WAYNE'S AUGUST COLUMN
ONCE AGAIN: VATICAN DECISION NEAR?
BY WAYNE WEIBLE
There is a new story about Pope Francis “being close” to making a formal Vatican statement on the apparitions of Medjugorje, according to a Spanish priest who is a frequent visitor to Medjugorje. The thing is, we’ve been hearing this for the past year.
This latest story confirms, as has been reported numerous times, that the statement will more than likely designate Medjugorje as a top international Marian shrine.
Spanish priest Father Juan Garcia Inza, feels that Pope Francis is waiting for the right moment for his verdict on Medjugorje, and adds that well-informed sources say it is not far away.
Frankly, I feel Father Inza may be right about a statement being near; however, it’s the same thing I have been saying for more than a year. It would be the conclusion of more than four years of work by a Vatican commission of experts. Generally, such verdicts uphold status quo with no final pronouncement on the authenticity of an apparition.
According to the visionaries, the apparitions are still active—and that is the key component. Our Lady is still appearing in the village on a daily basis! I know that as do the millions who have been there and felt its grace. Thus, the bottom line is, unless an incredible miracle or dramatic event happens that would leave no doubt of its authenticity, the Vatican would have no real choice other than to uphold what was ruled by the bishops of then-Yugoslavia in the Zadar Declaration in April 1991. That ruling stated that the apparitions cannot be affirmed either way; it stands today as the same.
The opinion of so many bishops and priests here in the United States is that there is no real evidence of the Medjugorje apparitions being supernatural apparitions or supernatural messages. That is because they read the negative statements and believe them. The stance causes many of the faithful to not believe as well.
Why are they not impressed by the thousands of priests, including hundreds of bishops, archbishops and cardinals, who have been to Medjugorje and proclaim their belief in it? Why do they not come and see for themselves?
The reason for such apathy for Medjugorje at the present time in this country can be attributed directly to the poorly written letter (it misspells Medjugorje-“Medjogurje”; it refers to visionary Ivan as a “so-called visionary”) sent out by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The letter was sent to the U.S. Bishop’s Conference on October 21, 2013 by the U.S Apostolic Nuncio Carlos Maria Vigano. The line in the letter that caused so much discussion is this: “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.”
This statement by the writer goes in direct contrast to the position of the Church that one can believe in, promote, write about and generally accept any spiritual phenomena such as apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary as real, UNTIL THE CHURCH MAKES A FORMAL RULING ON IT! Yes, we are not supposed to take for granted that it is authentic, but we are allowed to believe it until a formal declaration. The Church has said that Medjugorje’s apparitions can neither be affirmed as supernatural; nor can they be affirmed as NOT supernatural. Therefore, it is up to the individual.
Most of what I am saying here, I have said before—many times in writing and in my talks. The problem now is that a majority of the followers—that is, those who believe the apparitions are authentic, have withdrawn from all Medjugorje-related events. It is at a standstill. As of August of this year, I have no talks scheduled for the remainder of the year. It is the first time this has occurred since my mission began 29 years ago. It is also the first time in 15 years that I will not be going on pilgrimage to the upcoming youth festival in the first week of August. Only a handful of Americans will be there.
The peace, grace and love of Jesus be with each of you.