Wednesday, November 6, 2013

CDF puts brakes on Medjugorje visionary's US tour

I don't normally blog on my lunch hour, but this was too much to pass up.

I'm going to type out the bulk of the text, dated October 21, 2013 from the Apostolic Nuncio in the US, Archbishop Vigano to USCCB General Secretary, Msgr. Jenkins:

I write at the request of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who asks, that the Bishops of the United States be advised, once again, of the following (cf. my letter of 27 February 2013, of the same protocol number). Thus, his Excellency wishes to inform the Bishops that one of the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje, Mr. Ivan Dragičević, is scheduled to appear at certain parishes around the country, during which time he will make presentations regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje. It is anticipated, moreover, that Mr.Dragičević will be receiving "apparitions" during these scheduled appearances.   
As you are well aware, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in the process of investigating certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of the phenomenon of Medjugorje. For this reason, the Congregation has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, all should accept the declaration, dated 10 April 1991, from the Bishops of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, which asserts: "On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations." It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such "apparitions" would be taken for granted.   
In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop Müller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible.  

Initial Thoughts:

First,  if this was leaked, I'm glad it was leaked.  Note that it indicates this is being conveyed, "once again" and that the first communication was back on February 27, 2013. This was the day before Pope Benedict XVI vacated the throne, which he announced on February 11  - the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  This letter, to my mind, shows that there is a continuity between the two Popes in desiring to answer the question of Medjugorje for the faithful.

Secondly, it shows the Catholic Church has not abandoned the practice of avoiding giving the appearance of sanction to that which is not approved (versus those like Fatima, Lourdes, and Guadalupe, which have been).  However, I don't think Holy Mother Church has done the best job of explaining why that is - to clerics and to the faithful because I think well-meaning bishops here, and even in other countries, have been very accommodating to visionaries from a nation where their own bishops do not give them such liberties.  This is like mother and father disagreeing about something in front of the children. it sows confusion, division and discord where one must choose to follow this bishop or that bishop.  This is something I explored in great detail, in my post: Should bishops allow visionaries of Medjugorje to speak in their dioceses? 

Thirdly, the statement of the former Yugoslav bishops' conference quoted in Archbishop Vigano's letter has proven to be one of the most misunderstood parts of the Zadar Declaration. That there has been so much confusion on both sides over that part of the declaration, is not the fault of the people, but an indication that the original text was insufficiently clear to the average person.  This statement, taken from the letter of Cardinal Vigano above, should make it more clear.

It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such "apparitions" would be taken for granted. 

What does he mean, "taken for granted?"   In context of the paragraph, it means, presumed as authentic.  What else but presumption of authenticity takes place when a visionary is allowed to have manifestations of those "apparitions" in the diocesan cathedral or local parish?  Or, when pastors allow promotional material to be posted in their parishes?

Lastly, the letter does not offer a judgment on the alleged apparitions,  which is why it refers, again, to the phenomena of Medjugorje as, "a question."  The word "question" was used three times in one paragraph when Archbishop D'Errico, then Nuncio to BiH, discussed the announcement of the new commission on Medjugorje with the people of that nation back in 2010.  Sadly, different translations were given by pro-Medjugorje sites which were not true to the original.  I took text straight from that of the BiH Bishop's conference and had it translated.  The Holy Father felt it was important to answer the question of Medjugorje, and I believe that will happen under Pope Francis - a man whose Marian devotion is unquestionably, very sound.

I may post more thoughts in the coming days, especially if anything more comes out on it.

Update: Catholic News Service, the reporting arm of the USCCB, has confirmed authenticity of the letter.  

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.