and conclusions based on the materials offered in favor of beatification or canonization, the matter is transferred to Rome, I think that would be appropriate in this case. After all has been investigated at the local level, the entire case of the Medjugorje phenomenon should be transferred to the appropriate Roman dicastery, especially in light of the fact that it has outgrown the local Church’s boundaries and has become widespread so as to encompass the entire Church. The countless prayer groups throughout the entire world have come into existence because of the events in Medjugorje. They carry the mark of authenticity and veracity. The entire phenomenon is caught-up in the very being of the Church and, as such, carries more weight than does a beatification of one of God’s chosen ones. If, as is the case for beatification, the People of God are asked their approval, why shouldn’t we do so in this case as well, especially in light of Mary’s efficacious presence in specific places (John Paul II, in Zadar!), and in light of the personal experiences and miracles that individuals experienced precisely here in Medjugorje?

Throughout the entire history of Salvation, God has established communication with his creatures through apparitions. This form of communication is especially suitable for man’s physico-spiritual structure: it immerses man’s senses, especially his sight and hearing. The Medjugorje phenomenon can be explained in this manner or that manner; however, intellectual honesty demands that the entire affair engage us in light of revelation, mysticism, supernatural experiences and so many other similar experiences in other cases, and, for that matter, in other faiths.

If God has truly spoken throughout history, why should we be exempted from such a manner of communication wherein the Holy Ghost makes use of apparitions for the sake of the many needs of the contemporary world? The greater the misery in the world, so much the greater is the need for God’s voice and communication. Hence, we might well conclude as did Paul: Do not extinguish the spirit. Do not disdain prophetic communications. Investigate all and hold on to what is good! (1 Thess. 5:19-21).

Medjugorje, July 13, 2006