Status of shrine at Medjugorje is being evaluated

REGARDING your report headlined ‘Pope orders disciplinary measures on priest over sex scandal’ (September 9), I would like to make a number of points.

Firstly, Fr Tomislav Vlasic has not been involved with the Medjugorje parish for nearly 15 years, and while he may have questions to answer I believe your report was far to quick to dish out guilt by association on the parish of Medjugorje by the alleged actions of one person.

Secondly, your claim that the shrine is “illict” is incorrect.

In 1991, an investigation into the happenings in Medjugorje by the then Yugoslavia Bishops’ Conference on Medjugorje stated: “The declaration neither approves nor condemns the apparitions, but does permit personal belief in the apparitions and personal pilgrimages to Medjugorje while the church investigation continues.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the church’s highest authority for dealing with private revelation, confirmed the legitimacy of personal belief and pilgrimages to Medjugore in its statement issued on May 26, 1998.

The CDF statement on Medjugorje also makes specific reference to the personally negative position of the present local bishop of Mostar, Msgr Ratko Peric, as constituting “what is and remains his personal opinion”.

The present bishop’s personal position is not the official position of the church on Medjugorje.

The Vatican Congregation confirms the 1991 declaration of the ex-Yugoslavia bishops as the official position of the church on Medjugorje, which in no way condemns the apparitions, but on the contrary allows for personal belief before any final decision is reached.

In August 2006, Cardinal Puljic of Sarajevo announced that a new commission of investigation would be formed to continue the ecclesiastical process of evaluation of Medjugorje.

The commission would not be under the local bishop, but rather under the direction of the Conference of Bosnian Bishops.

So, in summation, the Medjugorje apparitions are currently neither officially approved by the church as being of supernatural origin nor are they condemned by the church as being false or invalid.

They are, at this time, in a state of evaluation which allows for personal belief in the authenticity of the apparitions along with personal pilgrimages to the apparition site, while the church’s official investigation is ongoing.

Frances O’Brien

Ballyhigh

Charlevillie

Co Cork

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