Sunday, January 3, 2010

Statement of Bishop Peric on the visit of Cardinal Schonborn to Medjugorje


- Statement regarding the visit of Cardinal Schonborn to Medjugorje

NOTE 1: The english version found below is an unofficial translation, made with the aid of a google translator from both the Croatian and Italian offered at the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website.  It will be replaced with a better version if one becomes available.  Please feel free to email me fixes or better translations of specific sentences or paragraphs at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.

This is in response to Cardinal Schonborn's visit, which does not appear to have been pre-arranged with the local Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, the local Ordinary who maintains pastoral responsibility over Medjugorje

NOTE 2: I am adding in some links not in the original, which will take you to the respective online sources.  I will also offer additional links at the bottom, which will put some of the things offered by the bishop in perspective.  I regret that some of these links, especially those on the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website, are not available in English, but most often in Croatian and Italian.  You may use Google Translation tools to get the gist of them.

Comments bracketed in red are mine....

On the occasion of the visit of Cardinal Schonborn to Medjugorje
January 2, 2010


Since the mass media have announced and tracked the public appearance of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna in Medjugorje, which has especially given some believers the erroneous impression that the Cardinal’s presence acknowledged the authenticity of the Medjugorje “apparitions” I believe that it is my duty as a diocesan bishop, to provide some information to the faithful, with the observation that I have already sent to the Cardinal in a personal letter with similar content.

1) First, some media have spread the news that on September 15, 2009, in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, in the presence of His Eminence, Cardinal Schonborn, was held a meeting at which he participated along with Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, who was presented as a daily “visionary”. With the usual “apparition”, she testified how the daily “apparitions” of June 1981 influenced changes in her life. On this occasion, the Cardinal said in his speech: “It’s a great gift that the Mother of God wants to be so close to her children! This she has shown in many places in the world. And, for many years has shown in a very particular way, nearby in Medjugorje!”

2)Then, – Vienna, on November 13th, 2009 reported, “The Archbishop of Vienna at the end of the year will visit the famous shrine - visit the parish and the Cenacolo community and that there should also be a meeting with the local bishop of Medjugorje and critics. This diocesan Bishop [or diocesan curia] was not notified by the Archbishop’s office, or by the parish office in Medjugorje [which violates the directives given to the pastor of St. James recently (12 June 2009.: Prot. 648/2009)].

3) Catholic News Agency published on November 16th: Christoph Schonborn to visit Medjugorje, a small town in Bosnia, where six children were witnesses of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary. But, according to the Archdiocese of Vienna, the trip is “completely private" and does not imply a statement from the cardinal on the veracity of the apparitions. "It was supposed to be a completely private visit and was not supposed to go out to the internet,” according to Fr. Johannes F├╝rnkranz, the archbishop’s personal secretary.

4) On December 29th, the Cardinal arrived in Medjugorje. He was followed by the media over the next few days. Reports say that he gave a speech in the church of St. James the Apostle, and noting the mercy of God, said: “Who could make these things up? Who could invent this thing? Man? No, this is not a human act.”  On December 31st a journalist [blogger] wrote: “While some had expected the cardinal’s visit to Medjugorje to be private, he has instead surprised the town by being very visible. He has spent his time concelebrating Mass at St James Church, climbing Apparition Hill with visionary Marija Lunetti, praying in silence at Adoration, and, perhaps most notably, giving his talk today in the parish church with the Franciscan friars at his side”

5)In all this I have to admit that I personally, as diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, remain surprised. I understand that the Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church enjoys the right to profess and preach the Gospel throughout the Catholic Church. But with regard to public appearances outside their own diocese there also exists a certain etiquette in the Church: the bishop or cardinal who intends to come to another diocese publicly, first informs the local bishop, which is encouraged by the Church and by prudence. This understanding in the church and specific caution should be applied especially in this case.

[I struggled to find an adequate translation for the first half of the first sentence up to the first comma]
6)I am surprised because Cardinal Schonborn’s office to the publication of this statement, no one has reported, and assuming that the Cardinal knows the position of the Church, based on the results of the commission's research that no one can say that these are “supernatural apparitions or private revelations.” His visit to Cenacolo and with Sr. Elvira, who, by the way, as a religious nun with no permission to reside and operate in the territory of this diocese, could be interpreted as supportive. And, not only her, but a growing number of new communities and disobedient associations of the faithful in Medjugorje, which can be read as an encouragement for their ecclesiastical disobedience.

7)As the diocesan bishop stated, and I repeat, some painful facts:

- First of all I note the regrettable “Herzegovina Case[which involves the implementation of the decree Romanis Pontificibus] on parishes associated with the “phenomenon of Medjugorje” from the very beginning, when the figure which appeared in Medjugorje sided decisively with some disobedient Franciscans. One of them subsequently left the order then the priesthood and the diocesan bishop  is accused since then for the disorder.

- We now have in the Diocese nine former Franciscans, expelled from the Order of Friars Minor by the Superior General, and the Holy See has confirmed the expulsions. Although suspended a divinis they act as lawful priests in parishes usurped. While the supposed figure of Medjugorje gives answers to the most curiously trivial, I hear not a word about the serious abuses that strike at the unity of this local Church.

- We had a tragic occurrence in 2001 in which some Franciscans - some already suspended from the Order and others not yet suspended, invited a deacon from the Old Catholic Church who identified himself as an ”Archbishop”. More than 700 young people were confirmed in seized parishes. All of these were invalid and sacrilegious. The deacon celebrated invalid Masses, as well in some parishes. The phenomena of Medjugorje utters not a word about the abuse of the Eucharist and of the Holy Spirit!
- We have another sad fact: Two of those priests went to a bishop of the Old Catholic Church in Switzerland with the request to be ordained bishops, in an effort to create a formal schism from Mostar and Rome. The bishop of the Old Catholic Church declined their request. [scroll down to subtitle "Misfortune" in this 2001 homily to read details of the invalid sacraments.  There were also invalid sacraments.]

- We had two separate charismatic promoters and creators of the “Medjugorje phenomenon” : The prominent and disobedient Tomislav Vlasic, who last year was expelled by the Superior General of the Order of Friars - and, by the Holy See, at his request, dispensed of his priestly ministry and obligationsFr. Jozo Zovko, who has been denied priestly faculties in this diocese since 2004, according to newspaper reports, has been withdrawn by his religious superiors from the territory of Herzegovina, and is prohibited from any contact with Medjugorje.

8)The Cardinal is excited by the many confession s in Medjugorje, where the Father’s mercy is manifested. We believe that the mercy of the heavenly Father, as reflected in Medjugorje is also in each and every parish of his diocese, both before and after the phenomenon of Medjugorje. Just look at the long lines of faithful before the confessional in all the parishes, especially for Christmas, for Easter, for holidays, or for Confirmation. Many say these confessions in Medjugorje are strong evidence that the Lady “appears”. According to this conclusion on the numbers making confessions, Our Lady would appear in all our parishes, not just those three people once a year in Medjugorje and the other three every day, in fact most outside of Medjugorje, and apparently in the cathedral in Vienna! All together now: about 40,000 “apparitions”! Indeed, one gets the impression that some “visionaries” determine where and when the Lady “comes” since the appearance happens when and where they want. Is this not an inadmissible manipulation of Our Lady and the Sacred in general?

As the diocesan bishop with this statement I want to inform the faithful that the visit of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn does not imply any recognition of the authenticity of the “apparitions” related to Medjugorje. I regret that the Cardinal, with his visit, appearance, and statements, brings something new to the present suffering of the local Church which does not contribute to peace and unity so necessary.

+Ratko Peric, Bishop

Comments are off because I don't have time to moderate the tide that will flow in on this topic.

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